Lottery scams are very real; just earlier this month a group of Jamaican scammers swindled a 91-year-old man out of $106,000 under the false pretense of a $500,000 win. It’s very important that you arm yourself with knowledge so that you can recognize a scam if you are ever faced with one.
Here are some clues that someone may be trying to scam you:
– You are contacted out of the blue via email, phone or text message. If via email, the address comes from a free email address such as [email protected] / webmail / outlook / hotmail / gmail.com; a legitimate lottery organization will definitely not be using free email accounts.
– The message will ask you to contact them, either via phone or email – again, this email address is most likely from a free account.
– The message does not address you by your name, but rather starts with an impersonal “Dear Winner”, or something similar.
– The most obvious: the letter states that you won a lottery or sweepstake that you don’t remember entering. There really is no such thing as a “random draw” based on your email address or phone number; you have to actually enter something in order to stand a chance to win.
– The biggest red flag for this type of lottery fraud is asking for some sort of processing fee or tax cut before being able to receive your winnings. A genuine company or organization “will never, ever” ask for anything upfront before awarding your prize!
– If the spelling, grammar or letterhead quality seems poor, then it is most likely a scam. Respected organizations employ skilled writers to produce high-quality content before sending it out to the public, since they have standards to maintain.
If you are ever in doubt, then do some research; but the bottom line here is to never send money before being able to get your promised prize. If you do get sent a fraudulent mail, do not reply back, make sure that you let your friends and family know so that they, too, can be aware of the scam, and report it to local authorities.