Lottery scams are the same. If you’ve only seen the one, you may still think it could be real. At the BBB, however, our staff receives hundreds of reports of these scams each month via phone, email, and our website, so we know that lottery scams have one big, common red flag:
They’re asking you for money.
But they sent me a check! Guess what? Even if the bank releases money to you and the check clears, if they’re asking you for money—that’s a scam. Eventually the bank will find out that you’ve deposited a fake check (different from a NSF check) and you will be required to repay all that money. Meanwhile, you’ve sent your good money off to Who Knows Where.
It doesn’t matter if they want you to wire money right away, or deposit a (fake) check and call them for further instructions (which will be to wire money).
It doesn’t matter what the name on the check is, which bank it was drawn on, the amount, or the supposed government agency/corporation/foreign country involved.
It doesn’t matter if they tell you that the FBI, IRS, Border Patrol, or BBB will drive to your house to deliver the money.
Keep in Mind:
*US citizens can’t participate in foreign lotteries unless they went to that country to purchase a ticket.
*If you genuinely win money, and there are fees or taxes owed, they will deduct that money upfront and simply send you a smaller check.
This is a dangerous scam that drains hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the US economy every year and funnels it into organized crime and terrorism among other nasties. Please, don’t fuel it. If you’re not sure if you have really won something, call your nearest BBB office or your own bank.