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Mega Millions Scams

Mega Millions scams usually come in the form of advance-fee fraud schemes, which involve a fraudster falsely contacting individuals claiming that they are due a large sum of money.

On this page, you will find the various types of scams that lottery players should be aware of and tips on how to avoid them. It is important to note that it is not possible to win a prize for a lottery that you have not entered and Mega Millions representatives will never contact you regarding a win or fees before you receive your winnings.

How to Identify a Mega Millions Scam

Mega Millions scams take various forms, but here are some key features to look out for:

  • Poor quality and incorrect grammar in a letter or email. The letter or email may be addressed to ’email holder’ or ‘winner’ or ‘reader’, rather than using the victim’s name.
  • Some mail and email scams can look authentic, as scammers illegitimately use Mega Millions branding to persuade victims.
  • The victim may receive a fake check, which can be attached to an email or letter and the fraudster might claim that it is for ‘government taxes’ or ‘expenses’.
  • The correspondence sent to the victim will emphasise that they should act to claim their prize as soon as possible and urges them to keep it ‘confidential’. This is to make sure that the person who received the correspondence does not seek advice from others, which may expose the scam.
  • The victim is asked to pay a ‘processing fee’ or ‘tax’ to be able to receive their winnings.

Types of Mega Millions Scams

Mega Millions scams can take five different forms:

Email

An email is sent to the victim, letting them know that they have won a large sum of prize money and it asks them to pay ‘fees’ or ‘taxes’ if they want to receive the full prize winnings. A link to a website where prizes can be ‘claimed’ may also be included in the email, which could be used for ‘phishing’ personal information or installing spyware on the victim’s computer, giving the criminal access to private information.

Mail

Similar to email scams, a mail scam will try to convince the victim that they have won a huge sum of money and that they need to mail back a portion to be able to receive the full sum.

Phone

The fraudster calls the victim to notify them that they have won a large Mega Millions prize in the hope that they will agree to paying any ‘fees’ or ‘taxes’ to release the money. Scammers often use specific area codes that look like domestic U.S. phone numbers to trick victims, including; 876 (Jamaica), 473 (Grenada) and 268 (Antigua).

Scammers may also attempt to find out the victim’s bank details in order to access their accounts illicitly.

Cell Phone

Scammers send a text message to the victim from an unknown number telling them that they have won a Mega Millions prize. To claim the prize, victims are requested to call the number back, often on a premium rate number.

Social Media

The victim receives a message on their personal Facebook, Twitter or another social media platform notifying them that they have been selected to win a Mega Millions prize. They are then told to act immediately and follow a specific, often malicious, link to claim the prize.

How to Report a Lottery Scam

If you believe you have been contacted by a Mega Millions scammer, it is very important that you do not provide personal or financial information. If you already have, contact your bank as soon as possible to minimize the risk of identity fraud.

To report a lottery scam, you can contact your state’s Attorney General using the list provided by the National Association of Attorneys General: http://www.naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php

Complaints can also be sent to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), a consumer protection agency: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

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Players must be 18 or over to participate in online lotteries.

Have you been the victim of a Mega Millions scam? Find out about the different types of scams and what action to take to avoid them.

Pennsylvania Lottery warns of Mega Millions jackpot scam from Jamaica

Ken Iman turns the table on those who try to pull internet scams

The scam calls people at random, something the Pennsylvania Lottery says it never does.

Pennsylvania Lottery official warned state residents of a Mega Millions scam emanating from Jamaica, asking winners to make payments, but never paying a prize, according to a news release.

Lottery officials say they have received reports in recent weeks from callers who say they have been contacted by an individual with a Caribbean accent who informs them of winning a popular lottery game, including Mega Millions.

The scammer then solicits a payment for taxes or other costs to process the winner’s prize. But the prize 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,” Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said. “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.”

Here are some warning signs of a scam, according to the Lottery:

  • 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.

How to help

To file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, or get free information call 1-877-382-4357. If you have been the victim of a scam, contact your local police, sheriff’s office or state police.

If you have a gambling addiction, call 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) for help.

The scam calls people at random, something the Pennsylvania Lottery says it never does. ]]>