Winning the lotto is a dream we can all relate to, unfortunately, our chances of being scammed seem to be a lot higher than our chances of winning. Here at StartupBeat, we have previously explored the risks associated with the numerous lottos available online and the startups fighting them. To get a better understanding of the current environment and how you can avoid falling victim we spoke with Nick Silver, the co-founder of Lottoexposed, a company that offers reviews of various lotteries to avoid scams and allows users to play without worries.
What was the main motivator to expose fake lotteries, for example, did it arise from a personal experience or something you recognized others having issues with?
Fortunately, I have never been a victim of lottery scams, but I come across them regularly. I get “winning” notifications that I won millions in my inbox, I receive SMS notifications on my phone, I get the same “winning” messages in instant messengers or social networks. I’m not that naïve but lots of people are and when someone tells them you won millions he or she believes, especially older people. People want to believe in such things, it’s in a human’s nature. We keep saying in our reviews: you can’t win if you don’t play. Someone has to debunk the illusions and save people’s money.
Is there a particular scam which sticks out in your memory as particularly bad or sly from your experience in this industry?
Our team has exposed a lot of fraud schemes in lottery niche since site’s launch in 2012. But one I do remember Tom Crist email scam. Tom Crist is a Canadian lottery winner who won $42 million in Lotto Max and decided to donate his winnings to charity. Once scammers heard about this, they started to send fake emails from Tom Crist telling people their email address was chosen to get $1,200,000. Recipients had to send back their personal details and pay some fee to get the money. The same story happened to Adrian and Gillian Bayford from the UK. Crazy…
Other than visiting your website, what steps can readers take to ensure they are not falling victim to a scam?
First, you need to remember that if it looks too good to be true, then it’s probably is. You can’t win millions in the lottery if you didn’t buy a ticket. If you get a winning notification and you’re hesitating whether it’s true or not, you need to google it. It’s simple.
Can you give an example of a case study that has really benefited from your service, potentially saving them from being scammed?
Yes, it’s an infamous Facebook Lottery Scam. By regularly exposing new Facebook schemes we helped many of our readers to avoid being scammed by this nasty tactic.
One more thing that comes to my mind is lottery subscription. Some sites use it to trick their customers. When a customer buys a ticket to one lottery draw, he usually doesn’t notice a small tick in a checkbox. This tick means he will be subscribed to a number of draws and money will be deducted on a regular basis. We warn about this in reviews.
What do you think the future of this industry will look like over the next few years? And do you think we are likely to see scams increase or decrease?
The new online lottery sites are launching daily, gaming platforms are also on the rise. Even slow and conservative US state lotteries are offering online tickets purchase (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Minnesota). Lottery jackpots became colossal. Could you imagine $1.5 BILLION jackpot a few years ago? With the appearance of cryptocurrency lotteries, Bitcoin Lottery, in particular, there is a possibility that paper lottery tickets will disappear. Of course, the number of scams will only increase and fraudulent schemes will become more complicated and trickier. For instance, Bitcoin Lottery Scams are already here and that’s why Lotto Exposed mission is so important.
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company