Lottery is one of the world’s most popular games. Whether it’s Powerball, Mega Millions or Euro Millions, when a jackpot reaches a certain size, millions of people rush to play their lucky numbers online and in stores.
But if you have ever received a letter, telephone call or email claiming that you’ve won a foreign lottery, you should know that it’s almost always a scam and it’s also against federal law in the United States to sell or buy foreign lottery tickets through mail or over the phone. The government intercepts and destroys millions of these foreign lottery mailings that arrive by mail or in a mailbox each year, but consumers are still responding to them at an alarming rate and losing more than $120 million a year.
These foreign lottery solicitations, which often come accompanied by a check that is clearly marked “for processing fees, taxes, insurance and handling fee,” are fraudulent and if deposited into a person’s bank account can be reported as theft crimes to local police. But this assumes that the perpetrator can be identified, and even if that’s possible it will take time to recover the stolen funds.
It is important for consumers to educate themselves about these scams and be vigilant in their everyday lives, particularly when they are out shopping or using the Internet. A little education can help people avoid becoming the victims of these international lottery frauds and save them a lot of headaches.