Checking Into Foreign Lotteries and Sweepstakes

Have you received an official-looking letter saying you won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes? Responding to it can be tempting: After all, maybe there’s a possibility that you won some money that could turn your dreams into reality!

The letter usually comes with a cashier’s check. It says the check is to help cover the taxes and fees associated with claiming your prize money. You just need to deposit the check into your account, and wire part of the money to cover those taxes and fees back to the people who sent it to you. You get to keep the rest of the money you deposited, and the full amount of the prize money you’ve “won.”

There’s a catch! Unfortunately, many people think the cashier’s check accompanying the letter is real. It’s not. It’s a trick to get you to deposit the counterfeit check into your account and wire money to someone you don’t know before your bank discovers the check is a fake and holds you responsible for the full amount.   

If you are someone who trusts these kinds of offers and follows up by wiring money for fictional taxes and fees, you’re not only out of luck, but also out of money.

Here’s how to protect yourself from counterfeit check scams:

  • Throw away any offer asking you to pay for a prize or a gift. If it’s free or a gift, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Free is free.  
  • Don’t enter any foreign lotteries, even for fun. It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone, and most foreign lottery and sweepstakes solicitations are phony.
  • Never agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know. The check will bounce, and you’ll owe your bank the money you withdrew. By law, banks must make the funds from deposited checks available within a day or two, but it can take weeks to uncover a counterfeit check. It may seem that the check has cleared and that the money is in your account, but you’re responsible for the checks you deposit. If a check turns out to be a fake, you owe the bank the money you withdrew based on that check.
  • Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Wiring money is like sending cash; you can’t trace it – and once it’s sent, you can’t get it back.


Fake Checks Can Cost You

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


easy to throw away the check--how about a prosecution of these evil B------S !!!

This is not the first time that someone tried to scam me. Luckily, my friends were looking out for me, however, I have learned to pick them out quickly. It makes me angry that people do this. I want these people arrested and put in jail.

Don't even bother reporting. Consumer affairs contacted me after I reported the fraud and they were so short (less than a minute), I called the FTC to verify the validity of Consumer affairs. That was even a bigger waste of time. All they did was ask for the reference number, validated my home address, phone, and email address...that's it. Seriously, that was all she did. Didn't ask about the incident. I'm wondering about the validity of this site. I can see why consumers don't bother to report anything. Apparently, a huge waste of tax payers money. I'll never report again and will let all my family, friends, and co-workers know the result of all this.

It's important to submit a complaint because investigators from all over the country access the FTC's complaint database. The details in your complaint can help in their investigations. If you had already submitted a complaint, you can update it by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.   Watch this video to learn more about how to file a complaint with the FTC and why it matters.

What do I do after giving out some personal information on my email sight Yahoo. I gave address phone number and birthdate. It was a sweepstakes international.

I received one of these in the mail. The check does look real. I checked the routing number and does exist for that bank but I can't match anything else. This is from Mega Millions Sweepstakes with offices in Florida and Ireland. I wish these criminals would stop doing this and get an honest job.

I received a check and confirmed the acct# and name on check. Address on check was different however. I contacted my bank and they did say the bank it was drawn returned the check. Thank God I never lost any monies. I did however confirmed my name and address. Hope that want cost me

Advise beware of area codes of 876 out of Jamaica.It may just be a scam in which could be costly. It costed us a good bit of money for our family at Christmas. Felling pretty stupid right about now.

I got the same phone call from 876 area code. He got me for several thousand as well. I don't believe anyone anymore. Getting phone calls from several different area codes to this day 1/6/14 which I don't answer.

I sent him money to, did you send all they asked for and still didn't receive anything? I haven't sent it all yet just some


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