SCAMwatch has seen a steady increase in reports about lottery scams, particularly from older Australians. These scams generally arrive through the post or by email. They claim to be from a legitimate overseas lottery (for example, from Spain) and advise you that you have won a big prize. These scams will generally tell you to send money (for 'admin', 'taxes', or 'levies') or your bank account details before your 'prize' is released. Legitimate lotteries do not do this. These scam emails and letters are just a ploy to rip you off.

SCAMwatch advises consumers to ignore these scams for another reason. Organised scammers often use these types of scams to generate 'mailing lists' of consumers who respond to these letters or emails. Even if you lose very little or no money at all to a lottery scam, any details you give out may be used to target you with a different scam in the future.

Lottery scams are quite common and have been around for a long time, however scammers continue to come up with new variations.  SCAMwatch has seen lottery scam reports where scammers claim to have selected 'winners' through a random selection of email addresses or online accounts.

SCAMwatch urges consumers to be on the look out for lottery scams, and to be very suspicious of any 'prize' they receive unexpectedly.  If you receive a lottery scam, delete or destroy it.

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Unexpected prize and lottery scams work by asking you to pay some sort of fee in order to claim your prize or winnings from a competition or lottery you never entered.