The Pennsylvania Lottery just issued a warning about a Mega Millions scam that originated in Jamaica.

According to lottery officials, several Pennsylvanians have reported that they have been contacted by someone with a Caribbean accent who tells them that they have won a Mega Millions or other lottery game jackpot.

Officials say that the person goes on to tell the "winners" that they must pay "taxes or other costs to facilitate the processing of their prize." Of course, the actual prize is never awarded.

In a statement, Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said “Unfortunately, these types of scams are quite common — especially during times of crisis, such as a pandemic, when people may be vulnerable,”

According to lottery officials, many scammers set up fake websites and use "spoofed" phone numbers to help convince people that they are legitimate. ("Spoofed" phone numbers make it look on caller ID like the call is coming from a legitimate source.) In addition, officials suggest people be on the lookout for these common signs of a scam:

  • Someone asks you to buy a prepaid debit card to pay for taxes or other fees.
  • .f someone asks you for personal information, like bank routing numbers.
  • If someone asks for payments in a foreign currency.
  • If an email includes poor grammar or misspellings.
  • If you are asked to keep the news of your winnings a secret.

Svitko also said that "the Pennsylvania Lottery will only contact players if they won a Second-Chance Drawing, a giveaway into which a player may have submitted an entry, or to collect their winning story. We never call or email people at random.” He suggests that "players who may receive suspicious lottery-related calls or emails" to reach out to the Pennsylvania Lottery using the contact information listed on the lottery's website at palottery.state.pa.us.