Lottery scams extend to social media, NJ officials warn
The New Jersey Lottery says recent social media posts have added to the number of ways unscrupulous scammers are cheating New Jersey residents out of money, while those residents are playing the odds to try to win money.
Executive Director James Carey said the Lottery maintains a robust social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and a discerning player should be able to tell the difference between a fraudulent post and an authentic one.
"Those are sort of obvious that this is what we do and this is the legitimate website," Carey said. "There can be scam websites, there can be people posting on the internet saying that they are someone who they are not, and you have to be careful on social media."
Despite this new wrinkle, Carey said robocalls remain the most egregious way that scammers try to solicit cash.
"When they get someone on the phone, they'll say that you've won a lottery prize, and you need to take a couple of steps, including providing maybe some money or some personal information in order to claim that prize," he said.
The Lottery would not call someone "out of the blue," Carey said, and the only reasons officials would contact a player is if that person entered a contest the Lottery is running, or entered a claim.
No legitimate business, he said, would ask for sensitive information like a credit card number or a wire transfer unless the person being contacted had previously initiated that communication.
"We're never going to ask a player to pay us money to participate or to claim a prize, short of buying a ticket," Carey said.
Carey cautioned that people do on occasion try to sell secondhand, illegally obtained tickets, or even sell off winning tickets. But there are more than 7,000 authorized Lottery retailers around the Garden State, and Carey said you should make sure to avail yourself of that plethora of options.
"There's never a reason to buy a lottery ticket from anyone or any person who is not an authorized lottery dealer," Carey said.
The official New Jersey Lottery website is njlottery.com. If you feel you may be being scammed, call the Lottery's Security Office at 609-599-6100.
Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email email@example.com.