Sweepstakes/ Lottery scams
Consumer alert regarding sweepstakes and lottery prizes. 20 November 2011
Sweepstakes/lottery scams use the promise of big money payouts to defraud unsuspecting victims out of large sums of money. Lloyd’s is aware that members of the public may receive telephone calls and/or correspondence telling them they have won a sweepstakes/lottery prize and that to collect the prize they must first pay a premium, often by wire transfer, for alleged Lloyd’s insurance on the delivery of the prize.
Anyone receiving such a communication should not send any payments or enter into correspondence. Lloyd’s and/or interested underwriters at Lloyd’s would never contact any person directly asking them to pay a premium to collect any ‘alleged’ winnings.
Sweepstakes/lottery scams use Lloyd’s or other insurance companies’ names to add credibility to the scam. The purpose of the scam is to steal the money sent for the supposed insurance premium. Perpetrators of sweepstakes/lottery scams may also claim to be calling from actual or fictitious government departments or agencies trying to lend further credibility to their scam.
There are a number of consumer alerts regarding sweepstakes/lottery scams. Listed below are links to Consumer Direct, the National Lottery Commission in the UK, Western Union and the Federal Trade Commission in the US.
In the UK
Consumer Direct operates on behalf of the Office of Fair Trading and Local Authority Trading Standards Service. It operates a help line on 08454 040506 which can be called for advice on how to deal with a lottery scam. In addition, reports of scams can also be made to Consumer Direct.
- Consumer Direct also provides general advice regarding lottery scams which can be accessed here.
- If the complaint is about a foreign company, reports should be made to econsumer.gov which is a network of governmental organisations involved in the enforcement of consumer issues.
- The National Lottery Commission and Western Union also have warnings about lottery scams on their websites:
Residents from the UK or elsewhere can also report to Lloyd’s, London office at the following email address: Financial.Crime@lloyds.com
In the US
Reports should be made to the Federal Trade Commission via their toll-free telephone number (1-877-FTC-HELP) or via the Federal Trade Commission’s website.