Consumer Alert: Fraudulent Lottery Scams Circulating

RELEASE DATE: 9/11/2008

SACRAMENTO – California Lottery officials have learned of two Lottery-related scams. The California Lottery’s Law Enforcement Division was contacted by concerned consumers who were, in one case, fleeced of $550.

“The Lottery will not tolerate those who deceive our players and attack the integrity of Lottery games,” Director Joan Borucki of the California Lottery said. “We urge players to always use authorized Lottery retailers, educate themselves about potential scams by visiting our Web site and contact us whenever they are in doubt.”

In one case, an e-mail is doctored to appear as coming from Mega Millions requesting sensitive personal information. A copy of this scam will be made available by contacting (916) 324-9636. In another case, a letter posing as the "Australian Lottery" promises a big jackpot for a processing fee.

Individuals are being taken advantage of by a variety of cons that range from e-mails, telephone calls or letters in the mail. The actual number of reported fraud against consumers is assuredly underrepresented as many victims are too embarrassed or decide not to step forward. 

California Lottery officials are reminding the public that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Consumers can easily protect themselves. If there is any doubt as to whether one is being taken advantage of by a scam, first check the California Lottery’s Consumer Alert Web site (calottery.com/consumeralert) for a list of common scams.  If any question still remains, please call 1-800-LOTTERY. Any one or combination of these measures will help protect you and your family.

More than 95 cents of every Lottery dollar is returned to the community in the form of contributions to education, prizes and retail commissions. The California Lottery contributes at least 34 cents of every dollar that players spend on Lottery products to public education and returns more than 50 percent of sales to players in the form of prizes. Since its inception in 1985, the Lottery has contributed more than $20 billion to California schools out of total sales of nearly $55 billion. Retailers benefit too, earning $3.5 billion in compensation since 1985.