No, you didn't win a foreign lottery jackpot

No, you didn't win a foreign lottery jackpot
File photo of New Zealand currency by Flickr user "yum9me"
Anyone can fall for a scam, but the bad guys tend to target senior with contest or lottery scams. It starts with a letter, email or phone call that says something like:

"Congratulations, you have just won a ton of money," and they can send it to you as soon as you send them some money. Don't do it.

"You shouldn't send the money because you didn't win," says Dave Schroader with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

"They are con artists. Their only interest is in trying to relieve you of some of your money and line their pockets."

Remember these two simple rules and you'll never get burned:

  • You can't win a contest you didn't enter.
  • If the contest is legit, you won't be asked to pay anything to claim your prize.

If there are any taxes involved, that's between you and the IRS.

And, Schroader says, "It is illegal to play a foreign lottery."

If you did take part, you could be charged with a federal crime.

For more information

US Postal Inspection Service videos: Foreign Lottery Scams

Fraud.org: Prize and Sweepstakes Scams

FTC: Money Wiring Scams

FTC: Prize Offers