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Lottery Scams

It is NOT possible to win a lottery that you have not entered. Do not reply to any letters, emails, phone calls or messages telling you otherwise and, more importantly, NEVER send money or personal information to someone who contacts you out of the blue.

How Lottery Scams Work

The majority of lottery scams work by convincing the victim that they have won a prize. The criminal may try to find out personal banking details or, while the victim is experiencing the euphoria of thinking they are now rich, they might attempt to deceptively extract money from them.

The latter is often part of an ‘advance fee’ scam, where 'administration charges' or payments to 'cover taxes' are requested. Genuine lotteries will never ask a winner to pay a fee before they collect their prize and UK players do not pay tax on lottery winnings within the country. In addition, taxes on lottery winnings around the world are paid to the relevant government, not the lottery itself.

How to Spot a Lottery Scam

It is worth noting that fraudsters are constantly refining their scams and some communications may actually look professional and genuine. However, you must remember that you cannot win a lottery you didn’t play so you should be cautious if anyone suggests otherwise.

Types of Lottery Scams

Lottery scams are constantly evolving so that the fraudsters can stay one step ahead of their victims. Here are some of the most common types of deception.

Where to Find Help

If you think that you have been a victim of a lottery scam, then you should report it immediately to your bank and your local police force, especially if you have made contact with the fraudsters and revealed personal information. Speaking out can help prevent it from happening to others.

Action Fraud is a service provided by the City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to offer support to victims. They can be contacted on 0300 1223 2040.

The best way to avoid being scammed is to remember that you have to have entered a lottery in order to win it. Even the various free lotteries on the market require players to have registered and played a set of numbers. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.