Criminals are getting more and more sophisticated when creating scams to separate hard working people from their money. Most of the scams that are created seem like plausible, legitimate activities if you do not stop to think too deeply about them, but under hard scrutiny, the scams do not hold up or make a whole lot of sense. Here are some of the most common tip-offs that can help you avoid becoming a victim of a lottery scam.
Having To Pay Fees Upfront
While many sweepstakes require the purchase of a ticket to enter the contest, no contest requires you to pay fees for winning upfront before your prize is released to you. If you are told that you have won a contest, but you have to send a check or money order for a certain amount before your prize can be released to you, then there is a pretty good chance that the person you are talking to is trying to scam you. Ask for the person’s name, title, phone number, address, and the amount being requested and let them know that you will contact them back after the information has been verified. Most scammers are unwilling to part with this information or will tell you that the situation is urgent to get you to pay them money quickly.
Winning Contests You Never Entered
If you receive notice that you have won a contest that you do not remember entering, you should be wary. In many cases, these notices are sent out by scammers that are trying to attract gullible people for their scam. Once you respond, they typically try to get you to disclose your personal information, like asking you to disclose your social security number, or they tell you to send money to claim your prize. If you are unsure that you have actually entered the contest, ask for a copy of the entry ticket you provided for the contest. If the caller tells you that your name was drawn randomly, there is a good chance that they are trying to scam you.
Having To Return A Portion Of Winnings
Another common lottery scam involves sending the supposed winner their winnings by check, then claiming that there was an overpayment and some of the funds need to be returned. The unsuspecting victim deposits the check into their bank account and sends a portion of the money back to the company that sent them the check. It could be days later before they find out that the check has bounced and they are now out the amount that they sent back to the company. If a contest company says that your check is a mistake, ask for them to reissue the check for the correct amount. If you receive a check for winning some type of contest, do not do anything until the funds have been verified as legitimate and cleared by your bank.
Big Hint: if is coming from Nigeria, be very, very skeptical.