Foreign Lotteries are illegal in the United States. Solicitations or offers to participate in a foreign lottery are phony. So are telephone calls, e-mails, and letters claiming that you have won a prize from a foreign lottery.
Generally, after individuals are informed they've won a foreign lottery they are asked to pay a fee or taxes in order to receive their winnings. If this money is wired to the scammer it is nearly impossible to recover. Never send money to anyone claiming to represent a foreign lottery.
Tips from the United States Postal Inspection Service about Foreign Lotteries:
- It's illegal. A federal statute prohibits mailing payments to purchase any ticket, share, or chance in a foreign lottery.
- It's impractical. Unlike playing in your state's lottery, you could not be certain that you would obtain the play you paid for.
- Most foreign lottery solicitations sent to addressees in the U.S. do not come from foreign government agencies or licensees. Instead, they come from "bootleggers" who seek exorbitant fees from those wishing to play. The activities of the scammers are neither being controlled nor monitored by the government of the country in which they are located.
If you believe you have been victimized by a lottery scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.