With tax season in full swing, the California Lottery is warning players and prospective players to be wary of potential scams.
Lottery officials say this time of year often results in increased fraudulent activity. For years, the agency has heard about scam artists posing as lottery staff in an attempt to steal personal information.
"We're also hearing about emails from scammers who claim to be connected to some of our bigger winners; they say they've been chosen to receive some of the prize money," Carolyn Becker, a California Lottery spokesperson, said in a statement. "It's clearly an attempt to dupe people; the Lottery always verifies big winners with a rigorous investigative process to ensure they're legitimate."
The agency cautioned the following:
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- The Lottery never charges players to claim their prize or asks for any money up front.
- A Lottery official would never personally contact someone about winning a jackpot before an official claim form is filed.
- There's no way to win a lottery prize if you don't play a lottery game.
Lottery officials remind the public that they have a customer service phone, 1-800-LOTTERY for anyone to call if they see fraudulent activity or need assistance with a claim form.