Scam of the day – January 15, 2016 – Powerball lottery scams

By now everyone is aware that three winning tickets for the 1.6 billion dollar record Powerball lottery were sold in California, Florida and Tennessee.  However, merely because the lottery drawing has been completed, does not mean that scams related to the drawing have ended.  Year after year, lottery scams are one of the most common and profitable scams for scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists.  What is now happening is that people are being contacted by emails or phone messages and told that although they did not win the top prize, they did win one of the lesser prizes which can be as much as a million dollars.  The only catch is that you need to prepay administrative fees or income taxes on your winnings before your prize will be sent to you.

TIPS

Because hundreds of millions of tickets were sold for this latest Powerball drawing it is a good chance that when you are contacted by a scammer posing as a Powerball lottery agent, that you may have purchased a ticket or two, however, it is important to remember that the lottery commissions that operate Powerball do not have any information as to who purchased particular tickets so if you get a call or an email from someone saying that your ticket is a winner, it is a scam.  In addition, administrative fees are never assessed as a condition of receiving a legitimate lottery prize.  As for income taxes, legitimate lotteries never collect taxes from you as a condition of claiming your prize.  Either,as Powerball does, the taxes are deducted from your prize before you receive the prize or, as some lotteries operate, the entire prize is sent to you and you are responsible for paying the taxes yourself to the IRS. Finally, it is important to remember that even if your Caller ID indicates that the call you receive is from the lottery commission, scammers can use a technique called spoofing to make it appear that their call is coming from the lottery commission when it is really coming from a scammer.

Scam of the day – January 6, 2016 – Expanding investigation into fixing of state lotteries

As many people around the country are eagerly awaiting tonight’s estimated 450 million dollar multi-state Powerball lottery drawing, it seems like a good time to look at the continuing saga of Eddie Tipton. Last July I informed you of the conviction of Eddie Tipton, the former security director of the Multi-State Lottery Association  of electronically rigging the Iowa Hot Lotto game enabling him to buy the winning 16.5 million dollar ticket.  The jury believed the evidence that indicated that Tipton used a  portable USB drive to install malware on to the computer that picked the winning number.  The computer is not accessible to the Internet in order to prevent tampering and only four people including Tipton had access to the room where the computer was housed.  The closed circuit camera that recorded activity in the room had been wiped clean.  In addition, the sophisticated malware used by Tipton was self-deleting and left utterly no trace on the lottery computer.  However, despite the lack of either photographic evidence showing Tipton actually tampering with the computer or evidence of the precise malware used, after a week’s deliberations, the jury found Tipton guilty of two counts of fraud and he is facing a potential prison sentence of ten years.  Tipton is presently free while his case is being appealed.

Now, however, the investigation of Tipton has expanded into accusations that over a six year period he tampered with the lotteries of as many as 40 states that used the random number generators of the Multi-State Lottery Association of which Tipton was the former security director.    Already lottery officials in Colorado, Wisconsin and Oklahoma have confirmed that they paid winnings worth 8 million dollars to Tipton associates including Tipton’s college roommate.

TIPS

No computer system is foolproof, however this case does highlight vulnerabilities in the computer security systems used to protect the honesty of state sponsored lotteries.   By the way, Tipton had no involvement with the multi-state Powerball game.

Scam of the day – September 19, 2013 – Powerball lottery scam

Following up on September 17th’s Scam of the day, today’s Scam of the day is a phony lottery scam that comes right from my own email and it may come from yours too.  It is reproduced below and you will see when you read it that the grammar is atrocious.  You may particularly notice the persistent lack of an “s” on the word that should be “states.”  Many of the phony lottery scams that you receive originate in foreign countries where English is a second language.  This particular scam email came from an address with “powerball” in the email address, but it is easy to create or spoof an email address that appears genuine even though it is not.  This particular email also had no logo and did not look particularly official, but it still may appeal to someone whose greed blinds them to the fact that you can’t win a lottery you do not enter.  As with all phony lotteries, once you make contact with the phony lottery sponsor, you soon learn that you have to pay fees or taxes in order to claim your prize.  Unfortunately, too many people pay the scammers and none of them ever receive anything.

Here is a copy of what I received.

“POWERBALL JACKPOT
UNITED STATE MICHIGAN.
+ 1- 7027518845
POWERBALL JACKPOT AWARD NOTIFICATION
We happily announce to you the draw of the Powerball Jackpot Promotions
for the year 2013 at our Powerball Jackpot Draw Headquarters Michigan
United State organized by Powerball. This is to inform you that you have
won prize money of USD$400,000.00 (Four Hundred Thousand United State
Dollars).
Powerball Jackpot Inc. arranged and gathered some of all the e-mail
addresses of the people that are active online, among the millions that
subscribed to all Email Providers most especially Yahoo and Hotmail , we
only selected Twenty (20) candidates per annually as our winners through
Electronic Balloting System (EBS) without the candidate applying with
ticket numbers, we congratulate you for being one of our lucky winners.
For more information on past winners
http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/18/news/penobscot/former-east-millinocket-resident-who-won-powerball-jackpot-buys-1-175-million-home-in-florida/?ref=mostReadBoxNews
PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
We are sorry that your Payment Approval File was sent to London due to
we have about 14 lucky winners in United State, in other for your claim
to be cleared and paid simultaneously You are to contact our Customer
Service Information Headquarters on or before your date of Claim.
Powerball Jackpot Prize must be claimed not later than 14 days from date
of Draw Notification after the Draw date in which Prize has won.
Note: Any prize not claimed within this period (14 days) will be
forfeited.
These are your Powerball Jackpot identification numbers:
Ticket number: 545 188 5656,
Prize # 778209US/US,
Winning Number: 4653US/N,
Serial number 538/013
Lucky numbers: 17 98 67 46
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE:
Simply contact our Customer Service Information Headquarters (CSIH
Department),
Dr Rev. Michael Lewis
E-mail: revmichael.lewis@outlook.com
revmichael.lewis5060@gmail.com
IMPORTANT NOTICE
Send these following information’s to the CSIH Department immediately
for further procession.
1 Full Name: ………………………………………………..
2 Cell phone:…………………………………………………
Or Telephone:………………………………………………..
3 Contact Address …………………………………………
4 Date of birth ………………………………………………
5 Age…………………………………………………………
6 Occupation………………………………………………..
7
Sex…………………………………………………………..
8 Marital Status……………………………………………
9 Country of Origin……………………………………………
10 Print out and sign your signature……………………………
11 What is your comment for Powerball Jackpot?
12 What is your advice for Powerball Jackpot?
13 How do you feel as a lucky winner on the Powerball Jackpot?
14 A Scan copy of your photo passport size——————–
KEEP YOUR WINNING PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL UNTIL YOU RECEIVE YOUR PRIZE
MONEY.
NOTE THAT NOBODY OR EVEN THE APPOINTED BANK HAS THE RIGHT TO TOUCH,
DEDUCT OR GET ACCESS TO YOUR PRIZE MONEY FOR ANY REASON THEY HAVE BEEN
WARNED STRICTLY!
For security reasons, we advice all winners to keep this information
confidential from the public until your claim is processed and your
prize released to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid
double claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this program by
non-participant or unofficial personnel.
Congratulations once again on your winnings!!!
Yours in service,
Frank Bruce
POWERBALL NOTIFICATION OFFICE
Copyright (c) 2013 Powerball Jackpot Promotions.”

TIP

I have warned you many times and unfortunately I will have to continue to warn people that you do not win lotteries that you do not enter and you do not pay fees and taxes to a lottery sponsor in order to claim a prize.  It is as plain and simple as that.  Don’t fall for phony lotteries.