New Mega Millions Scams: How to Avoid Becoming A Victim

Saturday March 21st 2020

New Mega Millions scams are trying to trick people into thinking they've won a prize. The fake emails and text messages use the game's name and logo to look official, but they are not connected to the real lottery.

One of the recent scams is called the Mega Millions "International Official Lottery" and links to the "Official Anniversary Lottery Site" which uses a 25th Anniversary logo. The site promises a cash prize of $24,780, but asks users to pay a fee before they can receive the "prize."

Other scams may use names like "United States National Lottery" or "Mega Millions Corporation."

Players should know that there is never a fee to collect a real Mega Millions prize. People who are targeted by these cons should not respond to the emails or texts or click the links in them.

You may also see social media scams, including accounts claiming to be previous Mega Millions jackpot winners who want to give away their money. This is called an "imposter scam" and these accounts are fake. If you see one, report it to the social media platform.

How lottery scams work

All lottery scams will try to fool you into sending money or giving personal details by making you think you've won a prize.

Once they get you to believe you're in line for a large payout, they will typically try to get you to send them money for so-called taxes or fees.

Next, they will usually try to get you to give them your bank account and credit card details so they can steal more from you.

Another ploy is to send a fake "winner's check" and ask you to send money for expenses.

Scammers often prey on seniors and some victims have sadly lost their savings. Americans lose $120 million every year just on lottery scam mailings, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The bottom line: Don't disclose any personal information. Fraudsters will try to clean out victims' bank accounts and run up charges on their credit cards.

How to outsmart scammers

Here are some ways to help prevent con artists from taking advantage of you.

  • If you receive a phone call you believe is a scam attempt, hang up right away. Don't have a conversation or you may end up on a "sucker list" that's sold to other fraudsters.
  • You can't win a lottery prize if you haven't played.
  • Using a real lottery's name or logo does not mean there is any connection to the actual lottery.
  • A legitimate lottery will not ask winners for a payment in order to collect a prize.
  • If you get a call saying you've won, check the area code using caller ID. It may look like it's in your state, but scammers can disguise where they are really calling from. If the call is from outside the country, you should also be suspicious.
  • If the message uses poor English (misspellings, grammatical errors), that's a red flag.
  • Keep your personal information private, including bank account and credit card details.
  • If you're told to call a number to "verify" your win, don't call it. Instead, contact your local lottery.

If you have concerns about whether a website or message is legitimate, contact your state lottery.

You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission to get free information or file a complaint.

If you've been the victim of a scam, get in touch with your local police.

Written by

Latest News