Online lottery scams are a modern-day nightmare. Many of us have fallen into the trap of believing we have won a life-changing prize, only to be lied to and stolen from. So, what exactly is a lottery scam?
Lottery fraud occurs when companies lie and make you think that you have won a lottery prize, when in fact they are just trying to steal your personal information. These people will mislead you into providing your card details, phone number, and address. This information can then be used maliciously and also shared with other online companies, leading to problems such as identity theft or money loss.
In this article, we will be explaining the tactics used by online lottery scammers, and how you can defend yourself and your hard-earned money from these frauds.
The Lottery Scammer’s Tricks
It starts with a scam company writing, texting, or emailing you and notifying you that you have won a cash prize in the USA, European or other international lotteries. People have also been victims to Facebook and WhatsApp lottery fraud. The scammers will ask you to contact a lottery official so you’re your funds can be processed. If you do so, they will request your details, as well as proof of identity, such as a passport. This information will then be used to commit identity fraud.
Identity fraud can cause loss of money, a poor credit score, and a world of other problems. The unfortunate thing about identity theft is that you usually won’t be aware that it has happened to you until it’s too late. By which point someone could have quite literally ruined your life.
Another way these online lottery scams take your money is by telling you that you need to pay a fee in order to process your winnings. Each time you do so, they will give another false reason as to why you can’t access your money and they will ask you to pay another fee online. The made-up reasons are usually taxes, legal fees, or banking fees. Real lotteries will never ask for you to pay for your winnings.
They may also try to ask for your bank details, claiming that they will pay the prize directly into your bank account. You must never give them your bank information, as it will undoubtedly be used to empty your account balance.
Finally, many lottery scammers will tell you to keep the win a secret in order to access the prize. This is a sure sign of a scam, and a genuine lottery representative would never make this request.
Example of Scams: A Strike of Justice, Ontario Lottery Scandal & More
In Canada, an older man bought tickets for the Lotto 6/49 and went to a gas station to see if he had won. There were no winnings, but the gas station worker noticed that the ticket had multiple draws, so he secretly kept the ticket.
Once the old man noticed he had no ticket, he bought a new one with the same numbers and played them every week. During the next draw, it was the winning combination and both men won the jackpot and tried to claim $90,000 each. At this point, the lottery noticed the error and investigated.
Ontario Lottery Scandal
The Chung family owned a store that sold lottery tickets. Whenever someone would try to claim a winning ticket, the store owner would say there was no win and keep the ticket for themselves and collect the cash.
The family got away with it for years until 2003, when they claimed a prize of $12.5 million and the Ontario Police launched an investigation since they had won the lottery so many times. The family was eventually charged with fraud.
Australian Lottery Fraud
Here is a recent example of a lottery scam. People described receiving a letter telling them that they had won $50,000 in the Australian lottery. They called the number on the letter and were told that they would soon receive a cheque that would cover the “additional taxes or fees”.
The company then sent out a package that included a very real-looking cheque for $2,650. The recipients were informed that the cheque had been issued with a “federal law” stating that every lottery winner had to pay taxes and a processing fee to get their winnings. They were asked to send off the cheque, along with their personal details, after which they would receive their winnings. This was all of course, fraud, and many people fell for the lies and lost money.
Example of Lottery Text Scam
Here is one example of an online lottery scam, that was sent via text. It grabs the reader’s attention with the staggering winnings, and then immediately asks for personal information.
Tips to Help you Spot the Scams
- You can’t win the lottery if you didn’t buy a ticket – you should never respond to any online competitions that you have never entered.
- No one can ever guarantee you a win – online lottery scammers will grab your attention by claiming to guarantee you a win, but this is not how lotteries work. Sometimes you may get a notification telling you that somebody is selling a winning ticket. Again, this will not be the case, as no one would logically sell their win.
- Check the rules of the Lottery – before doing anything, read through the rules of the lottery as clues can be hidden here. If the terms seem fishy or unfair, do not go through with anything and ignore the offer.
- The Email address may reveal the Scam – if the lottery email uses a personal email address, or an email unrelated to the lottery then this means they are a fraud. Real lottery emails will use official addresses that you will be able to verify from their official website online.
- Typos and unprofessionalism indicate fraud – a true lottery email will not contain any mistakes, as the writing is proofread by professionals. There are many foreign lottery scams, and this means that English will not be their first language, which you will be able to immediately tell. The email should also have a professional tone and layout if it is real.
- Never reveal your bank details or pay fees in advance – online scammers will ask you to do this so that you can receive your winnings, but this is just another way for them to steal money.
- Block the Scammers – if a lottery scammer is emailing or texting you, you can block their number or email address which prevents them from contacting you again.
What to Do if you Get Scammed
The first thing to remember is that falling for online lottery fraud is a common mistake, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. These people dedicate their lives to misleading and stealing, and sadly they’ve gotten very good at it. But it isn’t unfixable, and here is what you need to do.
- Start by notifying your bank. If the money hasn’t already been taken, your bank will be able to freeze your account and you will not lose any money. Even if the money has already been taken, the bank will be able to prevent any further theft of your money.
- Next, you should call Action Fraud. It is their job to fix these situations and they will start an investigation into the online scam and advise you accordingly. They will give you a reference number that you must keep safe. You should also report the scam to the police and give them the Action Fraud reference number.
- It’s also a good idea to let your friends and family know about your situation, as they may receive similar fake win notifications. By sharing your story, you could help to prevent them from making the same mistake.
- After following these steps, your case will be in the hands of a professional and you should wait to be notified of your investigation’s progress.
We don’t want you to think that you now can’t take part in the online lottery. As long as you take note of this advice, you can still enter a lottery with a reputable company, as it is perfectly safe. It’s best to stick to famous lottery companies such as Lotto247 and Agentlotto.
After reading this article, you should have learned what to look out for and how you can protect yourself effectively. You are now wise to all their tricks, and they won’t be able to take anything from you.