Pennsylvania Lottery Officials Warn Players of Jamaican Mega Millions Scam

  • Residents are contacted by an individual with a Caribbean accent saying they won a lottery prize
  • The caller requests advance payment for taxes on the win or to cover processing fees
  • The Pennsylvania Lottery has provided warning signs of which players should be aware
hand holding a cellphone with its screen containing the words scam alert
Pennsylvania Lottery officials have alerted players to a new scam in which a caller based in Jamaica claims to be able to award winners Mega Millions prizes. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

New lottery scam reported

Pennsylvania Lottery officials are warning players to be cautious, as a Jamaican Mega Millions lottery scam has been making the rounds. Over the past few weeks, Pennsylvanians have reported to the Lottery that they have been contacted by someone with a Caribbean accent saying they won a Mega Millions sweepstakes or another game prize. The scammer asks for payment, putting victims at risk of losing money.

The Lottery has provided details for players to watch out for, adding that they should report any contact they receive to the Lottery.

Not the way the Lottery works

With this most recent scam, the caller tells the victim that they have won a Mega Millions sweepstakes or another prize from a well-known lottery game. The victim is then told they need to make a payment to cover taxes on the win or the cost of processing the prize. Those who pay the requested amount naturally lose the cash and are never paid the prize promised.

these types of scams are common, especially during a time of crisis

Pennsylvania lottery executive director Drew Svitko said that these types of scams are common, especially during a time of crisis. With the pandemic, people are more vulnerable and might be more open to sending money to such a scam in the hopes of receiving funds.

Svitko pointed out that the Lottery will contact a player if they have won a Second-Chance drawing or a giveaway where an entry was submitted. They also call to collect a story on a win.

“We never call or e-mail people at random,” he added.

Scammers have gotten quite creative in the way they present false claims. Sometimes, the individual will take on a false identify of a real employee of the lottery, since they can easily find employees’ names online. The scammer may also use made-up information like a badge number to try to appear legitimate.

Warning Signs

According to the Pennsylvania Lottery, scam operators are often based offshore and are unreachable to law enforcement in the US. The scammer will create a fake website to hide where they are located and even use a spoofed telephone number, so it appears as though they are calling from somewhere in the United States.

There are warning signs that players can look for when it comes to such scams, including being asked to purchase a pre-paid debit card to pay for taxes or a processing fee. The lottery does not require you to do this.

Never give out bank routing numbers or account numbers.

If you are asked for personal financial information, it is a sure sign of a scam. Never give out bank routing numbers or account numbers. With e-mail scams, if you see misspelled words or poor grammar, it is a sign of a scam.

The Lottery encourages anyone who has received suspicious e-mails or calls to contact them. Contact information can be found on the Lottery’s website.

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