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Attorney General Larry Long Warns of Foreign Lottery Scam

Attorney General Larry Long Warns of Foreign Lottery Scam 

PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Larry Long is warning South Dakota consumers about an old foreign lottery scam with a new look. The latest version of this scam shows up by mail in a very professionally printed award notification. The prize does not come by way of a phony cashier’s check, but a simple request for a ‘bank routing number’.

One South Dakotan received a letter in an unmarked envelope claiming that she was a winner of a lottery based in Italy. The so-called claims department asked for personal information like date of birth, occupation, bank name, and bank account numbers. The letter claims that her number was drawn and that she was awarded $780,000. The letter then asks her to contact her "claims agent" by email and to fax the payment processing form to the agent. "Foreign lottery promotions are illegal and a violation of federal law," said Long. "If you participate in one of these games, expect more bogus offers for lottery opportunities. Your name will be placed on a ‘suckers list’ that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell." Follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Never wire money to someone you do not know.  
  • Refuse offers to buy international lottery tickets.  
  • Do not give out your social security number, credit card and bank account numbers to anyone who claims to be representing a foreign lottery.  
  • Do not pay up-front fees for prize promotions -if you have won, you shouldn’t have to pay anything.  
  • If you participate in a foreign lottery scam, expect more bogus offers because your name will be put on a "sucker list" that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell.

If you have questions or concerns about foreign lottery scams contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or consumerhelp@state.sd.us.