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Lottery Scams


YOUR CHECK LIABILITY: How to really verify a check, money order, traveler's check, cashier's check, etc.

Your ID Theft Prevention To-Do List

What to do about threats from scammers


WARNING: Services that offer to purchase lottery tickets on your behalf are not regulated by any state, federal, or national government oversight agency.  There is no guarantee that any ticket will be purchased in your name, nor if any such ticket is a winning ticket, that you will ever see the money.





The Truth vs. The Scam:

Lottery and Other Prize Winning Notifications


Scammers send out fake prize winning letters by the thousands every day to steal your money, your personal information, and to involve you in money laundering.  They use the fact that few people know that to win a prize you have to enter a drawing.  They use the fact that many people are so desperate for money that they will jump at any surprise income without asking questions.


This page shows you how to spot prize winning notification scams so you can

keep yourself out of debt and out of jail.

Drawings - Lottery companies and lottery games - Rewards programs

Online lotteries - Did I win a lottery? Truth vs Scam


Drawings: Drawings, like lotteries, sweepstakes, and raffles, are games of chance.  To win a drawing you have to enter.  You hold on to the ticket, as in a lottery, or the ticket stub, as in a raffle, or your portion of the entry form or a receipt, as in merchant drawings. 

Selection is conducted in one of three ways: pulling a ticket from a bowl, pulling random numbers from a bowl, or by computer with a random pick program.  You cannot be selected if you don't enter.

Free merchant drawing jackpots are paid for by the merchant.  Pay-to-play drawing jackpots are paid for by ticket purchases wherein a portion of the total sales goes to the winner.  If you have received a winning notification allegedly from a merchant, contact the merchant directly to verify.

Lottery companies and lottery games: Lottery companies are corporations monitored by government oversight and the companies belong to Lottery Associations.  Examples: The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, The World Lottery Association, The Asia-Pacific Lottery Association.

Lottery companies usually offer a variety of games for players - something for everyone - and encourages people to play more often.


Rewards Programs: Credit Card Rewards Programs and other Rewards Programs DO NOT PAY PRIZE MONEY.  Rewards Programs are discount programs where you accumulate purchase points that allow you to buy products at a discounted rate.  If you receive a winning prize check because you won a Rewards Program, it is a counterfeit!  Read How to Really Verify a Check or Money Order.  If you have already sent off money from the check, go to the Scam Victim's Solution Center to find out what to do.


Online lotteries: There are generally 3 types of lottery web sites - those that merely post news about offline lotteries (where you have to buy your ticket from an outlet like the corner store), those that belong to lottery companies (these may be operated by marketing companies), and lottery affiliates representing several lottery companies.

Before engaging in online pay-to-play, always carefully read the Terms & Conditions and Rules to determine if you are eligible to enter and how the games are operated.

Online lottery sites require that you register and you are given a login so that you can manage your gameplay and determine if you have won.  Never rely on an email notification of winning.  Always log in to your personal area to verify your winnings.

Did I win a lottery?

The Scam: You receive a notice by email or surface mail claiming that you won a lottery or other drawing.  The notice may contain one or all of the claims below followed by one or more of the listed financial events:


You are told your email address was pulled from a random drawing or you are given no explanation for having won.


Truth: There are no random drawings of email addresses, cell phone numbers, mobile phone numbers or home phone numbers.

There is no such thing as a random lottery, email lottery, web lottery, international lottery, or Internet lottery.

You are unfamiliar with the lottery, but the name sounds logical.  It includes the name of a large corporation like Yahoo, Google, Visa or Master Card, the name of a big car company or the name of a wealthy individual such as Bill Gates or the Sultan of Brunei.


Truth: By law, lottery companies may only build winning amounts from the sale of tickets.  This is the same in every country.  See Lottery companies and lottery games above.

Companies do hold drawings, raffles, sweepstakes and drawings they may call lotteries to grab your attention, but as with any drawing you have to enter your name and contact information before the physical drawing takes place.  See Drawings above.

Well-known wealthy individuals such as Bill Gates, the Sultan of Brunei, and Donald Trump do not personally hold lotteries though one of their companies may operate a drawing; however, for legal reasons their name would never be mentioned as part of the promotion.

The notice claims that you have won a lottery in a country where you do not reside.


Truth: When you register with an online lottery web site such as El Gordo (a Spanish lottery open to nonresidents), you must provide your name, street address, email address, telephone number, a valid credit card number to buy tickets, and you must chose a username and password before making the purchase.  You are then given your own secure area where you can verify your winnings and buy tickets for different lottery games.

In some instances you are responsible for paying the taxes in that country and in the country where you reside (taxes are paid only to and directly to the government, never through a 3rd party).  It is always wise to read the Terms & Conditions and the Rules before making ticket purchases.

Companies that offer their own online lottery do a tremendous amount of advertising, flooding your inbox with enticing emails to get you to play as often as possible.  This is because in order to play you must view merchant advertising, which is the whole purpose of the lottery.  You pay to play and the merchants pay to have their ads viewed.

