Lottery scams are well-known Internet-based scams that are a more detailed version of the advance-fee fraud in which a person is tricked into thinking they have won the lottery. The scammer uses a variety of tactics in order to make the victim think he has actually won a large sum of money, when in fact he will end up losing large amounts of his own money to the scammer. Unfortunately, many people fall for this scam whether because the scammer's communications seem legitimate or the victim is in dire need of the money so is willing to take a chance on it.
The first step of the lottery scam involves the scammer sending an email to the victim, claiming they have won the lottery. They will be instructed in the email that their winnings should be kept a secret and that they should immediately contact a "claims agent" of whom they provide an email address for. In fact, this so-called claims agent is the same scammer but with a different email address. If the victim decides to contact the claim agent, they will email him and be informed that in order to receive his lottery winnings, he must send an advance fee, either for processing fees or transfer charges. However once the fees are sent to the scammer, communication is cut off and the victim never receives any money.
Often times, this scam is combined with the email spoofing scam where the email seems to come from a reputable lottery organization, with their typically newsletter style, company logo and possibly even company website. This is just another way for the scammer to convince the victim that the lottery winnings are legitimate.
There are a variety of ways to recognize a lottery scam that will help prevent you from becoming the next victim of this fraud. First of all, if you did not buy a lottery ticket, you did not win a prize. Lottery organizations will never do "random" drawings on people that did not purchase a ticket for themselves. Second, they will never send an email to notify someone of winnings. Additionally, a legitimate lottery organization will not require any type of fee in order to receive your winnings.
Lottery scam emails are often sent from a web-based email rather than a company email, such as from Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail. Even if the email comes from what seems like a legitimate company, companies don't get involved in lottery drawings, therefore it is a scam. If you did not register your personal information in order to win web-based lottery drawings, delete the email immediately. If you have previously entered your name, address, phone number or email address into a web-based lottery drawing, be wary and never send money to receive earnings.