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Devil's Advocate Mode - Foreign Lottery Scams.

Topic closed. 6 replies. Last post 8 years ago by savagegoose.

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AlecWest's avatar - alec
Vader, Washington
United States
Member #29697
January 5, 2006
108 Posts
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Posted: September 11, 2008, 12:30 pm - IP Logged

I have no doubt that there are a number of foreign lottery scams going on right now.  But, I also have no doubt that there are a number of "legitimate" foreign lotteries.  Years ago, my ex and I played the Gold Coast Lottery out of Australia (Queensland) by mail.  We didn't win so much money we could retire (grin), but we DID win a few times.  One check I got was big enough to pay a monthly electric bill ... and one check my ex got was big enough to buy two weeks worth of groceries.  The only mailings we got came from Australia.  And once a month, we'd get a list of the winning numbers in the Gold Coast Lottery (which could be verified elsewhere, I might add).  And when we noticed that our numbers "came up," and about three weeks later, we'd each receive checks mailed from Australia - in U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank account in Hawaii (the bank also had an office in Queensland).

The thing that got us to play was the fact that, back then anyway, Australian lottery winnings were not taxed in Australia.  Further, if you were lucky enough to win a jackpot in excess of $1,000,000 AUD, the lottery would fly you at their expense to Brisbane to give you a check personally - and (ahem) anonymously if you wished.

I no longer play any foreign lottery and doubt if my ex does either.  It's not that we didn't like playing.  We certainly didn't believe we were being scammed.  But, it just became easier to play domestic lottery games - and we've been just as lucky (or unlucky) doing so.

In any case, I just wanted to make a comment in "Devil's Advocate" mode (grin).  If you go to the website set up by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and visit their page titled "International Lottery Scams," you'll notice that they list certain "cautions" to players.

Caution #1 is, quote, "If you play a foreign lottery — through the mail or over the telephone — you’re violating federal law."

My response?  Heck, that's not a "caution" to players, it's a "threat."

Caution #2 is, quote, "There are no secret systems for winning foreign lotteries. Your chances of winning more than the cost of your tickets are slim to none."

My response?  Uhhh ... can't that be said of any lottery, foreign or domestic?

Caution #3 is, quote, "If you purchase one foreign lottery ticket, expect many more bogus offers for lottery or investment “opportunities.” Your name will be placed on “sucker lists” that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell."

My response?  Never once did we ever receive ANY such mailing.  All we got were lists of winning numbers of drawings once monthly (and more blank tickets if we wanted to change our numbers) and checks when we won.

Caution #4 is, quote, "Keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask for them during an unsolicited sales pitch."

Good advice.  However, a lottery is not always a "scam" by nature.  My ex and I paid with our credit cards and had no problem.  In fact, the only instance of credit card fraud I've ever had in my life was when I bought an old 78 rpm record from an "established" seller of old-time recordings in Arizona.  I bought the record over the phone ... and within a week, had a bunch of weird charges on my account ... the first one being at another establishment in Arizona.  Online or offline, giving your credit card number out to ANYBODY is a crap-shoot.  A purchase is only as secure as the reputation of the people on the other end.

Based on the order in which those "cautions" are listed, I think the FTC is perhaps being a bit disingenuous.  Sure, I'm certain they're concerned about people becoming victims of fraud.  But that very first "caution" listed sounds more like pressure from the I.R.S. to scare people away from getting into situations that might generate "unreported income" (grin).

Anyhoo, I was wondering if anyone else here has played a foreign lottery (or still plays a foreign lottery) - and what your experiences with them have been.

Regards -- J. Alec West

    bobby623's avatar - abstract
    San Angelo, Texas
    United States
    Member #1097
    January 31, 2003
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    Posted: September 11, 2008, 3:34 pm - IP Logged

    The U.S. Congress passed and the President signed a bill that more or less banned the use of credit cards to play poker, buy lottery tickets, etc. on-line. This includes both domestic and foreign gambling sites.

    As result, I understand that folks who were playing the Australian lotteries regularly had their memberships cancelled.

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      19828 Posts
      Online
      Posted: September 11, 2008, 5:16 pm - IP Logged

      Good advice.  However, a lottery is not always a "scam" by nature.

      Lotteries are not "scam", it's the third parties who sell their tickets that may be running a scam.  Most will post on their websites that they are not officially connected with any lottery and are buying tickets for their customers as a service for which they charge.  Some will even state up front that they are running their own game and only use the results of the official games to pay their customers.  If they are simulating a jackpot games, they usually only pay out a limited amount that's less than the payout of the official game.

      If one has similar games available locally, there's no advantage to playing over the Internet since extra fees are charged for the privilege even if everything is on the up and up. 

