I Won the Lottery! Or, Maybe Not
In the past two weeks I have been informed that I have won 2 Million pounds in the UK National lottery, 6 Million Euros in the Euromillions Lottery and 2 millions dollars in the US Megamillions. Fantastic! So what do I have to do to receive all these riches?
Sadly there are many people who fall for these scams. For the promise of instant wealth people will give out their bank account numbers and send money hoping to get a lot more back. If it is not your money that these fraudsters want it is your identity! You will be asked for all kinds of personal information to prove you are the correct recipient of the prize. Then that information could be used in identity theft where the fraudsters could open accounts, get credit etc in your name.
These lottery scams have been around a long time, well before the internet. Then it was a phone call or letter in the post that informed you of your amazing luck. One of the oldest tricks was that you had to send an administration fee to claim your prize, which amounted to more than the "prize" was worth.
Another variation of the scam would require the potential "winner" to call a premium rate number to see if they were a winner. The phone call cost the caller so much per minute with a long waiting time on hold. The only winners were the people making money off the phone calls.
With the advance in technology there are now many methods that these fraudsters can use to tempt you to part with your money. Phone calls, mail, email, sms text messages etc.
However the "good news" is delivered to you it always amounts to the same type of scam.
The simple rule is this:
If you get any sort of message telling you that you have won a lottery that you have never entered then be please be assured that you have not won it!
A variation of this scam works like this:
You might get an email from someone who claims to have won the lottery but is not eligible to claim it. They offer to split the money with you if you claim the prize. But before they hand over the winning lottery ticket to you for you to makea claim they need a goodwill gesture from you. Your money! Some of these fraudsters will approach you in person instead of email and they can be very convincing. Such people are long gone by the time you realize you do not have a winning ticket.