PROTECT YOURSELF. BEWARE OF LOTTERY SCAMS.
The Maryland Lottery is committed to conducting business with honesty, integrity and transparency. However, illegal lotteries and scammers operate all across the globe, targeting innocent people via the phone, the Internet or by mail. These scammers notify unsuspecting “winners” in order to bilk them out of their savings. It is a growing problem in this country, but one that you can prevent if you protect yourself – and your money — from illegal scam (and scare) tactics. So what can you do to prevent you or your loved ones from becoming a victim? Listed below are important tips to help keep you safe from lottery scams.
- NEVER believe a letter, phone call or Internet message from someone who claims they can guarantee you a prize. Legitimate lotteries do not guarantee that you will win a prize and do not require people to send in money to play.
- NEVER agree to send money to anyone claiming to be a legitimate lottery representative. The Maryland Lottery will NEVER ask you to send money in exchange for a prize. Mega Millions and Powerball representatives will also never ask you to send money for a prize.
- NEVER pay processing fees, insurance or commissions to claim a lottery prize. Legitimate lotteries do not require winners to pay anything up front to receive a prize. In Maryland, taxes are automatically taken out of all Lottery prizes of $600 or more.
- NEVER accept a collect telephone call from someone claiming to be a lottery official! Legitimate lotteries do not call collect.
- NEVER purchase tickets from foreign lotteries by phone, mail or the Internet. The sale and trafficking in foreign lottery tickets is a violation of federal criminal law.
- NEVER agree to help a stranger cash a lottery ticket. If you are approached by a stranger asking for help cashing a ticket, contact Maryland Lottery Security at 410-230-8800. You should also contact your local law enforcement or police department.
- NEVER put up with threatening phone calls or letters of any kind. Even one is too much. If you are receiving numerous or continuous threatening messages of any kind, contact your local police department immediately.
- ALWAYS keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists will often ask for them with the goal of accessing your accounts and stealing your money.
REPORT SUSPICIOUS PHONE CALLS AND MAIL IMMEDIATELY.
If you receive suspicious telephone calls, letters or e-mail — or if you are ever in doubt about information that supposedly came from a legitimate lottery, call your local police department immediately. You should also contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-8662.
Remember, unless you specifically entered a Maryland Lottery promotion, you will never be contacted by Lottery officials informing you that you have won any prize.