The various Online Lotto Scams
You will probably have come across ones of those emails telling you that you have won a big prize. Well, sound good, right? But wait - you didn't even play that lottery, so how could you have won? The answer is plain and simple - you can't. This is one of the most notorious online lotto scams. What those guys do is they send millions of those emails hoping that a few people are actually stupid enough to fall for their lottery scam. If you anser the email, they will ask you to pay a fee in order to get paid. Here's a good article on Wikipedia on this topic.
Other types of lotto scams
The above scheme is the best-known and most obvious one. But there other online lotto scams that are not quite so obvious. While they appear to be kind of legitimate, there are some pitfalls that you should know about.
Piggybacking on legitimate lotteries
This is actually quite a clever way to defraud lotto fans. The scam works like this: A company (let's call them Lottofraud Inc.) advertises that you can buy tickets for a specific lottery at discount prices through them. Sounds like a good deal. How can they even offer those tickets cheaper?
Quite simple: A lottery like Powerball only pays out a certain percentage of the money that comes in through the ticket sales because a lot of the revenues goes to the state, and they have high overheads. Now LottoFraud Inc. does not have to hand out that much to the state, and their expenses are actually much lower. They may say that they will buy a real ticket at the lottery for you, but this is untrue. They just run their own lottery - it is just that they use the legitimate numbers drawn for Powerball etc. If a customer wins, they pay him - the profit is still enormous.
So where's the problem? Well, LottoFraud Inc. can easily pay their customers for any winnings up to a certain amount as long as they have enough customers buying their seemingly legit tickets through them. But what if you win REAL BIG? Guess what - the "bank" will go broke, and you won't get paid. So this is obviously another lotto scam.
Is there an online lotto company that is not a scam?
At this point, we really have to take a close look at the facts, and if yoo do you will see that there is actually a legitimate online lotto company, and that is TheLotter. To check their offer, click here.
So where is the difference? First off, TheLotter is not really running a lottery. They are, by design, a lotto ticket courier service. Their service is that they make over 20 of the biggest lotteries in the Wold accessible to anyone, no matter where that person resides. For example, a person in France could get a ticket for MegaMillions, without having to travel to the US. You can choose your lottery online, then pick your numbers and pay online too.
TheLotter has agents in any of the countries where those huge lotteries are held. One of these agents will then buy a real ticket with your name on it at a real lotto shop. Next, this ticket will be scanned an emailed to you, so have proof that this is not an online lotto scam. And if you win a big prize, you have a legitimate claim against the lottery company, and TheLotter wil, again, act as a go-between and process your payment for you. But you will get paid by the original lotto asociation (only smaller winning will be paid directly by TheLotter, in order to keep processing expenses at a minimum).
Two last forms of online lotto scams we almost forgot
First, there are those so-called "free" lotto games that you find on the internet. The problem with those is that there is no way of telling whether they actually pay a single cent to their customers. What they are trying is to get you to sign up in the hope to win money at the lottery. Of course you need to give a valid email address to register, and since you want to know whether you have won, you'd have to look at your inbox. Now spammy internet marketers pay good money for lists with fresh, valid email addresses, so you can easily guess how those "free" lotto websites make their money.
The "instant" lotto games - they are not really a lotto scam, but they have nothing to do with real lotto either. It is more like gambling at the casino. You pick a few numbers, decide how much you want to wager and then push a button. Next, the computer shows you the winning numbers and you can see what you have won (or lost). Sometimes, there is a time lag between your ticket purchase and the draw, but that is just for drama. This is not a real lottery - you might just as well join an online casino. Don't get this wrong - it's nothing bad about playing a casino-style game, but we feel that disguising a casino and make it look similar to a legitimate lottery is not right.