You may receive a certified check for up to $400,000 U.S. CASH!
One Lump sum! Tax free! Your odds to WIN are 1-6."
"Hundreds of U.S.
citizens win every week using our secret system!
You can win as much as you want!"
Sound great? It's a fraud.
often based in Canada
are using the telephone and direct mail to entice
U.S. consumers to buy chances in high-stakes foreign lotteries from as far away as
Australia and Europe. These lottery solicitations violate U.S. law, which prohibits the
cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone or mail.
Still, federal law enforcement authorities are intercepting and destroying millions of
foreign lottery mailings sent or delivered by the truckload into the U.S. And consumers,
lured by prospects of instant wealth, are responding to the solicitations that do get
through-to the tune of $120 million a year, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection
The Federal Trade Commission says most promotions for foreign lotteries are likely to
be phony. Many scam operators don't even buy the promised lottery tickets. Others buy some
tickets, but keep the "winnings" for themselves. In addition, lottery hustlers
use victims' bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or their credit card
numbers to run up additional charges.
The FTC has these words of caution for consumers who are thinking about responding to a
- If you play a foreign lottery-through the mail or over the telephone-you're violating
- There are no secret systems for winning foreign lotteries. Your chances of winning more
than the cost of your tickets are slim to none.
- If you purchase one foreign lottery ticket, expect many more bogus offers for lottery or
investment "opportunities." Your name will be placed on "sucker lists"
that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell.
- Keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask for
them during an unsolicited sales pitch.
The bottom line, according to the FTC: Ignore all mail and phone solicitations for
foreign lottery promotions. If you receive what looks like lottery material from a foreign
country, give it to your local postmaster.
To report telemarketing fraud of any kind, contact your state Attorney General.
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR THE CONSUMER
Produced in cooperation with
the U.S. Postal Inspection Service