It's a dream come true: you win the lottery and all your financial troubles go away!
Unfortunately, unless it is the real Texas Lottery you won, you ARE dreaming. If you fall for it, it could be a real nightmare.
We urge anyone who is tempted to believe one of these solicitations to STOP. Delete the emails, throw away the letters and hang up the phone. It is a scam.
How it Works
"Winners" are asked to send money. Any number of explanations could be given. They may say you have won a lottery in a foreign country. They may say it is for taxes, processing fees, or the cost of transferring funds. Regardless of what they may say, it's a scam. NO LEGITIMATE LOTTERY OR SWEEPSTAKES REQUIRES MONEY UP FRONT FOR YOU TO COLLECT A PRIZE YOU HAVE WON.
Scammers know that the amount they are asking for sounds trifling compared to the amount the victim thinks he or she is about to receive when the prize is paid. The prize is never going to appear, so the victim will simply lose the money he or she sends in.
- You can’t win a lottery or sweepstakes that you didn't even enter.
- It is illegal for you to receive proceeds of a foreign lottery. (But you are not going to receive anything anyway.)
Counterfeit Cashier's Checks
Some consumers, wise to the lottery scam, have been fooled by a new twist. They know they shouldn't send money in advance to collect a prize, but they are fooled when they receive a great big check - a cashier's check, no less.
We think of a cashier's check as being a very safe type of financial instrument, safer than a personal check because it is guaranteed by the bank. This is true if the cashier's check is real.
Counterfeit cashier's checks have become common, and many are such good forgeries that even bank tellers can be fooled by them.
The counterfeit checks are seen most often in connection with sales and purchases, but may be used to persuade a victim that he or she has received a large prize.