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California Lottery warns of fake lottery scams

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Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 22, 2022

The California Lottery is warning people about potential scams.

Tax season is ripe time for fraudulent activities. For years, the Lottery has heard about scam artists posing as Lottery staff in an attempt to steal personal information from unsuspecting victims.

“We’re also hearing about emails from scammers who claim to be connected to some of our bigger winners; they say they’ve been ‘chosen’ to receive some of the prize money,” said Carolyn Becker, California Lottery spokesperson. “It’s clearly an attempt to dupe people; the Lottery always verifies big winners with a rigorous investigative process to ensure they’re legitimate.”

Earlier this week, KSBY warned viewers about fraudulent messages and social media posts. Scammers are using a Central Coast Powerball winner's name and his interview with KSBY in fake giveaway schemes to dupe victims out of money.

Lottery officials are reminding people:

  • The Lottery NEVER charges players to claim their prize or asks for any money up front.
  • A Lottery official would NEVER personally contact you about winning a jackpot before an official claim form is filed.
  • There’s absolutely NO WAY to win a lottery prize if you don’t play a lottery game.

“We take this issue extremely seriously,” said California Lottery Director Alva V. Johnson. “Unfortunately, scam artists are often quite sophisticated, which is why we have a robust team of law enforcement officers at the Lottery who investigate prize claims and help ensure our operation maintains the highest integrity.”

The Lottery offers the following tips to avoid falling victim to a scam:

  • Never give your credit card, social security number, bank account information, or any other sensitive information to anyone promising lottery cash prizes;
  • Be suspicious of “urgent” solicitations that suggest you will lose a prize if you don’t act immediately;
  • Buy lottery tickets only from authorized California lottery retailers, of which there are more than 23,000 locations, and none of which are online.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Lottery also has a customer service phone line, 1-800-LOTTERY, for people to call if they see fraudulent activity and/or need assistance with a claim form.