Scams and Advice

Because of the large sums of money involved, the lottery is unfortunately a hotbed for scams. Scammers take advantage of the excited, clouded judgement that goes with the belief of winning a jackpot and, having developed over time, lottery scam attempts are now even more difficult for normal, everyday lottery players to recognise.

If you think you’ve received a scam attempt and are unsure about what to do about it, take a look at the following information. You’ll find advice on recognising a scam; the different, most common scam types, and advice on what to do if you’ve already responded to the scam itself.

Scams are not limited to any one form of communication - they can come in the post, through social media, as a phone call or text message, and, most frequently, as an email.

Scam Attempt Characteristics

The first thing to remember when or if you believe you have received a lottery scam attempt is that if you did not pay to enter a lottery game, you cannot win. This is usually the only piece of information people need when dealing with a scam message. If you do regularly play in a lottery game, read the points below to make sure you are not dealing with a scammer.

Regardless of how you receive the message, an official lottery operator will not disclose the amount of money you have won. If you play online, official lottery operators – and online lottery messenger and betting services – will email you to inform you of a win, but it will simply remind you to log in to and check your account. If you receive a message specifying a certain amount, you can be confident it is a scam.

Any communication you receive that requests bank details - or mentions paying some kind of upfront fee to claim your prize – should be ignored, deleted, and, if you wish, reported. You are not required by the official operators to pay any kind of fee in order to receive a prize, and if you have played online through official providers, you will have provided such information when creating an account.

If it is email correspondence, check the email address that the message has been sent from. Official lottery operators’ email addresses will be appended by their website’s name – for example, correspondence from the UK’s national lottery operator will come from “@national-lottery.co.uk”, as that is their website address. In addition, if the email address bears no relation to the lottery in question or comes from a free email account, like “@gmail.com” or “@outlook.com”, or consists of senseless numbers and letters, then the message is likely not genuine.

Any correspondence you receive where you are referred to as “winner” or “Sir/Madam” – or anything else generic and impersonal – is usually a scam. As you would have entered personal information when playing with an official lottery operator, or a lottery messenger or betting service, you will be referred to by your name in messages from them. This is another quick and easy way to discern between what is trustworthy and real and what is not.

If the message you receive is littered with incorrect and inconsistent spelling and grammar, you should be very cautious, as this is one of the easiest and most common giveaways of a lottery scam. Official companies take great pride in their professionalism, and so their messages are always well written and coherent.

Also look out for messages that ask for your discretion when dealing with the prize you are supposed to have won. While confidentiality does play its part in the lottery, the reason in these instances is so that you do not mention it to friends or family who may advise you that the message is a scam.

On a similar note, if a message you receive has a degree of urgency to it - and mentions a short period in which you can claim your prize - it is likely disingenuous. You can contact official lottery operators to clarify how long you have to claim a prize, and while some lotteries have prize claim periods of up to a year, the shortest claim period you’ll usually encounter is two months. If you’d like to check a certain lottery’s claim period, visit its dedicate page on Lotto Broker or check out the comparison cards on the Games page.

Popular Scam Types

Below you can find explanations of some of the more common types of scams that are circulating the internet, so you know how to spot one.

Phishing

Phishing describes attempts at gaining someone’s personal information by sending them dangerous emails. Usually disguised as an official company or entity, the email will have a link on which the recipient is advised to click. Upon doing so, the scammer will be able to access various details about the victim, and the victim is usually none the wiser.

If you receive a phishing email, do not click any links and delete it immediately.

Social Media Lottery

While certain promotional activities occasionally take place on social media, you will never win a lottery or a jackpot through it. The main point, again, is that you cannot win a lottery without having entered it.

These scams work similarly to a phishing scam, with the victim being sent and clicking on a dangerous link. Social media scammers may sometimes simply ask users to provide various personal information.

If you receive a social media scam attempt, just report and block its sender and delete the message.

Second-Chance Lottery

Normally these will follow a lottery draw where the jackpot has not been won. Scammers will make contact to inform you that there has been a second draw in which you have won a prize. While certain lotteries do offer supplementary games, no lottery offers a second-chance main draw, and so any messages that follow this theme should be deleted and its sender blocked.

What to Do if You Receive a Scam Message

If you believe you have received communication that looks like a scam, follow the instructions below:

  • Do not respond
  • Do not send any money or disclose any personal information like your bank details
  • Do not open any links or attachments contained in the email you have received
  • If you have already replied, ignore and delete any further messages they send
  • If you have provided financial or banking details, let your bank know immediately
  • Report the incident to the relevant cyber-crime organisation.

Official lottery operators will have contact details for anyone concerned about their online safety. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message you have received, you can contact them to clarify it; however, following the instructions outlined on this page will help make discerning a real, trustworthy message from an illegitimate scam far easier.