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Lottery and Job Scams

Scams come in many shapes and forms. The fraudster perpetrating them can be very persuasive but with a little knowledge about the most common scams, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim. The best rule of thumb for all types of fraud and scams is this:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Work-from-Home Scams

These work-from-home fraud schemes have increased dramatically with the downturn in the economy. Here is how the scam works.

  • The fraudster recruits you through regular job search channels (e.g. job sites, classifieds, social networking postings) or e-mail. The position is often called a rebate or payment processor, trading partner or currency trader.
  • As a new employee, you are asked to provide your account information or set up a new account with specific parameters.
  • Funds are deposited into your account and you are told to take a "commission," (usually a percentage of the amount transferred) to aid in transferring money through your account to another account.

You are now a “mule” for the fraudster and is unwittingly helping them steal and launder money through your account. Due to an increase in this scam, law enforcement announced a crackdown on anyone involved with such a criminal enterprise. That means the people who participate, knowingly or unknowingly, can be prosecuted.

Lottery or Sweepstakes Scams

In a lottery or sweepstakes scam, you receive a notice that you are the winner of a lottery. In order to receive the winnings, you must first pay a small percentage for fake taxes or other fees and are asked to transfer that amount according to specific instructions. Once the money is transferred, the fraudster moves on or in some cases comes back to request additional funds but the “lottery winnings” never appear.

Prevention Tips

Recognizing these popular scams goes a long way in helping to protect you from becoming a victim. Here are some basic tips to follow.

  • Use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be very wary of work-from-home opportunities. Verify with outside agencies like the Better Business Bureau (U.S. based) or WHOIS/Domain Tools (International) that they are legitimate.
  • Don't accept jobs in which you are paid or receive commission for facilitating money transfers.
  • Remember legitimate lotteries or sweepstakes will not require payment to receive the winnings.
  • Never give out your personal or bank account information to a stranger.

More Information

Learn more about other common online scams.

Learn how to report a scam.

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