Lottery officials say the scam has been ongoing in recent weeks.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

MIDDLETOWN (KDKA) — Lottery officials in Pennsylvania are warning residents of a scam that has been taking place over the past several weeks.

Lottery officials say that they have received reports of people receiving calls that are a scam.

In these reported calls, callers say that they are being contacted by a person with a Caribbean accent, who is telling them that they are the winner of a lottery game, using Mega Millions as an example.

The caller then encourages the person to make a payment for taxes or other costs so that they can claim their prize, but there is no prize to be paid.

“Unfortunately, these types of scams are quite common — especially during times of crisis, such as a pandemic, when people may be vulnerable,” said Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko in a press release. “It’s important to know that the Pennsylvania Lottery will only contact players if they won a Second-Chance Drawing, a giveaway into which a player may have submitted an entry, or to collect their winning story. We never call or email people at random,” Svitko said.

The lottery provided the following examples of warning signs of a scam:

  • If you are told to buy a pre-paid debit card to pay an up-front “processing fee” or taxes
  • If you are asked for personal financial information, such as bank routing numbers.
  • If you’re told the supposed prize is in pounds, euros, or anything other than dollars.
  • If an e-mail contains poor grammar or misspellings, or if a caller states they are calling from outside the United States.
  • If you are instructed to keep the news of your supposed “win” a secret.
  • If you are told that you can “verify” the prize by calling a certain number.

Information about ways to avoid scams can be found on the Pennsylvania Lottery’s website.