Lottery Scams Are Very Dangerous! Let Us Show You How To Be Safe!
What do the fraudsters want?
Lottery scam letters are sent out by the thousands and thousands every day. There are only two things the bad guys want: your money and your identity. Your identity is just as important or even more important than any money you send them, and they can get your identity when you open the very first letter if it contains a Trojan horse or spyware; scam letters often do.
What will they say to get what they want?
They will tell you whatever you want to hear. They will tell you whatever they feel you will believe. They will pretend to be lawyers, claims agents, bankers, law enforcement agents, people of high rank in the government, gaming officials, tax collectors, and any other title that will convince you they are good people.
When do they ask for personal identification?
If you've opened a Spam email or a Scam email, you are at serious risk of losing everything - even if you have bad credit: you may not be as protected as you've been led to believe! Find out why and how to fix it ...
After you answer the first letter, they will write back asking for your personal identification. This is used to steal your identity. They steal your identity by using your personal banking, passport, driver's license, or credit card information to open accounts you don't know about - it doesn't matter if you have bad credit! Felons get jobs using your name. They buy things in your name and do not pay for them. They take out loans in your name and do not pay for them. They commit crimes using your name and leave you holding the bag. Creditors will contact you asking for their money. Police will contact you and may even hold you for questioning to determine if you are telling the truth. Identity Theft is a very serious thing. If you have sent them a copy of your passport, birth certificate, identity card, or driver's license; if you have sent them your banking information or your credit card information, please go HERE immediately!
When do they ask for money?
They usually ask for money in the second or third letter; sometimes they ask for money in the first letter or the fourth letter. Legitimate lotteries, free lotteries (also known as Sweepstakes) never, NEVER ask for money. They do not have to. There are no fees of any kind. If you really win a lottery or Sweepstakes, the only money you owe is the tax you personally pay directly to your government. This tax is never paid through anyone else or by anyone else. This is true in every country.
They tell you that you must pay money for bank fees, storage, shipping, and a long line of false reasons. Every single reason, every document is false. All documents are counterfeit or forged. There are no fees for insurance. There is no document or charge stating that the "winnings" will not be used for terrorism or illegal purposes. No such document exists. Lottery money is not stored at a security house. Lottery money is not shipped in cash. Lottery money is not sent by courier.
Lottery money or Sweepstakes (free lottery) money is sent by check using DHL, UPS, or FedEx. The check is from the Lottery Company and has the lottery company name on the check. For instance, if you win the ABC Lottery, the check will say ABC Lottery on it. The address for ABC Lottery will be correct. It will be one that you can verify on your own, without asking the people who wrote the letters. Why does the check come from the lottery company and have the lottery company name on it? Because the lottery or Sweepstakes wants you to make copies of the check. They want you to show it to everyone so that more people will register. This is very important to them.
Is anything in the winning notification letter true?
NO. Nothing in the winning notification letter is true. All the letters are sent by people in a fraud cell. A cell is a part of a fraud ring that consists of a few members who work under instructions from the fraud ring leader. The fraud cell works from hotel rooms, back rooms ("boiler" rooms) and Internet Cafes.
If you walk into one of these boiler rooms, you see a lot of laptop computers and mobile phones. Mobile phones might be piled on tables or on beds. Each cell phone has a different name taped on the back. Actually, two names are written there. One is the name of a scam victim, the other is the name of the character the scammer is playing. That is how each criminal knows what to say on the phone because the lies are based on the victim's name written on the tape and the phony name attached to that phone number.
Each criminal in the fraud cell knows which one of them is corresponding with that particular victim, and knows what part to play. One single criminal in a boiler room can be using as many as 30 different false names and titles.
I have received a check/money order and I am supposed to send some of the money to............
DANGER!! DO NOT TOUCH THAT CHECK OR MONEY ORDER! The check or money order you have received is COUNTERFEIT or stolen and you are responsible for the entire amount. You are responsible for any money you spend and any money you send to anyone else. If the bank or check casher is not aware of this crime (called OVERPAYMENT FRAUD), then you could be arrested. Also, you owe taxes on the money that you kept.
I wired money by Western Union or Moneygram. Can I get it back?
No, I am afraid you cannot get your money back. This is true for 3 reasons.
