You get an email, phone call, or letter informing you that you’ve won a jackpot, usually in a foreign lottery. However, there is a catch: to obtain your winnings, you must first pay taxes, insurance fees, and other expenditures. You send the money off, and guess what happens? There is never a payout.
Have there been any reported losses as a result of these “wins”? Every year, more than $1 billion is spent. And you can bet the number is far higher because most victims — especially the elderly — are too humiliated to acknowledge they were tricked by one of the most common scams.
So, whenever lottery fever strikes, keep these factors in mind to avoid getting burned.
Any lottery or sweepstakes that require payment in advance is a rip-off. “Skill contests” (solving riddles, submitting recipes, etc.) are the one exception, where participation may legally require a minimal entry fee or purchase.
But keep in mind that if you win a real contest such as KBC lucky draw 2021, a portion of your prize may be withheld for federal and state taxes right away, and you’ll be responsible for paying any remaining balance when you file your taxes for that year (the IRS and your home state are notified of winners).
No matter what anyone tells you if you didn’t enter a contest, you didn’t win. If you win the Powerball or a state lottery, you must show the ticket as proof; lottery authorities will not contact you.
The cheque is fake if it comes with congrats and instructions to deposit it and return a portion. No credible competition such as Whatsapp lottery winner 2022 sends out partial-payment cheques and asks for a refund. Lottery scams frequently employ counterfeit checks. They may be accepted by your bank and credited to your account. However, if you forward any cash, you’ll forfeit them and be responsible for any additional money taken from the account.
A “talent” contest may be a ruse if it appears to be too simple. The true goal is most likely to collect entry fees and personal data. Only your name, address, email, and phone number are requested in legitimate contests. More sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and bank account details, is sought by identity thieves.
Have you been told that you’re “assured” to win something? Another con, because that assertion is almost always false. The same goes for simulated checks or prize items in sweepstakes or skill contests that don’t have conspicuously displayed the phrases “SPECIMEN” or “NON-NEGOTIABLE”.
Have you been duped before? You’ll be targeted once more, possibly right away. Expect to be pressured for extra costs to collect the same nonexistent prize if you pay upfront fees for a contest. It might be marketed as a bigger jackpot than what was initially promised. Your identity will almost certainly go up on scammers’ “sucker lists,” which contain names, contact information, and even specific pitches that victims fell for, and will be used in future phony winning notifications.
Sweepstakes swindle clues are frequently found in the fine print “rules.” If any of the following information is lacking, it’s very certainly a scam: start and end dates; judging date; entry methods, including judging criteria; type of proof of purchase necessary; prize descriptions and approximate retail values; legal disclaimers; and sponsor’s name and address Even with them, it’s a good idea to double-check the contest name online before participating.