A lottery scam usually arrives in the form of an email or letter from an overseas lottery company that you’ve most likely never played claiming that you’ve just won a lot of money. While the delivery and sophistication of the scams have changed over the years, the method has remained the same. There is a great deal of money to be made by the subject of the scam, whether it is lotto jackpots, buried treasure or an inheritance from a long-lost uncle, but only if an amount of money is first sent to them to free up the big money.
Many lottery scammers use the names of legitimate lotteries and corporations (a famous one being the so-called "Microsoft Lottery" scam), this does not mean that the institution is involved; in fact the institution is never involved, and its strong brand name is leveraged to gain your trust. Whether it is the "Jamaican Lottery" or "British National Lottery", there are endless types of “advance fee fraud” scams out there, and you should be aware of them.
In modern day advance fee fraud scams, the play is quite straightforward; the target of the scam has just won the jackpot of a well-reputed lotto, but some sort of fees need to be paid (registration charges, transfer charges, processing charges) in order to release the money. Once those fees have been paid, another letter or email arrives from an official representative of the lottery asking for an even larger sum to access their lottery wins. The letter usually requests that you keep the issue confidential so that you aren’t advised that the letter is in fact a scam. You can imagine how the story plays out, money is forked over but no lotto jackpot is ever forthcoming.
Another form of a lottery scam requests that the subject provide identity details and bank details to supposedly prove that they are indeed the jackpot winner and transfer the money. The scammers then use the info to access the subject’s bank accounts and steal all the money there.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a suspicious lottery winning solicitation you should:
Remember, if it’s too good to be true – it probably is!
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