Beware of Lottery Scams and Fraud

Everyone who plays the lottery is hoping to one day hear the same magic words: you won the jackpot. Because of this, there are more and more scammers and criminals out there looking for ways to benefit from people's desire to win the lottery. If these scammers succeed, they can end up walking away with people's personal information and, in the very worst cases, a lot of their money.

You should still be able to feel safe when playing the lottery online. That's why it's more important now than ever to know what simple steps you can take to avoid lottery scams. Continue reading to learn all about how lottery fraud works, what resources are available to you, and how theLotter Minnesota safeguards your private information, account, and winnings.

What is lottery fraud?

Lottery scams come in many different forms but they mostly work in similar ways.

The victim receives a message that they've won the lottery or that they've been "randomly selected" for a big prize. The victim will usually then be told that they need to pay a fee in advance in order to collect their winnings.

The unfortunate truth is that in these cases there isn't really any prize to be collected, and any money the victim pays out simply goes straight into the scammer's pocket.

The fact that criminals are constantly trying these sorts of tactics is scary, but the good news is that the more you know about lottery fraud, the more tools you have to avoid it.

How can you avoid lottery scams?

Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

  • You have to buy a lottery ticket in order to win. Treat any claim that you won a lottery you didn't play in or that you've "been randomly selected" as fraudulent.

  • An official lottery won't contact you directly if you win and will never ask for a fee or any personal details in order for you to collect a prize. theLotter Minnesota may notify you if you win a lottery prize, and you can always check your theLotter Minnesota account to confirm.

  • Don't click on links in unsolicited emails. If you receive a suspicious message, delete it.

  • Treat any offers for you to purchase a "winning ticket" from a stranger or for you to share a stranger's jackpot winnings as fraudulent.

How can you spot a fake lottery winning message?

People often receive a fake lottery winning message claiming to be from state or national lotteries. These messages can look pretty real and sometimes they even have authentic logos.

One thing to look for in these emails is typos and grammatical errors that a large, official organization probably wouldn't make.

More importantly, a legitimate lottery organization never contacts players this way. Players contact the lottery organization to claim their winnings, not the other way around.

If you believe you've received one of these scam messages make sure to delete it and not click on any of the links. Never call or speak on the phone with someone you believe is part of a lottery scam.

How does a Facebook lottery scam work?

Criminals have also taken to targeting people over social media websites such as Facebook.

Keep in mind that official lottery organizations such as the Minnesota Lottery do not and will not ever announce a win to you directly through social media. They also will never use social media to ask you to pay a fee.

A typical Facebook lottery scam to avoid is one in which a stranger contacts you and claims that they've recently won the lottery. They then offer to share their winnings with you. In order to receive those winnings you will then be asked to share personal details or pay an advance fee.

Such offers are not legitimate and you should not engage with them. In general, treat strangers on social media with suspicion, especially when it comes to financial matters.

How is theLotter Minnesota safe?

theLotter Minnesota is working hard to protect your personal and payment details while making sure that playing the lottery online is safe and secure.

Important things to understand about how theLotter Minnesota works include:

  • We are not a representative of an official lottery organization, we're a ticket messenger service that purchases lottery tickets on your behalf.

  • The only fee that theLotter Minnesota charges is a small service fee for buying your tickets when you make your ticket purchase.

  • You decide how you want us to notify you in the case of a win, and you can always change your notifications settings to suit your needs.

  • You can verify the information from any message you receive from us by logging in to your account.

  • Prizes under $600 are automatically transferred to your online account once received form the official lottery operator. If you win a prize larger than $600 we'll arrange for you to receive your winning ticket so that you can personally collect your winnings at a Minnesota Lottery office.

Most importantly, theLotter Minnesota will never charge you to collect a prize.

How do you report a lottery scam?

The Minnesota Lottery requests that you contact them directly about suspicious emails or messages by calling (641) 635-8273 and then pressing 2.

You can also file a lottery scam complaint on the Federal Trade Commission's website.

If you have been a victim of a scam, contact your local law enforcement as soon as possible.

For more information on player protection, visit the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and World Lottery Association websites.