June 23, 2004
ADVISORY: FOREIGN LOTTERY SCAMS
Today Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. is issuing a consumer
advisory to warn Marylanders about foreign lottery scams that
claim affiliation with the Maryland State Lottery Agency.
have received these foreign lottery scam solicitations by either
telephone or mail. One scam originates from Spain and
claims that after the “winner” sends the foreign lottery
a fee, the Maryland State Lottery Agency will pay the prize. Another
scam originates from Canada and also claims the “winner” must
send a fee in order to claim the prize, and that the sponsor of
this foreign lottery is also a sponsor of the Maryland State Lottery
Agency. One foreign lottery scam sent “money orders” to
the consumer to induce the consumer to send a fee up front.
Attorney General Curran reminds consumers that a legitimate lottery
does not ask for payment of a fee in order to claim a prize. If
anyone asks for payment of money up front, it should be a warning
that the lottery probably is not legitimate. Also, the Maryland
State Lottery Agency, through its authorized agents, is the only
lottery that may lawfully sell lottery tickets in Maryland. The
Maryland State Lottery Agency does not sponsor, make payments on
behalf of, or otherwise support any foreign lotteries.
Consumers may check various websites regarding illegal lotteries
and sweepstakes, including the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov (or
consumers may telephone the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP), the Better
Business Bureau at www.bbb.org/alerts/search.aspx,
the Lottery Insider at www.lotteryinsider.com/news and
the United States Postal Service at www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud.