Problem Gambling Help Line 800-522-4700
Ignore Scams, Contact Authorities; Consumer Protection Tips Offered

Assorted scam artists are trying to take advantage of the unsuspecting.

Some scams seek personal information in order to clean out the victim’s bank accounts. Email solicitations for money should be ignored, and personal information should never be provided to unknown individuals or those claiming to represent unknown businesses.

Some scams use a phone call or email to collect a victim’s information. Recently, a Nebraska woman received a phone call notifying her that she had won a $2.5 million lottery prize. The caller sounded legitimate, but he asked her to send him $8,000 to release the prize check. The woman suspected the phone call was fraudulent and notified the proper authorities.

Another type of scam that has been reported involves a mailing with a counterfeit check. The letter asks the victim to cash the check and wire a portion of the winnings back to pay for taxes. A similar example includes a situation in which the criminal claims to have a major winning ticket but a shortage of funds necessary to claim the prize, and offers the victim a share of the prize in return for a loan of the prize claim fee.

Claiming a Nebraska Lottery prize is not complicated and doesn’t require a fee. The Nebraska Lottery does not contact those who have not already purchased a ticket or entered a contest.

Nebraska Lottery Director Jim Haynes said, “Nebraska Lottery prizes can be claimed at retailers, by mail or in person at a claim center. A third party is not needed, and we do not contact individuals who have not entered a contest or purchased a ticket. There is never a fee for claiming a Nebraska Lottery prize, and banking information is not sought.”

If you receive a questionable phone call, email or mailing, or notice a suspicious website, you may contact Nebraska Lottery Security at 800-587-5200.

For additional information on various types of consumer fraud, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-727-6432 or 402-471-2682.

Information on claiming Nebraska Lottery prizes can be found at Nebraska Lottery retailers, on the Nebraska Lottery website (www.nelottery.com) under Winners & Numbers, or by calling 800-587-5200.

Here are some consumer protection tips:

Ignore all mail, email and phone solicitations for foreign lottery promotions. Federal law prohibits mailing lottery tickets, ads or payments to purchase tickets in a foreign lottery.

Don’t give out personal information, including account numbers, to a salesperson.

If you buy a foreign lottery ticket, you may land on a “suckers list” that crooks trade.

There is no legitimate reason why someone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire or send money in return.

No legitimate contest will make you pay a fee to collect a prize.

You can’t win a contest you didn’t enter. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Published on 06/10/2007