There are many scammers and fraudsters who will try to gain money or personal information by pretending to be lottery officials or representatives. The people will often contact you even if you have not played a lottery at all. You cannot win a lottery prize if you have not purchased a ticket.
Identifying a scam
Scams will very often start by you being contacted by a ‘Lottery representative’ or someone on behalf of a ‘Lottery Commission’ stating that you have won a lottery prize. Here are a few points to remember if this happens to you:
- You cannot win a prize in a draw or lottery you have never entered or bought a ticket for.
- Official representatives will never contact you via your email address, home address or phone number to declare you a winner in a draw and ask for bank or personal details.
- You never pay an upfront fee to claim a lottery payout or prize.
Signs to look out for in Scam
Look out for the below signs which should help you identify if you have been contacted as part of a scam or a genuine correspondence:
- Scams will often begin with a short timeframe or a deadline to pay a fee to collect your winnings. This is an effort to force you to make a mistake before you have had time to think through everything thoroughly and figure out it is a scam.
- If you are told to keep your win a secret, this is likely an effort to keep you from mentioning the information to a friend who would then in turn highlight that it is probably a scam.
- Scam emails and letters will often contain very poor grammar and spelling mistakes. This would indicate that English is not the main language of those who sent the message, highlighting this is unlikely to be an official communication.
- If you have played a lottery by buying a ticket in a shop then there would be no way for an official lottery commission to know that you have won, as you haven’t given them any contact details.
What to do if you think you have received a Scam
If you believe you have received a scam letter, email or telephone call then follow the below steps to make sure you keep your money and personal information safe:
- Do not send any money to anyone who has contacted you
- Do not open attachments or download anything associated with the message as it likely has malicious software built into it designed to steal your information.
- Do not reply or communicate with the sender. Telephone numbers will likely charge a premium rate to contact them and will cost you a lot of money to achieve nothing.
- Do not reveal any personal information about yourself or anybody else.
If you have already sent any money to the scammers, inform your bank at once and have the account blocked from any transactions as soon as possible. If you have sent them any personal information or login data, go and change the password with the associated accounts immediately.
If you have identified that you have been sent a scam, the correct step is to ignore it and notify the person or organisation that the scam is pretending to be that they are being impersonated for malicious purposes and that they should take any possible action against this.
Types of Scam
Scammers might send emails with attachments, encouraging you to click and download them which will then either direct you to a malicious site or start the process of downloading malicious software onto your computer or device.
Before opening anything sent via email, check the sender’s address to see if it is from a genuine source. Scam emails can often be identified by extremely long and random email addresses.
Mobile and Telephone
Text messages are sent by scammers explaining you have won a lottery prize and to call the sender to arrange the transfer of your winnings. Calling these numbers back will likely be at a premium rate and will cost you a large amount of money to receive nothing.
Scammers can also call you pretending to be from the lottery commission to arrange the transfer of your winnings to your bank account. This is an attempt to get personal information from you and to try and access your money. Never give out these details over the phone.
In a scam letter you will often be addressed to as “Dear Winner” or something that is not personal to you, and they may look unofficial or contain poor grammar and spelling. This is an easy way to tell that it is not a genuine correspondence.