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 www.ftc.gov 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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