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Protect Yourself Against Lottery Scams

SCAM ALERT!

Lottery Warns Oklahomans of Potential Scam

October 29, 2013 - The Lottery encourages Oklahomans to be aware of a potential scam seeking to trick citizens into believing they’ve won a lump sum of money.  The scam is primarily focused around the Mega Millions game.

“The Lottery security department has observed an increased number of calls from people inquiring if they have actually won a prize or if the call is indeed a scam,” said Rollo Redburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Lottery.

Most of the phone calls are coming from the area code 876.  The caller tells the person answering the phone that he or she has won a large sum of money and/or additional prizes such as a car or a trip. Citizens are then asked to pay taxes on the prize in up-front payments.

“The information in the phone call is not associated with the Oklahoma Lottery,” said Rollo Redburn.  “The Lottery will never ask you to send an up-front payment in order to claim a prize.”
 
The Oklahoma Lottery security department urges anyone who receives a call that could be a potential scam to contact the Attorney General’s Office (405.521.3921) or the Federal Trade Commission (877.382.4357).

All Oklahoma Lottery prizes over $600 must be claimed in person either at an Authorized Oklahoma Lottery Claim Center or at Oklahoma Lottery Headquarters. All prizes over $5,000 must be claimed at Oklahoma Lottery Headquarters in Oklahoma City.



March 13, 2013 - The Oklahoma Lottery Commission received information regarding a new telephone scam.  Players have reported receiving calls stating the caller is from the Oklahoma Lottery Commission and that the player has won a second chance prize.  The scammers are asking for good faith money, for example $500.00, and upon receipt, the “lottery” will send them $850,000.

THIS IS A SCAM!  Oklahoma Lottery winners NEVER have to send money to collect a legitimate lottery prize. If you get a phone call such as this, please take down the phone number and call the Oklahoma Lottery Security Division at (405) 522-7765.



Attorney General Pruitt’s Public Protection Unit Warns of Global Lottery Scam

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit Thursday, July 26, 2012, issued a consumer alert to warn Oklahomans about fraudulent lottery letters and e-mails.

The bogus notifications claim consumers have won a “Western Union Accredited” government lottery. Included in the correspondence is an official-looking document that asks consumers to send money or share personal information in order to collect their winnings.
“Western Union officials alerted our office to this scam,” said Tom Bates, chief of the AG’s Public Protection Unit. “By getting the word out as quickly as possible, we hope to prevent Oklahomans from becoming victims.”

Below are tips to help consumers avoid sweepstakes and lottery scams:

Legitimate lottery or sweepstakes organizations do not ask for money up front before awarding prizes;
It is a violation of federal law to participate in a foreign lottery by phone or mail. No legitimate foreign lottery organization will solicit U.S. consumers in this way;
Don’t provide personal or financial information unless you have initiated the call to a verified reputable business or organization;
Never send money through a wire transfer or other means unless you are sending it to a close friend or family member;
Don’t feel pressured to provide information or send money quickly;
 If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  
One of the best ways to fight scams and prevent others from becoming victims is to report such correspondence to law enforcement and the AG’s Office immediately.  

The Public Protection Unit works to protect consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices, and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.

If you have received a call about a Western Union lottery or have a question about a possible scam, contact law enforcement and the AG’s Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029 or
publicprotection@oag.ok.gov, or file a complaint online at www.oag.ok.gov.

Oklahoma Lottery Security Tips

  • When playing computer generated games, always check the numbers on your ticket before leaving the store to make sure they are the numbers you have selected to play. And, check the date on your ticket to be sure the ticket you get is dated the same day you bought the ticket.

  • Always sign your ticket. This prevents another individual from cashing your ticket if it becomes lost or stolen.

  • If you play a multiple draw ticket and win before the final drawing, make sure when you cash your prize that the retailer gives you an exchange ticket for the number of draws you have left from the original ticket.

  • When cashing a winning ticket, make sure the retailer gives you the correct prize amount or gives you the original ticket back if they are unable to pay the winnings.

  • If you purchase a scratcher (instant) ticket, check it to make sure the latex has not been previously scratched anywhere on the ticket.  If the ticket appears to have been tampered with, contact Oklahoma Lottery Security immediately.

  • Only purchase lottery tickets from authorized Lottery retailers. If you are approached by an individual offering a winning ticket for cash, refuse the offer.

  • Never agree to help a stranger cash a lottery ticket.

  • The Lottery does not allow retailers to charge a commission or fee for paying prizes. If you are charged a commission or fee, please contact Lottery Security immediately.

Lottery Scams to be Aware of:

  • Never claim a prize for any lottery ticket for someone you don’t know. If you are approached by a stranger asking for help cashing a ticket, contact Oklahoma Lottery Security and your local law enforcement immediately.

  • “Good Faith” money is never required by the Lottery to claim a prize.

  • Never reveal your credit card numbers, bank account numbers or social security number to anyone if you have any reason to question why they need this information. However, if you claim a lottery prize at any authorized Lottery Claim Center, you will be required to provide two forms of identification, including your social security number.

  • Never respond to a phone call or e-mail from someone who offers you a guaranteed prize. You are not guaranteed a prize by the Lottery, only a chance to win if you purchase a valid ticket.

  • Be suspicious of telephone calls from someone claiming to be with the Lottery. If you are in doubt, obtain the name of the individual and contact the Lottery for confirmation at (405) 522-7700.

  • Unless you specifically entered a “promotional game” sponsored by the Lottery, you will never be contacted by us informing you that you have won. If you receive a “winner” notice for a drawing you never entered or you are asked to send money to any person in order to claim your “prize,” this is likely a scam.

If you are suspicious about any notification that you have won a prize, contact Lottery Security at 405-522-7765.

Fraud Watch International logoIn recent years, the Internet has become a means for criminals to defraud innocent people out of their money and identity. Fraud Watch International lists numerous lottery scams operating around the world. To view these scams, please visit Fraud Watch International’s website at http://www.fraudwatchinternational.com.



Federal Trade Commission Fraud logo The Federal Trade Commission also has information to avoid fraudulent foreign lotteries. Visit the FTC’s website at click here. To report suspicious lottery material contact the FTC at 1-877- FTC - HELP.


OnGuard OnlineIn addition, several federal agencies and the technology industry provide information to help you stay on guard against Internet Fraud and how to secure your computer and personal information. The site addresses such problems as: The “Nigerian” Email scams; Phishing; work-at-home scams; weight loss claims; foreign lotteries; cure-all products; check overpayment scams; pay-in-advance credit offers; debt relief and investment schemes.  See http://onguardonline.gov/spam.html for more information.

Thank you for playing the Oklahoma Lottery.  Please play safely and responsibly and be alert to possible lottery scams.

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