Lottery Reminds Consumers Of Ongoing Lottery Scams
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Mike Lang 217-524-5158|
Chicago, IL— January 31, 2014 — The Illinois Lottery reminds everyone in Illinois to be on guard against recurring Lottery scams that ask consumers to pay cash or provide personal banking/credit information as part of bogus claims for non-existent Lottery prizes. These scams can be initiated and carried out through emails, telephone calls, face-to-face interactions, or U.S. mail.
Recent scams circulating in northern Illinois include imposters posing as Lottery representatives who contact consumers via telephone and/or email and alert them to an alleged (bogus) Lottery win that requires the consumer to send money to the scammer to claim their “prize.”
A woman from Lake in the Hills Illinois contacted the Lottery January 28 with a new twist to a familiar scam: she received a convincing looking email from what appeared to be a Hellenic Bank official who was seeking to award $920,000 to the woman as a charitable gesture from the Red Bud Illinois couple who won $218.6 million in March 2012. The bogus email included a photo ID of the alleged bank official, and a link to a story about the Red Bud Illinois winners. “Everyone in Illinois has heard about the Red Bud winners,” she told Lottery officials in Springfield. “It made me realize there might be a lot of people fooled by this particular scam.”
“Potential Lottery scams are now daily occurrences in Illinois, throughout the rest of the United States, and many foreign countries,” said Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones. “If anyone calls, or emails, or stops you on the street to ‘award’ you a lottery cash prize, contact the authorities; it’s very likely a scam!”
Jones said the Illinois Lottery does not call players to announce a prize claim, nor does it ask anyone to send money before a prize can be paid. Lottery prizes up to $600 can be claimed at most Lottery retail locations; prizes over $600 may be submitted to one of five Lottery prize centers located across Illinois, including the Lottery’s claims office in Springfield.
Points to keep in mind:
- If someone stops you on the street claiming to have won a Lottery prize that cannot be redeemed due to their status as a non-U.S. citizen, beware. They will likely try to sell you the “big winning” Lottery ticket at a discounted price, and offer to drive you to your bank to withdraw your money to pay for the bogus ticket.
- 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 highly 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.
- Be dubious of anyone who claims to be a Lottery official giving away money or merchandise.
- 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.
- 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 this manner.
For more scam-prevention 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 can contact the Lottery Player Hotline at 800-252-1775, or visit http://www.illinoislottery.gov.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan offers an “Every Cent Counts Guide,” which include tips on how to avoid falling victim to lottery or counterfeit check scams. More information is available at the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/filecomplaint.html) which operates from three Illinois offices: Chicago: 800-386-5438; Springfield: 800-243-0618; Carbondale; 800-243-0607
Internet fraud complaints may be filed at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx ), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
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.