Lottery Scams

An introduction to lottery scams

How fake lotteries work

The scammer will send an email or letter or possibly contact you by phone telling you that you have won a huge sum of money in a lottery. There may be a link to a lottery website, which will be a fake site, possible a very close copy of a real lottery site. Scammers frequently use the name and website of a legitimate lottery in an attempt to build confidence. The scam will then go one of two ways. Most commonly, the scammer says there are fees to pay, such as an administration fee, or courier charges to deliver the check. Once those fees are paid, the scammer will come up with a reason why more money has to be paid, and this will keep going until the victim realises it’s a scam or runs out of money. Less often, the scammer invites the victim to travel to collect the winnings and asks them to bring cash for the fees. When the victim meets the scammer, the victim may be pressured into paying fees, threatened, or mugged or even worse.

How to spot a lottery scam

If some or all of these are true, you’re dealing with a lottery scammer:

  • You have not entered a lottery, bought a ticket or registered on an online lottery site
  • The lottery is based overseas, and you are not a citizen or resident of that country, and have not bought a ticket while visiting the country
  • The email says that winners were selected at random from their email addresses, through a computer ballot, or from an online directory
  • The email mentions a fee or payment of any kind, or a claims agent
  • The email asks for secrecy and threatens you with disqualification if you breach the confidentiality.
  • You are told that the winnings will be delivered by courier

Legal issues

In most parts of the world, you cannot legitimately enter a lottery in a country in which you do not live unless you buy a ticket while you are there. For example, in the UK, you can enter the National Lottery by buying a ticket at one of the approved outlets, but you can register for online entry only if you are a UK or Isle Of Man resident. It is also illegal in most jurisdictions for a lottery to charge winners anything at all to claim their winnings. All lotteries must be registered with their country’s Gaming Commission or other regulator, and lottery websites must display the rules of the lottery.

Links to more information about lottery scams

UK Metropolitan Police information

US Federal Trade Commission alert

UK Office of Fair Trading information

US FraudAid front page for lottery scams

US Fraud Aid examples of scam emails

US Fraud Aid searchable database of lottery scams

UK National Lottery info page

FraudAid links to international gaming commissions and lottery associations

Lottery news items

Which alert on the use of fake checks by lottery scammers

FraudAid – Lottery scam alerts

The Register – Wife blames row over lottery scam for shooting her husband

BBC News – Multi-million pound lottery phone scam

BBC News – fake Canadian lottery cons Britons

BBC News – Phone lottery scams

4NI – N Ireland public warned about fake Spanish lottery

GNN – Canadian police target fake lottery in UK

Learn about scammers’ fake sites at aa419. Report scams to the Internet Crime Complaint Centre at IC3.

Examples of lottery scam emails

The usual scam – You’ve won the lottery, now pay the fake courier company EXCELLENCE COURIER SERVICE. Real lotteries don’t charge to send winnings, and they don’t notify you by email to say you’ve won a lottery that you didn’t enter either.


MicrosoftWindows/Msn Lottery

Yahoo/Msn Lottery Incoperation
Baley House, Har Road Sutton,
Greater London SM1 4te
United Kingdom.Hence we do believe with your winning prize ,you will continue to be active and patronage to the Yahoo/Msn & Microsoft Windows.I wish to formally announce to you that you have successfully pass the requirements, statutory obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report Test conducted for all on line winners.

A winning cheque has been issued in your name by the Yahoo/Msn Lottery Incoperation board and also a certificate of prize claims will be sent along side your winnings cheque.
You are therefore expected to contact our affiliated delivery company(EXCELLENCE SERVICES INTERNATIONAL COURIER SYSTEMS )department in which your winnings cheque has been sent to for delivery to your residence

Do contact the EXCELLENCE.COURIER.SERVICE with the contact information below for further instructions on how to send the consignment to your location and the amount to be charged for the delivery.

Please you should also send a copy of your winning verification form containing your winning details down to the courier company for reference and verification purpose.

Dispatch Officer:Mr Nick Ward
Tel:+44 70359 03046

The Yahoo/Msn & Microsoft Windows lottery has discovered a huge number of double claims due to winners informing close friends relatives and third parties about their winning and also sharing their pin numbers. As a result of this,these friends try to claim the lottery on behalf of the real winners. The Microsoft lottery has reached a decision from headquarters that any double claim discovered by the Lottery Board will result to the cancelling of that particular winning, making a loss for both the double claimer and the real winner, as it is taken that the real winner was the informer to the double claimer about the lottery. So you are hereby strongly advised once more to keep your winnings strictly confidential until you claim your prize.

