It is hard to win any lottery. It is impossible to win one that you have not even entered and yet scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists have found that it is extremely lucrative to scam people by convincing them that they have won various lotteries. Most lottery scams involve the victim being told that they need to pay taxes or administrative fees directly to the lottery sponsor; however no legitimate lottery requires you to do so.
As with many effective scams, the pitch of the scammer seems legitimate. Income taxes are due on lottery winnings, but with legitimate lotteries they are either deducted from the lottery winnings before you receive your prize or you are responsible for paying the taxes directly to the IRS. No legitimate lottery collects taxes on behalf of the IRS from lottery winners.  Other times, the scammer tell the “winners” that in order to collect their prizes, they need to pay administrative fees. Often, the victims are told to send the fees back to the scammer by pre-paid gift cards or Green Dot MoneyPak cards. Prepaid cards are a favorite of scammers because they are the equivalent of sending cash. They are impossible to stop or trace. Again, no legitimate lottery requires you to pay administrative fees in order to claim your prize.

Everyone is familiar with the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes from television commercials where the winners are shown being surprised by the delivery of their giant check. Publishers Clearing House is a real company that operates a legitimate lottery that many people enter which is one reason that scammers pose as representatives of Publishers Clearing House. Coming up in November will be another major Publishers Clearing House drawing and scammers will be contacting their victims by telephone, email and text messages to inform them of their good luck in having been selected as a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes winner.   Once the contact is made with the potential victim, the scammers use the same tried and true lottery scam techniques described above to cheat their victims out of their money.

TIPS
Fortunately, there is an easy way to know when you are contacted by Publishers Clearing House by phone, email or text message informing you that you have won one of its multi-million dollar prizes whether you have been contacted by the real Publishers Clearing House. Publishers Clearing House only contacts major prize winners in person. They do not contact such winners by phone, email or text message so if you do receive a notification of your winning one of their multi-million dollar prizes in this fashion you know it is a scam.   As for other lotteries, remember, you can’t win a lottery you haven’t entered and no legitimate lottery asks you to pay them administrative fees or taxes.