CA Lottery Home

About Us Games Retailers Corporate Social Responsibility Español

How to Avoid Lottery Scams

SCAM artists are getting even more creative in trying to rip you off. Several new tricks involve bogus claims that you have won a prize.

CA Lottery's Donna Cordova reveals the con and explains how to avoid falling victim.

Watch the video »

Read the brochure (English) »

Read the brochure (Spanish) »

Read the brochure (Chinese) »

Read the brochure (Korean) »

Read the brochure (Vietnamese) »

Lotto Scams

Steps to Avoid Scams

If it's too good to be true, it probably is. You cannot win if you don't play. Do not get played by con artists! Be aware of the scams and avoid them.

Fraudulent Tickets

Con artists try to sell what may appear to be a winning lottery ticket to unsuspecting individuals. Typically these tickets have either been altered or purchased after the actual drawing. We advise you to only buy lottery tickets from authorized California Lottery retailers.

Unaffiliated Websites

This (www.calottery.com) is the one and ONLY website for the California Lottery. Never purchase Lottery products from any other website asking you to subscribe and requesting personal information. NEVER provide any personal, banking or other relevant information to a “contact person” or other representative – including social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, or any telephone numbers.

Unclaimed Prize Scam

Delete any emails you receive regarding unclaimed funds or prizes stating you must call a designated representative who will ask you for personal information and a "processing fee" in order to claim your prize. Never send any money to pay for processing fees or other suggested fees for claiming an alleged prize. This money will never be recovered!

Fraudulent Check Scam

Never deposit a check you have received in the mail from a supposed lottery organization. The letter informs you of your winnings, instructing you to deposit the check enclosed and then wire a portion back to the sender as a fee before receiving the remaining balance. After wiring the fee, the victim is notified by their bank that the original check has bounced.


Lotto Scams

Get the latest facts.

The Latin Lotto Scam is typically run by con artists from Central and South America. These con artists use fake or altered California Lottery tickets in the scam. Many victims are reluctant to report these crimes due to embarrassment of being a victim. A single victim of this scam can lose between $1,000 to more than $100,000 in cash, jewelry or other property. Information provided by law enforcement agencies and state lottery commissions indicate that these con artists travel between different states committing the Latin Lotto scam on citizens of different states.

Don’t be a victim. If you are approached by anyone attempting this scam, leave the area, call the local police and the California Lottery Security & Law Enforcement Division and provide a description of the con artists, vehicle(s) and license plate number(s).

Latin Lotto – How it works:

The con artist(s) will approach you at a business such as a home improvement store, shopping mall, grocery store, hospital or in the parking lot. These con artists will usually work in pairs or teams. The story they tell will be a sad one and may use one of the following scenarios:


"I cannot claim the prize because I'm not a U.S. citizen."

Fact: You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to claim a lottery prize.


"We can call the Lottery to verify that this is winning ticket."

Fact: If they give you a number to call or insist on dialing the phone number, you will not be connected to a California Lottery representative. Don't let them make the call; you should use your phone and dial, 1-800-LOTTERY (1-800-568-8379) and ask to speak to the Security & Law Enforcement Division.


"I need money to claim my prize. If you help me, we can share the prize amount."

Fact: The California Lottery does not require any money upfront to claim a prize.


"I'm in a hurry and need to return to my country for a family emergency."

Fact: The con artists are trying to prey on your kindness and rush you into giving them money before you have a chance to think about or ask a family member or friend for advice or help.