Don’t be fooled by lottery-related scams

For years, scammers have been preying on people by sharing unbelievable news of winning a lottery prize worth millions. And for a few hundred dollars and some personal or banking information, the prize could be yours.

“The Oregon Lottery was recently notified by a player stating that someone from the Oregon Lottery called to inform her she had won $75 million and a Mercedes Benz,” said Lottery spokesman Chuck Baumann. “The caller told her that all she needed to do to receive her prize was provide personal information to the caller. Luckily the player recognized the caller was asking for an unusual level of personal information and ended the call. Scammers often ask for identifying personal or financial information, which you should not share if you do not know who is calling.”

If a person does not have a ticket for the game in question, there is no way for them to win a prize from that game. “A good test to use if you get news like that,” added Baumann, “is to remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

When the Lottery notified the Oregon Department of Justice Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section of the call, the Consumer Protection staff was not aware of scammers using the Oregon Lottery’s name. Most recently, they noted, scammers have been using the name of the Publisher’s Clearing House.

To protect themselves from being scammed, the Department of Justice suggests and encourages people to not answer phone calls unless they can recognize the number of the caller. By letting the incoming call go to their phone’s voice mail, the call can be reviewed and deleted if it is a scam.

Perhaps you or someone you know is one of the many people who may have received a phone call, letter or email notifying you that you’ve won a large lottery prize. If so, here are some resources for you to use to help protect yourself from scams:

Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection. You can also join DOJ’s Oregon Scam Alert Network at this site:

Oregon Department of Justice online complaint form:

The Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline: 1-877-877-9392