Euromillions Lottery Scams & How They Work
Lottery Scams and How To Avoid Them
Lottery scams can quickly turn our dreams of winning a lottery jackpot into an authentic nightmare. Scammers or professional conmen commonly pose as lottery officials who inform the potential victim that they have won a prize. As a result, millions of euros are fraudulently taken from innocent lottery players every year. In addition, scammers frequently employ strategies that are becoming increasingly more intelligent than ever before. Thus, we at www.euromillions.com would like to help players learn how to identify and protect themselves from a lottery scam with the following information and advice.
How Lottery Scams Work
Lottery scams are designed to obtain two important things. The first is personal information and copies of official documents such as passports or proof of identity. The scammers can use this information to steal their identity.
The second aim of a lottery scam is to extract money from the victim, which they will request once they have provided their personal information. The fraudster will convince the victim to send them money either to facilitate a bank transfer or to cover some sort of 'handling fee' (taxes, legal fees or banking fees, etc.), so that they can release their non-existent winnings.
Then the scammers will invent reasons why the aforementioned fees can not be deducted from the winnings and have to be paid upfront. Similarly, victims who do actually pay the requested fees will continue to receive demands for more money to cover “unexpected expenses” that have emerged.
Scam victims are usually contacted via one of the following approaches which employ very intelligent means to trick them and gain their compliance.
Letters: Victims are sent a letter through the post congratulating them on their win and expressing the need to register in order for their winnings to be processed. This often involves replying with a processing fee and providing bank details, or calling a premium rate (omitted in the letter) telephone number.
Telephone: A “lottery official” will call the victim to break the good news then request processing payments or bank details on the spot. They hope that in the initial excitement scam victims will not view the phone call as suspicious or question an upfront payment.
Mobile: Victims will receive a text message congratulating them on their win. They will be informed that their mobile phone number has been entered into a raffle or lottery and selected at random as winner. Their aim through this method is that victims reply with personal information or bank details.
and most commonly.......
Email: The format is very similar to that of letters. Quite often the scammers link to official lottery sites for that extra element of authenticity making for some very genuine looking emails. In addition, they 'spoof' (forge) their email address (known as “phishing”). With this method the scammer can make their email address appear differently to the one they used. Finally, they will claim to be from a trusted organisation or position of authority with a more recent approach amongst lottery scammers involving posing as big winners who have gone public with their windfall. Most importantly, lottery scammers will tell victims that unless they comply with their demands they will not receive their winnings. Once again their overall aim is to extract personal information, bank details or money from the victim.
How To Recognise a Lottery Scam
Check the email address. If the scammer has provided an email address to respond to, be very suspicious if they are from free webmail accounts such as @hotmail.com or @gmail.com, etc. which anyone can set up.
Google their details. The scammers will either use the name of an genuine lottery, quite often Euromillions, or one that simply doesn't exist. If the organisation has no website that can be located on Google, it's a scam.
Check their English. Most, if not all, of these fraudulent emails emerge from countries where English isn't so prevalent. As such, the written English in these emails is often of poor quality, containing basic spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
They ask for money up front. Whether it's for an administration free, processing, taxes etc. no legitimate lottery will ask you for money up front for any reason!
Genuine lottery organisations thrive on publicity, thus if they ask you to keep it a secret (whatever reasons they give) you have every right to suspect it's a scam.
If it seems to good to be true.....it probably is. Let us never forget this golden rule, because unless you play the lottery you can't win it.
How to Protect Yourself From a Lottery Scam
NEVER respond to any of the communications. Simply put, you can not win the lottery if you never bought a ticket. There isn't a single lottery in the world that will give a prize to somebody for doing absolutely nothing. Thus, if you don't remember buying a ticket for the prize in question, it's a scam. In addition, by responding just once be aware that you are now likely to be a target for other scammers as quite often they share details about those they have successfully approached.
NEVER disclose your bank details/personal information, or pay fees in advance. If you receive a communication requesting any of the aforementioned, it's a scam.
What To Do If You're Victim Of a Lottery Scam
If you have responded to their emails/letters/text messages, cease all communication with the scammers immediately.
If you have given the scammers your bank account details, alert your bank at once.
If you have supplied any personal information and/or copies of official documents (passport, driver's license, etc.) then you could become a victim of identity theft. For advice on what to do, contact your national fraud authorities such as Action Fraud in the UK.
Finally, if you have sent money to scammers, it is highly unlikely that you will recover it. However, be sure to inform your local law enforcement agency and seek advice from your nation fraud authorities to protect your identity.
Common sense combined with the above guidelines should help you to easily identify and protect yourself from lottery scams. Click here for some examples of scam emails for a more precise idea of what they look like.