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Pot of Gold or a Bowl of Coal? Watch Out for Lottery Scams.

You’ve won the lottery!!! … Or have you? Every day, scammers lure victims with made-up stories of big winnings or prizes. The message may arrive as an email that mimics the name or style of a real government agency, well-known company, or sweepstakes agency. Or it may come as a social media message about a gift card prize or discount code for a store. Scammers hope you’ll respond with your personal information or click links that secretly download malware onto your device. Your best protection is to approach any claims with suspicion, and know how to spot a fake.

Signs It’s a Lottery Scam

  1. You never bought a ticket or entered a giveaway. This one may seem obvious, but in their excitement, victims forget this important detail.
  2. You need to pay something to receive your prize. Criminals will ask for money to cover made-up charges like shipping, handling, taxes, or fees.
  3. The information is generic and confusing. If the fine print doesn’t make sense, or you can’t find it easily, that’s a big red flag.
  4. Unsolicited checks or duplicate checks arrive for you in the mail. Getting a surprise check in the mail may feel thrilling, but it could be a scam. Bring it to your financial institution for review before you assume it’s real.
  5. You’re rushed to respond. The faster you act, the less likely you are to think twice. If someone pressures you to act quickly or lose your prize, end the conversation.
  6. It’s a foreign lottery, or you can buy tickets to enter. If you fall for this one, expect to receive more offers for fake lotteries and faux investment “opportunities”. Criminals will take as much of your money as they can convince you to send.

If you suspect you’ve been tricked by a lottery scam, or any other type of scam, contact us. We can advise you what to do next, including reporting your experience to the Federal Trade Commission.