Ohio AG warns of lottery scam as jackpots rise

Ohio AG warns of lottery scam as jackpots rise
(Source: AP Images)

(WTOL) - As the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots grow bigger and bigger, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warns consumers to beware of scams.

DeWine says his office has received several reports of phony calls and letters telling people they've won millions of dollars.

The scam tells consumers they have to wire hundreds of dollars for taxes or processing fees in order to receive their winnings. Your money will be sent to a scam artist, while no money will be sent to you.

"We just want to warn people to be careful. In most cases, if you're getting a call saying you've won millions of dollars, it's a scam," DeWine said.

In 2017, the Ohio Attorney General's Office received about 150 scam complaints, with reported losses equaling several thousand dollars.

If you're afraid of becoming a victim of one of these scams, the Ohio AG's office offers these tips you can use use to avoid them:

Don't send money to receive a prize. Don't trust people who contact you claiming you've won a monetary prize. If you have truly won this money, you shouldn't need to send you own money in advance to receive your winnings.

Be wary of requests for wire transfers, money orders or gift cards. These payment methods are used frequently in scams. It is difficult to trace or recover your money once it is sent. Also if you receive an unexpected check in the mail, it may be counterfeit.

Make family and friends aware of scams. Older adults can be especially vulnerable to lottery and sweepstakes scams. Talk to older relatives about scams and how to look out for them. Red flags include unusual banking activities, wire transfer receipts and increased numbers of phone calls made to them.

If you believe you have been a victim of a scam or someone has attempted to scam you, report it on the Ohio Attorney General's Office on their website or at 800-282-0515.

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