El Gordo de Navidad Lottery Scams
Lottery Scams come in a variety of forms and are designed to trick people into thinking that they have won the lottery. These scams are designed by professional con men who target innocent people by posing as representatives from the lottery in order to make them believe they have won a prize. These prizes are often quite large to ensure they attract the attention of the recipient, however this can vary depending on the scam. Lottery scams can come in different forms and with a little bit of knowledge they are fairly easy to recognise.
- Direct Mail - A letter is sent through the post informing the recipient that they have won a lottery prize and need to register their claim in order for their winnings to be processed.
- E-mail - This approach is similar to direct mail, except the potential victim receives an email informing them of their 'win'. Scam emails often look incredibly genuine and could even link back to fraudulent clones of official websites.
- Telephone - A 'lottery official' calls the potential victim to tell them about the 'good news' and, during the telephone call, will try to extract a processing payment and/or bank details while the victim is still in shock.
- Social Media - Members of social networking sites like Facebook are sent a direct message stating that they have won a lottery or raffle game on a particular website.
- Mobile - A text message is sent informing the recipient that their mobile number was entered into a raffle or lottery and selected at random as the winner.
How to Identify a Scam
In order to help you identify a potential scam, we've created a list of points and techniques which are commonly used by scammers. If you spot one of these when you are being contacted about a potential win, it's likely that you are dealing with a scam:
- You received the email from a free webmail address (@hotmail.com, @outlook.com, @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, etc.) or from any address not associated with the official website domain.
- The notification does not address you personally but instead starts with something vague like 'Dear Winner'.
- Scam letters frequently come on photocopied letterhead which looks official but is of poor quality. Some will include a genuine business address in an attempt to convince you of its legitimacy. The scammers hope that the recipient will make contact via email or telephone rather than post.
- It's quite common in scams to provide a very strict time limit to claim the 'prize'. This is designed to put you under pressure. Note that if you win a real prize in the El Gordo lotteries, you have plenty of time to claim your prize.
- Any notification which insists on confidentiality, is usually a scam. Most lotteries will want publicity and will strongly recommend you get financial advice - they wouldn't try and deter you from doing so.
- Poor grammar and spelling are usually a good indication that the notification you have received is a scam.
What to do if you think you have received a Scam
If you receive a letter or email which claims that you have won an El Gordo prize and you suspect it may be a scam:
- NEVER send money.
- NEVER click on any links in suspicious looking emails.
- NEVER reply to a suspicious email or letter.
- NEVER provide any personal or financial information.
- IF you already replied, don't make any further contact and notify law enforcement.
- IF you did provide financial details, contact your bank immediately.
- REPORT the incident to the relevant law enforcement agency in your country.
Whilst law enforcement agencies around the globe are doing their best to identify lottery scams, the best way to avoid becoming a victim of this common scam is to be aware of them. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!