Lottery & Prize Scams

These calls say you’ve won the Lottery or some other prize. They ask for a small fee or taxes to send your winnings.

HOW IT WORKS

The bad guy calls and says “congratulations,” you won the Jamaican Lottery or some other big prize. To claim it, all you need to do is to pay the fees or taxes on your winnings. They’ll tell you they can help you do it easily over the phone, if you’ll just give them some of your financial information, a credit card number, or prepaid cash/gift cards.

Sesha R. told us about getting such a call:

“I received a call from 876-455-XXXX. Caller ID said it was from Kingston, Surrey County, Jamaica. A lady with a Jamaican accent stated I had won (a contest) and a (luxury car) and they wanted to charge me a fee for FDIC insurance on the check they were going to send me. I just wanted to let you know about this scam.”

What To Do

If someone says you won the Jamaican lottery, or some other prize, be smart like Sesha and do not give them any information. Resisting that urge can help protect you from this and similar types of scams.

Recognize that if they ask you to pay to get something you won – it’s a scam.

Only answer calls from familiar phone numbers. If you don’t recognize the number, especially the area code, don’t answer.

If you do answer, and realize it’s a possible scam, hang up. Then let us know about it by reporting the number here and with the FTC.

What's Next/More Information

We are continually updating our systems to try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and block calls from suspicious numbers. However, bad guys know this and frequently change the numbers they use. That’s where you can help by reporting the suspicious number.

These scams are also similar to one-ring scams. You can learn more about that here.