Fake lottery scams are relatively common and can look very real. Here are some pointers to avoid being victimized by lottery scams:
- The Mississippi Lottery does not contact the winner. We don’t even know who the winner is until they step forward to claim a prize.
- In online games such as Powerball®, the lottery knows only the winning numbers drawn and where the ticket was sold. The winner must keep their ticket and confirm to lottery officials the numbers on the ticket. If a winner does not step forward with the winning numbers, no one wins the prize.
- A legitimate lottery never asks winners to pay taxes upfront. All federal and state taxes are paid before the lottery releases the money to the winner.
- Lotteries of foreign countries are illegal in the United States. No legitimate foreign lottery sells tickets in the United States. If you have been contacted by a lottery claiming to be affiliated with the government of another country, it is a scam.
- Finally, if you did not buy a ticket, you cannot win a lottery prize. If you have been contacted by a “lottery” claiming you won a prize, but you have never purchased a ticket, it is a scam.
If you think you’re a victim of fraud or attempted fraud by someone posing as a representative of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, please report it to the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division at (601) 359-4230 or toll-free at (800) 281-4418.