State Attorney General Ashley Moody joined the Florida Lottery in warning about a Lottery scam targeting the elderly making its rounds in South Florida in which scammers are asking residents for help claiming a “winning” ticket.
After the Lottery issued the warning at the end of last week, Moody issued a Consumer Alert on Wednesday.
“The possibility of winning the lottery is an exciting dream for millions of Americans—including many Florida seniors. Scammers are trying to hijack that dream and turn it into a nightmare all in an effort to steal from Floridians. My office is receiving reports of new lottery scams, and we are working to ensure all Floridians are protected from and informed about these emerging disgraceful tactics to rip off seniors,” Moody said.
The Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division advises Florida lottery players to take caution when receiving calls from individuals claiming to be representatives with the Florida Lottery. According to the Florida Lottery, the agency does not contact players directly with information of prizes won unless players entered into a promotional game or second chance drawing on the official Florida Lottery website or social media pages. Attorney General Moody’s Consumer Protection Division also warns that players being instructed to pay a luxury tax, processing fee, customs fee, shipping and handling, pre-pay income tax or make purchases to receive a prize are likely the target of a scam.
The scammers are claiming that they’ve won a Lottery prize but are unable to collect it because they are not a U.S. citizen so they ask the victim to claim the prize for them, promising a share of the winnings. The victim is then instructed to call a claim number on the back of the “winning” ticket; the claim number, however, does not connect to the Florida Lottery but rather to the scammer’s accomplice who is posing as an official Lottery representative. The scammer tells the victim they must pay a fee and/or taxes in order to claim the prize, reassuring the victim that they will get double or triple what they’ve spent when they go in to claim the prize. Once the scammers have obtained the money or personal financial information, they disappear.
The Florida Lottery will never require a winner to pay a fee in order to claim a prize and will never ask for personal financial information over the phone.
Residents are urged to follow the important tips below to avoid being scammed:
- Never pay money to collect a prize.
- Never give your credit card number(s) or personal information over the telephone to anyone promising Lottery cash prizes or memberships.
- Never redeem a Lottery ticket for a stranger.
- You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to claim a Florida Lottery prize.
For more information and to find other tips to protect yourself, please visit www.flalottery.com.
To report a lottery scam, consumers should contact the Florida Lottery’s Division of Security at (850) 487-7730 or their local law enforcement.