Trust & Safety
Understanding, Detecting and Evading Lottery Scams
How ecstatic would you be on receiving an exciting email or phone call out of the blue, claiming you’ve hit the jackpot in a lottery you never knew you entered! But here’s the twist: to claim your prize, they’ll ask you to dip into your pocket for some processing fees. It’s like winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, only to find out the chocolate isn’t free – you’ve got to pay upfront!
What is a Lottery Scam?
A Lottery Scam is a type of fraud which begins with an unexpected email notification, phone call or mail explaining you have won a large sum of money in a lottery ticket and asks to contact a particular phone number or email address of an agent which, in actuality, belongs to the fraudster. After contacting the agent, the target will be asked to pay processing fees to receive the lottery prize.
Here are a few red flags that help identify a probable scam, helping you get cautious and evade the situation:
- Unsolicited Notifications: Be cautious if you receive lottery notifications without having actively participated in any lottery. If you hear about winning a lottery you didn’t enter, be on guard. Legitimate wins usually happen when you join the lottery willingly.
- Upfront Payments: Authentic lotteries do not ask winners to pay fees in advance. If you’ve genuinely won, you won’t need to pay up before claiming your prize. If someone says you’ve won but wants money from you first, that’s a sign it’s not a legit win.
- Too Good To Be True: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before you get excited, it’s smart to cross check.
- Urgency Tactics: Be wary if they pressure you to act quickly. Scammers often use urgency to prevent victims from thinking too much or seeking advice.
- Mismatched Contact Information: Check if the contact details provided don’t align with the official information of the supposed lottery organizer. Legitimate lotteries have consistent and accurate information.
- Grammatical Errors: Pay attention to poor grammar and spelling in official communication. Genuine organizations usually maintain a professional standard in their correspondence.
- Anonymous Payment Methods: If they insist on payment through unconventional or untraceable methods like gift cards or wire transfers, it’s most likely a scam. Bona fide organizations use secure and transparent payment methods.
- No Official Website: The lack of an official website is a red flag. Established lotteries typically have a professional online presence to provide information and verify their legitimacy.
- Check for Complaints: Look online for any reported scams or complaints related to the lottery organization. If others have been scammed, there’s a good chance you could be too.
- Unnecessary Personal Information: Be cautious if they ask for unnecessary personal information like your bank details or credit card number. Legitimate lotteries don’t need extensive personal information to award prizes.
How to report if you are a victim of a Lottery Scam:
If you suspect that you have fallen victim to a lottery scam, it’s crucial to take immediate action to minimize potential damage and prevent further losses. Here are the steps you should consider taking:
- PhonePe app: Go to the Help section and raise an issue under ‘Others’. Select ‘Account Security & Reporting Fraudulent Activity’ and choose the most appropriate option to report the incident.
- PhonePe Customer Care Number: You can call PhonePe customer care on 80–68727374/022–68727374 to raise an issue, post which a customer care agent will raise a ticket and help with your issue.
- Webform submission: You can also raise a ticket using PhonePe’s webform, https://support.phonepe.com/
- Social media: You can report fraudulent incidents via PhonePe’s social media handles
- Twitter — https://twitter.com/PhonePeSupport
- Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/OfficialPhonePe
- Grievance: To report a grievance on an existing complaint, you can login to https://grievance.phonepe.com/ and share the ticket ID previously raised.
- Cyber cell: Lastly, you can report fraud complaints at the nearest Cyber Crime cell or register a complaint online at https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ or contact the Cyber Crime Cell helpline at 1930.
Important reminder — PhonePe never asks for confidential or personal details. Ignore all mails claiming to be from PhonePe if they are not from the phonepe.com domain. If you suspect fraud, please contact the authorities immediately.