Lottery Warns Players of New Scam
In an effort to increase awareness of lottery scams, the Louisiana Lottery warns players of a new scam illegally utilizing its name. Through telephone calls originating outside of the continental U.S., scammers are calling the elderly claiming a large prize has been won. Victims are then instructed to send a Green Dot card to a particular address to cover taxes on the prize.
Players should know that the Louisiana Lottery will never contact individuals to solicit money for any purpose. Unfortunately, illegal lottery scams have become prevalent worldwide. Thus, players are encouraged to protect themselves by following these tips:
1. Never pay processing fees, taxes, insurance or commissions to claim a lottery prize. Legitimate lotteries do not ever require up-front payment of any kind from winners to claim a prize. Any withholdings, such as taxes owed by the winner, are deducted from the prize funds.
2. If you haven't purchased a ticket for the particular game or entered the particular drawing in which the prize was won, don't respond to the prize notification. Hang up the phone immediately and do not engage in conversation with the scammer. Every legitimate lottery business model requires the payment of prizes from funds collected through the sale of tickets. Even the IRS only issues refunds based on taxes already paid. Ask yourself, where did the funds come from in order to pay this prize? Did I physically enter this drawing? Remember, there is no such thing as free money.
3. Never believe a letter, phone call or Internet message from someone who offers you a guarantee of winning a prize. Legitimate lotteries do not guarantee that you will win a prize. Also, never give your credit card numbers, bank account numbers or social security numbers over the phone or over the Internet to a business promising lottery jackpots. Remember, participating in a foreign lottery by phone, mail or Internet is against federal law.
The Lottery produces a brochure entitled "How to Avoid Lottery Scams," which describes tactics used by scam artists operating illegal lotteries. Copies are available in Lottery play centers at retailers statewide or you can download it by clicking the link below.