Lottery scams are one of the most common scams and with good reason. They are effective. Scammers will notify people that they have won a lottery and then often inform the victim that they need to pay administrative fees or income taxes in order to claim their prize. Other times they will actually be sent what appears to be a certified check and told to deposit into their checking account and then send the administrative fees back to the lottery sponsor. In all of these phony lotteries there is no prize. Even when you are provided with a certified check, it is counterfeit and will bounce, but not until you have already sent your check or wired money to the scammer. Recently many people including a woman in North Carolina received a friend request on Facebook from someone claiming that they are a Facebook administrator and telling the victim that they had won a Facebook lottery. All they had to do in order to claim their prize was to wire funds, in the case of the North Carolina woman, it was $350 to the lottery sponsor. She sent the money as do other victims, but none of them ever received a dime.
You will never win a lottery you did not enter so when you are informed that you have won a lottery that you have not entered, you should be extremely skeptical. In addition, legitimate lotteries never ask you for administrative fees or income tax payments in order to claim your prize. In regard to income tax payments, although lottery winnings are subject to income taxes, either the lottery sponsor deducts your taxes before giving you your money or it pays you the full amount and you are responsible for paying the IRS. Legitimate lotteries never collect taxes for the IRS. As for phony certified checks, you should remember that when you deposit a check, your bank will give you provisional credit after a few days, which may look like the check has cleared. But it is not. And when a counterfeit check later bounces, the funds are removed from your account. Facebook’s extreme popularity makes it a fertile target for scammers so be wary of people that you do not know asking to be your friends.