February is national Scams Awareness Month, and in recognition of the month-long initiative, the Missouri Lottery is reminding players of ways to protect themselves and to be cautious of “too-good-to-be-true” situations.
“Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for unsuspecting people to be targeted by others with deceitful intentions,” said May Scheve Reardon, executive director of the Missouri Lottery. “These situations typically seem too good to be true.”
Just last year, the Missouri Lottery was made aware of a national mail scam posing as the Missouri Lottery. The scammers claimed that recipients won a monetary prize and required them to send money to cover costs associated with the prize.
Scammers, who were once limited to targeting victims by the phone and mail, have evolved and are now targeting people on new frontiers.
“We’ve even heard reports from people being directly contacted by organizations or people they don’t know on social media. These situations typically promise a big prize in return for an up-front payment,” continued Reardon. “As a general rule of thumb, any situation requiring people to provide money in order to claim a prize should be considered a red flag.”
Reardon added that since it is impossible for the Lottery to know who has won Draw Games and Scratchers prizes until they are claimed at a Lottery office, the Lottery will never be able to contact players to notify them that they have won such a prize. She also urged the public to make themselves aware of the safeguards put in place by the Missouri Lottery.
In addition to having their tickets checked by a Missouri Lottery licensed retailer, players can also check their Draw Games and Scratchers tickets by scanning the unique barcodes printed on tickets with Check-A-Ticket (CAT) machines located at retail locations. Players can also look up winning Draw Games numbers at MOLottery.com. All promotional prize winners can confirm if they have won a prize by verifying that their name appears on a winners list on MOLottery.com.
When in doubt, contact the Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline (800-392-8222) or the Missouri Lottery (573-751-4050) to report suspicious activity.
A Missouri Lottery-produced scams brochure titled, “Don’t Get Scammed!” can be found at playcenters at all Lottery retail locations throughout Missouri. The brochure includes key security facts about the Missouri Lottery, a list of common types of scams, ways for players to find out if they have won a prize and contact information. Additional security information can be found at MOLottery.com under the “About Us” section.