Examples of Scams

Scammers may contact you through multiple means, and they frequently present themselves as official representatives of Washington’s Lottery, or foreign and other lotteries.

Washington’s Lottery is frequently contacted about four categories of Lottery scams:

  • Letter scams
  • Email scams
  • Phone and person-to-person scams
  • Illegal foreign lotteries

AGO Consumer Alert: Scam Letters Bear Mega Millions Logo

SEATTLE - Attorney General Rob McKenna today warned consumers that a scam letter bearing the Mega Millions logo is being sent out to individuals in several states via standard mail. This letter notifies supposed winners of their unclaimed "Mega Millions" prize and also contains a counterfeit check.

McKenna said the letter is a scam, designed to obtain personal financial information from unsuspecting players who believe they have won a prize in the multi-state Mega Millions game. The member lotteries of the Mega Millions game, which include Washington's Lottery, are in no way affiliated with the bogus letters and checks.

According to a warning on the Mega Millions Web site, this is a counterfeit draft money laundering scheme. The check will bounce and will be sent back to a fraudulent organization stamped with your bank's routing and account information. The sender will then attempt to withdraw funds from your account.

It was unknown Thursday whether any Washington residents had received fraudulent letters bearing the Mega Millions logo.

Consumers who are contacted by anyone purporting to be from the Mega Millions organization, should contact Mega Millions via the organization's Web site at http://megamillions.com/contact_form.asp.

McKenna said the Attorney General's Office also continues to receive an increasing number of calls from consumers inquiring about foreign lotteries. To win a legitimate lottery, you must purchase a ticket. It's also important to know that you can't legally play a foreign lottery in the United States.

The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigate international lottery scams. You can report fraud to the FTC by filing a complaint online at www.ftc.gov or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Report fraud to the Postal Inspection Service at 1-800-372-8347 or online here.

E-mail Scam Illegally Uses Washington’s Lottery Name and Logo

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna and Washington’s Lottery warned Washington residents about an illegal e-mail scam that use the Washington Lottery name and logo. 

The spam e-mail notifies the recipient they have won $2.4 million in cash and must pay $995 in “Gaming Commission Charges” to process the winnings. Some versions of the e-mail request a check; in other cases, the sender requests a MoneyGram money order from Rennies Foreign Exchange. 

The e-mail could include any of several attachments including a “Lottery Winning Certificate” and a “Verification of Lottery Claim” letter that feature the Washington Lottery logo and the State of Washington seal. The notification letter lists a Claims Representative with a fictitious Bellevue office address. The letter and attachments appear authentic due to the use of the logos, and are signed by an individual who misrepresents himself as the Director of the Washington Lottery. 

Consumers should be advised that in order to win any Washington Lottery prize, a Lottery ticket must be purchased in person at a Lottery-licensed retail location. 

Washington’s Lottery has notified the Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and a complaint has been filed with the Bellevue police.  The Lottery has alerted a number of consumer awareness Web sites and other state lotteries across the country.
 
State agencies have received inquiries from people within Washington, other states and even overseas who want to know if the e-mails are legitimate.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that there are likely victims who have lost money to this scam,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “Never send money or provide personal information to someone who claims you have won a prize. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Click on either image to see a full size PDF: Link: Scam email sample 1Link: Scam email sample 2