WARNING: The new lottery scam which sees criminals pretending to be operator employees

  • Scammers are posing as lottery employees to obtain money and banking information
  • Criminals target Mega Millions and Powerball players

Pennsylvania’s state lottery organization is alerting lottery players to a new threat from scammers posing as lottery employees.

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Mega Millions players are among those being targeted.

The threat comes in the form of emails, phone calls, text or social media messages in which criminals attempt to obtain personal information from players.

According to Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko, some messages attempt to get lottery players to hand over money:

“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.

“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.”

Telephone scam

One of the new telephone scams appears to be targeting players of the popular Mega Millions game, while another that operates through Facebook is aimed at Powerball players.

Powerball Power Play logos

Scammers will often pretend to be claim agents and will provide fake identifying information to appear legitimate. Some have even posed as friends of players on Facebook, and Svitko offered some simple advice for lottery players on how to avoid being a victim.

“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,” he said.

“Then, notify the platform manager and update your privacy settings.”

Many of these lottery scams are run from outside the United States, and so are outside the jurisdiction of U.S. authorities.

Some scammers even go to the extent of setting up realistic-looking websites or using fake phone numbers to hide their true location.

Lottery players are warned to look out for certain ‘red flags’ that could indicate a scam.

These include being asked to make up-front payments, asked for financial information, or told to keep new of your ‘win’ a secret. Players should also look out for prizes that are not in dollars, overseas calls and emails that contain poor grammar and spelling.

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