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.