What are internet lottery scams and what should I do if I become the subject of one?

Internet Lottery Scams

Most people will have received an email stating that they have won some form of money due to an internet lottery and all that they have to do to claim their prize is to reply to the email and provide certain details enabling the sum of money to be paid to them. In every case this is a scam and you should not provide your details. You should only expect to win money or other prizes through an official competition which you have actually entered yourself.

How does an internet lottery scam work?

The first thing which will set in motion an internet lottery scam is an unsolicited email will appear in your email inbox. The subject of this email will be stating that you have in fact won a major prize in an international lottery.  The below information will be important to you if you wish to spot an internet lottery scam operating in this manner, however, you should never respond to any such scam.

How do they claim that I have been entered into a lottery of which I was not aware?

The claim will be made that your email address was collected online and attached to a random number that was subsequently entered into a draw for the lottery. This is not the case; whenever you receive an email such as this you should immediately delete it from your inbox.

What will be the next process in the scam?

The scam will state that in order for you to collect your prize you must contact the “official agent” who is in charge of your case. Often you will be advised to keep the win confidential for supposed security reasons.

The first process of the scam is just a random exercise on the part of the scammers to see which individuals will respond to the initial email. If an individual responds in any way to this email the scammers will send further messages and in some cases get in contact with you by telephone in an attempt to suck you further into the scam. 

It is important to note if you receive an email such as this or a similar email then you should make no attempt to respond in any way to the email.

What details will they ask me to provide?

Often you will be asked to provide bank details, personal information and in some cases copies of your passport and driving licence.

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For more information on:

  • Why do the scammers request this information?
  • Will the scammers request anything else from me?
  • Are there any alternatives to this scam which I should be aware of?
  • Variations to the same scam
  • What should I do if I receive such an email?
  • What should I do if I have already provided my personal details to such lottery scammers?
  • What should I do if I have already given money to an internet lottery scam?