MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — There is a Pennsylvania Lottery scam originating in Jamaica that has been reported to Pennsylvania Lottery officials in recent weeks.
Callers who have reported the scam say a person with a Caribbean accent calls them to tell them they are a winner of a fictitious Mega Millions sweepstakes or that they have won a prize from another well-known game.
“Unfortunately, these types of scams are quite common — especially during times of crisis, such as a pandemic, when people may be vulnerable,” said Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. “It’s important to know that the Pennsylvania Lottery will only contact players if they won a Second-Chance Drawing, a giveaway into which a player may have submitted an entry, or to collect their winning story. We never call or email people at random.”
Many scam operators are located offshore, beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Scammers will often set up fake websites and telephone switchboards to hide their whereabouts, creating a “spoofed” phone number which makes it appear on a caller ID display that a call is coming from a real entity or a U.S. area code.
Other warning signs of a scam include:
- If you are told to buy a pre-paid debit card to pay an up-front “processing fee” or taxes – this is a major hallmark of a scam.
- If you are asked for personal financial information, such as bank account routing numbers.
- If you’re told the supposed prize is in pounds, euros, or anything other than dollars.
- If an e-mail contains poor grammar or misspellings, or if a caller states they are — or sounds as if they could be — calling from outside the United States.
- If you are instructed to keep the news of your supposed “win” a secret.
- If you are told that you can “verify” the prize by calling a certain number. That number may be part of the scam. Instead of calling it, look up the lottery or organization on your own to find out its real contact information, then call and ask to speak with security.
There is a page on the PA Lottery website that you go to contact the lottery if you receive this scam call.
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