The New Jersey Lottery recently issued a warning about a number of lottery related scams turning up on social media, emails and through phone calls.  Some of the scams involve notifying you that you have won the lottery and that you need to provide personal information or pay a fee in order to collect your prize.  Other times, you are told that you are among the few lucky people that a lottery winner has chosen to share his or her lottery winning with.  Many people may not remember the name of Mavis L. Wanczyk, but she was the lucky winner of a 758 million dollar Powerball drawing in 2017. Not long after she claimed her prize, a scam started appearing in which many people received an email with the message line referring to the Mavis L. Wanczyk Cash Grant. The email indicated that you were chosen to receive a large cash grant from Mavis L. Wanczyk. All the lucky strangers receiving the emails had to do was provide personal information in order to qualify for the grant. Phony social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were also set up in Ms. Wanczyk’s name through which people were contacted with the same phony offer of free money informing them that in order to qualify for the grant they merely needed to provide personal information.

TIPS

It is difficult to win a lottery you have entered. It is impossible to win one that you have never entered and neither lottery winners, nor anyone else is sending out messages through the Internet offering free money to anyone who responds with personal information.  No legitimate lottery will notify you by social media, phone or email requesting personal information.  Providing personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information in order to direct the wiring of funds merely results in your becoming a victim of identity theft and/or your bank account being looted.  Never give out personal information that can make you vulnerable to identity theft unless you have absolutely verified that the party requesting the personal information is legitimate and has a legitimate need for the information.  Also, no fees are required to be paid in order to collect legitimate lottery prizes and taxes are either deducted from your winnings before your prize is given to you or are left up to the lottery winners to deal directly with the IRS about their taxes.  No legitimate lottery collects taxes from winners.  As for lottery winners picking random people with whom they wish to share their winnings, all of those offers are scams.

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