Scammers expected to take advantage of Powerball drawing - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Scammers expected to take advantage of Powerball drawing

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Consumer advocates are warning Powerball players to beware of scams.

The Better Business Bureau warned customers on Wednesday that scammers may take advantage of the record-breaking $1.5 billion jackpot.

BBB said the winners will be announced on television and online.

Scammers, however, are expected to reach out through email, telephone and regular mail.

Their goal will be to "inform" secondary winners of alleged smaller prizes.

The BBB said lottery scams were among its top 10 scams of 2015, as reported to its scam tracker.

It said usually, the scam asks people to pay "taxes" or other fees upfront before they claim their "winnings." However, after the payment, or several payments, the prize never arrives and the scammers are nowhere to be found.

Another variation involves a congratulatory letter in the mail with a "check" to cover the taxes on the "winnings." The victims are instructed to deposit it into their bank account and send money to a third party through a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Those methods are largely untraceable and the check typically bounces.

Online ticket purchase are a third scamming method. It's against the law to sell lottery tickets anywhere other than a licensed retailer.

The BBB offered these tips to help avoid becoming a victim:

  • Don't pay up to claim your prize
  • Be wary of email announcements
  • Winners can't win a contest in which they never entered
  • Verify offers, but not by using a source the scammers give you
  • Check with the BBB

Here's more from the BBB.

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