Work at home job scams:
Processing, Shipping, Check Writing, Western Union,
YOUR CHECK LIABILITY:
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
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:
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.
Lottery companies and lottery games -
Online lotteries -
Did I win a lottery? Truth vs Scam
Drawings: Drawings, like lotteries,
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
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,
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
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?
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
are told your email address was pulled from a random
drawing or you are given no explanation for having won.
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
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.
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
Companies do hold
drawings, raffles, sweepstakes and drawings they may
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
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
notice claims that you have won a lottery in a country where
you do not reside.
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.
notice states you have been contacted because you need to
obtain your unclaimed funds.
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.
notice may go on at length and ask for your name, address,
telephone number, your age, sex, driver's license number,
and so forth.
No legitimate lottery or drawing of any kind
sends out a notification asking you to identify yourself and
provide personal information.
batch number and ticket number are provided.
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
email asks you to contact an agent, claims officer,
fiduciary agent, representative, other title to
claim your winnings.
Lottery companies and merchant drawings do
not require an agent. The lottery company or merchant
contacts you directly without any intermediaries of any
are told to keep your winnings a secret.
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.
agent tells you that you have to pay various fees to get
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.
agent tells you that the amount you owe can be covered by an
advance or loan.
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.
receive a cashier's check, company check, ACH check, or money order by
surface mail or delivery service.
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
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:
liability & what to do or go to
The Scam Victim's
Solution Center menu.
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
the Scam Victim's Solution Center to find out how to handle
the situation in a practical, real world manner.
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
the Scam Victim's Solution Center to find out how to handle
the situation in a practical, real world manner.
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.
^ Back to top
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
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
This puts you at risk of
being arrested and charged with money laundering, forgery,
counterfeiting, and theft even if you are an unwitting
The Identity Theft
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