The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots are soaring this weekend as players continue to dream about what it would be like to win.
With over $1.3 billion up for grabs, there’s plenty of excitement to go around. Unfortunately, we’ve heard reports of scammers trying to get in on the action, too.
One player told us that they had been offered $5 million and a new car. The catch? To claim the prize, they had to pay a $400 processing fee. The good news — this player recognized the scam and gave us a call.
Scammers are always trying to find new ways to fool people, but here are some tips to help you protect yourself or a loved one.
- Never pay a fee before claiming a prize. A legitimate lottery will never ask you to spend your own money in order to claim your winnings. If you receive a call or email asking you to spend money for taxes or fees on a prize, that should be a red flag.
- You can’t win a prize if you didn’t buy a ticket. If you don’t remember buying a ticket, you probably didn’t. Remember, the lottery doesn’t know who buys the winning ticket unless it’s purchased via Online Play.
- Don’t give out financial information upfront. Never give your credit card information, Social Security number, driver’s license, passport, or bank account numbers to someone who is contacting you through email, social media, or over the phone. The lottery will not ask for that information in any of these ways.
- Don’t buy winning tickets from strangers. Don’t fall victim to someone trying to sell you their winning ticket. Scammers can alter tickets to make them look like winners to the public.
- If you win a prize, always sign the back of your ticket. Whoever signs the ticket is considered the owner of that prize.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Learn more about scams and how to protect yourself here.
The more you know, the more fun you’ll have playing smart!
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