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Don’t Fall Victim to Lottery Scams

A recent scam is prompting the Missouri Lottery to issue a warning for everyone to be weary of situations that seem too good to be true. The scheme involved a scammer posing as a lottery official and calling an individual claiming they had won a large Mega Millions prize. In order to claim the prize, the victim was instructed to open a bank account and deposit funds over an extended period of time to cover taxes and fees.
This type of scam is the most recent in a long history of schemes designed to exploit innocent victims by posing as a lottery. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service and the Missouri Attorney General regularly issue warnings to consumers about domestic and foreign lottery scams.
“It’s unfortunate, but situations like this happen too often. A general rule of thumb is if a situation seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said May Scheve Reardon, executive director of the Missouri Lottery.
When it comes to claiming Missouri Lottery Draw Games or Scratchers tickets prizes, the Lottery will never:
• Contact players by phone notifying them that they have won a cash prize.
• Require vital information, such as Social Security numbers and bank account information, over the phone.
• Instruct a winner to provide money to claim a prize.
• Confirm that a ticket is a winner over the phone.
In general, Lottery players and non-players alike should be cautious of situations that seem too good to be true. Furthermore, Lottery employees have no way of knowing who has won a cash prize until a winning ticket is furnished by a winner at a licensed Lottery retailer or at a Lottery office.
If you think you’ve been contacted by a fraudulent organization or scammer suggesting lottery winnings, contact the Missouri Lottery (573-751-4050) or the Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline (800-392-8222) to report suspicious activity. Additional player security information can be found at under the “About Us” section and in the “Don’t Get Scammed” brochure located at all Lottery play centers.
About the Missouri Lottery
In 1984, more than 70 percent of Missouri voters approved a lottery. Currently, the Lottery is the sixth-largest source of state income, and more than 95 cents of every dollar spent on the Lottery benefits Missouri. Since sales started in 1986, the Missouri Lottery has generated more than $5.5 billion for the state and public education, and annual Lottery proceeds make up approximately 4 percent of the state’s funding for public education.