You’ve won a massive Mega Millions jackpot. Now what?
You’ll want to remain anonymous and hide your immense financial windfall from the prying public, an inquisitive media, gossiping neighbors, and potential scam artists and thieves. See How to buy Mega Millions online.
Mega Millions: Anonymous States
These six states, through state legislation, allow Mega Millions winners to remain anonymous:
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
These states should be applauded for protecting the privacy of their residents.
“All but six states (DE, KS, MD, ND, OH, SC) have laws that require the lottery to release the name and city of residence to anyone who asks. Other states may offer to assist you in some way, including such things as the creation of trusts,” according to the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) which operates one of the world’s largest lotto games.
States With No Income Tax
The following six states won't tax your Mega Millions winnings:
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
California and Pennsylvania will exempt a resident's winnings so long as they bought their tickets in-state.
Most Winners Lose Privacy
This 2012 Mega Millions jackpot winner from Kansas was able to remain anonymous. Most jackpot winners aren't that lucky.
“Generally, you will want to hire an attorney to review the laws in your state to see what options you might have," according to MUSL. "Photos and press conferences are up to you for most, though some states add a requirement for photos on their tickets.”
Curse of the Mega Millions Jackpot
Winners are used as marketing props by lottery organizations to promote gambling to the general public. Lottery administrators are incentivized to grow revenues and margins.
Winners (who aren’t allowed to stay anonymous) are paraded before the media where they’re pressured to provide details about their personal lives and the circumstances that lead to the jackpot-winning ticket. As soon as their information is made known (name, occupation, where they're from), they become the target of thousands of criminals and people desperate for money.
Benefits of Anonymity
Here are several reasons why it’s better to remain anonymous after winning a Mega Millions jackpot:
- Multi-million dollar lottery winners instantly become targets by criminals, scam artists, and thieves. If they win a large enough Mega Millions jackpot, it can seem as if the entire country has placed a target on their backs.
- They are subject to extreme harassment by family, relatives, friends, and neighbors.
- Their personal lives are disclosed by the media. It can be emotionally lonely and winners often become paranoid.
- Many winners move to a distant location (often to a different state or country) for safety and anonymity.
- Each year, they receive thousands of requests for money, some from phony charities.
- Most people they encounter will have hidden and/or financial motivations for establishing a friendship or relationship. Some will create schemes in an attempt to extract a cash donation from the winner.
- Many people will resort to extortion and blackmail. These crimes are easier to attempt with the advent of cellphone cameras and recording devices. A one-night stand could lead to a sex tape.
- Once the check clears the bank account, investing, privacy, security, and genuine relationships become critical priorities.
Large Lotto Prizes Result in Media Frenzy
According to MUSL: “Check with your state lottery to see if photos or more are required. Most of the time, it is advisable to get it over with the press so that you don't have one or more reporters following you around to get that ‘exclusive’ interview.”
The organization adds: “Even if the you can keep your identity secret from the press and the public, you will have to be known to the lottery - so they can confirm that you are eligible to play and win.”
Here are a few places on the Internet where you can purchase Mega Millions lottery tickets: