an effort to increase awareness of lottery scams, the Louisiana Lottery
warns players of a new scam illegally utilizing the name Mega Millions. Through telephone calls originating outside of the continental U.S., scammers are promising players cash and prizes. Players are instructed to pay a fee before claiming any cash or prizes.
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.
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. 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 and for download below.