Lottery scams are among the most common scams and although these scams take many different forms, they all have in common that you have won a lottery you never even entered (quite a feat) and that you must now pay money for either taxes or administrative fees in order to claim your prize which never comes.  While it is true that lottery winnings are subject to income tax, no legitimate lottery collects tax money from winners.  They either deduct the taxes from your winnings or turn all of the money over to you and it is your responsibility to pay the taxes.  No legitimate lottery charges administrative fees of any kind for you to claim your prize as well.

Facebook is very popular with scammers and with good reason.  Facebook is used by 2.26 billion people so many scams, including a variety of lottery scams, are tied to Facebook.  The truth is that Facebook does not have lotteries of any kind.  Here is a copy of an email sent to a Scamicide reader informing her that she had won the non-existent Facebook Online International Lottery Promotion.  A couple of indications that this is a scam is that the address from which it was sent had nothing to do with Facebook and was, most likely part of a botnet of zombie computers used by the scammers to send out these emails.  In addition, the email uses the salutation of “Dear beneficiary” rather than the name of the person to whom the email is sent.  Here is a copy of the email:

“Dear beneficiary
We are pleased to inform you about the ongoing Facebook Online International Lottery Promotion. The online draws was conducted by a random selection of emails related to Facebook accounts and you were picked by an advanced automated random computer search from Facebook and you have been awarded the sum of $1,450,000. The Facebook promo program which is a new innovation by Facebook, is aimed at saying a big thank you to all our users for making Facebook their number one means to connect, communicate, relate and hook up with their families and friends over the years.
To get more information about your winnings kindly reply to this email for further directives.
Best Regards,
Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook COO.”


It is hard to win any lottery or contest.  It is impossible to win one that you have never entered.   It also is important to remember that no legitimate lottery requires that you pay them fees to claim your prize or pay them the taxes due on the winnings.  Legitimate lotteries either deduct the income taxes from your prize or they pay you the entire amount of the prize and you are responsible for paying the taxes on your own to the IRS.  In addition, Facebook does not sponsor lotteries of any kind.

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