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Beware of scammers trying to cash in on Mega Millions and Powerball jackpot ads.

Mega Millions warns that scammers may call, email, or text to tell you that you have won.

The Mega Millions jackpot is almost $1 billion; His Friday, January 6th prize is expected to be around $940 million, or $483.5 million if the winner chooses the cash option. This prize, which will be the fourth largest in Mega Millions history, will be awarded just a couple of months after Powerball reaches its all-time jackpot just over $2 billion.

With new records, the hype around lotteries is growing. And this attention isn’t just coming from people hoping to get winning numbers, scammers also see an opportunity to target more victims.

QUESTION

Are there lottery scams with big jackpots like Mega Millions?

SOURCES

ANSWER

Yes, lottery scams do occur, especially in big jackpot games like Mega Millions.

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WHAT WE FOUND

Fraudsters are adept at turning money-making opportunities for their victims into money-making opportunities for themselves. Mega Millions and Powerball are no different – even for people who have never come close to winning a big prize.

While scammers use the most popular lotteries to scam people in several ways, Mega Millions warns of one particular tactic to be wary of: a call, email, text message, or social media post saying you’ve won a prize.

“Some of these scammers have falsely identified themselves as being affiliated with Mega Millions,” Mega Millions reports. “No Mega Millions representative has ever called, written or emailed anyone about winning a prize.”

The official Powerball website echoes these words.

“Lotteries will never contact you via email or phone to tell you that you have won a prize unless you specifically entered an official lottery promotion or contest,” Powerball said in a statement.

Whatever tactics the scammer uses, they are trying to trick you into sending them money or personal information, says Mega Million.

Mega Millions says the scammers may claim to be affiliated with a legitimate lottery or say they are with Mega Millions. Lottery officials also warn that scammers may be using the names of fake organizations such as the US National Lottery, the Mega Millions Corporation and the Mega Millions International Lottery.

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There are a few more popular tactics where a scammer claims to have previously won the jackpot and shares his money, or tries to trick you into buying fake lottery tickets at a price that appears to be discounted.

They may send a fake check and claim that you need to send the money back to cover expenses, or they may simply claim that you must pay taxes or fees on your winnings before claiming the prize.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​states that legitimate lotteries do not require money to cover fees or taxes. They cost money – but only in order to buy the original ticket, you need to participate in the lottery. This also means that any offers to win a prize through a “free play” entry – a tactic that Mega Millions warns scammers – are also fake.

“The lotteries will never ask you to pay a fee to claim a Powerball prize,” says Powerball. “If you are asked to pay a fee to claim a prize, you are most likely being scammed and should not share any personal or banking information with these individuals.”

Among the warning signs of prize fraud listed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), paying to claim a prize is number one.

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The FTC states that there is “absolutely no reason” to ever give out your bank account or credit card number to claim a prize.

Representatives of lottery agencies and their games have had to warn people several times over the past few years so that they do not fall for various popular scams. In April 2022, Mega Millions said that people are falling for random phone calls and WhatsApp messages claiming to have won money or cars, even if the victims did not actually enter the recent lottery. In December 2020, the Colorado Lottery warned that scammers were including photoshopped screenshots of state winner checks in their emails to make their scam appear more legitimate. In July 2020, the Arizona Lottery reported that scammers were impersonating recent Mega Millions jackpot winners in the state, claiming they would share their prize money with their victims.

Powerball recommends contacting your state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission regarding any lottery scams you encounter.

The FTC says you can report fraud by going to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. He also recommends contacting the state attorney general and local consumer protection agency, and if the scam came through the mail, the US. Postal Inspection Service.

If you are a victim of a scam, you will also want to get your money back if it’s not too late and protect your identity, financial information, online accounts, and device. Learn how to do this in this VERIFY article.

More from CHECK: Only a few states levy taxes on Powerball winnings.

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