Thursday 20 November 2008

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

A while back I registered for an online free lotto and now they are saying I won a jackpot and that I should now put in a claim by sending my details to them. How credible are this guys and how should I handle this.

Please advise.

This is as likely as flying pigs, the tooth-fairy and someone who really DOES have millions of dollars stranded in a Nigerian bank account that only you can help release.

Let’s be sensible. There are some web sites that are linked to genuine lotteries around the world. However you have to remember that lotteries, like all forms of gambling, are run by highly intelligent business people who want to take in more money than they pay out. That’s the case not just with privately run lotteries but all the state-run ones as well. The catch with the lottery web sites that are linked to these national lotteries is that they also want to make money from you as well as the lottery itself. You stand to win even less if you enter a lottery through a middle man.

However, the whole area of online lotteries is full of scammers. The clue in what you say is that the online lottery you entered was “free”. There’s no such thing as a free lottery. Every lottery requires you to buy a ticket in return for a chance to win. That’s how the lottery companies make their money. If it’s free how can it be real?

What will probably happen is that if you respond to the notification that you’ve won you’ll be asked for money up front. If you do a search on the Internet you’ll find endless stories from people who had to pay money to “validate” their prize and never got a thebe as a result.

Send us the details of the lottery you entered and we’ll research this some more. However I don’t think we’ll have any good news for you. We’ll post what we find on our web site for everyone to read.

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