Sweepstakes, Lottery and E-mail Fraud

Before you respond to the next e-mail, letter or phone call promising you've stuck it rich, stop back and exercise some common sense caution.

There are several scams right now: the Nigerian scam, foreign lotteries and some buyers that use the internet just begin to scrape the surface. Most are successful because their unsuspecting victims are willing to share private and personal information, like bank account numbers, credit card numbers or social security numbers.

Remember the old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Take note of these other helpful hints courtesy of the Better Business Bureau:

  • Foreign lotteries are illegal in Kentucky!
  • Responding to sweepstakes and lottery gimmicks only increases your junk mail both in your mailbox and on your computer.
  • Some sweepstakes and lottery promoters use official looking envelopes that appear to contain important documents or checks. Don't be deceived by these letters that look official or urgent. Pitch them!
  • Don't give your checking account or credit card numbers to these promoters. Some may claim they only need it for "verification purposes". This is a gimmick!
  • Never pay a fee in order to receive any sweepstakes winnings.
  • Beware of the Nigerian letter scheme. Never give your checking account number to anyone in order for money to be "transferred" to your account. The only transfer that will occur will be money OUT of your account!
  • Be suspicious of purchasers offering to buy your listed Internet items at full price plus send additional funds to pay for "transportation and shipping". You will be asked to wire transfer the additional money to a third party to arrange for "shipping" when in fact, you have just wired your own money to an unknown. The payment you receive is usually in the form of a counterfeit cashier's check or personal check, which is hard to detect. Ask the bank to fully research the legitimacy of the check prior to your having access to the funds.
  • If you are a victim of fraud, contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-888-432-9257.

For more information, you can log on to www.bbb.org or www.bbbkyin.org