Lottery Scams

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Lottery Scam Home Menu:

How to identify a lottery scam letter

How to really verify a check or money order

The answers to your most frequent lottery scam questions

It is illegal for US Citizens to enter foreign lotteries: Federal Statute

Look in the Lottery Scam Email database for emails that are like the one you got

Lottery names used in lottery scam letters




Green Card Lottery Scam: Truth and Lies in simple words

International Lotteries vs. Lottery Scams

Luck of the draw: Numbers games and drawings

Free lotteries - Some are legitimate, some are not

List of Official US Federal and State Lottery web sites

Gaming Commissions and Lottery Associations

ID Theft Prevention To-Do List

Threat emails

File a Scam Email Report



Payment Processing & other Counterfeit Draft Scams


FDIC Special Alerts List of Counterfeit Checks





Common Lottery Scam Claims, Statements, and Red Flags

You have to BUY at ticket to win a lottery

The lottery name does not make the fraud.

What the letter SAYS makes the fraud!

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|> Red flags: A "red flag" is what law enforcement investigators call something in an investigation that looks criminal, evidence that is known from experience to be used by criminals.  If you cannot independently verify the legitimacy of the person who has contacted you, DO NOT provide any personal information whatsoever!  Lottery scam letters arrive by BOTH email and regular post.

|>  The letter is a scam when it contains any one of the following phrases or any portion of the following phrases:

All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 30,000 names from Australia, New Zealand, America, Asia, Europe, Africa, USA and North America as part of our International Promotions Program, which will subsequently be conducted annually.

Mention of any kind of claim agent.

"Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants of this program."

"N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification."

"You are seriously advised to keep all winning lottery information and numbers from the public in line with our company security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by unscrupulous individuals."

"Due to the mixed up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this winning a top secret from the public notice until your claims has been processed and remitted to your account as this is apart of the security protocol, to avoid double claiming or unwarranted taking advantage of this program by participants."

"All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 companies."

"This lottery was promoted and sponsored by ...

Ted Turner

Jesse Jackson

Ken Evoy

Bill Gates

The Sultan of Brunei

Microsoft (or any other company)


|>  A request for money: The most important red flag is a request for money.  The request usually appears in the 2nd or 3rd letter, either at the same time as the request for personal information or in a letter that arrives once you've provided your personal information. 

Lottery Scam Letters are what is called an Advance Fee Fraud If you have won a lottery, you do not pay any upfront fees to anyone at any time for any reason.

You pay income taxes to your government only by filing your government's income tax forms and sending your money directly to your government yourself.


|>  No legitimate lottery web site exists without legitimate rules posted: Legitimate rules can be verified by going to the web site of government-sponsored lotteries.  You can find a list of government-sponsored lotteries and all their rules and regulations at  Compare these with what you see at the web site listed in the lottery letter.


|>  A call to the local embassy or consulate reveals that the lottery is a scam: Sometimes a country is listed, sometimes it isn't.  When it is, a call to your local embassy or consulate of that country is will reveal to you that the letter is bogus.  However, it is strongly advised that you take a look at all points made on this page because swindlers may use a legitimate lottery name for their scam.


|>  No country of origin is listed.


|> No licenses or registrations are available for independent verification: Independent verification means that you verify all claims by asking other sources.  The truth cannot be verified by asking the person who is making the claim.  All legitimate lotteries are licensed and registered with the appropriate gaming committee.


|>  A statement that the funds will be sent to you by a courier or security service and that you have to pay the courier service for the delivery and/or storage.

|>  Any request for money to pay for anything whatsoever.

|>  You are told that you have to travel to the country where the lottery was held in order to claim your winnings:

This is a trick to get you to say that you will not travel to any country to pick up your winnings.  Their reply is to give you all kinds of phony reasons for paying false fees in order to get the winnings to you.

|>  You are sent a check written on the account of a person or company you do not know, or you are sent a cashier's check (bank check).  Either way you are told that you must deposit the check and send some of the money either back to them or on to another person.  THE CHECK IS COUNTERFEIT and you will be held responsible for the full value of the check.  See How to really verify corporate, Cashier's Checks, and money orders.

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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.

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