With the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games just six days away, Olympic related scams continue to proliferate.  One of the latest begins with an email you receive that announces “Congratulations! You’ve just won a cash prize from the Coca-Cola Foundation in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”  The email goes on to inform you that you have been chosen by a random drawing of email addresses.  All you need to do to claim your prize is provide personal information.  Of course there is no such lottery and the information you provide may be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  In addition, like most lottery scams, although, you are initially told that there is no cost to claim your prize, later you are told that you must pay administrative fees or taxes before your prize can be delivered to you.

TIPS

As I have often told you, it is difficult to win any lottery you enter.  It is impossible to win one that you have not even entered.  You should always be skeptical about being told that you have won a lottery you never entered.    Additionally, while it is true that income taxes are owed on lottery winnings, legal lotteries never collect tax money from winners.  They either deduct the taxes from the winnings or leave it up to the winners to pay their taxes directly to the IRS.  You also should never pay a fee to collect a legal lottery prize.

As for this particular lottery scam, in one version of the scam presently being circulated you are told that you can either provide your account number and bank routing information to the lottery sponsor in order for the funds to be sent electronically to you although this also would enable the scammer to get access to your bank account and empty it, or you can come and pick up your check personally in Nigeria.  If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about this being a scam, nothing will.