Lottery and sweepstakes scams are on the rise. Operators, often based in Canada, are using email, telephone calls, faxes, and direct mail to trick U.S. consumers into believing they’ve won large sums of cash through foreign lotteries.
The details of the lottery scams vary with regard to the name of the promotion, the country of origin, the sponsoring organization, the amount of the prize, and other particulars. Scammers will attempt to add legitimacy to their claims by mentioning real financial institutions, government agencies, or well-known companies.
In this type of fraud, you may receive a notice that you are the winner of a lottery or sweepstakes you did not enter and you’ll be asked to provide financial details, a large amount of personal information, and copies of your driver’s license and passport to prove your identity and receive your winnings. If you comply with these requests, the scammers will have enough information to steal your identity. In order to receive the full amount of the supposed award, you must first pay a small percentage for fake taxes or other fees through Western Union. This money is then stolen and you’ll never see your so-called prize.
Do not respond to emails/letters/faxes claiming you have won money. Never give out your confidential personal or account information to anyone in this scenario. Participation in foreign lotteries is against the law.