Prize Scam Targets Unsuspecting Victims

Prize Scam Leaves Victims in the Red

( – The allure of easy money is pervasive in good times and challenging economic periods. For that reason, it’s essential to keep on the lookout for the latest scams. Criminals have targeted the nation’s various lotteries for years, leading many of them to release regular warnings. Here’s the substance of these “oldie but goodie” lottery prize scams that leave victims in the red.

Lottery systems require winners to have a winning ticket to claim a prize. Additionally, most of the nation’s systems — be they run by the various states or Tribal Nations — process prize claims free of charge (notwithstanding the usual deduction for federal, state, and local taxes). In other words, if you didn’t purchase a lotto ticket, you didn’t win a prize. Additionally, if someone asks for a fee to process your winnings — in all likelihood, they are scam artists.

Typically, scamsters use two methods to con their intended victims out of money. Here’s how they work, according to the Michigan Lottery.

  1. An individual gets a notice informing them they won a huge lottery prize. Typically, it will come via email, snail mail, a text message, or phone call. The target is told they must pay a fee to collect their winnings. If the person agrees, the scam artist arranges to collect the money in cash, via electronic transfer, or by a cashier’s check or money order.
  2. A person is contacted by the aforementioned means. However, this time, they are told the person contacting them has a winning lottery ticket. The scam artist claims they don’t have the money to pay the processing fee. They offer to share their winnings if the person will send them the money via cash, transfer, or cashier’s check/money order.

Making matters worse, the scam artists will keep asking for additional money using a variety of excuses if their victims send/transfer money. These kinds of scams increase during the holiday season. So, take time out from rushing around shopping and arranging family gatherings to exercise caution. If you receive a suspicious message asking for money — beware!

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