TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Lottery is warning citizens of a lottery scam, in which a company using the name, “LOTTO CLAIMS ASSOCIATE & SWEEPSTAKE INC” is sending letters to the public in an effort to obtain personal and financial information.
In this latest scam, the letter includes the Florida Lottery headquarters’ physical address as part of the letterhead. The scam letter tells the recipient that his or her prize winnings are being held up due to a zip code error. The letter provides a phone number to call and also mentions that the winner will need to pay a processing fee as well as insurance and a delivery fee prior to collecting the winnings. A phony check is included with this letter as partial payment and to help cover costs and incidental expenses.
“The popularity of the Florida Lottery is well known among scam artists. Unfortunately, each year, the Florida Lottery’s name is utilized as a lure to con people out of their savings or personal information, which can result in loss of income or identity theft,” said Doug Pitts, Director of Security at the Florida Lottery. “It is especially important for citizens to remain vigilant and be aware of this type of activity so that they do not become a victim.”
The public should remember that in a legitimate lottery, a winner would never be asked to pay any type of upfront costs to collect a prize. Additionally, the Florida Lottery does not contact players to say they’ve won a prize unless they’ve entered a promotional game or second chance drawing on the official Florida Lottery website. In these cases, players will receive an e-mail stating they’ve won, along with information pertaining to the promotion they participated in and instructions on how to claim their prize. For the most part, players are asked to either visit the nearest Florida Lottery district office or download the required claim forms from the Florida Lottery Web site for submission via U.S. mail to the Lottery’s headquarters in Tallahassee, Fla.
For tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of lottery-related scams, visit the Security section of the Florida Lottery website at http://www.flalottery.com/aboutus-securityMain.do.
For more information or to report a lottery scam, consumers should contact the Florida Lottery’s Customer Service Division at (850) 487-7787 or Security Division at (850) 487-7730.