At one point in time, we have all dreamt of winning the lottery, however receiving a phone call, e-mail, or letter in the mail stating you have won a prize is almost always too good to be true. With the uncertain economy, more and more people are receiving solicitations stating they have won a prize. Your BBB warns consumers of these scams.
When first receiving a notice you have won something, check to see where it is coming from. Foreign lottery scams are illegal to play in the United States. If you receive a letter in the mail from a different country you can turn it into your local post office as fraudulent. Also look at the address on the envelope, letterhead and check. Different addresses signal a red flag.
U.S. and state run lotteries always require payment to participate. If you did not pay to enter, then you could not have won! Any legitimate lottery will not notify you if you win.
Never cash a check or send money. If you cash a check that was enclosed in the letter or e-mail it is counterfeit. Remember that you will be responsible when your bank notifies you of the fake check. Also, you should never have to send money to receive your prize. Taxes and fees would be your responsibility after you collect your winnings.
Never disclose personal information such as your social security or banking number. You should not have to provide this information in order to “claim your prize.” Also be aware that once you participate in one of these fake scams you will most likely be targeted by other fraudulent offers.
Lottery scams have been around for decades and scammers are continuing to find new ways to trick consumers.