Pierre, S.D. – The year may have changed but the line remains the same: “Congratulations! You just won a new car. All you have to do is send a $5,000 prize release fee to claim it!”
In response to recent reports of people receiving calls saying they won new vehicles or large cash prizes from special drawings, the South Dakota Lottery urges the public not to be taken in by the ruse. The most common scams involve the individual being told they’ve already won or have a good chance of winning a prize and need only to pay money or provide personal information (like credit card or bank account numbers) to claim it.
Lottery executive director Norm Lingle reminds people that that’s not how the South Dakota Lottery conducts business.
“While we do require a person to purchase a lottery ticket to claim a prize, the Lottery never requires you to pay money upfront or provide personal information to claim it. And we don’t enter people into drawings or promotions or giveaways without their knowledge. If you receive a call that you’ve won a prize in a giveaway you don’t recall entering, don’t be fooled,” Lingle said.
Lingle says some scams even illegally use the names of real lotto games like Powerball or Mega Millions and the logos of legitimate lotteries to make the scam appear legitimate. If something about the situation appears suspicious, trust those instincts.
“If you question whether a call or email claiming to be from the South Dakota Lottery is legitimate, do not provide any information to the claimant and call one of our offices to confirm whether the Lottery is indeed running a promotion. One simple call can save you a lot of heartache and money,” said Lingle.
The South Dakota Lottery has offices and validation centers in Pierre, Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Contact information for each office can be found at lottery.sd.gov/about/locations/
People should also report suspected scams to the South Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 1-800-300-1986.