Internet Frauds and Scams - Part X Internet Lottery Scam

How does it feel to win millions of dollars through lottery ? Specially when you never bought the lottery ticket or ever heard about it before ?

Open your mailbox and whoa ! - the message informing you of your good fortune is there. The subject line looks like:

'Winning Notification' or 'Congratulations ! You are a lotto winner' or simply 'Notification'

Let that excitement not fudge your left brain (logical thinking) - why should anyone in right frame of mind offer you such huge sum ? And you may not know - many others have received the same message (or spam to be more exact) at the same time.

The messages may be sent by different people, from different continents and by different organizations - but strangely the content remains same for all.

99% of people will reject the mail and reach for 'Del' key - but there's 1% who may feel otherwise.

What is Internet Lottery Scam

It is a con game where fraudsters send false messages through telephone, e-mail, fax or postal mail, indicating the recipient has won major cash prize. The message is so cleverly drafted and makes such skillful use of established names and Internet links of lawful lotteries - that even an alert person can get confused.

How Does the Scam work

The modus operandi is very simple - the respondents are asked to pay an up-front fee to secure the release of the prize. Sometimes the prizes include a series of lottery numbers with a chance to win an expensive vehicle or vacation cruise. Typically, persons who send money for these prizes never receive them and, instead, receive only various forms of entry confirmation issued by the con artists.

Fraudsters use techniques similar to legitimate lottery agents. They are courteous, well-spoken and issue documents of genuine appearance.

These con artists have defrauded thousands of people in Canada, USA, UK and many other European countries.

What About Genuine Internet Lotteries

I have already described how you stand to loose from bogus lottery tickets. However, even if you play a genuine lottery in the Internet - please take note of following facts

  1. It's illegal to play a foreign lottery - through the mail or on the telephone or Internet.

  2. You may be playing in the hands of unscrupulous lottery agents. By buying just one foreign lottery ticket, 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.

  3. Don't share your credit card and bank account numbers. Scam artists often ask for them during an unsolicited sales pitch, and then use them to commit other frauds against you.

My advice - ignore all mail and phone solicitations for foreign lottery promotions.


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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 3, Issue 47 March 20' 2003

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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