Foreign lotteries violate federal law. Participating in any way is illegal. The only legal lotteries in the US are state-run. The majority of foreign lottery solicitations sent into the US don't come from foreign governments, instead they are coming from a con-artist, which is looking to take your money and give you nothing in return. Ask yourself: "How could I win a lottery that I never entered? Do not give personal banking information over the phone if you do not know with whom you are dealing.
If the lottery sends you a cashier's check to deposit accompanied with instructions to send funds back for taxes, fees or other costs do not do it. What actually happens, is you deposit a counterfeit check, and assume that the money is available in a couple of days. You should always wait for your financial institution to confirm that the funds have been "collected" before sending the check for the fees. Many consumers may not understand that when funds are available it means that the financial institution is required by law to allow its customers to withdraw the funds but the customer is still responsible should the funds not be collectible. Report the receipt of the check to your State Attorney General.
Everyone loves to be a winner, but the BBB cautions consumers not to allow enticing dollar signs to obstruct common sense. If you receive a phone call, letter, or e-mail announcing that you have won a sweepstakes, a lottery or prize award, remember these tips:
· Are you being directed to wire money, provide access to your bank account or credit card numbers, or forward any personal financial information in order to claim your sweepstakes or lottery winnings? This is an attempt to steal your money or identity, by a person masquerading as a sweepstakes or lottery official!
· Legitimate sweepstakes companies do not require you to pay taxes, customs fees, shipping or handling, or any other fee before awarding your winnings. And, they are prohibited by U.S. law from requiring that you buy something to enter a sweepstakes contest or to receive sweepstakes mailings.
· Did you ever actually enter the company’s sweepstakes? Chances are, you did not!
· Read the fine print on any sweepstakes offer or entry form that you receive in the mail. Usually is says something to the effect that you win, IF your number is selected or IF your number is one of the winning numbers. You have not yet won anything!
· Do not be deceived by seals, official-sounding names, or terms that imply affiliation with or endorsement by a government entity, here or abroad. It is illegal for a promoter to misrepresent an affiliation with a government organization or other well-known organization.
· If you have truly won a prize, whether it is a cash card, gift certificate or product, there should be no redemption fees, postage fees, delivery fees, or other conditional rules to comply with in order to receive your prize.
· Responding to just one foreign lottery ticket or one fraudulent sweepstakes notice or one prize award solicitation can open the door to many more bogus offers. Ignore all such offers!