International Lottery Scam Letters – Beware!

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“Congratulations! You might collect a certified check for up to $500,000,000 U.S. CASH!

Tax Free In One Lump Sum!  Odds of WINNING are 1-6.”

“Thousands of U.S. Citizens win weekly by using our top secret system!

Win as much as you desire!”


Sounds Awesome? It’s A Scam.

I get asked this a lot.  What are these international lottery scam letters all about, and what do I do if I fell for it?  Let’s take a look.

international lottery scam lettersScammers, frequently situated in Canada, are not only using direct mail but also calling people and persuading them to purchase high-stakes chances in foreign lotteries as far off as Europe or Australia.  These solicited lotteries breach U.S. law, which bans the cross-border purchase or sale of lottery tickets by mail or phone.

Despite that, federal authorities are heading off and destroying millions of international lottery mailings delivered or sent literally by the truckload to the U.S.  And people, seduced by the thought of immediate wealth, are replying to these solicitations that do manage to get through in the amount of $120 million a year as reported by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The U.S. consumer protection agency, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), states a majority of the solicitations for international lotteries are in all likelihood bogus.  Many scammers do not even create actual physical lottery tickets.  Others purchase some tickets, but keep whatever they “win” for themselves.  Also, lottery swindlers use their mark’s bank account numbers to make unlawful withdrawals or their credit card numbers to jack up added charges.

international lottery scam lettersHere are a few cautionary tips recommended by the FTC for people who are considering replying to a foreign lottery promotion:

  • If you take part in a foreign lottery, whether it’s over the phone or by mail, you are breaking the law.
  • There are no secret methods to win foreign lotteries.  The chance of evening winning anything beyond the cost of your ticket is minuscule if at all.
  • If you buy a foreign lottery ticket, you can anticipate receiving a whole lot more fake offers for lottery or investing “opportunities.”  You will be put on “sucker lists” that scammer telemarketers buy and sell.
  • Keep your bank and credit card numbers to yourself.   Scammers frequently request them amid their unwelcome sales pitch.

Check out this video:



The Bottom Line

The FTC recommends that you disregard all phone and mail solicitations for foreign lottery advertising campaigns.  If you receive what appears to be lottery information from a foreign county, hand it over to the local postmaster.

Report The Scam

If you think you have taken part in a scam, make a complaint with:

So, I hope I’ve been able to answer any questions you have on international lottery scam letters.  Have you ever been a victim of a foreign lottery scam?  Please share your experience in the comments below.


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  1. Monica Bouteiller

    I’m from Canada and I spell ‘check’ as cheque. It’s sad to see a lot of people get scammed by these. A one dream come true perhaps. I know some friends that got sucked into this and thank God, family members got involved and put a stop to it. They get to know everything about you and once they have you they will entice you more to the point where families are separated in dispute.

    Thanks for writing this. It’s important to make people aware.

    • Barb

      Hi, Monica!  Thanks for dropping by and sharing.  I love hearing from my readers.

      Yes, it is sad.  Victims are usually desperate for money and think this is there only chance of getting out of whatever terrible situation they are in or dreamers wanting to live a luxury lifestyle.  I’m so glad that you were able to stop your family member from becoming a victim.  What’s also unfortunate is that, just by responding to them once, you’re put on a list of “suckers” that is sold to other scammers and then you’re bombarded with even more offers.  It’s best to just throw this trash where it belongs – the trash bin!

      I’m glad I’ve been able to help.

  2. Angela

    Hi! I’m also from Canada and it bothers me that people in my country are involved in such scams. I used to work at a bank so had to keep a close eye out for anything suspicious.
    I’ve always operated on the principle that if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is a scam. That’s why I was really suspicious about joining Wealthy Affiliate at first. However it was free to join so that helped me see first-hand that it was legitimate before upgrading to a paying membership. I’m so glad I did and would encourage anyone else to do so as well!

    • Barb

      Hi, Angela!  Thanks for dropping by and sharing.  I really love hearing from my readers.

      Sadly, scammers are everywhere not just in Canada, and there will always be unscrupulous people in the world.  However, I truly believe that there are more good people, such as yourself, than bad.

      You’re so right.  If it is too good to be true, it is likely a scam, but this is not the case with Wealthy Affiliate as you found out for yourself.  They offer so much and is truly the best, 100% legit, online business opportunity out there.

      I’m glad you took a chance and are now reaping the benefits of such a wonderful opportunity.

  3. ches

    These scams are absolutely horrendous and those that suffer the most seem to be the elderly who are honest by default and unfortunately paint the criminals with the same brush as themselves. They can’t comprehend how dishonest and perfidious these miscreants can be.

    Having a list of modern scams on your website is certainly very useful. Also pointing out those platforms that are NOT scams is equally useful.

    I can guarantee and endorse WA who I have been benefitting from for nearly 2 years. There is no other web based community that can teach you all you need to know and help you on the way to becoming an internet marketeer. Thanks for the article. Ches

    • Barb

      Hi, Ches!  Thanks for dropping by and sharing.  I really love hearing from my readers.

      Sadly, yes, these scammers prey upon the most vulnerable which is why I find it so important to get the word out about these scammers.  I know it’s cliche, but knowledge is power.  This is why I want to get the word out about as many types of scams as possible.

      Yes, Wealthy Affiliate truly is the best online business opportunity out there and I’m glad to see that you took action and now are benefiting from everything that Wealthy Affiliate has to offer.

      Here’s to your continued success!

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