We saw a warning on social media this week about scams, and decided it’s time for another reminder from us, too. (Shout out to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office for its Facebook post!)
The sheriff’s office started its post this way: “Scams, scams, scams. Every day, we hear of new scams.”
And unfortunately, it’s the same thing here at the Iowa Lottery. As annoying as it is to even write this, scam operations are a common part of our world today. And some of them drag lotteries’ names and products into the mix.
We’ve seen scam attempts that claim to be from the Iowa Lottery and some of us who work here or allegedly are from the organizers of our biggest games, like Powerball® and Mega Millions®.
We’ve warned about lottery-related scams for years, noting that they come in any different forms: letters, telephone calls, emails, text messages, and social media messages. We’ve heard lately from Iowans who say they’re getting phone calls from someone with a definite Caribbean accent. The scammer wants those contacted to pay a “processing fee” up front to receive their promised winnings.
It’s a scam. And anyone who sends money to the scammers will never see those funds again, nor will they ever receive the promised winnings.
We know it can be tempting to go along with it. Who doesn’t want to dream that they’ve won a big prize? But please keep these details in mind if you’re ever contacted about winning the lottery:
• If someone says that you’ve won a big prize, stop and ask yourself this question: Did I buy a ticket or enter that contest? If you didn’t, it’s likely a scam.• Never pay processing fees, insurance or commissions to claim a lottery prize. Legitimate lotteries do not require winners to pay anything up front to receive a prize.• Never believe a letter, phone call or Internet message from someone who claims they can guarantee you a prize. Legitimate lotteries do not guarantee that you will win and do not require you to join a prize pool to play.• And remember that in here in our state, the Iowa Lottery is the only lottery authorized under state law.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office advises you to report suspected scam calls to the FCC Consumer Complaint Center. The AG also says to consider using call-blocking apps and other services to reduce the number of robocalls you receive.
The best thing any of us can do is to be vigilant and continue to protect ourselves.