Playing the lottery can be a fun way to toy with chance, but falling victim to a lottery scam can be an expensive ordeal. Continue reading to learn how a lottery scam plays out and how to avoid falling victim.
How the scams play out:
In a typical lottery scam, the victim is notified that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes they may not remember entering. They may be contacted by mail, phone call, text message, or social media alert. The alleged “prize” can be a million dollars, a tropical vacation, or even expensive electronic devices. The scammer may use recognizable lottery names to appear authentic, such as “Mega Millions Mobile Lottery.”
To claim the prize, the victim is told they must pay a fee, which will allegedly cover the cost of processing the prize, taxes, courier charges, and insurance. Of course, the money can only be wired to a specific account or furnished via a prepaid debit card. If the victim falls for the scam and pays the fee, the scammer will continue collecting these fees and stalling the delivery of the prize. Or, they may actually send a check for a small percentage of the prize, but the check will bounce after being deposited.
In other variations of the scam, the target is asked to call a phone number or click on a link to claim the prize. If they do so, they will then be asked to provide personal information, such as their Social Security number, checking account details, and date of birth. All of this, they will be told, will enable them to receive the prize. Unfortunately, this information will actually make the victim vulnerable to identity theft and more.
To avoid falling prey to a lottery scam, look out for these red flags:
- The email, text message, or social media alert informing you of your win is riddled with grammar mistakes and typos.
- You are warned to keep your “win” confidential.
- You are asked to pay a fee to collect your winnings.
- You are asked to share confidential information over the phone or online to claim your prize.
- You are instructed to call a specific number or click on a link to verify your prize.
Follow these basic safety measures to protect yourself from a lottery scam and/or similar scams:
- Never share personal information over the phone or online with an unverified source.
- Don’t click on links in emails from an unknown sender.
- Never send money to an unknown contact.
If you have been targeted:
If you believe you have been targeted by a lottery scam, take immediate steps to protect yourself from further harm. Contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov to let them know about the scam.
As always, stay alert and use caution to keep your money — and your information — safe. Make sure to utilize your Benefits Plus® checking account with SeaComm for additional protection! Your Benefits Plus® membership entitles you to identity theft services, free annual credit reports, IDT Restoration Rescue® and more. You may even upgrade to Benefits Plus® Premium, which provides you with all the advantages of a Benefits Plus® checking account, plus additional protection from Ultimate ID®, which includes:
- 3 bureau credit monitoring
- Internet monitoring
- Instant inquiry alerts
- Remediation and lost documentation replacement services.
Visit your local SeaComm branch to upgrade your checking account, today!
For complete information, terms, conditions and exclusions please visit www.benefits-plus.org or call 866-329-7587.
Click here to access the SeaComm Fraud Center, which includes valuable resources to help educate and empower our members to protect their assets and identities.