MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WYTV) – Pennsylvania Lottery is warning residents across the state about a reported lottery scam that came from Jamaica.
According to reports, the scammer calls Pennsylvanians and tells them they won a fictitious Mega Millions sweepstakes or a prize from another well-known lottery game.
The scammer then encourages the victim to make a payment for taxes and processing fees, but the prize money is never paid.
“Unfortunately, these types of scams are quite common — especially during times of crisis, such as a pandemic, when people may be vulnerable,” said Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. “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.”
Pennsylvania Lottery said scammers will sometimes pose as real employees whose names can be found online. They will also offer a badge number or other made-up information to sound more official.
Here are some scam warning signs to look out for:
- 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.
“We encourage players who may receive suspicious lottery-related calls or emails to contact us and we can answer any questions they may have,” Svitko said. “Our website contains a contact page to help players reach our headquarters office and our area offices across Pennsylvania.”
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Lottery website.