Lottery Scams - What To Do If You Receive a Lottery Scam Email
Back to the "How to Recognize a Lottery Scam" page
The Bottom Line: What to Know
If you receive a "prize notification" from a lottery:
What if I have already replied to the scammer?
U.S. Federal law enforcement authorities are intercepting and destroying millions of foreign lottery mailings sent or delivered by the truckload into the U.S. And consumers, lured by prospects of instant wealth, are responding to the solicitations that do get through-to the tune of $120 million a year, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says most promotions for foreign lotteries (of ANY kind) are likely to be phony. Many scam operators don't even buy the promised lottery tickets. Others buy some tickets, but keep the "winnings" for themselves. In addition, lottery hustlers use victims' bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or their credit card numbers to run up additional charges.
The FTC has these words of caution for consumers who are thinking about responding to a foreign lottery:
The bottom line, according to the FTC: Ignore all mail and phone solicitations for foreign lottery promotions. If you receive what looks like lottery material from a foreign country, give it to your local postmaster.
To report telemarketing fraud of any kind, contact your state Attorney General.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. r to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Sweepstakes offered via e-mail, like other commercial e-mail solicitations, must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, effective January 1, 2004. This federal law mandates, among other things, that subject lines be honest and consumers can easily opt-out of receiving additional e-mails. (For more information on CAN-SPAM)
And for additional useful government websites:
IMPORTANT: Which FTC Complaint Form to Use?
Legitimate lotteries in most countries, like NZ (eg,
Lotto) have to be licensed to operate.
NONE of them use email to notify winners, and almost
none of them operate via the internet.
list of legitimate lotteries.
Names of Scam / Fake / Fraud Lottery
Government Lottery Fraud Centers Around the World
Copyright CFR 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
- Definition of scam, fraud, etc.
- Legal disclaimer / corrections
/ complaints -