Wherever large sums of money are at stake you will find the fraudsters, drawn to the prospect of a cash windfall like bees to honey. Lottery fraudsters use people’s dreams of a jackpot win to fool and manipulate them. They let their victims believe that their lucky day has finally arrived, and that they have won that big jackpot prize. The scammers bank on the hope that the victim will be too excited to consider whether they have even entered the lottery in question, as they have dollar signs in their eyes. You may think ‘I’d never fall for that’ and yet that’s what so many people have thought before they were taken in by a scam.
The news of their lottery win reaches the victims in many different ways. These include the classic postal notification, (though less commonly these days), the telephone call, the e-mail or text messages. People even get contacted via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. But no matter which way the contact is made, the ultimate ambition of the scammers is to get their hands on the personal data and bank details of the recipient.
Commonly the first notification you receive will be one stating that your name was randomly drawn to win a lottery jackpot, and now you just have to verify your identity with your name and bank details. There will be a small processing fee to take care of and then those millions will be transferred into your account. To give the appearance that the offer is genuine, the fraudsters will often use the names of genuine lotteries like EuroMillions in their communications.
Most of the time you can spot scammers in no time by simply paying attention to the following points:
- If you did not participate in a lottery, whether online or at the lottery ticket counter, you can’t win a prize. Remember that old saying about ‘if you’re not in, you can’t win’ – well it’s 100% correct!
- You can only win a Jackpot in the EuroMillions lottery if you have a ticket or betting voucher for the right date with the correct winning numbers.
- There are no randomly selected or drawn winners based on people’s email addresses or Facebook pages or anything like that.
- Any correspondence about big winnings or jackpots will only come with the provider that you are registered with. For example, online lottery platform Lottoland will contact you by phone if you are a jackpot winner – but only if you are a registered customer who entered and won the draw in question.
- There is no situation when you will need to pay ‘processing fees’ in order to claim your lottery jackpot. If someone says otherwise then you will know that this is a major red flag.
In addition to the points listed above, there are a few more fraud warning signs that you should be looking out for:
- If you receive an official e-mail from a lottery company, it certainly will not be coming from free web sites such as @hotmail.com, @outlook.com or @yahoo.com. Check the sender address before you start celebrating your big win.
- Impersonal speech in a notification such as "Dear Winner" or "Congratulations" are a clear warning sign.
- Deadlines, before which the jackpot must be claimed, are a very obvious red flag and are designed solely to put the victim of fraud under pressure to act fast.
- Errors in the area of spelling, expression and grammar are also a sign that something is amiss.
If you have stumbled upon any of the warnings listed, do not send money, definitely do not transfer "processing fees" and do not disclose any personal information. And above all remember that if you haven’t entered a lottery then you most certainly have not won it: that’s just not how lotteries work! The EuroMillions lottery in particular stands for integrity and fairness and not for the clumsy attempts of con-artists to rip off unwitting victims.
That expression ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’ is not always one to be followed. If someone contacts you out of the blue telling you that a lot of money is coming your way for no apparent reason, then you should be extremely careful so that you don’t become the scammers’ next victim.