The notice states you have been contacted because you need to obtain your unclaimed funds.
  Truth: It is your responsibility to claim your winnings using the ticket you purchased.  No organization hunts down a winner.  If you don't claim your prize within a certain amount of time, it goes back into the pot.

The notice may go on at length and ask for your name, address, telephone number, your age, sex, driver's license number, and so forth.


Truth: No legitimate lottery or drawing of any kind sends out a notification asking you to identify yourself and provide personal information. 

A batch number and ticket number are provided. 


Truth: If you have won, you have bought a ticket or completed an entry form and that is the only identification required.  You must present the ticket or raffle stub you obtained at the time you entered in order to claim then prize.

The email asks you to contact an agent, claims officer, fiduciary agent, representative, other title to claim your winnings.


Truth: Lottery companies and merchant drawings do not require an agent.  The lottery company or merchant contacts you directly without any intermediaries of any kind.

You are told to keep your winnings a secret.


Truth: Lottery companies and merchants are in the business of making money.  They want everyone to know you have won.  Most entries contain text stating that you agree to publicity if you win because showing that you won encourages others to participate.

The agent tells you that you have to pay various fees to get your money.


Truth: There are no fees required to claim prize money - not ever and there are no exceptions.

We've seen fictitious charges for "clean money certificates", "UN transfer fees", consignment fees, deposit fees, fees to open an account, security fees, courier fees, safekeeping fees, permits, licenses, and on and on.

Taxes on winnings are paid directly to the county, state, and/or government.  It is never wise to entrust the payment of your taxes to a third party as governments hold you  personally responsible for any and all taxes due.

The agent tells you that the amount you owe can be covered by an advance or loan.

  Truth: As stated above, other than income taxes you pay directly to your government, no fees or charges of any kind are assessed to obtain prize money. 

The so-called agent is getting ready to involve you in money laundering, that is laundering money stolen from another victim's bank account, credit card, or other source such as cash from a portfolio money management account, or an illegal loan on someone's home.

You receive a cashier's check, company check, ACH check, or money order by surface mail or delivery service.

  Truth: Prize money is paid by the company that is holding the drawing.  The account name on the check is that of the company, not the US Treasury Dept., not ABC Plumbing, not a money order or cashier's check.

The lottery company or company holding a drawing wants you to show the check with their name on it to friends and family, to the neighbors and everyone at work.  It's good advertising.  The more publicity, the better.

If you have received a check from an unknown source with instructions to send a portion to someone, the check is forged, counterfeit.  Go here immediately: Check liability & what to do or go to The Scam Victim's Solution Center menu.

You receive money wired into your bank account

  You are 100% liable for any funds wired into your account.  If the funds you receive have been stolen, you are at risk of being charged with theft and money laundering. Go HERE in the Scam Victim's Solution Center to find out how to handle the situation in a practical, real world manner.

You receive an ATM card or gift card.

  In a scam, funds on an ATM card or gift card are stolen funds, involving you in money laundering.  Go HERE in the Scam Victim's Solution Center to find out how to handle the situation in a practical, real world manner.

You are told to send a portion of the money to a 3rd party.

  It is never wise to act as an intermediary in a funds transfer.  Even sending funds between relatives can have its downside.  Sending funds received from a stranger to another stranger is extremely risky.  In a scam, when you are sent funds by any method and send those funds to someone else, you are laundering stolen money.  Stop immediately and go to the Scam Victim's Solution Center menu to find out what to do.


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WARNING!  Accepting and negotiating money from a lottery scam places you at risk of Identity Theft and of being used for money laundering.

Money Laundering: You are sent counterfeit checks or money orders.  Either immediately or as a follow up, you will be instructed to wire off a large portion of the money to a 3rd party.  This is money laundering. 

This puts you at risk of being arrested and charged with money laundering, forgery, counterfeiting, and theft even if you are an unwitting victim. 

The Identity Theft Prevention List

In all these scams, Identity Theft is a major element and you are at serious risk.  We cannot stress how devastating Identity Theft will be for you, nor how valuable your personal information is to the scammers - even if you have bad credit your identity is sold to illegal aliens and drug runners - nor how determined they are to acquire even a small amount of personal information from you and your computer.


We are not attorneys and don't pretend to be.  In our experience, the information and guidance offered on this site have proven to be effective; however, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney.

If you have doubts about Fraud Aid, Inc. do not hesitate to contact federal enforcement (FBI, Secret Service, RCMP), Scotland Yard, or local law enforcement to check us out.

Information provided about lotteries and lottery scam: Fraud Aid, Inc. is not affiliated with any pay-to-play or free online lottery or Sweepstakes games and derives no income from any pay-to-play or free online lotteries or Sweepstakes or any of their participating sponsors with the possible exception of a sponsor's independent advertising unassociated with any drawings promotion; nor does Fraud Aid promote or sponsor any lotteries or Sweepstakes or numbers drawing of any kind.

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