FBI Warns About Mega Millions Scam

scam
Friday March 15, 2019 09:57 am

The Lottery Lab Staff

The FBI’s Atlanta office is warning of a scam involving the Mega Millions Lottery. The scammers are not only using the name of the lottery agency but is also sending out emails under the name of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). People contacted the authorities claiming that they had recieved “very convincing” fake letters under the name of the aforementioned agencies claiming that the recipient had won the lottery.

An FBI spokesperson said, “they begin with sending a letter to the victim under the name of Mega Millions, claiming that they’ve won and then ask them to send money by wire as security to ‘secure’ their winnings”.  The FBI asks people to stay away from such frauds and stresses that legitimate lottery associations never contact winners directly and certainly don’t ask for the money transfer.

Mega Millions scams usually come in the form of advance-fee cons in which scammers contact individuals and falsely claim that the person is a winner.  Then they request an upfront fee to claim and secure the winnings. They ask for a small amount (typically in the range of thousands of dollars) in exchange for securing a comparatively large amount (typically in the range of millions of dollars).

In this article, you are going to read about the various type of scams that lottery players should be aware of to avoid them.

Important Note: It is not possible to win a prize for a lottery that you have not entered in the first place. Mega Millions authorities are never going to contact you regarding a win and will certainly not ask for an upfront fee before you receive your winnings.

How to identify a Mega Millions Scam?

  • Victim is asked to pay an upfront fee in the name of security or taxes. Mega Millions (or any other lottery association) is never going to ask for “security” or taxes before you receive your winnings.
  • The correspondence sent to the victim will indicate that they are required to act to claim their prize as soon as possible and urges them to keep it ‘confidential’. This is intended to prevent the receiver from seeking advice from others as it may expose their scam.  
  • Be alert for poor grammar or vocabulary used in the email or letter. Moreover, scammers tend address the receiver as “holder”, “reader”, or “email holder”, rather than addressing the victim by name.
  • Don’t be fooled by letters or emails that appear legitimate and authentic. In today’s world of digital images and Photoshop, it is easy to create convincing images and use the name of legitimate lottery associations or other government agencies like Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Type of Mega Millions Scams

Email

This scam begins by sending an email to the victim. This is the easiest and most common way to execute a scam. The email conveys that the receiver has won a huge sum in the lottery and they need to transfer or wire the money to “secure” their winnings. Once they are done paying their taxes and other expenses, victims are told that they will receive their cash prize. Such emails usually have a link, at the end of the mail. The link redirects the victim to a bogus website where they can claim their winnings. This scam is a variation on typical “phishing” techniques meant to trick victims into sharing personal information. The link in the email can also be used to gain access to personal data through the user’s  device.

Mail

Similar to the email scam, mail can also convince that you’ve won a huge sum of money in the lottery and they need you to mail back a portion of the sum you’re going to receive in the future as security and other expenses.  Since many people are alert to email scams, traditional mail scams can feel more authentic and make it more difficult to immediately check if others are receiving the same message.

Phone Calls

Scammers can target victims via phone calls simply by calling from unknown numbers and telling victims that the caller is working on behalf of a legitimate lottery association. The scammer will claim that you’ve won a huge sum in the lottery and then ask for bank account or credit card details because they need you to pay an upfront fee to secure your winning. They will compel you to act upon it immediately without consulting any professional advisor or even family member, for the obvious reasons. Be cautious as scammers often use specific area codes that look like domestic US phone numbers to trick victims.  These numbers include 473 (Grenada), 268 (Antigua) and 876 (Jamaica).

Text Messages

Scammers can also target their victims via text messaging simply by telling them that they’ve won something great. Sometimes to claim the prize, they ask the victim to call the number back, often on a premium rate number.

Social Media

Social Media is another platform used by scammers to execute their scams. Users can expect messages or posts on their personal Facebook profiles from fake profiles claiming that they’ve won a Mega Millions prize. Then they are told to act immediately upon it and follow a specific, often suspicious link to claim their prize.

Be aware of the frauds and always take cautious steps before giving out your personal details. If you believe that you have been contacted by a Mega Millions scammers, you can file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which is a consumer protection agency: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov