MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — In the wake of a newly reported email scam, the Pennsylvania Lottery is again cautioning consumers to be wary of emails, phone calls and social media messages from scammers posing as a “claim officer” or “claim agent”.
“These types of scams are quite common and difficult to prosecute because the scammers are usually based outside of the country,” said Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. “The Pennsylvania Lottery will only contact you if you have won a second-chance drawing or giveaway into which you submitted an entry – we never call or email people at random.”
The latest reported scam attempt is an email that falsely claims to be from the Pennsylvania Lottery.
“We happily announce to you the draw of Pennsylvania Lottery program held this year 2017.mYou have won 1,000,000 in cash and prize (1 Million U S D ) from Pennsylvania Lottery online draw 2017.
“Your Email Identity was one of the selected email all over the world in the lottery draw and it comes out one of the lucky winning number.
You are to contact claims Officer via email below for claims procedures.
Mr Howard Boyer.”
The email includes a gmail.com email address as well as a phone number with a 281 area code, neither of which are associated with the Pennsylvania Lottery.
“Not only do we not have an employee by that name, the typos and grammatical errors should stand out as red flags to recipients that this email is, in fact, a scam,” Svitko added. “Should you receive it, do not reply to it.”
Scammers will falsely claim to represent a lottery organization, sometimes posing as real employees whose names can be found through the Internet.
Scammers will sometimes offer a “badge number” or other made-up information to try to sound legitimate. They’ll also use the names of real lotteries and lottery games, including multi-state games like Mega Millions®.
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.
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.
“We always say that when in doubt, check it out,” Svitko said. “Our website contains a contact page to help players reach our headquarters office. By looking it up on your own, you’re making sure you’re reaching the right place.”
The Federal Trade Commission has more information on fake lottery and other scams at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0086-international-lottery-scams.
To file a complaint or get free information call toll-free, 1-877-382-4357. If you have been the victim of a scam, contact your local police or sheriff’s office or state police.
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