Rise in Lottery Scams: How to Protect Yourself
Lottery scams are on the rise and lottery officials want players to be aware of how to protect themselves from becoming the victim of a scam.
State lotteries have been seeing a spike in lottery scams, with many states facing scams targeted at gaining personal information or money from their lottery players. New scams facing states include scammers using the official seal of the state, or even one scam that was a facebook profile of a woman involved in lottery operations reaching out to other facebook users. They’ve also seen scammers using lists of lottery winners to target people who are more likely to believe they’ve won some kind of follow-up prize.
It is important to know how to protect yourself if you are faced with a lottery related scam. Here are a few tips to keep you safe.
Never give anyone personal information over the phone or email.
Many scammers call their victims and try to get them to release personal information. This information includes address, e-mail address, social security number, date of birth, and bank account or other financial information. State lotteries will never ask for personal information over the phone. The only time a lottery will ask for personal information is if you are claiming a prize in person at a lottery office or retailer.
Lotteries will never ask you to pay to receive prizes.
Many scams include the scammer telling someone they have won a prize and must pay a fee to receive their prize. The only time the lottery will ever ask you to pay for anything is when you purchase your lottery ticket or game.
You cannot win on a game you did not play.
Many recent scams involve second chance promotions where the scammer claims the victim was automatically entered in a drawing. The lottery will never enter you into a drawing without your knowledge. The only way to win through second chance drawings is to enter them through your state lottery’s website or through the mail. If you did not enter into a promotion, you cannot win that promotion.
Be wary of any emails claiming to be from the lottery.
Lottery officials rarely contact individuals by phone or email. The only times a lottery official will contact you is if they are informing you of winning a second chance game, or to answer questions posted to their site. If a lottery official contacts you they will not ask for any personal information. If you are contacted about winning a prize, you will be asked to go to lottery offices. If someone claiming to be a lottery official asks for any personal or financial information over phone or e-mail, they are not from the lottery.
Lotteries are there to help.
If you think you are being scammed, contact your state lottery. Lotteries keep a record of known scams and can tell you if you are dealing with a scam or not. Lottery officials will be able to guide you through how to deal with a scam in order to avoid having any personal or financial information stolen.
Many lottery scammers will try various forms of communication to get your information. They may contact you via e-mail or social networking. Others may try to call you. Most scammers who contact you through the phone will be from out of the country or use a disposable phone. Often, money given to scammers cannot be returned since most use parties outside of the United States to receive their funds.
State Lotteries are devoted to helping their customers have fun and be safe. If you have any concerns about a possible scam, be sure to contact your state lottery before you give your personal information to anyone.