Education Lottery issues new warning about a scratch-off scam

Last Updated on December 28, 2018 8:18 am

The N.C. Education Lottery is issuing a new warning to players to buy lottery tickets only from authorized lottery retailers after receiving additional reports of a scam involving scratch-off tickets altered to appear as a “winning ticket.”

In the scam, non-winning scratch-off tickets are altered to make them appear to have matching numbers that win a prize. The altered ticket is then sold, usually at a discount, to unsuspecting players. The victims find out they were scammed when they attempt to claim a prize.

As of Friday, Dec. 21, the lottery had received 13 reports this year of such altered tickets at its offices across the state. The victims in the scams are those who buy the altered tickets from the scammer and lose the money they paid.

“This scam is easy to avoid by only buying unscratched lottery tickets from an authorized lottery retailer,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the lottery. “If someone offers to sell you a prize-winning ticket for much less than it is worth, that’s a big red flag. Don’t fall for these made-up stories about why someone can’t claim a prize. You’ll end up as a loser instead of a winner.”

Consumers can protect themselves from scams like this by:

– Only buying unscratched lottery tickets from authorized lottery retailers for the cost of the ticket.
– Never paying anyone for a “winning ticket.”
– Not believing someone who claims they can’t claim a prize because they are out-of-state or they are not a U.S. citizen. People from other states and from other countries can claim lottery prizes in North Carolina as long as they have proper identification.

The lottery’s security team ensures the integrity of lottery games and can investigate when, where and who purchased tickets. The Education Lottery keeps information about lottery scams in a section of its website at

If you are approached by someone trying to scam you with one of these altered lottery tickets, please report the attempted fraud to local law enforcement and call lottery security at a toll-free number of (888) 732-6235.

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