Kentucky Lottery warns against falling prey to phone or Internet scams
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Kentucky Lottery officials have seen a steady uptick in the number of inquiries from players being contacted and told they’ve won a large cash prize from the organization. These calls are scams, and serve no other purpose than to steal money from unsuspecting victims.
“We typically see these things start to increase in frequency around large record-breaking jackpots,” said the Kentucky Lottery’s Sr. Vice-President of communications, public relations and social responsibility Chip Polston. “Trying to steal money from someone during a global pandemic when many people are very concerned about their finances is a new low, even for these scumbags.”
Polston said to keep a simple test in mind if you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be with the Lottery and saying you’ve won a big prize.
“When you buy a ticket, do you give us your phone number? No. Do we take your email address at a retailer when you buy one of our games? No. So we have no means to reach out to you in a manner such as this,” he explained.
Scammers are casting such a wide net that even a Kentucky Lottery retailer in Edmonson County got a call yesterday from someone trying to convince staff at the store they’d won a $3 million prize.
He said the scams typically take one of two forms:
• The scammers want you to pre-pay taxes on your “prize”, often times via gift cards or online accounts. There’s no prize, and they steal what you’ve paid.
• Scammers want access information to bank accounts so they can supposedly wire the “prize” to a player, but once they have this info, they steal what’s in the account.
Lottery officials advise that you ignore any such contact, and report fraudulent calls or emails to the Kentucky Attorney General’s office