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Warning about ‘Mega Millions’ Lottery Scam Issued by Pennsylvania Lottery Officials
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Pennsylvania Lottery is warning residents to be cautious of a recent Mega Millions scam in which scammers make contact over the phone.
A lottery scam that originated in Jamaica was recently reported to the Pennsylvania Lottery.
Lottery officials are urging Pennsylvanians to be cautious of the scam that is being perpetrated over the phone by someone with a Caribbean accent.
The scammer tells the person they have won a fictitious Mega Millions sweepstakes or a prize from another lottery game with a well-known name, according to the Pennsylvania Lottery.
“The criminal encourages the victim to make a payment for taxes or other costs to facilitate the processing of their prize, but the prize is never paid.”
Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said in a news release, “Unfortunately, these types of scams are quite common — especially during times of crisis, such as a pandemic, when people may be vulnerable.
“It’s important to know that the Pennsylvania Lottery will only contact players if they won a Second-Chance Drawing, a giveaway into which a player may have submitted an entry, or to collect their winning story. We never call or email people at random.”
According to the Pennsylvania Lottery, scammers sometimes find the names of actual lottery employees using the Internet then use those names and a “badge number” or other “made-up information.
“They’ll also use the names of real lotteries and lottery games, including multi-state games like Mega Millions. Many scam operators are located offshore, beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement.
Scammers will often set up fake websites and telephone switchboards to hide their whereabouts, creating a ‘spoofed’ phone number which makes it appear on a caller ID display that a call is coming from a real entity or a U.S. area code.
The Pennsylvania Lottery says the following also are signs of a scam:
* If you are told to buy a pre-paid debit card to pay an up-front “processing fee” or taxes – this is a major hallmark of a scam.
* If you are asked for personal financial information, such as bank account routing numbers.
* If you’re told the supposed prize is in pounds, euros, or anything other than dollars.
* If an email contains poor grammar or misspellings, or if a caller states they are — or sounds as if they could be — calling from outside the United States.
* If you are instructed to keep the news of your supposed “win” a secret.
If you are told that you can “verify” the prize by calling a certain number. That number may be part of the scam. Instead of calling it, look up the lottery or organization on your own to find out its real contact information, then call and ask to speak with security.
Lottery players who received suspicious calls are asked to report them to lottery officials.