Attorney general warns of lottery, sweepstakes scams

HARRISBURG -The office of Pennsylvania Attorney General has received several complaints from consumers regarding lottery and sweepstakes scams.

“Commonwealth residents should remember that lottery officials will never ask for personal bank information, or require a fee to be paid to claim a prize,” Attorney General Kathleen Kane said. “It is extremely important to safeguard your personal financial information.”

Lottery and sweepstakes scams can take multiple forms. In one popular scam, victims are asked to pay money in order to receive a prize they have purportedly won. In another scenario, scammers state that consumers will be sent a check. They are instructed to cash the check and send back a portion of the money for fees. The checks in these scams are fraudulent, often times bouncing and leaving consumers on the hook for the money related to the fees.

The following are tips and reminders from the attorney general’s Bureau of Consumer Protection designed to help consumers avoid falling victim to lottery or sweepstakes scams.

  • Never give out your personal information (bank account, address, phone number, social security number, etc.) to strangers.
  • Be suspicious of anyone stating that you have won something – especially if you do not remember entering a contest.
  • It is against the law to buy foreign lottery tickets by phone or mail.
  • Legitimate lotteries will not require you to pay money before claiming a prize.
  • If you are a victim, file a detailed report with your local police department or the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Consumers with questions, or who feel they have been victimized, may file a complaint with the attorney general’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting The Bureau is also available by phone at (800) 441-2555.