Here are some tips on how to spot a lottery scam
If you happen to receive any suspicious correspondence a lottery scam, go through this checklist to see if it’s a scam:
1. Did you enter that lottery on that date?
The golden rule for spotting a scam is to immediately ask yourself whether you had an entry into the draw they are speaking about. If you haven’t purchased a ticket, you cannot win.
2. Are you being asked for payment?
It’s important to remember that you will never be asked to pay a handling fee or any sort of charge by a legitimate company in order to receive your winnings. If you have to pay a fee to collect your winnings, you definitely haven’t won.
3. Is the prize referenced realistic?
A big lottery jackpot is always tempting. That is if you’ve actually entered to give yourself the opportunity to win. If you have received a notification that you have won, we suggest that you look carefully at the prize, currency and lottery name to see if it makes sense and is consistent.
For example, if you live in America and receive an email telling you that you have won 10 million Indian rupees – that is a sign that someone is trying to scam you.
4. Are you pressured to respond?
If the notification is pressurizing you to claim your winnings immediately, alarm bells should be ringing. While there are expiry dates in which to claim your winnings if you purchase lottery tickets from the corner store, you will still have several months in which to claim your prize. If, however, you buy lottery tickets online, in most cases, there will be no expiry date in which to claim your prize. A legitimate company would link to their terms and conditions if they made reference to any time constraints on claiming a prize.
5. Are you being told to keep the news confidential?
This is a trick used to scare you. Winning the lottery is an extremely joyous occasion and although it’s not advisable to scream about your lottery win from the rooftops, the choice is yours. There is no reason why you can’t tell family or friends close to you straight away about a genuine win.
Scammers are just trying to limit the chances of their fraud being exposed. The last thing they want is for you to inform someone about their fraudulent notification, which could end up being reported to the police.
If you are told that you need to keep your “win” confidential, be very suspicious.
6. Is the message professional?
Remember, scammers will always use a real lottery’s name to try and convince you that it’s a genuine prize. They will even go so far as to find a legitimate lottery notification and edit certain details. In fact, these scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated with the design and content of their scams, but you should still note how professional it looks.
The first thing to look at is to see if the lottery organization actually exists. ‘Euro Mega Millions Corporation’ might sound plausible to someone who has yet to play these lotteries, either offline or online. To seasoned lotto enthusiasts the combination will be completely ridiculous.
Another giveaway is if the message you received is riddled with spelling errors and poor grammar. This is further warning it is probably a scam.
7. Do they know your name?
If you play the lottery online you would have registered and given your details. Therefore, any notification will be will start off with, “Dear (your name). If you receive a message starting off with, ‘Dear winner’ or ‘Dear account holder’, it, more than likely is a scam.
8. What does the email address look like?
The “from” email address will also give you a good idea whether or not the message is a scam. A legitimate lottery will never send out a message from a personal Gmail or Hotmail account.
If you are told that you can “verify” the prize by calling a certain number, that number may be part of the scam. Instead of calling it, you should look up the name of the lottery or organization on your own to find out its real contact information.
If you think someone on the phone is trying to scam you, hang up immediately. If you engage them in conversation, your name and contact information could end up on a list that’s shared with other scammers.
Do be careful!