The Competition Bureau has advised that this is a fraud. Scam operators are using the telephone and direct mail to entice consumers to buy chances in high-stakes foreign lotteries from as far away as Australia and Europe.
Most promotions for foreign lotteries are likely to be phony. Many scam operators don't even buy the promised lottery tickets. Other buy some tickets but keep the "winnings" for themselves. In addition, lottery hustlers use the victims' bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or their credit card numbers to run up additional charges.
U.S. federal law enforcement authorities are intercepting and destroying millions of foreign lottery offers before they reach consumers.
If you're thinking about responding to a foreign lottery, don't do it.
- Ignore all mail and phone solicitations for foreign lottery promotions. If you get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country, turn it over to your local postmaster in the U.S. or to the Competition Bureau in Canada.
- By responding to just one foreign lottery offer, you've opened the door to many more bogus offers for lottery or investment "opportunities". Your name will be added to "sucker lists" that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell.
- In both the U.S. and Canada, it's illegal to play a foreign lottery - through the mail or on the telephone or Internet. Don't add insult to injury by inviting federal charges.
The "Gaming Control Act" of BC enacted August 19, 2002 prohibits the sale, or offer for sale, of BC lottery tickets to people outside this province. The Act also prohibits the purchase of lottery tickets for the purpose of resale whether the tickets originate inside or outside British Columbia unless that person is authorized to do so under the Act. Furthermore, it is ILLEGAL under U.S. Federal Statutes (Section 1302, Title 18, and Section 3001, Title 39) to sell offshore lottery products by mail in the United States. Federal law prohibits sending lottery material through the mail, including letters or circulars concerning a lottery, tickets or any paper claiming to represent tickets in a lottery, and payments to purchase such tickets.
If you have been solicited by a company selling foreign lottery tickets, you should send a complaint to:
Complaint Unit - Competition Bureau, Industry Canada
50 Victoria Street
Hull, Quebec, K1A 0C9
Attention: Foreign Lotteries
or call toll free 1-800-348-5358
Consumers should also advise the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), an organization that is a combined effort of the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Competition Bureau.
Toll Free Phone: 1 (888) 495-8501
Overseas and Local: 1 (705) 495-8501
Toll Free Fax: 1 (888) 654-9426
Box 686 North Bay, Ontario P1B 8J8
In the United States, inquiries and complaints regarding foreign lotteries should be directed to:
Memphis I.S.O.S.G, U.S. Postal Inspection Service
225 N Humphreys Blvd
Memphis, Tennessee 38161-0001
Attention: Foreign Fraud Desk
Consumers can also call 1-800-372-8347(1-800-FRAUDIS) or to the Federal Trade Commission by mail at CRC-240 Washington, D.C. 20580, by telephone at 1-877-382-4357 or through the website at www.ftc.gov.
If you are a U.S. resident and you have been contacted by an unknown caller or if you think you are a victim of fraud, contact "Know Fraud" at 1-877-987-3728.
REMEMBER, IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.