Don't get too excited unless you're holding an actual lottery ticket with
the night's winning numbers. Sadly, if you receive this message by e-mail,
chances are it's a scam. Learn how to spot and avoid these bogus winning
Signs someone is trying to
pull a "prize winning" scam:
They ask you to pay a small "fee" to claim your
prize. Legitimate lottery and sweepstakes administrators never
charge fees before you receive the prize. If you send them money, you're
probably never going to get it back.
They don't identify themselves
properly. Sponsors of legitimate contests identify themselves and
provide you with contact information so that, if you ask, they can remove you
from a mailing list.
You don't recognize the organization that's
giving you the prize. If you didn't enter a contest, how can you
win? If the organization claiming to give you a prize doesn't sound
familiar - don't reply to it.
You receive your winning notification via "bulk
rate" mail or a "bulk" e-mail. Scam artists usually send
notifications to a large number of people in hopes of getting a few to fall
for the scam. Legitimate organizations will send you notification of
your winnings via certified mail that is personalized rather than a fake
letter or e-mail that says, "Dear Winner."
They don't give you time to think about the
offer/winnings. Scam artists pressure you for an answer
immediately, saying the offer will expire or go to another person if you don't
act now. If it is a legitimate offer, the organization will give you
time to consider the prize and not "rush" you into providing personal
information or payments.