Mega Millions E-mail Scam Alert
Illinois Lottery Warns Players Not to be Fooled
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Tracy Owens (312) 793-1682 (office)|
Chicago – December 17, 2009 – Illinois Lottery officials today are warning consumers about a recent e-mail scam, and are warning the public not to be fooled. A fake e-mail message has been circulating that includes images such as the Mega Millions logo which makes it appear genuine.
The e-mails are unauthorized and part of a “phishing” scam designed to defraud money or gain personal information from consumers.
A copy of the e-mail message, obtained by Mega Millions, includes the following language: “Congratulation! Our database showed your E-mail address was one of the selected jackpot winners of the sum of $520,000.00. Please complete the details below to file your claim and email to our fiduciary agent to process your payment immediately.”
This message also lists an e-mail address for a “United Kingdom Fiduciary Agent” and photos of actual Mega Millions winners, which may have been pulled from the Mega Millions Web site.
If you receive this or a similar message, do not respond. It is a scam, likely designed to get personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims.
The only way to win a Mega Millions prize is with a valid Mega Millions ticket. Winners are not selected by e-mail address, nor are they contacted that way. Furthermore, there is no “fiduciary agent” and no Mega Millions agent of any sort in the United Kingdom.
“These messages contain false and misleading information, and we don’t want to see the public fall victim to these criminals,” said Illinois Lottery Acting Superintendent Jodie Winnett. “Players should always be wary of any unsolicited communications they receive from the Illinois Lottery. Con artists are vigilant in trying to get something for nothing and we want our players to be just as vigilant in protecting themselves.”
For more scam information, visit the “Protect Yourself” section of the Illinois Lottery Web site at the following link: http://illinoislottery.com/subsections/Securityaware.htm.
Anyone with questions about Illinois Lottery games and rules should contact the Lottery Player Hotline at 1-800-252-1775, or visit the official Web site at http://www.illinoislottery.com.
Other helpful tips for protecting yourself against scammers are below:
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You cannot win a lottery for which you did not buy tickets. If you receive a “winner” notice for a drawing you never entered, be suspicious.
- Never give money or valuables to a stranger to redeem a lottery prize. “Good faith” money or banking information is never required by the Illinois Lottery to claim a prize.
- Never accept a collect call from anyone claiming to be a Lottery official.
- Never reveal your credit card and/or bank information to anyone unless you are certain the contact is legitimate and from a reputable company with whom you have a long-term relationship.
- The Illinois Lottery only requires credit card information when you contact them directly to purchase or renew a Mega Millions, Lotto or Little Lotto subscription.
- If you receive a telephone call from a direct marketer who promises instant lottery prizes, hang up. No lotteries in the U.S., including the Illinois Lottery conduct business in that matter.
- Report suspicious “lottery” material to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or call 1-800-FTC-HELP. You can also contact the Illinois Lottery at www.illinoislottery.com or at 800-252-1775.
Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $18 billion to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto at www.illinoislottery.com. Players must be at least 18 years old.