When a lottery jackpot hits an extraordinary amount, millions of people rush to play their lucky numbers in person or online. But not every lottery is created equal, and it’s important to understand the differences between legitimate international lottery games and those that are just a scam.
In the US, consumers lose millions of dollars each year to international lottery scams – and many of them are unwitting victims. The first thing to know is that it’s illegal for anyone in the United States to sell tickets to foreign lotteries. This is because it violates federal law, specifically 18 U.S. Code Section 1953, which deals with interstate and foreign wagering.
Scammers will send recipients a letter or email claiming that they’ve won a foreign lottery. These letters are nearly always bogus and should be discarded immediately. In addition, the scammers may ask for banking information or credit card details in order to steal the prize money. This is a clear violation of the law and should be reported to the appropriate authorities.
A recent study examined the public records of two major lotteries and found that the companies that run them were using their profits to avoid paying taxes. This was possible because the companies heavily fund a nonprofit lobbying group based in Switzerland that claims to be committed to responsible gambling. It was also discovered that the companies were buying large blocks of lottery ticket sales in the US and then reselling them to overseas players.