Be alert for advertisements or phone calls that promise a lot of money in international lotteries. Many con artists use the telephone and direct mail to tempt U.S. consumers to participate in foreign lotteries (i.e. in Europe or Australia). They may tell you that they know the secret behind these international lotteries. You should know that these types of offers are illegal in the United States. International sales of lottery tickets by phone or mail are against the law.

How Does the Con Artist Make Money?

Most of these offers for international lotteries are phony. Some of these promoters do not even buy the lottery tickets that they promise. Others will buy the tickets, but will keep anything they win for themselves. Also, if you give these individuals your bank account number, they may try to make withdrawals from your account. If you provide them with a credit card number, they may try to make charges under your name.

How Can I Avoid an International Lottery Scam?

There are certain things you should keep in mind when confronted with such a scam:

  • There are no hidden secrets to winning international lotteries
  • You should keep any financial information about yourself secret – do not reveal them to any scam artists
  • It is a violation of federal law to participate in a foreign lottery over the phone or by mail
  • You may be written down on a "sucker list" if you purchase an international lottery ticket – as such, you can expect more phone calls and more mail offers

If you are confronted with these bogus promotions, ignore them. If you receive such suspicious offers, report it to your local postmaster. You may also wish to contact your State Attorney General.

Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with International Lottery Scams?

A lawyer would be able to inform you of the law concerning participation in international lottery scams (it’s illegal). Be aware that such scams exist and any participation on your part is against the law.