Don’t Fall Victim to the Latest Prize Scam

( – Be warned if you receive an unexpected letter, phone call, email, or text message claiming to be associated with any state lotteries. Prize scams are increasingly common around the holidays, warned the Michigan Lottery. It also gave tips on how to protect yourself from falling victim.

Claiming prizes doesn’t require a processing fee or any money from the winners to receive their cash payouts, but that won’t stop scammers from trying to extract wealth from unwary citizens. You must also have purchased a ticket to win, there are no random drawings, and anyone suggesting otherwise is likely attempting to engage in fraud.

Any confusion over a prize can be addressed by the Lottery’s Player Relations Division which can be reached at 844-887-6836.

The Michigan Lottery indicated that the holidays are a frequent time for prize scams and detailed how they occur. Generally, someone is told they won a prize via contact made over the phone, email, traditional mail, or text message. The victim is told by the scammer that they’ve won a large prize and must pay a processing fee to receive it.

The scammer will then convince the victim to mail a cashier’s check or make a transfer electronically and run away with the “fee.” Sometimes scammers have even gone back to attempt to extract even more money from the victim citing unforeseen circumstances or some other excuse for the hold-up.

Lottery officials encourage everyone to be extra skeptical of scams around the holidays. If you or anyone you know believes they’ve been the victim of a scam, you can contact local law enforcement to make a report.

Gift card scams are also incredibly common around the holidays. One way scammers can remotely steal cash is by covertly opening the package and writing down the account number and pin for the card. They then return it to the rack, and when money is added to it, they can steal those funds.

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