The new twist works like this: A scammer calls you, claiming to be from the “Montana State Gaming Commission.” The scammer says if you pay $600, you’ll have a chance to win $1 million.
“Legitimate lotteries never require people to send money to claim a prize or to have a chance at winning,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Because older persons are especially vulnerable due to physical and mental decline, social isolation, and their tendency to trust others, the most effective thing we can do to combat this scam is public education. Remind your parents, grandparents, and elderly friends about the importance of staying vigilant for lottery scams and other rip-offs that can happen if they engage with these callers,” Fox added.
Another red flag? The “Montana State Gaming Commission” doesn’t exist. The Gambling Control Division at the Montana Department of Justice is responsible for state gaming regulation. Angela Nunn, Gambling Control Division Administrator, said, “Real lotteries never contact the winner, or other players, because they don’t know who these people are. So, keep in mind two things: If you receive a call claiming to be from the Montana State Gaming Commission, it’s a scam; if you’re asked to send money in relation to lotteries, it’s a scam.”
Nunn also advised Montanans questioning the validity of a contact from the Gambling Control Division to call her office at (406) 444-1971 or email email@example.com to confirm.
For more information on lottery scams, visit the Montana Lottery’s website, or Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection’s (OCP) information here. If you or a family member are the victim of a scam, contact local law enforcement. You may also report scams to OCP by calling 1-800-481-6896 (toll-free) or (406) 444-4500, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.