Government Lottery Sweepstake Scams

Many people today play the lottery in the hope that one day they will become a winner that can enjoy financial freedom for a lifetime. The puny amount expended on the ticket makes the risk worth the price if a winning ticket is chosen. Unfortunately, scammers have now taken this low risk game and taken it to a new level through email, telephone, and mail frauds that claim to be able to increase your odds of winning because of the specialized equipment they use.

One example is in Canada where would-be players are now receiving communication that suggests their odds of winning could be lowered to 1 in 6 and there's no limit as to how much can be won. All an individual has to do is call the telephone number provided then to listen while an individual explains why joining a "membership" would be advantageous. The supposed lottery pool is international and includes lottery games played in countries like Germany, Spain, and Australia.

These types of scams aren't limited to Canada and the membership provided can range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars depending on how many groups might be included. Once joining the group a package arrives that includes a list of numbers with a note that indicates you could win $10,000,000 US tax free in one lump sum and your odds are 1 in 6. The package also includes a customer service 800 number to address questions as well as a document for you to sign and return confirming your credit card purchase. They request this form in order prevent the involvement of banks who issue charge backs when people realize what they signed up for was a scam.

As with many scams this sounds too good to be true and the fact is that it is. Here are the real facts that you need to know. It is illegal to purchase a lottery ticket in any other country even if through a third party. Of the money paid in these scams, only about 7% is actually used to purchase tickets and those that do have winning numbers will not be paid to the pool, but will be kept for personal use.

For those who are notified that they have won, they soon learn that an up-front fee is required before the money will be released. Of course, after the money is sent, you receive nothing. Very few are caught and there is only one case reported where the telemarketing company agreed to pay $900,000 in restitution for their illegal and deceptive practices only 1/3 of which was actually split between the 2,700 victims.

Seniors are frequently the target of scam artists because they are more vulnerable to tricks which promise their years in retirement will be worry free. In fact, the lottery scam has become a $120 million dollars industry which uses the internet and postal service to promote their schemes. Once a charge is made on a card, even the computer specialists with governmental agencies have a difficult time tracking down the perpetrators because they use bogus merchant numbers to hide their true identities.

The best way to protect your self is not to play through anyone else. There is no magic trick for picking winning numbers and even if there was, why would anyone want to share it? Understand that scammers are out to make money anyway they can at the expense of their victims. Unfortunately, they frequently target those most vulnerable. If you have been bilked in one of these scams, contacting the FTC and the Attorney General will help support the efforts of authorities to stop lottery scams, but in the meantime buy your tickets from your local merchant. At the end of the day you will have a better chance of winning.
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