This office will not be responsible for any outstanding fees. Services rendered by EXCELLENCE COURIER SERVICE are to be paid by you and not the lottery board,for the fact that the lottery organisers didn’t make any provision for any upcoming expenses,regarding delivery of parcel or any such.

Have it in mind that your won prize cannot be deducted from , this is because the total amount has been insured to the real value .This is to protect winners and to avoid misappropriation of funds.

Its is Expected that you add your IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS{PARCEL/NUM/3232} as the subject of any correspondence with the courier company to ensure they respond in a timely manner.
I will require a concise update on proceedings with the firm as soon as you are in contact with them.If you need any assistance whatsoever, please do not hesitate to let me know.Do have a nice day.

Best Regards,
Dr.Christopher Mcdonald
Tele.+44 70111 33921
+44 70457 28802
(Events Manager)
Payment and Release Order Dept

An example of a US lottery which was sent to several dozen people at once. It also features the classic signs of a scam, no entry needed, the request for confidentiality, and a Yahoo contact email for someone who is supposedly a barrister, and the “fiducially” agent for a lottery supposedly run by multinational “conglomorates”.

From: kimberly bruggeman
Ref 575061725
Batch: 8056490902/188
Winning no: KB8701/LPRC

Dear Sir/Madam,


We are delighted to inform you of your winning for 2007,from the United States of America International Lottery Programme which is partially based on an electronic selection of winners using their e-mail addresses.

Your e-mail address was attached to ticket number; 575061725 8056490902
serial number 6741137002 .This batch draws the lucky numbers as
follows: 4-13-33-37-42 bonus number 17, which consequently won the lottery in the second category.

All participants were selected through a computer balloting system
drawn from Nine hundred thousand E-mail addresses from Canada, Australia, Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Africa as part of our international promotions program which is conducted annually.

This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by a conglomorate of some
multinational companies as part of their social responsibility to the
citizens in the communities where they have operational base and you are entitled with a huge lump of $600,000.00 u.s.

Fiducially Agent, Barrister Elvis Raymond at; (

Please quote your Date of draw, Reference Number, Batch Number and
Winning Number, which can be found on the top-left corner of this message.

Also, you should give in your telephone number to help locate your file
easily. For security reasons, we advice the winner to keep this
information confidential from the public until your claim is processed and been released to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this programme by non-participant or unofficial personnel.

Note: all winnings participants MUST be claimed in time before ending of 2007; otherwise the fund will be returned as Unclaimed and eventually donated to charity.

Congratulations once again on your winning!

Best Regards.
(For the co-ordinator).

Toyota do not run any Lottery and have nothing to do with the lottery e-mail below. It is a scam and the scammer wants you to pay fake ‘fees’, you will never receive a cent.

The Lottery Department
Toyota Car Promotions
25 Atlantic Avenue Erlanger
United Kingdom
CVR-nr. 34574565.


This is to inform you that have been selected for a Cash prize of
£600,000.00. (Six Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds)and a brand new
toyota car (Toyota Prius) International programs held this July 2007 in
London Uk.

You can view our website to view your car (
Description Of New Toyota Car to be Shipped to you.

New Toyota Car :………………….Year 2007 Model
COLOUR OF CAR:…………………..Light Blue Colour
MODEL:………………………….Toyota Prius 2.0i ES Manual
ENGINE TYPE:…………………….1973cc 4-cylinder
TRANSMISSIONS:…………………Five-speed manual
FUEL:…………………………..29.1mpg (combined)

The selection process was carried out through random selection in our
computerized email selection system(ess) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world.

This Toyota car Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and
also Licensed by the The International Association of Gaming Regulators
(IAGR).This promotional car lottery is the tenth of its kind and we
intend to sensitize the public.

To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact your claims
officer through our accredited Prize Transfer agents as stated below:

Mr. Parley Paulson.
25 Atlantic Avenue Erlanger
United Kingdom

When contacting him, please provide him with your secret pin
codeTY7448500 and your reference number 799BV90.You are also advised to
provide him with the under listed information as soon as possible:

Your Full Names:
Your full Contact Address:
Your Country of Residence:
Your Date and Place of Birth:
Your Occupation:
Your contact Telephone Numbers:
Your contact Fax Number:
Your secret pin code:
Your Amount Won:
Your e-mail Address:

If you do not contact your claims agent within 7 working days of this
notification,your winnings would be revoked. Winners are advised to
keep their winning details/information from the public to avoid fraudulent claim (IMPORTANT) pending the transfer/claim by Winner.

Accept my hearty congratulations once again!

Mr Carson Jeff.
Lottery Manager.