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Lottery scams and fraud

Be aware of the potential for lottery scams. This guide will help you spot scams and help you to avoid fraudulent lotteries.

There are certain indicators that you can look out for, and you should consider these before you take part in a lottery.

Signs that a lottery may be a scam

  • Be aware of lotteries that ask you to send cash overseas, phone an international number or premium rate number.

  • Look at how they are asking for payment. For example, find out if it is through a secure site or via payment gateways such as Paypal to an individual.

  • Under advertising codes, phrases such as 'winning will change your life' are prohibited as they advertise gambling as a solution to financial difficulties. If you see phrases like this, you should avoid taking part in the lottery.

  • If you receive an email that is suspicious then look out for spelling errors and inconsistencies in the text as these emails can be fake. Fake emails may also contain mobile phone numbers. 

  • If there is a link to a website for you to click on, do not click on it.  A genuine site can be found by typing in the website name. Look for ‘https’ at the start of the web address, this means it is a genuine addresss. You should also check if the email address has the same web address contained in it. 

What to look out for before taking part

  • Always check that the gambling business is licensed by the Gambling Commission or a local authority.

  • If the lottery claims to be raising funds for a well known charity, contact the charity beforehand to see if it is legitimate.

  • If the lottery is being advertised on Facebook, check that the Facebook page is verified.

  • You should not receive an email about a genuine lottery from a personal email address. 

  • Carefully read the wording of the post. Be cautious of exaggerated language such as 'you are one step away from a huge cash prize'.

Is there something odd or suspicious about a lottery you have seen?

If you think a lottery is a scam, you need to report this to Action Fraud (opens in a new tab).

If you think the lottery is illegal and should be running under a licence or a local authority registration, you should report it to us or the local authority responsible for the area it is operating from.

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Winning a prize in a lottery that you did not enter