Beware of Lottery Scams
Lottery scams have become more convincing and prevalent in recent years. The messaging and appearance of these scams can look genuine but are very dangerous. Many people have been duped by these lottery scams and lost thousands of dollars. Know what signs to look for so you don’t become the next victim.
Typically lottery scams are sent to you by an email, text message, or through social media. There may also be a fake website set up as a landing page to convince you that you’ve won a real prize. It can appear to be legitimate and may even use the name of a real lottery game.
One of the first signs that a message is fraudulent is if you receive notice that you’ve won a prize, but it’s not for a game you’ve actually played. You simply cannot win a lottery game if you have not bought a ticket.
Secondly, a real lottery will not contact you if you have won. In legitimate lottery games, it is the winner’s responsibility to contact the lottery office to claim a prize. This is why sometimes lottery prizes go unclaimed, because the winner did not come forward to claim their prize from the lottery headquarters. In real lottery games, you don’t give your personal contact information when you buy a ticket or scratcher. This means the lottery couldn’t contact you even if they wanted to because they don’t have that information. The only thing they know is where a winning ticket or scratcher was purchased.
Most often lottery scams will ask you to send money in order to claim your prize. They may say it is a necessary processing fee or transfer charge. Sometimes a scam will also ask you to provide your bank account number so that your winnings can be directly deposited. This is a huge red flag! Never provide your personal information or bank account information. Real lottery games do not require you to pay anything to claim your winnings.
Another important thing to look for is the source of the message. An email that is sent from overseas is likely to be a scam. You should also look for spelling and grammar errors. This is another sign that the email could be coming from someone outside the U.S. There is no such thing as an international lottery or sweepstakes so don’t buy into any such claims. Also avoid clicking on any links within an email or text message.
Lastly, lottery scams often will tell you to keep your prize a secret. This is done because they don’t want word to spread about their scam. If you have any doubt about a message, it’s best to report it to the authorities. Remember that legitimate lotteries do not contact the winners. Be cautious and only buy tickets from reputable lottery retailers.