Internet Frauds and Scams - Part XII How to Detect A Bogus Lottery Offer

In this third and concluding part of article on Internet Lottery scam - we have presented a checklist to help you detect bogus offer and how these fraudsters cheated thousands of people in USA, Europe and India.

You will find the Indian Internet lottery scam not only different but highly innovative !

How to Detect A Bogus Lottery Offer

  1. Did you buy the lottery ticket or entered in a contest ? If not and you still receive 'winning notification' - it must be a hoax.

  2. The mails look very professional with liberal citing of authentic looking numbers - reference number, serial number, agent number, tel number, fax number, batch number etc.

  3. The email gives you a reference number to quote and a phone number to call. The supposedly unique reference number is in fact often identical in every email sent !

  4. There is always a 'mix-up of numbers' and you are advised to keep 'winning information confidential until your claims has been processed and money remitted'

  5. As con artists are e-mailing 'winning notifications' in thousands or millions - the confidentiality clause makes sure you do not hear same story from your friends and get suspicious

  6. In a legitimate contest you never have to pay taxes up front. Income taxes are either deducted at source or you claim winnings while filing your tax return

  7. There is never a processing fee to claim a legitimate prize.

  8. It should never cost anything to enter a contest - with the exception of lottery tickets sold by state approved dealers.

  9. Research done on this suggests that the perpetrators are the same people who carry out the "Nigerian Scam" (please see previous issues for details). Like Nigerian scam, you will be asked for your bank account details and/or an advance fee to facilitate the transfer. Either way you are likely to be ripped off.

Internet Lottery Fraud in Various Countries

BBC News (May 9' 2002)

Lottery scam tricks Britons - 500 people have complained in the UK

By Philippa Busby
BBC Radio Five Live

Hundreds of people in the UK have been conned out of thousands of pounds after falling victim to a telephone fraud based in Canada, an investigation by BBC Radio Five Live has found.

The Canadian fraudsters telephone British residents telling them they have been entered into the Canadian National Lottery for free.

A few weeks later they call back to tell the person they have won a huge prize, often in the region of �175,000.

They then demand several thousand pounds to pay for the tax on the winnings.

In some cases victims have lost more than �40,000. The cash is sent but the prize does not exist.


ABC - New York

Foreign Lottery Scam Leaves Winners High And Dry, And Broke

(New York-WABC, March 18, 2002)

You would think winning the lottery would be a good thing, but if your winning ticket is from a certain Canadian lottery, think again. The 'game' targets the elderly, and then makes them pay up...


The Indian Scene

The lottery fraud surfaced in India in a truly innovative form - perhaps the first Indian cyber crime .

Kola Venkata Krishna Mohan is a compulsive gambler who played cards regularly at high stakes in various clubs in the coastal city of Vijayawada.

During one of his gambling binge, he lost as much as Rs 30 million in 1998.

He was on the look-out to make good the losses by hook or crook. During a visit to London, he learnt about the Euro lottery and staked some money on it in vain.

Then a bright idea crossed his mind - he invented the story that he had won the lottery. He created a website and an email address on the Internet with the address '' His web-site named him as the beneficiary of the 12.5 million pound Euro-lottery

A Telugu newspaper in Hyderabad received an email that a Telugu had won the Euro lottery. The website address was given for verification. The newspaper sent the query and got the "confirmation" since Kola Mohan had himself created and manipulated the website.

The Telugu daily published the story and other newspapers and the media in general followed suit. Nobody tried to verify the claim at the genuine address of Euro-lottery.

Taken for a ride by his claim, people made a beeline to Krishna Mohan for deposits, partnerships, donations etc. He became a celebrity overnight and began leading a luxurious life. He purchased a posh house and cars. He was provided gunmen by the police for his security.

Mohan collected millions of rupees from several individuals and financiers at four to nine per cent interest per month. Some nationalised banks also lent him money in a bid to attract the Euro deposit. He used this money to pay interest to some creditors to retain their confidence. To repay one loan, he took another.

However, the fraud came to light when a cheque discounted by him with the Andhra Bank for Rs 1.73 million bounced. Mohan had pledged with Andhra Bank the copy of a bond certificate purportedly issued by Midland Bank, Sheffields, London stating that a term deposit of 12.5 million was held in his name.

After the cheque bounced, Andhra Bank authorities verified the authenticity of the bond certificate with the Midland Bank. They were shocked to learn that the bond certificate was fake. Thereupon, on November 25, the Andhra Bank Eluru Road branch officials lodged a complaint with Governorpet police station against Mohan for "cheating and forgery." The police registered a case against him under sections 420, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code.

In the meantime, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also ordered the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department of the state police to probe into the antecedents of Mohan who had joined the Telugu Desam Party in May that year and even donated one million rupees to the NTR Memorial Trust set up by the TDP.

Mohan claimed that the manager of a London-based company had collaborated with him in realising his plans to defraud people. The police confiscated a laptop from his possession and also seized some incriminating documents.


Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 4, Issue 01 April 03' 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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