Monday, November 06, 2006

If You've Really Won the Lottery - Why Are They Asking You to Send Money?

I've written a lot about the various Advance Fee scams out there - and judging from my inbox - the lottery variation of the scam is huge.

I sometimes get four or five notifications that I've won a lottery, or sweepstakes, daily.

Last evening, I read an article written by Linda Leatherdale of the Toronto Sun about a grandmother losing a lot of her hard-earned money as a result of falling for them.

Linda Leatherdale writes:

But more than anything, she wanted to pay for a university education for her three grandchildren. So she entered the sweepstakes.

Lo and behold, a few months later she received a letter that she had won. Ecstatic, she read what she believed to be an authentic lottery letter, which asked her to send
in $25 to collect her prize.


Not trusting giving out personal financial information, via cheques or credit cards, she sent cash. Then other letters arrived -- from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world. Some invited her to play a new lottery, others said she'd won and to send money to collect her prize.

Toronto Sun story, here.

I've seen the lottery scams, where a high-dollar financial instrument is mailed to the "intended victim," along with instructions to wire the money back - but mailing the smaller amounts ($25 to $50) was an activity that was new to me.

With Spam software that sends these "winner notifications" by the millions - I can see, where this could be a lucrative enterprise for the fraudsters behind this.

I guess the moral of the story is to look for the behavior. I've never won the lottery (I play Mega Millions sometimes) - but if I did - I doubt anyone would be asking me to send money.

It would probably be the other way around, or they would be sending me money!

Linda's article mentions "Phonebusters" as a good resource to educate people on Internet scams. I agree and you can link to them, here.

Down here in the U.S., another good resource is the FTC, link here.

Please note that these "lottery scams" cross borders with the click of a mouse.

You can also report these scams at both of these sites, which is something I highly recommend!

Doing so might save another grandmother out there!

For another post about lottery scams and the sheer amount of spam circulating "winner notifications," link here.


Anonymous said...

I see from the story that a bit more than $25.00 was lost. She doesn't reval the total ammount. I think because she is sheepish about being taken.

I know a man that was taken for his entire livelihood as he sold his business' equipment to fullfill the demands of some true Nigerian Scamsters. He didn't tell me how much he sent them but I figure it was close to $50,000.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the site. I got an email from Tom Anderson, the founder of saying that I won $300,000. After series of emails from him and her sister, Lisa they are asking me to pay in advance the $750 to mail the check in my name. How can they afford to ruin their website. I guess they are into scam making more money at the expense of their users. I pity them.

Anonymous said...