Mega Millions warns of lottery scams amid big jackpots

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Big jackpots like the ones currently rolling can prompt scammers to come out of the woodwork and try to target lottery hopefuls. 

Mega Millions issued a warning about such ploys late last week, saying it was “especially true during periods of larger jackpots” that people need to exercise caution.

With the scams, criminals typically attempt to deceive a person into thinking they won a big prize to either swindle the person out of money or to obtain sensitive personal information, Mega Millions said on its website. 

Some common methods lottery scammers use to get in touch with potential victims include emails, text messages, social media messages and phone calls, according to the lottery.

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They tend to use fake prizes of vehicles or cash, Mega Millions said.

Its news release urging people to be careful of lottery scams came amid the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots rising above the combined billion-dollar mark.

The jackpots together had an annuitized value of $1.294 billion in the lead up to Mega Millions’ drawing on Tuesday evening. Mega Millions, which hovered at $735 million prior to the drawing, crossed the half-billion milestone for its jackpot in February, while Powerball more recently hit it last weekend.

Lottery tickets

People have won lower-tier prizes from the lotteries in the meantime, including $10,000, $1 million and $2 million.

In its lottery scam warning, Mega Millions identified requiring payment of “fees” or “taxes” to get access to a purported prize as “dead giveaways” that a “win” isn’t real.

“Lotteries will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a Powerball prize. If you are asked to pay a fee to claim a prize, you are likely being scammed, and you should not share any personal or banking information with those entities,” Powerball similarly said on its website.

Another clear signal of a lottery scam is getting told you scored a prize from a game you did not participate in, per Mega Millions.

The lottery said scammers may attempt to mislead people by purporting they had the winning ticket for a lottery drawing held for a country outside of where they live.

Person holds cell phone with scam text on screen

When someone claims a person won the lottery and instructs them to keep it a secret, that should also give pause, according to Mega Millions.

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Many people will be hopeful about potentially winning nine-figure windfall when Powerball next goes up for grabs on Wednesday night. Its grand prize hasn’t been won since New Year’s Day.

Read the full article here

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