Scammers are using new tactics to bilk people out of thousands.
PHOENIX (November 30, 2022) – Months after an Arizona Lottery player won the $473 million Powerball Jackpot back in April, a report of a scam text purporting to be from the winner is prompting the Arizona Lottery to warn against falling victim to this despicable crime.
In this most recent instance, the scammer stole $11,000 from a Florida woman by pretending to be the anonymous Powerball jackpot winner.
We’ve seen similar scams in the past, where the scammer claims to want to give strangers money to donate to worthy causes. This time the scammer just claims to want to give the victim money, if the victim will pay them money first. The text even includes a link to a genuine news story about this lucky winner to give it credibility.
- Do not be fooled. The Arizona Lottery never reaches out to players asking for their personal information. We don’t know who has even purchased a ticket until they claim their prize. This is a total and complete scam.
- Do not click any links. Scammers can use these links to steal your personal information.
- Do not respond in any way. Responding lets the scammers know that your contact information is good and they will only try harder to steal your information and your money. If you respond, the scammers will try to trick you into sending them money or personal information by claiming that they want to share their lottery prize with you. They often target older people and have been known to wipe out victims’ retirement savings.
The scammers do this by trying to get you to wire money for “taxes” or “fees.” They may also try to get you to give them your bank account number, which they will then clean out. Another trick is to send you a bogus “check” and ask you to send money back to cover expenses. It is only after you have sent your own money that you discover the check you received is counterfeit.
Here are some tips that can prevent you from being scammed:
- Be suspicious if a message contains factual errors, misspellings or poor grammar.
- Be suspicious if you are told that you need to keep this confidential.
- Never open an email message from an address that you do not recognize. - Be certain to examine all URLs prior to clicking on them, paying careful attention to errant spellings.
- Never give out personal information or send money. You do not have to pay anyone any money to claim a Lottery prize.
- If they offer to wire the money directly into your bank account, do not give them your bank account information.
- If you think someone is trying to scam you, do not communicate with them in any way. If you do, your name and contact information could end up on a list that’s shared with other scammers.
- When in doubt, feel free to call Arizona Lottery headquarters and check with us yourself.
The Federal Trade Commission has more information on fake lottery and other scams at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0086-international-lottery-scams. To file a complaint or get free information call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). If you have been the victim of a scam, contact your local police or sheriff’s office or state police.