6 On Your Side Answers: How to avoid foreign lottery scams

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Foreign lottery scams are back. With hundreds of millions of dollars riding on lotteries over the last few months, con artists are bombarding people with phone calls and email messages claiming they’ve won millions in the Euro or Spanish lottery.

Yvonne from Powell asks: “I was told I had ‘won’ the lottery. All I had to do was send $900 to release the millions. Is this a scam?”

Recently. Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots have been near record breaking amounts recently, and everyone assumes they’re going to hit the jackpot. They also know exactly how they’ll spend the money.

Of course, con artists know that people across the country have become obsessed with lottery fever, so they’ve blasted us with notifications that you are the Spanish Lottery or Euro Lottery winner.

If the lottery notification was delivered to you by mail or email, it’s fraudulent. Legitimate lottery companies will usually send winning notices by certified mail or a delivery service.

If the notification comes from another country, it’s fraudulent. Organizations behind these frauds operate under different name.

If you never entered the Spanish Lottery or the Euro Lottery, you’re not a winner.

If you are to send a check or a money order to claim your winnings, it is fraudulent. There’s no reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire money in return.

Is the notification that you’re a winner sent by someone claiming to be an attorney, claims agent, or tax collector? If so, it’s fraudulent. They’re just trying to impress you that it’s legitimate.

Remember, if you win something, you don’t have to pay up front. Uncle Sam will take his cut first.

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