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.  Also, no legitimate lottery charges administrative fees of any kind for you to claim your prize as well.

Most lottery scammers contact their targeted victims by phone, email or text message posing as a legitimate lottery, such as Powerball to tell people that they have won their phony prize.  Recently, however, some lottery scammers are spoofing the phone number of legitimate law offices and contacting their targeted victims posing as lawyers calling to inform the targeted victim that he or she has just won a phony lottery.  Of course, the next step is the asking by the “lawyers” for the necessary taxes or fees to be paid in order to receive the prize that never comes.

“Spoofing” as I have explained to you many times is the name for the technique by which a scammer can manipulate your Caller ID so that it appears the phone call comes from a legitimate source when the truth is that the call is coming from a scammer.  You can never trust your Caller ID so any time that someone calls you asking for personal information or a payment, you should not trust the call, but independently verify whether or not the call is legitimate before responding in any manner.


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.

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