Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and Maryland Attorney General's Office
Warn Citizens about Lottery Scams
Agencies urge residents to protect themselves
Baltimore, MD ( March 18, 2013) - In a joint effort, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and Maryland Attorney General's Office (OAG) are urging state residents to heed warnings about the increase in the number of lottery and sweepstakes scams. Each year, thousands of Americans fall prey to illegal scam operators who lure the victims into sending them money in exchange for what they believe will be a large cash prize. The unsuspecting victims, who are often elderly, receive countless phone calls -- typically from foreign countries -- and letters demanding cash until they relinquish their money or stop cooperating. While cases are currently being pursued by international law enforcement officials, Marylanders can avoid being scammed by recognizing and reporting this type of fraud.
"The most effective way to deter this criminal activity is to educate the citizens of Maryland about its existence," said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency Director Stephen Martino. "The Maryland Lottery operates its games with honesty and integrity. We are placing our resources behind all efforts to expose and eliminate these unscrupulous attempts to defraud the public."
"This is an all-too-common scam that turns the dream of winning the lottery into a nightmare," said Attorney General Gansler. "Our office is committed to protect Marylanders from fraud and this kind of thievery once again lends credence to the old adage, 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.'"
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency and OAG offer the following tips and information to assist Marylanders in recognizing the signs of scamming:
- Never believe a letter, phone call or email message from someone claiming to guarantee you a prize.
- Never agree to send money to anyone claiming to be a legitimate lottery representative. The Maryland Lottery will never ask you to send money in exchange for a prize.
- Never put up with threatening phone calls or letters of any kind.
- Always keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists will often ask for them with the goal of accessing your accounts and stealing your money.
For more information on what to do if you are a victim of a lottery scam, contact your local police department and the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 410-528-8662.