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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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Foreign Lottery Scams Targeting South Dakotans
Foreign Lottery Scams Targeting South Dakotans

(Pierre) – Attorney General Larry Long today warned South Dakota consumers of foreign lottery scams targeting the state. “Consumers should not enter foreign lotteries or sweepstakes. If you play you are violating federal law,” said Long. “Most promotions of foreign lotteries are likely to be phony and getting the victim’s money back is rare.”

One South Dakota resident received a check for $159,021 written on an account in Switzerland and an enclosed letter that suggested this was an outstanding lottery prize. In order to cash the winnings, the consumer needed to mail a check for $1,590.22 prior to depositing the winning check.  Other South Dakotans have received letters asking them to provide bank account information so that the winnings can be directly transferred to their account. The goal is to obtain your personal information. The scammers will then make unauthorized withdrawals or run up bogus charges on your credit card.

Consider these precautions when thinking about responding to any foreign lottery:

  • Foreign lotteries are illegal and if you play you are violating federal law.  
  • If you purchase a foreign lottery ticket, expect more phony offers for investment opportunities. Once you play your name will be placed on a “players list” that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell.  
  • Never pay up-front fees for unidentified investment opportunities or prize promotions. If you have won, you shouldn’t have to pay anything.  
  • Do not give your social security number, bank account numbers or any personal information to anyone who is representing a foreign lottery.

If you have questions or concerns about foreign lottery scams contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-300-1986 or