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We Won! $4.2 Million!

Wow! $4.2 million! That's exactly what the letter that arrived in the mail today from the International Lottery Board, Lisbon, Portugal, told us. Holy cow! We're rich!

According to the letter, my wife's name, Jackie Cristiano, was "attached to the ticket number 025-11-464-992-000," which won $4.2 million, part of a $75,756,420 winning pot shared among international winners. Her name was drawn from 250,000 names from Europe and the U.S. as part of a twice-yearly international promotions program, the letter said.

All Jackie has to do to get her check is to call or email Dr. Henry Rocci in Madrid, Spain to begin the process. She would either have to appear at their offices in Madrid to sign all legal documents or she can pay for "a home delivery or bank transfer" to her account.

"Do to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask you to keep this award confidential to yourself alone and out from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your nominated account," the letter said.

How exciting! We're rich!

Right? Not according to the Federal Trade Commission. A quick google search on the International Lottery Board results in a top listing by the FTC warning about international lottery scams, Here's part of their warning:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says most promotions for foreign lotteries are likely to be phony. Many scam operators don’t even buy the promised lottery tickets. Others buy some tickets, but keep the “winnings” for themselves. In addition, lottery hustlers use victims’ bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or their credit card numbers to run up additional charges.

The FTC has these words of caution for consumers who are thinking about responding to a foreign lottery:

  • If you play a foreign lottery — through the mail or over the telephone — you’re violating federal law.

  • There are no secret systems for winning foreign lotteries. Your chances of winning more than the cost of your tickets are slim to none.

  • 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.

  • Keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask for them during an unsolicited sales pitch.

The bottom line, according to the FTC: Ignore all mail and phone solicitations for foreign lottery promotions. If you receive what looks like lottery material from a foreign country, give it to your local postmaster.

Damn! There goes our $4.2 million!

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