(ModernSurvival.org) – An Australian woman nearly missed out on her $1.47 million lottery prize. The reason? She believed the calls coming in to inform her of the win were a scam.
The anonymous winner told officials from The Lott she was avoiding the calls because she didn’t recognize the phone number on her caller ID. The Launceston, Tasmania native was understandably shocked when she received the news, even claiming The Lott had “Bamboozled” her.
While this feel-good story ended in joy for this lucky winner, her story is a rarity when it comes to phone calls about lottery winnings. For most, such messages really are scams.
How to Tell if a Winning Lottery Notification is Fake
Scammers are always fishing for their next easy target, and using fake lottery winnings is a popular bait. Scammers will generally contact the victim with claims they have won a substantial prize through a lottery or sweepstakes. They then walk the victim through the process of filling out tax forms, and often will even provide a seemingly real check to seal the deal.
The kicker comes next, when the scam artist requests payment for administrative fees to cover whatever cockamamy story they come up with. To the unassuming, this sounds very professional and believable, especially to someone who is riding the high of “winning” a large sum of money.
Usually, this payment is insignificant (ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars) when compared to the offered prize, which is how the fraudsters make their money. Once the deal is struck, the unlucky winner will deposit the check only to find out weeks later that the check bounced or wasn’t real, and they are out the cash they gave to the scammer.
These are steps everyone should take to defend themselves from this type of scam:
- Never give out personal information via phone or email/snail mail unless the request is from a verifiable source.
- Never pay anyone to claim a prize.
- Purchase lottery tickets only from authorized distributors, and sign them immediately after purchase.
- Do not purchase winning tickets from anyone. They’re likely fake or already claimed.
- For email notifications, check the address it originated from. Legitimate notifications will never come from yahoo.com, gmail.com, msn.com or similar addresses.
Unfortunately, most people don’t even consider the fact most of these scams come when they haven’t even entered the lottery they supposedly won.
As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it likely is. Legitimate lottery organizations never require a payment to claim a prize. If a suspected scam is received, stop all communication with the potential scammers and notify the authorities. The Federal Trade Commission has a website dedicated to receiving scam reports which can be found here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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