Lotteries are massively popular, and the idea of winning a life-changing jackpot is so alluring that a small but dangerous number of scam merchants are working hard to exploit it for their own criminal gain. These con men (and women) operate by posing as lottery officials and contacting potential victims by mail, e-mail, phone (landline or mobile, via calls or text) or even through social media sites.
Euro-Millions.net do not send out emails to anybody. If you receive one purporting to come from EuroMillions.net we suggest you delete it immediately and certainly do not respond.
Whichever approach is used, the victim is informed that they have won entitlement to claim a lottery prize. The actual amount that has supposedly been won varies from scam to scam, but in some cases the victim is informed that they need to pay a “release fee”, confirm their bank / credit card details or dial a premium rate telephone number in order for their claim to be legally registered. However, recently there has been a wave of scammers who simply request personal details - name, address, date of birth etc. They then use this information to copy your identity, in order to open bank accounts and often borrow money.
Do not give any personal details over to anyone claiming to be from a lottery who has contacted you - lottery officials will NEVER contact you first and will never ask for money before they can pay a prize.
You may think that such scams would be relatively easy to identify, but some go to great lengths to appear as official and proper as possible. Printed materials tend to bear official lottery names, addresses and logos. E-mails often contain links to the genuine lottery site they are posing to be from, or to clever duplicate sites which are virtually identical to the untrained eye. Phone numbers are manned by trained teams of scam merchants who take your calls as if they were genuine lottery officials. Messages sent to your social media profiles such as Facebook will claim you have won a "Facebook Raffle" are making it up - there is no such game.
There are even scams claiming to be from previous lottery winners, who want to bestow cash gifts on you - providing you give them all your personal information. But don't be fooled - these are scams just the same. Lottery winners who wish to give financial assistance will do so in the form of a trust to which you must apply - they do not contact people directly.
Combine all of this with the fact that lottery scams specifically target more vulnerable members of society, such as elderly people, and you can understand why so many get conned. And we’re not talking about the victims being scammed out of small amounts, either. A Powys pensioner lost £11,000 after being stung twice by con men purporting to be from the Canadian and Spanish lotteries. In Yorkshire, a retired couple were conned out of £20,000 after falling for a EuroMillions scam. And these are just two fairly typical examples of how people are being scammed all over the globe.
The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has advised everyone worried about lottery scams to exercise extreme caution when notified of a lottery win they haven’t personally entered a claim for. The chances of you winning any lottery which you haven’t entered are zero, so if you haven’t bought tickets for a particular lottery, assume that any winning notification you receive is fraudulent. Under no circumstances should you provide any of your personal or financial information. Nor should you hand over any payment to officials – either in person, by mail or by calling a premium rate number. If you are ever in any doubt about whether or not someone is trying to scam you, call Consumer Direct for advice on 08454 04 05 06.
If you have been approached by someone via email, mobile telephone, post or via your social media accounts, claiming you have won a prize on a lottery, raffle or other competition, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I buy a ticket for the lottery in question on the date I have been told I won?
- Did I correctly match the numbers or raffle code required to win that prize?
- Have I got a winning ticket?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, you cannot have won the jackpot. Lottery prizes can only be won if you played the game, matched all the numbers and hold a valid ticket, regardless of what the scammers tell you.