Lottery Scams

Lottery scams are designed to steal your money and personal information by making you believe you have won a large amount of money. They come in a variety of forms, including emails that ask you to click on a link to claim your winnings, or letters that ask you to pay a processing fee to complete the claim. Unfortunately, they are also becoming more common. Below you can find out how to spot a lottery scam and what to do if you believe you have been the target of one. will never contact you to inform you of a lottery win. If you receive any such communication from someone purporting to be from this website, it is a scam. We would strongly advise that you delete the message straight away, don’t give out any personal information or bank details, don’t click any links or attachments, and don’t call any telephone numbers included in the communication.

How to Spot a Lottery Scam

The most important thing to remember is that you cannot win a prize from a lottery you have not entered. If you haven’t played the lottery and you receive a letter, phone call or email informing you that you’ve won a prize, it is almost certainly fraudulent. To safeguard yourself against such scams, look out for the following signs:

What to Do If You Think You Have Received a Scam

If you have received a letter, email, or phone call that you believe is a scam, it is important that you do not comply with any instructions given, and instead follow the steps below:

How Do These Scams Work?

Scams like these rely on the emotional reaction someone has on receiving news of a big lottery win. The idea of landing a huge sum of money – or losing out on it by not acting – is sometimes enough to encourage a person to respond to the scammer’s instructions without thinking. Lottery scams are becoming more sophisticated, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify a scam email at first glance. For this reason, if you receive a communication from any lottery – even if it is a lottery you have entered – treat it with caution.

In some cases, you might not even be aware that you have been the victim of a scam. ‘Phishing’ emails include a link or attachment that either infects your machine with malware or directs you to a site designed to steal your personal information. In both cases, you might not even know that anything is amiss, as the malware can operate in the background or even lay dormant on your machine until activated by the scammer.

A healthy dose of skepticism is the best way of combating scams like these. Always check the email address from which an email has been sent, and be careful with any links included, as the text in the link can differ from the actual destination address. If you’re still not sure if a communication you have received is genuine, contact the relevant state lottery for advice before doing anything else. Only ever follow links or open attachments to emails that you know without any doubt are from a genuine source.

Common Types of Lottery Scams

The scams below are the most commonly used, but scammers are constantly coming up with new methods. As a rule, you should treat any unsolicited communication about lottery prizes or claims with caution.


These are some of the most widely-used lottery scams. You will receive an email informing you that you have won a large sum of money in a lottery. The email will usually be made to look like it is from an official source, usually a lottery provider, and it will require you to click on a link or open an attachment to claim the prize. This then directs you to a website designed to steal your information, or it downloads malware directly onto your computer.


You receive a call or text message informing you of a lottery win. The scammer’s aim is simply to extract your personal information or bank details. They can be more coercive over the phone, and can put a lot more pressure on you to hand over personal details before you’ve checked the authenticity of the call. Phone calls often originate from numbers in Jamaica, Grenada and Antigua as they resemble U.S. telephone numbers.

Social Media

Social media scams operate in a similar way to email or text message scams. A direct message is sent to you informing you of a lottery win, and it encourages you to click on a link to a malicious site. Users with generic profile pictures or usernames are a dead giveaway that the message is not real, but any message received via social media from a person that you don’t know should be treated with caution.

Second Chance Lottery

You will receive a communication that you have won a previously-unclaimed prize in a ‘second chance’ lottery draw. Such draws do not exist, as any unclaimed prizes are distributed according to individual state lottery rules and regulations. When you enter a lottery, you are only eligible to win prizes in the draw(s) specified on your ticket.

Lottery Winner Trusts

A scammer masquerading as a charitable lottery winner will contact you to let you know that they would like to donate some money to you, claiming that they want to ‘give back’ some of their winnings to less fortunate people. The scammer will then aim to obtain your bank details under the pretense that it is to deposit the money in your account.

Hot Lotto Fraud Scandal

Lotto America relaunched in October 2017 as a replacement for Hot Lotto, a game which ended in ignominy following one of the most famous examples of a lottery scam in history, as a lottery employee was actually behind it. The Hot Lotto fraud scandal saw Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) security director Eddie Tipton convicted of fixing the winning numbers and later trying to claim $14.3 million anonymously. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, while ticket sales for Hot Lotto plummeted in the wake of the scandal so the game was brought to a stop.