Lottery scams usually begin with an unexpected phone call or email telling you that "You have won!" a large sum of money or other prize. Operating around the world, such scams often target people living in other countries.
Scammers pretend to work for an actual lottery organization, even setting up phony websites and telephone switchboards to trick unsuspecting people into sharing their bank account numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or other sensitive personal data.
Scammers may also state that you need to make a special additional purchase, such as a pre-paid money card, in order to claim a prize.
Remember: The Pennsylvania Lottery will never contact you to tell you’ve won a prize unless you have entered a Second Chance Prize ZoneTM promotional drawing or a specific PA Lottery giveaway.
We will never ask for your personal bank information or require you to make additional purchases to claim a prize.
Here are a few tips to avoid becoming the victim of a lottery scam:
• Never accept a collect call from anyone claiming to be a Lottery official.
• Be very cautious about sharing credit card and bank account numbers with third parties. Use common sense.
• Only buy PA Lottery tickets from authorized Pennsylvania Lottery retailers. If you are approached by someone offering a "winning ticket" for cash, refuse the offer and contact local police immediately.
• Never agree to help a stranger cash a Lottery ticket. If you do, more than likely you will become the victim of a scam or unauthorized transaction. If you are approached by a stranger asking for help cashing a ticket, contact the PA Lottery Division of Security and your local police immediately.
• Never purchase Lottery tickets from foreign lotteries by phone, internet or by mail. The sale and trafficking in foreign lottery tickets is a violation of federal law, including laws prohibiting the importing and transmitting of lottery materials or information in interstate or foreign commerce.
Should you receive a suspicious phone call or email from someone who claims to represent the Pennsylvania Lottery, please contact the PA Lottery Security Division via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-702-8026.
If you think you've been a victim of an internet fraud scheme, you can file a complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, of which the FBI is a part, www.ic3.gov.
Victims of telemarketing fraud should contact the Federal Trade Commission, toll-free, at 1-877-987-3728, or fill out a form available online at www.ftc.gov.
Remember: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.