1. Once the funds are sent through Western Union and picked up at the other end, there is no trail to follow.
2. You don't really know where you are sending the money or who is going to pick it up. The funds you wired can be picked up at any Western Union office anywhere in the world, and they can be picked up by anyone who furnishes the specified identification, which is often false.
3. The criminals do not put the money in a savings account. It is spent immediately. The money goes to fund further scam operations, amusement, opening and maintaining drug routes, and funding terrorism.
What if the winning notification refers to a web site?
Anyone can purchase and register a domain name. A domain is the name of the web site. For instance, fraudaid.com is Fraud-Aid's domain. No background check is made to determine if the person who is purchasing and registering a domain is legitimate because a domain is merely a rented space on the Internet. Nothing more.
Lottery winning notifications often refer to web sites that are supposed to be a bank, or a security company, or a courier service, or an online lottery web site. Fraud criminals purchase domains by the hundreds. These false web sites appear to be legitimate unless a person is trained to recognize them as false.
One of the many ways in which fraud criminals trick their victims is to create a false bank web site. They tell the victim that the lottery money has been deposited in the [false] bank in the victim's name. They give the victim a user name and password to look at the "money" in his or her account.
When the victim looks at the online account he or she will see a balance equal to the promised winnings. If the amount is not equal to the promised winnings, it still shows a very large balance. The truth is that there is no money. Anyone can create a password protected web page in just a few minutes. It is very easy to do. Making the page look like an online bank account is very easy.
The victim is told that the money cannot be withdrawn unless a large cash deposit is made to "release" the money. The fraud criminal gives the victim the name of a different bank, an account number, an account name, and a bank routing number. Once the victim sends the cash and the cash reaches the fraud criminal's bank account, the money is withdrawn and the account is closed. The criminal then gives the victim many false reasons for why the deposit did not release the money. The victim is told that more money has to be sent for other false reasons.
Can I or my family be physically injured by lottery fraud criminals?
Yes! You can be physically injured and even killed by lottery fraud criminals. They are very dangerous people. So far, physical injury, kidnapping, and murder have only occurred in West Africa and South Africa. Some people who travel to South Africa to take possession of their [false] winnings have terrible things happen to them. People who travel to West Africa (Nigeria and neighboring countries) have also been beaten, kidnapped, or murdered.
So far, I have not heard that lottery criminals have injured anyone outside of West Africa and South Africa.
The lottery criminals are threatening to report me to the FBI and the Secret Service. Can they do that?
The people who are threatening you are fraud criminals. They are participating in criminal activity. They cannot threaten you with notifying Federal law enforcement (the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Secret Service or Scotland Yard) because to do so they have to explain the situation. The FBI and the Secret Service are aware of this criminal activity. Also, using threats to frighten you into sending them money is called extortion and is against the law in all countries. You do not have to worry about their threats. Do not pay any attention to them. Ignore their threats. It is a good thing to report the threats to the FBI or the Secret Service or Scotland Yard. You should do this immediately.
Is my winning notification letter true if the names in the letter are different from the ones in your database?
Even if the names on the winning notification are different than the ones in the database, that does not mean the letter is okay. It is not the names that make the lottery letter true or false. It is what the letter SAYS that makes it fraudulent. That is why you will find a list of sentences and statements in PART II below that show you how to identify a fraudulent lottery letter. If the letter you have contains even one of the sentences or statements listed below, your letter is a fraud!
I've played the lottery online. How do I know this isn't from them?
In order to play an online lottery or sweepstakes, you must first REGISTER your name, address, phone number, and email address at the online lottery site. If you are registering with an online lottery, you are often asked to register a credit card number as well. ALL LEGITIMATE ONLINE LOTTERIES AND SWEEPSTAKES HAVE TERMS AND CONDITIONS / RULES & REGULATION PAGES. These pages explain how you are notified if you win.
In many cases, in order to see if you have won, you must log into your registered account. Some online lotteries will notify winners, but you still must log into your account in order to check your winnings and choose whether you want to be paid by check or by a credit to your credit card.
Sweepstakes notify you by email, but still request that you log into your account to make payment determinations or to confirm the email.
They've asked me to refer them to friends and family.
This is their latest ploy - network marketing. The sad thing is that it's working. If you have sent off the name and address, email, telephone number of a friend or relative in reply to a winning lottery notification, please call that person immediately and have them read all the information or explain the scam to them yourself.
