Did you get a call from area code (876)?
Ring, ring… you get a call from a number starting with area code (876). They call to say you’ve won the “Mega Millions” Jamaican lottery, and you could even win a car! All you have to do is pay a few thousand bucks in taxes or fees, and the big jackpot is yours.
That’s great news, right? Wrong.
Don’t send money to anyone who claims to have a prize for you. Odds are good that it’s a scam. And just so you know, playing a foreign lottery is against federal law.
A new twist: scammers are asking people to pay “taxes and fees” with prepaid cards. They tell you to go to the nearest pharmacy or a big retail store, buy a card, and call them back to read them the number. Whether you use a prepaid card or a wire transfer — once you send your money, you can’t get it back. So keep card and account numbers to yourself. Scammers use this information to hustle even more money out of you — and your accounts.
We get complaints from people who have lost A LOT of money to foreign lottery scams. Some folks have told us that they’ve been threatened with physical harm if they don’t pay the fees.
If you get a call about a foreign lottery, we recommend that you hang up. And before you do, you might want to tell the caller:
- I never entered a foreign lottery, so I couldn’t have won
- I never send money to someone who calls me
- My phone number is on the Do Not Call Registry, so you shouldn’t be calling me — and I’m reporting your number
Have you gotten a call like this? We want to hear about it. Submit a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint, or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. And learn more about recognizing and reporting lottery scams and prize scams.