People across the nation were crying in their bowl of cereal this morning when they found out that they weren’t the winner of the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot. The California Lottery already announced on Wednesday night that they have one jackpot winner who purchased a ticket at a nearby 7-11. On Thursday morning, Jan. 14, Florida and Tennessee also claimed winners in their states.
None of the winners of come forward publicly. Now, experts have been questioning about the legitimacy of the Powerball jackpot. Some say that the Powerball is a scam, since no known winners have come forward. Dawn Nettles, founder of the Lotto Report, told the New York Daily News that players should avoid buying Quick Picks because their odds are winning are less than those who pick their own numbers.
“This is a scam,” she said in the Daily News report. “With the odds being what they are, it’s a scam.”
Nettles didn’t suggest that players shouldn’t win the Powerball, but to choose their own numbers instead.
“Everyone should choose their own numbers. If players had created their own Quick Picks on Saturday night, I think all the combinations would have been sold and we would have a winner.”
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot were one out of 292 million Americans. University of Buffalo statistician Jeffrey Miecznikowski told Syracuse.com that the odds never change, no matter how much the jackpot grows or how many tickets are sold.
But it looks like there’s a legitimate scam linked to the nation’s lottery. The Better Business Bureau is warning players that scammers will be taking advantage of the Powerball craze to trick people into thinking they are winners. The official Powerball winners will be announced online and on TV; however, the BBB says that scammers will target unsuspecting folks through telephone, email, social media, and snail mail to “inform” them of their secondary prize “winnings.”
According to new reports, you could lose your hard-winning money to lottery scammers. One player in Minnesota revealed that she was contacted by a so-called Powerball “Agent” via Facebook. The victim was asked to pay shipping fees to receive her “winnings.” In this case, the victim lost $2,000.
In a similar report, woman in West Virginia was targeted by scammers for $1,800. This Powerball scam asks winners to pay their “taxes” or “fees” in advance, prior to receiving their winnings. Once they agree to make the payment (or several monthly payments), they never receive the prize and the scammers disappear with their money. No one is able to trace or track down these Powerball scammers. It’s unclear if they’re from the U.S. or from around the globe.
A similar scam sends a congratulatory letter in the mail confirming the winner of their lottery win. Attached is a check that will cover the taxes before the winnings. When the victim deposits the check in their bank account, the check bounces, and then the victim loses money.
People should also be aware of the Powerball scammers posting pictures of their so-called winning tickets on social media. There already been handfuls of people sharing selfies and claiming that they won the Powerball jackpot, even though none of those particular winners have officially spoken out to the media.
Erik Bragg, a professional skateboarder, shared this photo of his “winning” ticket on Instagram, along with the caption: “OMG I WON 1.5 BILLION!!!!” But internet sleuths were already quick to point out that the photo includes inconsistencies in the ticket’s pattern, which suggests that certain portions have been edited and cropped out.
Rapper Adam Raine also shared a photo of his winning ticket and promised that he would split his winnings with ladies who DMed him on Instagram. But a closer look reveals that the photo was either a screenshot or taken from another location. And while he claims to live in Chino Hills, California, his Soundcloud and Facebook pages reveal he lives in Toronto, Canada.
There’s also a website calling itself USA Powerball Syndicate that is offering shares of tickets that were purchased as part of a group with the winnings paid out equally for each share. But the official Powerball lottery has stated that tickets can only be purchased by authorized retailers, not online, via telephone, or through the mail.
If you search for “Powerball Scam” on Twitter, you will find an account that reveals the nation’s lottery is a scam. The person says that they cannot reveal their identity, but claims that many tests are conducted before the live Powerball drawing that takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Twitter account also guessed the correct winning numbers, but other Twitter users claimed that the person guessed every possible number, and then deleted everything except the right numbers.
With $1.5 billion dollars on the line, it can make everyone a little crazy and even naive. It will also bring out more scammers, thanks to the increase use of social media. Now that you’re informed, you can protect yourself from these Powerball scams running rampant on the internet.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]