A Fall Guide To Avoiding Lottery Scams
Scam season kicks into high gear leading up to the holidays, and all the swindlers, fraudsters, cheats and con artists emerge to try and part innocent people from their hard-earned money, figuring that if they target enough people, they’re bound to find a few who just aren’t educated on how to spot scams. Lottery scams and sweepstakes scams can certainly seem tempting – after all, these people have honed their craft to make themselves seem legitimate – and the impulse to believe we’ve won a lot of money can sometimes cloud our otherwise good judgment.
This post will list a few rules that, if followed, will make you impervious to these sorts of scams, and ensure that you only partake in lotteries and sweepstakes that are on the up-and-up. The last thing you want, in the lead-up to the holidays, is to be conned out of a good chunk of money, so with that in mind, here are a few rules to follow.
Read The Fine Print
First off, for any lottery advertising a jackpot, take a long look at the “Rules and Conditions”. If there are none, or if they omit necessary information, like the date of judging, the judging criteria, and a description or value of the prizes offered, that should be a massive red flag. Legitimate lotteries, like Powerball, will give you information aplenty, like the odds of winning prizes on the Powerball lottery or the size of the jackpot, but scams will often omit information like this in order to lure people in. Even if there is a lot of info, but something seems fishy about it, do a quick Internet search on the lottery; the Internet can be a great resource for people sharing information about scams, and there is a good likelihood that someone online has seen the same lottery and can tell you whether it’s credible.
Use Common Sense
Another piece of advice, which might seem obvious: don’t fall for people who tell you you’ve won something that you didn’t enter. This is a classic scam, where fraudsters will dial a great number of people and tell them each that they’ve won prizes for a lottery they didn’t enter. Some people are so overjoyed that they’ve won, or perhaps believe that they’re capitalizing on a lottery’s mistake, that they overlook the fact that they didn’t even enter.
Then, what these swindlers will inevitably do is ask for your personal information in order to give you your prize. They might ask for your credit card and banking info, citing a need to deposit your winnings, but what they’re in fact doing is using your information to rob you. Under no circumstances should you provide someone over the phone or by email with your banking info, and someone does ask, you should go online to warn people of this particular scam – shared knowledge keeps everyone safer.
Another thing that a scam prize will try and do is ask for you to “pay the tax” on your winning (they say you’ve won $100,000 so you need to first pay them $1200 in tax). Or, they ask you to send back a portion of the money they deposit in your account, but, once you send a portion of the money back, they cancel their initial deposit, leaving you in the hole. Needless to say, don’t pay any money to people claiming you’ve won the lottery – a legitimate lottery will garnish tax themselves, and certainly won’t ask for a portion of your winnings. With these few tips, and a little common sense and research, you’ll ensure that your money stays where it should – in your pocket.