People do believe in fairy tales and ‘live happily ever after’; and this is exactly why the scams work so well. The fraud sweepstake companies work on the belief that your happiness on learning that you won a grand prize in lottery will cloud your mind well enough not to observe the discrepancies of the announcement. Be very careful about such scams; watch out for the following red flags:
- You Never Entered Any Contests Or Bought a Lottery Ticket - The announcements come out of the blue. You had not bought a ticket or entered any type of contest. Yet, you are a winner of a grand prize – it could be cash, the latest iPhone, a luxury car, a luxury cruise and so on. Beware; such announcements are fake. Send such emails to the spam folder without unsubscribing as that will lead to another spate of similar emails. Never reply to such emails.
- You Are Asked To Send Information – the announcement will give a short deadline and ask you for information such as your name, date of birth, address, the name of the bank you use and your account number. Never send your information to such announcements.
Do not call them either as they are scam artists and they may convince you to actually send them some money on some or other pretext. They could use this information to impersonate you and steal either from your own bank or apply for loans/ credit cards in your name.
- You Are Asked To Pay Commission/ Fees – no lottery promoter asks for commissioner or fee. There are no fees charged by any lottery or sweepstake from the winner. Other than tax, you do not owe anyone anything. If they ask for money, they are not legitimate.
- There Is Address or Landline Phone Number – the address is more often than not just a PO Box number. The contact point is an email from free providers – such as gmail, yahoo, etc. All legal lotteries have their own domain and the emails that come from them can be verified on the Net. They will definitely NOT use a gmail or similar account to announce the prize to their winners.
- They Are Listed As Scammers On The Net – run your announcer on the Net and check out what is written about them. Most of the scam sweepstake/ lottery emails addresses are listed on the Net with a warning against fraud.