Well that didn't take long. Scammers are using the $1.5 billion dollar Powerball hype to separate you from your money

Everyone is hoping to become an instant millionaire (or billionaire) on Wednesday Night.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has issued a warning. Scammers are taking advantage of the situation to trick people into thinking they are winners.

The BBB says that lottery scams were among the Top Ten Scams of 2015 as reported to BBB Scam Tracker
Typically, targets of a lottery scam are asked to pay “taxes” or other fees upfront before they can claim their “winnings.” Of course, once they make the payment (or several payments), the big prize never materializes and the scammers are nowhere to be found. In another variation, the target receives a congratulatory letter in the mail informing them of the big win. Included is a check to cover the taxes on the winnings. Victims are instructed to deposit it into their bank account and then send the money to a third party, usually by wire transfer or prepaid debit card, which are largely untraceable. The lottery check is a fake that bounces and the victim is out the money.

 

Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau told WIFR-TV

Scammers follow the headlines and with Wednesday's Powerball drawing being a record prize this is an opportunity for scammers that's too great for them to pass up. This time, however, the hopes and dreams of being a winner play right into the hands or scam artists, Scammers follow the headlines and with Wednesday's Powerball drawing being a record prize this is an opportunity for scammers that's too great for them to pass up.

The BBB offers these red flags to look out for:

  •  If you're told you've won a lottery you don't remember entering.
  •  Receiving calls from a lottery or government agency saying you've won millions.
  •  Receiving an unexpected check or even many thousands of dollars.
  •  If you have to pay a fee to collect your winnings.
  •  If you have to send money via wire transfer or prepaid card.
  •  If you are told you won a foreign lottery-they are illegal.

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