Mega Millions Reminds Players About Lottery Scams as Jackpot Balloons to $792M

Posted on: March 14, 2024, 08:56h. 

Last updated on: March 14, 2024, 11:24h.

Officials with the Mega Millions Consortium are reminding players about lottery scams as the game’s jackpot continues to grow nearer the 10-digit mark.

Mega Millions lottery scams
An example of a common lottery scam uses Mega Millions letterhead to pose as a legitimate notice. Mega Millions officials are warning players to be on the lookout for such lottery scams. (Image: Mega Millions Consortium)

Mega Millions is played in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Along with Powerball, Mega Millions is the most popular lottery product in the country. But that leaves the game prone to scammers seeking to dupe players into divulging confidential information.

Big jackpots capture the attention of the public and the media, leading to excitement about the possibilities of a big win. At the same time, they draw more attention from would-be scammers. While people need to be vigilant at all times, this is especially true during periods of larger jackpots,” a Mega Millions statement read.

The Mega Millions jackpot hasn’t been hit since December 8. There have since been 27 drawings without a single ticket matching the five drawn white balls and the gold Mega Ball.

The estimated jackpot for the next Mega Millions drawing this Friday is an estimated $792 million, with the cash option at $381.8 million. Both prizes are before federal and possibly state taxes. 

Scam Surefire Signs

The Mega Millions statement explains common ploys scammers have used to deceive people into providing personal information that can be used for illicit activity if it falls into the wrong hands.

The lottery group says emails, texts, and social media messages telling you that you’ve won a big cash prize or other award like a car are almost always a con. There are exceptions like state lotteries that permit online ticket sales notifying winners via email. But consumers would be smart to investigate the true origin of the message before responding.

The Mega Millions statement says it’s always a fraud when you’re told you must pay “taxes” or fees” before you can claim your prize.

“Those are dead giveaways that it’s a scam,” the Mega Millions release continued. “No real lottery tells winners to put up their own money in order to collect a prize they have already won by first purchasing a real ticket.”

Notices asking you to provide a banking account number to receive your lottery prize are also fraudulent. And if you’ve been told you won a lottery without ever purchasing a ticket, those messages are also to be dismissed.

“You can’t win a legitimate lottery if you didn’t first buy a ticket,” the statement explained.

Not Sure? Reach Out

Mega Millions says it has staff ready to help players who aren’t sure whether they’ve won or if a communication is legitimate.

Scammers are very inventive and persistent, and can sound very convincing,” the officials added.

As one example, Mega Millions presented a fraudulent letter that utilizes the Mega Millions logo and at first glance might seem legitimate. But upon reading the letter, it should become evident that it’s a scam when it tells the person to provide their personal information to a registered agent who is located in Belgium.

Still have questions? Answers can be found by contacting Mega Millions at this website, or by contacting your state lottery office.