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How to protect yourself from lottery scams

These days it’s common to get spam calls, mail or emails. Unfortunately some of this spam can take the form of fraud, including lottery fraud.

It is important for people to be aware of lottery scams, especially the elderly, as they are often targets of fraudsters.

How do lottery scams work?

Lottery scams work in several ways. Often a person is contacted by the scammers by email or letter and notified that the person has won a large amount of money.

It’s also common that this “win” occurs overseas. The most common countries that are being cited as foreign lottery win scams are Spain and Australia.

If people respond to these scammers then they will often call back again and again becoming increasingly aggressive in pressuring you to send them money or for you to give them personal information.

Who is targeted?

Everyone can be a target but most often it’s older people that are targeted in these scams.

How do I know whether I’m being targeted by a lottery scam?

There are quite a few indicators of fraud that signal that the lottery win is a scam. They include:

  • No ticket was bought for the lottery game;
  • The lottery game is unknown to you;
  • You did not register your name, address, email address, phone number, and a credit card before you were allowed to buy a ticket on an online lottery web site;
  • They ask you to provide them with personal or financial information over the phone or by email;
  • You do not live in the country and you are not a citizen of the country of that lottery;
  • You are told you have a limited time or the money will be given to someone else.

It’s important to know that in Canada a lottery winner does not have to pay any kind of taxes or fees on their win. If you get a letter, an email or a phone call advising you that you have to pay taxes or fees on a lottery win, it’s very likely a scam. Don’t send money to these individuals.

The Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission also advises that emails claiming that a person won money are phony. Legitimate lotteries do not email winners; neither do they give prizes to random email addresses.

Also be aware that some of these lottery scam schemes can be extremely sophisticated. They often will have several people working the scam and in some cases they will use the real names of lotteries or a name similar enough to major lotteries to try to make you believe the lottery is legitimate.

What can I do?

Do not respond. Do not call the number provided in the email or letter. Do not supply personal or financial information to them. Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and inform them about what happened.

If you have already given the fraudsters’ personal and/or banking information, call the government offices that issued your documents, as well as the banking institution(s) and inform them immediately.

Who do I contact?

If you have already been defrauded money or information, next to calling the government offices and banks, you need call your local police station or the RCMP.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre should always been contacted, whether you have only just been contacted by scam artists, have already talked to them or have been defrauded. If you report the fraud to the centre, they will be able to warn other consumers about the scam.

Read more:

Identify Lottery Fraud

Elder Abuse: Lottery Fraud