       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
         
                   Evil Looking       

        AlecWest's avatar - alec
        Vader, Washington
        United States
        Member #29697
        January 5, 2006
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        Posted: September 11, 2008, 6:12 pm - IP Logged

        The U.S. Congress passed and the President signed a bill that more or less banned the use of credit cards to play poker, buy lottery tickets, etc. on-line. This includes both domestic and foreign gambling sites.

        As result, I understand that folks who were playing the Australian lotteries regularly had their memberships cancelled.

        Not ALL memberships (grin).  My ex and I were considering the possibility of retiring in Australia.  And at the time, we decided it would be prudent to open up a Australian bank account with the National Australia Bank branch in Brisbane.  The Gold Coast Lottery did accept credit cards at the time (which is how we paid) but were also willing to accept checks if they were drawn on an Australian bank account in Australian dollars.  NAB used to have a branch office in Los Angeles that helped people set up Australian accounts ... but it closed in 1993 (sigh).  However, they still have a branch in New York City.

        But, I don't play anymore.  My ex and I withdrew our Australian money to make the downpayment on our first home.  And, I never bothered reopening the account later.  But, it's not against the law to have a foreign bank account (grin).  So, in theory, anyone who really wants to play the lottery can still do it ... though they would be violating the law by playing through the mail.

        Regards -- J. Alec West

          BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
          Dump Water Florida
          United States
          Member #380
          June 5, 2002
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          Posted: September 11, 2008, 11:51 pm - IP Logged


          The Australian lottery is the exception to the rule.  Everyone except U.S. players are welcome to play online at the same flat rate as Au players pay to play local.  For years I played the smaller game that was two tickets for an Au dollar and enjoyed the rate of exchange discount of the higher U.S. dollar.  Like you, I won enough to keep coming back. 

          Then of course Congress Critters changed the law and my account was cancelled.  If you're not in the U.S. and your local lottery is not the best odds you can find the link to the Oz Lotteries on Lotto-Logix, the agency is Australian licensed.  Outside of this agency and U.S.A.MEGA there is no safe way to play other lotto games in my opinion.

          If you have somehow fallen into the hands of a foreign lottery vendor (include Canada) use caution especially if they say you are a winner and must first send them the taxes before they can send you the check.  If you balk at sending money, they send a certified cashiers check for the winnings and want you to wire back the taxes same day or they will cancel the check.  Your bank will tell you the check is good, then a week to ten days later tell you it wasn't and you now owe the bank the "taxes" you wired plus fines and fees. 

          Never reply to the scammers even as a joke as they will then use your email as the sender of their next spam spew. 

          BobP

           

            AlecWest's avatar - alec
            Vader, Washington
            United States
            Member #29697
            January 5, 2006
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            Posted: September 12, 2008, 7:46 pm - IP Logged

            It's sad.  I think a lot of the lottery scams going on right now are a direct result of the U.S. clamping down on foreign lottery play ... since dealing directly with the lottery agency (and not through a ticket reseller) was, at the time, safe.  And now with the internet, it would seem like an easy task to identify certain sites as legitimate (if they existed) and others as scam sites.  In Australia's case, such a site could be mentioned on their official government website.

            I still think, however, that the real reason why the U.S. clamped down on foreign lotteries had less to do with the possibility of fraud and more to do with the potential for "unreported income" - since some of these games promise anonimity.  It's kind of like the reason why sales of bearer bonds in the USA became illegal in 1982.  A lot of them were issued by reputable banks though I'm certain there were fraudulent bond offerings.  But the anonimity factor, the ability to keep funds secret from the I.R.S., was something the government felt compelled to address.

            Anyhoo, I no longer play foreign lotteries.  But I suppose I "could" play the Australian lotto if I wanted to.  I have a cousin who works for Telstra in Sydney.  I could send him money to buy tickets for me ... and he HAS offered to do it.

            Regards -- J. Alec West

              savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
              adelaide sa
              Australia
              Member #37136
              April 11, 2006
              3300 Posts
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              Posted: September 13, 2008, 6:26 am - IP Logged

              I'm from Australia, and i sometimes would like to play in the big superjackpots that USA powerball and Europe games offer. The only way to get in on these is to pay a online broker his fee, and then trust them to actually pay up if the impossible happens and my numbers  actually  come up.  Also the cost of entry US$1 turns out to be more like $20 australian after minimum entry amounts and markups are taken into account.

              Personally i stick to my own nations games and wait for a international lotto to take place , one where my national lotto is involved and it is no more difficult to take part than walk down to my local lotto agent and buy a ticket.

               

              to me the increase in entry fee is too much, and the chance i my get ripped into the deal is too great i dont bother at all with online lotto entries.

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