What To Do

Lottery Scams - What To Do If You Receive a Lottery Scam Email

Back to the "How to Recognize a Lottery Scam" page

The Bottom Line: What to Know

If you receive a "prize notification" from a lottery:

  • don't respond to the emails
  • don't EVER pay any money in advance to collect a prize
  • don't reveal your full identity
  • don't reveal any financial or personal information, such as your bank account number or credit card details

What if I have already replied to the scammer?

Click here for steps to take to protect yourself if you have replied to a scammer.

U.S. Federal law enforcement authorities are intercepting and destroying millions of foreign lottery mailings sent or delivered by the truckload into the U.S. And consumers, lured by prospects of instant wealth, are responding to the solicitations that do get through-to the tune of $120 million a year, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says most promotions for foreign lotteries (of ANY kind) are likely to be phony. Many scam operators don't even buy the promised lottery tickets. Others buy some tickets, but keep the "winnings" for themselves. In addition, lottery hustlers use victims' bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or their credit card numbers to run up additional charges.

The FTC has these words of caution for consumers who are thinking about responding to a foreign lottery:

  • If you play a foreign lottery-through the mail or over the telephone-you're violating U.S. federal law, so don't expect any help from the government.
  • There are no secret systems for winning foreign lotteries. Your chances of winning more than the cost of your tickets are slim to none.
  • If you purchase one foreign lottery ticket, expect many more bogus offers for lottery or investment "opportunities." Your name will be placed on "sucker lists" that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell.
  • Keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask for them during an unsolicited sales pitch.
  • If you receive a letter saying you've won, when you haven't entered a lottery; it IS a fraud - count on it!

The bottom line, according to the FTC: Ignore all mail and phone solicitations for foreign lottery promotions. If you receive what looks like lottery material from a foreign country, give it to your local postmaster.

To report telemarketing fraud of any kind, contact your state Attorney General.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. r to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Sweepstakes offered via e-mail, like other commercial e-mail solicitations, must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, effective January 1, 2004. This federal law mandates, among other things, that subject lines be honest and consumers can easily opt-out of receiving additional e-mails. (For more information on CAN-SPAM)

And for additional useful government websites:

IMPORTANT: Which FTC Complaint Form to Use?

  • Click here to file a complaint about a lottery scam

  • See sample scam emails here

  • If you want to file a complaint about a violation of National Do Not Call Registry or register your telephone number on the Registry, click here

  • If you want to file a report about Identity Theft, please use the FTC's Identity Theft Complaint Form.

  • If you have a specific complaint about unsolicited commercial e-mail (spam), use the form below. You can forward spam directly to the Commission at SPAM@UCE.GOV without using the complaint form.

  • If you want to file a complaint about an online transaction that involves a foreign company, please click here to use the econsumer.gov complaint form.


  • Below is a list of many known lottery scams.  Many originate in London, but they may use any address.  Similarly, they change their names frequently.  Recognize a scam not merely by it's name and location, but simply by the practice described above.  And remember:
    If it sounds too good to be true: IT IS!!!!

Legitimate Lotteries

Legitimate lotteries in most countries, like NZ (eg, Lotto) have to be licensed to operate. NONE of them use email to notify winners, and almost none of them operate via the internet. See this list of legitimate lotteries.

Names of Scam / Fake / Fraud Lottery 

Click here for the huge list of the names of the currently identified lottery scams companies

Government Lottery Fraud Centers Around the World



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