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What Are Prize and Lottery Scams?

These scams are perpetrated by thieves who send you a notification by postal mail, email, or an unsolicited telephone call, which includes an announcement regarding winning a prize (often for a competition you didn’t enter). In order to “claim” the prize or winnings, you are told to “send” money to cover administrative costs.

Victims of lottery scams lose thousands of dollars responding to demands for payment to cover costs of redeeming prizes when, in all probability, the prize did not exist. Victims rarely, if ever, receive any winnings in return for their cash.

How to Spot Prize and Lottery Scams

The cross-border purchase or sale of lottery tickets is a violation of U.S. law.  Since these scams are generally operated outside of the United States, victims have very little recourse to recover losses.