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Fraud Info
A proliferation of e-mails – frequently with the heading “CONGRATULATIONS” -- notifying the recipient that they have won a prize in an Illinois Lottery e-mail lottery. The e-mail includes a link to the Illinois Lottery’s website as alleged proof that the e-mail is legitimate. THIS NOTICE WAS NOT SENT BY THE ILLINOIS LOTTERY. In fact, the Illinois Lottery NEVER notifies winners by e-mail. If you receive an e-mail of this type, even one accompanied by an official looking claim form, be suspicious. Some other common scams:

  • A person claims he is unable to redeem a winning ticket because he is in the country illegally, and offers to sell you the “winning” ticket. A second person—posing as a stranger to the first person—walks by, and “confirms” that the ticket is “valid.”

  • A person says the lottery is requiring cash up-front to redeem a winning ticket and offers to split the prize with you in exchange for the “good faith” money.

  • You receive a letter with a foreign
    postmark and official-looking documents claiming you are one of the winners of a foreign lottery. The letter states you must send bank account information and/or pay a processing fee to claim your prize.

Information to help you avoid being a victim:
  • Never give money or valuables to a stranger to redeem a lottery prize.

  • “Good faith” money or banking information is never required by the Illinois Lottery to claim a prize.

  • Undocumented aliens are permitted to claim their own Illinois Lottery prizes.

  • Never purchase tickets from foreign lotteries by phone or by mail. It is illegal for US citizens to participate in foreign lotteries through the mail.

  • If you receive a “winner” notice for a drawing you never entered, be suspicious.

  • Never reveal your credit card and bank account numbers to anyone unless you are certain the contact is legitimate, from a reputable company with whom you have a long-term relationship. The Illinois Lottery only requires credit card numbers when you phone us to purchase or renew a Lotto or Little Lotto subscription.

  • Never accept a collect call from anyone claiming to be a Lottery official.

  • Report suspicious “lottery” material to the Federal Trade Commission at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP. You can also contact the Illinois Attorney General or call the Illinois Lottery at 800-252-1775 (Illinois only).

  • If you receive a telephone call from a direct marketer who promises instant lottery prizes, hang up! NO lotteries in the U.S., including the Illinois Lottery, operate this way.

Lotto Fun Facts

The chances of winning a lottery jackpot are determined by things like: the count of possible numbers, the count of winning numbers drawn, whether or not order is significant and whether drawn numbers are returned for the possibility of further drawing.

In a typical 6 from 49 lotto, 6 numbers are drawn from 49 and if the 6 numbers on a ticket match the numbers drawn, the ticket holder is a jackpot winner - this is true regardless of the order in which the numbers are drawn.

The odds of being the jackpot winner are approximately 1 in 14 million (13,983,816 to be exact). To put these odds in context, suppose one buys one lottery ticket per week. 13,983,816 weeks is roughly 269,000 years; In the quarter-million years of play, one would only expect to win the jackpot once.

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