– The Pennsylvania Lottery is again warning consumers to be wary of emails, phone calls, or text and social media messages from scammers posing as lottery employees.
“Scammers will falsely state that you’ve won a prize in order to trick you into giving them money, credit card numbers or banking information,” said Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. “Remember: the only way to win is to buy a ticket or enter a real second-chance drawing, and no legitimate lottery will require you to pay up-front taxes or fees.”
A newly reported telephone scam mentions the Mega Millions® game while recent email and Facebook scams mention Powerball®. The multi-state jackpot games regularly issue similar warnings about scams
Scammers will pose as “claim agents” or “claim officers,” sometimes offering a “badge number” or similar made-up information in an attempt to sound legitimate. On social media, scammers will often pose as a lottery employee or even as someone on your list of friends.
“If you get a suspicious social media message from someone appearing to be a friend, contact them outside of the social media platform to determine if their profile has been copied or compromised,” Svitko suggested. “Then, notify the platform manager and update your privacy settings.”
Many scams are based outside of the United States, beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Scammers often set up look-alike websites and sound-alike voicemail boxes, or use a “spoofed” phone number to cloak their true location on Caller ID.
The most common “red flags” of a scam include:
- If you are told to buy a pre-paid debit card in order to pay an up-front “processing fee” or taxes – this is a major hallmark of a scam.
- If you are asked for financial information such as credit card or bank routing numbers.
- If the supposed prize is in pounds, euros, or anything other than dollars.
- If an email contains poor grammar or misspellings.
- If a call sounds as if it could be coming from outside of the U.S.
- If you are instructed to keep the news of your supposed “win” a secret.
- If you are told to call a certain phone number to “verify” the prize. Instead of calling it, look up the lottery’s published number, call and ask to speak with security.
The Pennsylvania Lottery’s website, www.palottery.com
, offers a variety of Player Security
tips to educate consumers about ways to avoid being scammed.
The Federal Trade Commission has more information on fake lottery and other scams at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0086-international-lottery-scams
. To file a complaint or get free information call toll-free, 1-877-382-4357. If you have been the victim of a scam, contact your local law enforcement or state police.
The Pennsylvania Lottery remains the only state lottery to direct all proceeds to programs
that benefit older residents. Since ticket sales began in 1972, it has contributed nearly $28 billion to fund property tax and rent rebates, transportation, care services, prescription assistance, and local services including senior centers and meals.
Players must be 18 or older. Please play responsibly
. Call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) for help with a compulsive gambling problem.
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