Foreign lottery scams have been circulating online and offline for years. However, now I seem to be getting a couple of them per day. Thus, I decided to write a brief article about foreign lotteries scams hoping to alert some of my followers. In the past the original foreign lottery scams simply proclaimed that you were are a major winner in a foreign lottery even though you did not enter.
However, in order to claim your prize winnings you had to first remit a so-called processing fee. Of course, anyone who submitted the fee never saw that cash again. In addition, many unsuspecting victims may have given out banking or other personal information in the bargain. The most popular foreign lottery scams in the past related to the UK lottery and the Netherlands lottery.
The most recent foreign lottery scams are much more sophisticated and relate to other well-known foreign lotteries. Especially those in Australia or Canada. For example, you might receive a letter that you won $50,000 in the Australian lottery. If you call, do not be tempted, you are told you will receive a cheque to cover the taxes and/or fees, as well as additional instructions on how to collect your prize.
You then receive an overnight package that includes a bait cheque that looks real, but will either “bounce” or tempt you to sent a larger cheque. The cheque is issued in line with a federal law declaring that lottery winners must pay taxes and a processing fee on their winnings. Prize officials include a letter with the bait cheque stating that winners can use these funds to make that payment.
Once you deposit the bait, you are then requested to write a cheque to cover the costs/taxes from your account and then your foreign lottery winnings will follow in the mail. Of course, as mentioned, their cheque is bogus while the cheque you sent is real. Most banks will put a 30 day hold on foreign cheque.
However, in the meantime, you have mailed them a real cheque – and that is how you get scammed. This latest foreign lottery scam is actually a twist of the traditional foreign lottery scam. I guess the crooks are starting to understand that most people realize not to provide their banking information online for fear of being a victim of indentity fraud.
Why is this foreign lottery scam so particularly effective? Well, I believe that human nature places a big part. First, is the desire and thrill of winning the lottery and secondly, a real cheque arrived by FedEx (the credibility factor). Another foreign lottery scam making the rounds today arrives by snail mail.
In this case, the scammers invite U.S. consumers to purchase chances or tickets in foreign lotteries. Of course, all the scammers are looking for is your credit card number or bank account info to process your purchase. Do not be fooled!
Another version is where the scammers invite potential victims to send a cheque or call a toll-free number to purchase a secret system that “guarantees” foreign lottery winnings. Do not fall for this scam. Foreign lotteries do not need to contact you for your banking information or to buy a program that will guarantee you winning the foreign lottery.
If you want to be sure that you are not the next victim of a foreign lottery scam, then I suggest you follow the tips that I have outlined below:
1. First of all, playing any kind of cross-border lottery system is a violation of Federal law. Legal foreign lottery sellers do not sell foreign lottery tickets. They take your order and have an agent from that country buy a ticket in your name. Should you be lucky enough to win, you must then share your winnings with the agent.
2. You can not win a prize in a lottery if you did not buy a lottery ticket. Please remember this rule since so many people fall victim to this scam.
3. Real lotteries do not find a need to ask you to pay a fee. Remember, if you have to write a cheque to win a lottery prize, then it is a scam. Never, never, never, send any money for “processing fees”, or share any other financial information, in order to claim a prize.
4. Never fill out any prize forms or so-called “claims” forms either through snail mail or online. You just might be called a “sucker” by the scammers and added to another solicitation list.
5. Do not pay for any “guarantee secret systems” from someone or a foreign lottery association that will help you win their foreign lottery. If someone really had a foolproof secret system to win foreign lotteries, why would they sell it to you? Trust a company such as Clickbank to sell you an e-book on lotteries.
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