The answer is yes, they are safe – but, unfortunately, no, some aren’t. Yes, because there are tons of legitimate online lottery sites out there, and no, because there are nearly as many online lottery scams. With that, you might be thinking that you would never, in a million years, be fooled by an online scam – and you might be right. But then again, other people who have been scammed before probably thought so, too.
The Allure of Winning
The allure of winning a highly-coveted prize – in this case, a dizzyingly large sum of money – is hard to pass up. But, sometimes, some people, whose sheer desire to win is so intense, forget to err on the side of caution and proceed willy nilly.
If you are looking to play the lottery online, know that this is the exact type of people that scammers target. Malicious entities thrive on people’s desires and, yes, desperation, so you need to keep your wits about you if you don’t want to become the latest in the long line of victims duped by fake online lotteries.
Awareness Is Key
Remember the Nigerian prince who reached out to millions of people and asked for a small sum in exchange for a significant share in his vast inheritance? Tons of people got hoodwinked because scams of that nature were practically unheard of during the time. Even though common sense dictated not to give money to strangers on the internet, people did it anyway in the hopes of getting absurdly rich quickly. Nowadays, because most (though sadly, not all) people are aware of this type of scam, avoiding it is almost second nature.
So, to combat online lottery scams, you must always practice awareness – and, of course, vigilance. Scammers have evolved from suspicious princes promising riches that are too good to be true, to discrete, faceless entities with legitimate-looking websites designed to get your credit card information, so being aware of the telltale signs of a scam will get you far.
Thankfully, you have come to the right place – this article will show you how to spot the fakes and avoid being a victim of malicious online lottery sites.
Legitimate online lotteries usually display security credentials on their websites to assure visitors that they have nothing to worry about. Always check for logos of trusted online security companies like GeoTrust, McAffee Secure, GoDaddy, Norton, and more. Of course, you also need to verify that these logos aren’t just for show and are, in fact, the real deal. Logos such as these are usually clickable and redirect you to a page that confirms the security certification of the website in question.
Another way to verify if a website has security measures in place is to check if there is a padlock in the URL bar, especially when you are on pages that ask for your personal information. If you see an image of a padlock, this means that a website is protected by SSL encryption.
But what are these for, and why are they important, you ask? SSL encryption ensures that the data that you give to the online lottery is under lock and key, while other security measures offer added hacker protection and the like, so it is crucial that these are the first things that you check for once you land on a particular lottery site. If legitimate security measures are nowhere to be found, then chances are that that website is a scam.
Any online lottery site worth its salt will have support channels that you can contact, so be sure to look for phone numbers, emails, live chat functionality, and the like. If you see these, it would also be a good idea to contact their support team and ask as many questions as you can to learn more about how payments are processed, the security measures they implement, and more.
That said, there are some scam websites that also provide contact details, usually in the form of an email address, so you need to be more careful in cases like this. This is where asking the right questions and relying on your common sense will save you. You can usually spot the chinks in a scammer’s armor just by observing how they communicate with you.
Do they present themselves in a professional manner? How much do they know about their website and online lotteries in general? Does it seem like they are more interested in getting something out of you than helping you? If you feel that something is amiss, don’t ignore it. Your instincts might be spot on, after all.
If a website has security measures in place and has active helplines that you can reach, then everything must be peachy, right? Well, not quite.
Sometimes legitimate websites can still get the best of you if you don’t read the fine print. This is why it is important to read a website’s terms and conditions – no matter how boring you think they are! Make sure that there aren’t any hidden fees or clauses that lock you into sketchy subscriptions. Also, keep in mind that if they are truly a legitimate company, they are legally obligated to disclose all fees that they charge for.
Do Extra Homework!
If, after examining the ins and outs of a lottery website, you are still skeptical about its legitimacy, then it’s time to turn to one of the most powerful tools at your disposal: Google. There are many websites out there that review the legitimacy of numerous websites, so those are as good a place as any to start your research. User feedback is also a pretty good way to measure what a website or service is really like, so it would be a good idea to search for those as well. Or, if you don’t want to do the legwork yourself, you may want to check out our list of the Best Online Lottery Sites.
Use Your Own Network
Finally, if you are going to enter your credit card details, never do so using unsecured public networks. That means don’t play the online lottery in internet cafés, Starbucks, or even in airports. Basically, avoid open, unsecured wi-fi connections because you never know when some malicious person is spying on the network. As a rule of thumb, always use your own network when you need to enter your credit card details.
Have fun and please play responsibly!