My notification came by standard post and the documents look genuine. Doesn't that make it real?
Lottery scam letters are sent by email, regular post, Federal Express, DHL, UPS, etc. All available deliveries methods are used. In the US, the letters - along with the envelope they came in, regardless of the delivery method - are to be taken to the nearest Post Office, ATTN: US Postal Inspector. Any fraud delivered within the contiguous United States of America using any official delivery system comes under the offices of the US Postal Inspector General's Fraud Investigation Unit.
As for the documents looking oh-so-real, they're not. Using a computer graphics program, a person can create any kind of document whatsoever. Please remember that unless you can DIRECTLY contact the registered lottery company itself, not some agent, not some fellow on a cell phone, not some person in a country where the lottery is not registered with the gaming board, watch out!
Always remember - it's not who wrote the letter that makes it a scam, it's what the letter SAYS that makes it a scam.
How can I be sure I've received a Lottery Scam Letter? Any letter you receive stating that you have won hundreds of thousands or millions of Dollars or Euros in a lottery you never heard of, an online lottery, free lottery, or Sweepstakes for which you never registered your contact information is a scam.
There is no such thing as a random email lottery. It is against the law for anyone to make use of your email address without your permission and no legitimate business will ever do it.
Red flags *: A "red flag" is what law enforcement investigators call something in an investigation that looks criminal, evidence that is known from experience to be used by criminals. If you cannot independently verify the legitimacy of the person who has contacted you, DO NOT provide any personal information whatsoever! Lottery scam letters arrive by BOTH email and regular post.
The letter contains any one of the following phrases or an portion of the following phrases:
- All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 30,000 names from Australia, New Zealand, America, Asia, Europe, Africa, USA and North America as part of our International Promotions Program, which will subsequently be conducted annually.
- Mention of any kind of claim agent.
"Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants of this program."
"N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result in disqualification."
"You are seriously advised to keep all winning lottery information and numbers from the public in line with our company security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by unscrupulous individuals."
"Due to the mixed up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this winning a top secret from the public notice until your claims has been processed and remitted to your account as this is apart of the security protocol, to avoid double claiming or unwarranted taking advantage of this program by participants."
"All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 companies."
"This lottery was promoted and sponsored by ...
The Sultan of Brunei
* No legitimate lottery web site exists without legitimate rules posted: Legitimate rules can be verified by going to the web site of government-sponsored lotteries. You can find a list of government-sponsored lotteries and all their rules and regulations at Interlotto.com. Compare these with what you see at the web site listed in the lottery letter.
*A call to the local embassy or consulate reveals that the lottery is a scam: Sometimes a country is listed, sometimes it isn't. When it is, a call to your local embassy or consulate of that country is will reveal to you that the letter is bogus. However, it is strongly advised that you take a look at all points made on this page because swindlers may use a legitimate lottery name for their scam.
*No country of origin is listed.
*No licenses or registrations are available for independent verification: Independent verification means that you verify all claims by asking other sources. The truth cannot be verified by asking the person who is making the claim. All legitimate lotteries are licensed and registered with the appropriate gaming committee.
*A statement that the funds will be sent to you by a courier or security service and that you have to pay the courier service for the delivery and/or storage.
*Any request for money to pay for anything whatsoever.
*You are told that you have to travel to the country where the lottery was held in order to claim your winnings:
This is a trick to get you to say that you will not travel to any country to pick up your winnings. Their reply is to give you all kinds of phony reasons for paying false fees in order to get the winnings to you.
*You are sent a check written on the account of a person or company you do not know, or you are sent a cashier's check (bank check). Either way you are told that you must deposit the check and send some of the money either back to them or on to another person. THE CHECK IS COUNTERFEIT and you will be held responsible for the full value of the check. See really verify corporate and Cashier's Checks.
How To Protect Yourself Against Lottery FraudstersLottery scam emails are frequently circulated with the aim of collecting personal information relating to identification and financial account details, etc.
The following are a few suggestions on how to protect yourself.
Never provide personal or financial information.
Don't be drawn into making an 'up front' payment for a lottery prize that probably doesn't exist.
Beware of links which could lead you to so-called 'spoof sites' set up to extract information from you, like updating personal records which could provide the means to reach or even access your account.