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SCAM ALERT: Thieves try to win big with lottery scam

(KNOP)
Published: Jul. 24, 2018 at 6:01 AM EDT
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As Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing grows to one of the largest ever, scammers are hoping they'll score big by tricking you into thinking you've won.

The N.C. Education Lottery says scammers are altering scratch off tickets to make it

look

like it has the winning numbers.

The fake ticket is typically sold at a discounted price. The seller will often make up some story about why they can't claim their prize, like they're out of state or not a citizen.

The players don't usually find out they were scammed until they try to claim the cash themselves.

Lottery officials in our state say they've fielded four fake tickets so far.

Mark Michalko, the Executive Director of the Lottery, says the easiest thing to do is

only buy unscratched tickets from authorized retailers.

“Your first tip that someone is trying to scam you is when they offer to sell their prize-winning ticket at a discount with some made-up story about why they can’t claim the prize they won," Michalko said.

Additional ways you can protect yourself include:

• Never pay anyone for a “winning ticket.”

• Be wary of someone who says they can’t claim a prize because they are out-of-state or they are not a U.S. citizen. In fact, people from other states and from other countries can claim lottery prizes in North Carolina as long as they have proper identification.

Tuesday night's $512 million Mega Millions drawing is already one of the biggest jackpots in the game's history. Strong sales boosted the total and organizers predict that it's likely to increase even more.

The Mega Millions drawing is at 11 p.m. Tuesday. You can catch it live on WITN News.

If you have any questions about the lottery games, call Customer Service toll-free at (877) 962-7529 or the Security Hotline toll-free at (888) 732-6235.

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