Business, Crime

Attorney General warns Marylanders about ‘winning’ lottery letter scam

BALTIMORE, MD—Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s Consumer Protection Division warned consumers on Monday of a lottery mail scam targeting local residents.

The scam letter claims the recipient has won the Mega Millions International Lottery 2019 Draw and includes a counterfeit reproduction of the Maryland Mega Millions logo. The sender of the letter has no affiliation with the Mega Millions Consortium, which is the group of United States Lotteries organized to jointly create and operate the multi-state lottery game known as Mega Millions.

The letter reported to the Attorney General’s office, purported to be from the International Promotion Price Award Dept., includes several logos including that of Mega Millions and the United Nations, asks the recipient to call a foreign number or send an email to claim their lottery winnings, establishes a deadline for the recipient to contact the lottery company, claims that the lottery company will need to be paid a percentage of the winnings, and that the lottery company can pay the recipient by wire transfer to their bank account.

Here are some tips to avoid being scammed by lottery letters, email, or texts.:

  • Do not under any circumstances send money by wire, funds transfer, gift cards, or cashiers check to anyone claiming you need to pay a fee to receive an award or lottery winnings, particularly one you didnt specifically enter.
  • Do not give your bank routing or account information to anyone so they can deposit your winnings. The money in your bank account could be wiped out in seconds.
  • Be wary of urgent requests to act now; scammers will often create a false sense of urgency to get you to respond without thinking carefully.
  • Do not click on any links or call any numbers in a suspicious email or text; even if the links look official, they could redirect you to a harmful website or download viruses onto your phone or computer.
  • If it looks too good to be true, like winning millions of dollars from a foreign lottery, it probably is.

Anyone who receives a letter like the one described above is advised to discard it.

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Under Maryland law, it is unlawful for a person, another state, or foreign government to sell a lottery ticket in the State of Maryland. Visit https://www.mdlottery.com/about-us/fraud-prevention/ for more information about fraud prevention.

Individuals can also report receiving these letters to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and to the Federal Trade Commission.

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