Kentuckians hoping to cash in on soaring Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots should also be on alert for increases in scam calls, emails and letters claiming they have won millions.
Attorney General Andy Beshear issued a Scam Alert today to help Kentuckians identify and avoid common lottery and sweepstakes scams.
Beshear’s office receives regular lottery and sweepstakes scam complaints and works with victims to help recover losses. A total of last year’s reports suggests Kentuckians lost more than $320,000 to such scams, including a Mercer County resident who lost more than $36,000.
“Every day, criminals use fake lotteries and sweepstakes to steal from Kentucky families,” said Beshear. “As lottery jackpots grow, so do the number of lottery scams. Kentuckians can avoid falling victim by knowing these calls or mailings are scams.”
Lottery and sweepstakes scams can usually be identified when someone makes contact over the phone, email or social media and says you have won cash, a trip or another valuable prize. However, in order to claim the winnings you must first send money to “cover fees, taxes or insurance.” Once the money is sent, the prize is never received.
Beshear offers the following tips to help Kentuckians avoid these scams:
- Never pay up front to receive a prize or lottery winnings.
- Never provide your personal or financial information to someone who contacts you unexpectedly over the phone or through email or social media.
- Never use methods of payment that are hard to trace and recover like wire transfers, money orders or gift cards.
- Never call an out-of-country phone number to claim your winnings.
Beshear encourages anyone with possible information regarding lottery scam activity to report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.
One of Beshear’s top priorities is to protect Kentucky consumers, especially seniors, from scams, abuse and exploitation.
Beshear recommends Kentuckians stay ahead of scammers by signing up for Scam Alerts. To enroll text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.