Lottery and inheritance scams have become a popular form of fraud. Scam artists and fraudsters contact unsuspecting people and inform them that they have won a large some of money, either in a lottery, or in an inheritance from a relative.
Quite often, the schemers are able to produce documents that appear to be legitimate, such as official checks, wills, award letters or contracts. Victims can be easily fooled by the convincing appearance of the communications and the promise of large sums of money.
Here are a few tips to share with your family, friends, and clients to help you avoid becoming a victim of a lottery or insurance scam:
- Be very skeptical of any unsolicited letters, calls, or emails informing you that you’ve won a lottery.
- If you didn’t play a lottery, you didn’t win
- Ignore any communications from foreign lotteries
- Legitimate lotteries don’t require winners to pay fees to collect winnings, or to provide personally identifiable information such as birth date or social security numbers
- Check with relatives about recent deaths in your family. Confirm the person is a member of your family, and they have in fact passed away, before responding
- Never give out personal or financial information to anyone over the Internet or telephone