Beware of scams involving fake lottery prizes.

That's the message from the New York State Gaming Commission.

The Commission says two specific scams are being used

In one scam, you might receive a letter in the mail saying you have an unclaimed prize. The letter instructs you to call a number to claim the fake prize and then asks for personal information and a 'processing fee' in order to get the prize. The scam artist then keeps any money paid and there is no actual prize.

The other scam involves a check in the mail that supposedly represents a portion of 'lottery winnings.' Instructions say to deposit the check and send back a fee before getting the remaining balance. After paying the 'fee,' the check bounces and the victim loses the 'fee' and gets no prize.

The State Gaming Commission wants all consumers to be aware of the following procedures regarding the Lottery:

  • They do not notify YOU, you notify THEM. Unless you have a yearly mail-in subscription with the New York Lottery or entered a second-chance sweepstakes on the Lottery Web site, they have no idea of who winners are until they come forward with a winning ticket.
  • The New York Lottery never requires the payment of any money in order to claim a prize.
  • No one should ever send any money to pay a “processing fee” or any other suggested fee in relation to claiming a prize.
  • Do not deposit any check sent to you that is accompanied by a request that you send or wire money to cover processing or claiming fees.
  • When you purchase a Lottery ticket at a Lottery retailer, the Lottery does not ask you for or collect any personal information.
  • Lottery staff will always identify themselves by saying they are from the New York Lottery or New York State Gaming Commission -- not Powerball, Mega Millions, or any other game. All Lottery employees have email addresses ending with @gaming.ny.gov. If in doubt, email info@gaming.ny.gov  with any questions.

You can report these scams to the State Gaming Commission:

  • Contact the New York Lottery’s Security Unit at 518-388-3416.
  • File a complaint with the New York State Attorney General's Office by calling the office’s Consumer Helpline at 1-800-771-7755 or by visiting the Attorney General's Web site at www.ag.ny.gov.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ or at 1-877-FTC-HELP.