“You have won!” Yippeeee! NOT! Let’s see if you’re in that percentage of the population who will fall for this lottery scam. The alert can be an e-mail, snail mail or phone call, claiming you won a bundle of money. But keep this alert a secret due to some “mix-up in names” and you must contact a “claims agent.” You then must pay “processing charges” or “transfer fees.” You then wait. And wait. And wait.
There’s one born every minute. Many scammers use the names of valid lottery organizations, but this doesn’t mean the legit entities are involved.
The latest con is to tell someone they won a Powerball jackpot while planning on stealing their identity. This happened to Jim Shella, a newsman from Indianapolis. From a random number he received several texts mentioning his name and saying he won.
Deputy Attorney General Terry Tolliver knew this was a scam. A text requested Shella’s Facebook screen name for confirmation. The requests for personal information, in these scams, will escalate. Shella texted back asking for identification. The answer: “This is Agent Paul, the delivery consultant for Powerball.” When Shella said he had no winning ticket, Agent Paul said that none were necessary to collect the $26,500.
Shella said he was a reporter and asked Agent Paul if he wanted to be in a story. Agent Paul asked if Shella wanted his winnings. Tolliver warns that these scammers will attempt to suck enough information out of you to steal your identity. Though Shella was playing head games with the crook, it’s best to delete the first text message you get like this and never respond.
How to recognize a lottery scam
- You can’t win without a ticket. Period. So if someone claims you won, and you didn’t buy a ticket, it’s a scam.
- You must pay a fee. Legitimate operations subtract fees and taxes from the winnings rather than demand you pay an amount in order to collect the prize.
- Scams almost always originate from free e-mail accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail.