Thousands of Iowans are receiving urgent messages like this. "To Award Winner:
Final notice to claim award of $5,500,000 in cash." They say you've won a prize
in one of the big foreign lotteries - lotteries that DO exist, but are used
by con-artists to fool people. They say you must send $1800 at once (for example)
for processing fees, or bank costs or taxes. (They won't let you subtract the
fee from your millions.) They often ask you to provide your bank account number.
They urge you to keep your "award" secret for a while.
It's a scam. You're not a winner. You lose the $1800. They may drain your bank
account. And you get even more phony email or mail or calls -- you're on a "sucker
International crooks run these scams. It's yet another "advance-fee" scheme
that deceives people into sending money for some reason (like Nigeria scams.)
International lottery schemes must work, because more and more Iowans are receiving
such lottery "prize notices," especially with the advent of free email from
anywhere in the world.
Beware of any notice that you've won a lottery.
Don't be fooled by an explanation that you won even though
you never entered ("your email address was selected in a
random drawing"), and don't be fooled by names of real lotteries.
("El Gordo" is the real Spanish lottery -- "The Fat One"
-- but prize notices are phony.)
Keep your bank account and credit card information
Don't pay to PLAY a foreign lottery.
(Telemarketers sometimes call from Canada, urging you to
pay to play.) It's a scam -- and it's illegal for you to
Report lottery scams.
You can forward international lottery scam emails to the Federal
Trade Commission at email@example.com.
Send regular mail to your postmaster. If you've been
cheated, contact the Iowa Attorney General's Office.
For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Attorney General's
Consumer Protection Division, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Call 515-281-5926.
The Attorney General's web site is: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org.
Click here for the Federal
Trade Commission bulletin on international lottery
Click here for an
with good graphics about international lottery schemes.