Online Lottery Scams and Sweepstakes
Kevin J. Aronin
Chairman & CEO , PlasmaNet Inc
Did you receive an email from FreeLotto.com that sounds like you won a huge
prize? Slow down and read the fine print. There is a company called freelotto.com that collects email addresses to send
commercial advertising to you in exchange for the chance to win prizes, but
there are also scammers sending out emails, and even the real email may not be
what you think it is.
Therefore, with regard to the email you received, there are two possibilities:
- Lottery scam: If you did NOT register with freelotto.com before you received the
email that claims you won (see this page for examples),
then it is definitely a scam that has no connection to the real FreeLotto.com.
- Misleading Promotion: Or, you DID register previously with FreeLotto.com. Read on to
learn about this scenario:
If you have previously registered with FreeLotto.com or otherwise got on
their mailing list
First, you should read
Better Business Bureau 's report. Here is an excerpt:
"Complaints to the BBB indicate that PlasmaNet, Inc. sends notification via
mail and e-mail solicitations to consumers stating that they have won a
sweepstakes or lottery but consumers do not receive payment of their
winnings. Upon contacting the company to retrieve their winnings, consumers
state that they are denied their prize unless they sign up and pay for a
subscription on the company’s website at www.freelotto.com. After signing up
consumers are told that they are not a winner either because their
notification letter is only a promotion or because their pin number on their
award letter is invalid. Consumers also report that PlasmaNet has made
unauthorized withdrawals from their bank accounts and that they have
difficulty canceling subscriptions."
In addition, many reports that we have received from consumers and seen on
other websites say the real FreeLotto.com uses misleading advertising (see
this website for examples).
Their email that makes it appear to many recipients as though they won a
large sum of money ($1,000,000 in the emails we've seen). In
reality, it is a lure to get you to sign up for their services,
including their "F.A.S.T"
subscription service, which has a monthly fee.
If you read their fine print, it says: "upon submitting the winning entry",
which means, IF you play and win, THEN you would receive the money. It
does not mean that you have ALREADY won. And since they are in business to
make a profit, obviously, there must be very, very few big winners compared to
If you have signed up with Free Lotto and have any experiences or opinions to
share, please tell us about them!
Additional Business Names for FreeLotto.com:
420 Lexington, Suite 2435
New York, NY 10170
Kevin J. Aronin, CEO
Example "Free Lotto" lottery scam email
This email was sent to us by a real recipient on February 3, 2008. We
have excerpted portions of the email to enable visitors to recognize and compare
the email they received. This reproduction is allowable under the "Fair Use"
provisions of copyright laws:
You will see a box like this:
Dear Anthony Gammon,
You are receiving this message because you joined
FreeLotto on Thursday November 29th, 2007, from IP
126.96.36.199. When you registered you agreed to
receive messages from FreeLotto. FreeLotto NEVER sends
JUNK or SPAM messages. We never send mail to anyone
unless they requested it when they registered. If you
somehow didn't understand that you were agreeing to
receive messages from us at the time you joined PLEASE
CLICK HERE TO BE PERMANENTLY REMOVED FROM OUR LIST.
In doing so you will also cancel your FreeLotto
membership and you will no longer be eligible to play
FreeLotto or receive up to $11,000,000.00 in daily
prizes. We regret any inconvenience.
FreeLotto Member Services
(Click here to validate and complete your prize payment directive)
To their credit, most reports substantiate that if you
call and write to ask that you be removed from their email lists, you will
be, although you may need to be insistent about it.
The email also text such as this:
(the highlights in yellow appeared on the email)
Division of Unclaimed Funds,
created by PNI to locate individuals with eligible funds available
to them. PNI, a global provider of online sweepstakes has awarded
over $79,000,000.00 (Seventy-eight million in US dollars) to
hundreds of thousands of fortunate recipients in 41 countries;
creating 14 millionaires and 4 Ten Million Dollar Winners.
Anthony Gammon OF Dublin, the check
below may be yours to claim. Review the official listing below to
determine if you are eligible."
later in the email after a table of names, cities, states, amounts and
a status of "pending" or "paid", you will see an eligibility
you're on the list, please complete your Payment Directive Form on
the following page. Eligibility requirement: You must submit a
winning entry and verify your PIN # 123496715. It assures you, that
upon submitting the winning entry in accordance with the rules of
FreeLotto, using the convenient F.A.S.T. service or free online
entry, Anthony Gammon and only
Anthony Gammon will be paid $1 Million (One Million Dollars) in the
Classic FreeLotto Game or other cash that you shall become entitled
Notice the wording very carefully: it says:
submitting the winning entry in accordance with the rules of FreeLotto..."
This apparently does NOT mean that you HAVE won, only that they would
or will pay you if you do win! Of course, that is very
different form actually winning and can be said of any legal lottery,
including many from which you never won a penny.
Given the large number of unresolved complaints filed with the Better
Business Bureau and the number of complaints we receive from consumers, we think
you would be well advised to avoid
If you feel that you have been victimized by FreeLotto.com, you can file a
complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau on this page:
You will need to print or write this information to use in your complaint:
- zip code: 10170
- Search by URL: www.freelotto.com
- Select the NY, NY location
- Fill out your contact information and follow the directions.
Names of Scam / Fake / Fraud Lottery
Click here for the huge list of the names of the currently identified lottery