Lottery Fraud

Federal law makes it a crime to mail letters or circulars containing lottery material including tickets or forms claiming to represent tickets, chances, shares, or interests in lotteries. 

Exception: State-owned and operated lotteries may mail to addresses within their own states when authorized by state law.

Illegal Lottery Elements

The three elements making a lottery illegal are:

  • A payment is required (cash or money order)
  • A prize is offered (money or something of value)
  • A return on investment depends on chance (all recipients will participate)

Avoiding Lottery Scams

Be wary if you receive what appears to be lottery material from a foreign country, from another state, or from your own state that does not have an authorized lottery. Turn it over to your post office or Postal Inspector.