How fraudsters may target you
The fraudsters may contact you over the phone, via e-mail or letter. They can also make you believe that you win when scratching a fake scratch card. The say you have won a great deal of money, and that you have to dial a certain number or pay an administration fee, in order to receive your money. The sum of money can be anything from a couple of hundred to several millions.
In order for you to receive your prize, you have to give them your personal information, i.e. name, address, bank account number, copy of identification and the lottery number.
When the contact has been established you are congratulated and guaranteed your money, but in order for the transfer to be completed you need to pay tax or an administration fee. The fees are usually a couple of thousands, and you will be informed that this amount cannot be drawn from the prize money. If you pay this make-believe tax or fee, you will soon receive another phone call which regards supplementary charges or taxes that need to be paid as well. (Anti terrorist fees, customs, security fees and bank transfer fees are all examples of make-believe charges that can turn up in these contexts). The fraudsters will continue to contact you until you refuse to pay more money. Then the fraudsters will cut you off.
Did you win a “free” trip?
Often, these prizes are package holidays or cruises. You will be asked to pay a sum of money in advance to ensure the receiving of your prize. Sometimes you are offered to bring another person if you pay an administration fee.
Foreign fake lotteries often use the names of already existent foreign lotteries. They use temporary addresses and mobile phone numbers, and they also forge documents and signatures from different financial departments.
How to tell if it is a fake lottery
If you have not bought a lottery ticket, you are not likely to win anything. Companies and large national lotteries do not hand out millions of crowns just by randomly picking out a number or e-mail addresses.
With that in mind you can be sure to avoid getting tricked by a fake lottery.
If you, in spite of this, have doubts whether or not the lottery is fake, you can check a couple of things:
- Check the sender. Usually the fraud messages are sent from a public available e-mail domain such as @hotmail, @yahoo or @aim.
- Check which domain the e-mail comes from, write www and then add the text written after the @ in the sender’s address. For example, if an e-mail comes from Anna_Anonymous@aim.com, you will find the e-mail domain at www.aim.com.
- Check the contact details. If the fraudsters have stolen an identity from a real lottery, he will have other contact details than what is stated on the lottery’s website. The reason why a fraudster picks a legitimate lottery is that you, after a quick glance, will think that the lottery is real. For that reason it is important to always compare the contact details.
- When you receive the prize offer by mail it is, however, not as easy to dismiss the letter just by checking the sender’s address.
Advice to avoid fake lotteries
- Do not answer these letters/e-mails. You have not won anything and you will only lose all the money that you pay.
- If you have not bought a lottery ticket or participated in a lottery, you are not likely to win anything.
- Be aware of that Spanish lotteries never require you to pay tax when you have won a prize.
- If an offer sounds too good to be true – it usually is.
There are often stamps and certificates attached to the letters that arrive by courier mail, but do not be fooled by the look of credibility. It is not difficult to obtain colourful stamps. You can find an example of a letter like this on the right side of this page.
If you have paid money to a fraudster – report the incident to the Police.