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Lottery fraud

What it is

When you’re told you’ve won a lottery jackpot or prize draw to tempt you to steal your details or hand over an advance fee to release the winnings.

The lottery and prize money doesn’t exist, or fraudsters pretend to be a genuine lottery.

Protect yourself

  • Don’t respond to competitions you haven’t entered.
  • Break all contact and alert your bank.
  • Never reveal your bank details or pay fees in advance to release your prize.

Spot the signs

  • If you haven't bought a ticket, you can't possibly have won.
  • You’re told to keep your win a secret and to reply quickly or risk losing your winnings.
  • You have to pay costs such as taxes, legal and banking fees to release your winnings.

How it happens

You get a letter or email saying that you’ve won a jackpot in a UK or overseas lottery.

It asks you to contact someone who claims to be an official at the lottery company so that you can process the payment of your winnings.

If you respond, you’ll be asked to supply personal information and copies of documents such as your passport as proof of identity. The fraudsters can then use this information to steal your identity.

You may also be asked to pay a fee to process your claim. Each time you pay, you’ll be given reasons why your winnings can’t be paid out unless you make another payment. They’ll also give you reasons why the fees can’t be taken out of your winnings and have to be paid up front. Genuine lotteries never ask for money up front to release your winnings.

You may also be asked for your bank details, saying they will pay your winnings directly into your bank account. But if you hand over your bank details, the fraudsters may use them to empty your account.

How to report it

Report it to us online or call 0300 123 2040.