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September 15, 2006
Consumer Alert: E-mail Scam Illegally Uses Washington’s Lottery Name and Logo

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna and Washington’s Lottery warned Washington residents about an illegal e-mail scam that use the Washington Lottery name and logo.

The spam e-mail notifies the recipient they have won $2.4 million in cash and must pay $995 in "Gaming Commission Charges" to process the winnings. Some versions of the e-mail request a check; in other cases, the sender requests a MoneyGram money order from Rennies Foreign Exchange.

The e-mail could include any of several attachments including a "Lottery Winning Certificate" and a "Verification of Lottery Claim" letter that feature the Washington Lottery logo and the State of Washington seal. The notification letter lists a Claims Representative with a fictitious Bellevue office address. The letter and attachments appear authentic due to the use of the logos, and are signed by an individual who misrepresents himself as the Director of the Washington Lottery.

"Consumers should be advised that in order to win any Washington Lottery prize, a Lottery ticket must be purchased in person at a Lottery-licensed retail location," warned Lottery Director Christopher Liu.

Washington’s Lottery has notified the Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and a complaint has been filed with the Bellevue police. The Lottery has alerted a number of consumer awareness Web sites and other state lotteries across the country.

State agencies have received inquiries from people within Washington, other states and even overseas who want to know if the e-mails are legitimate.

"It’s heartbreaking to know that there are likely victims who have lost money to this scam," said Attorney General Rob McKenna. "Never send money or provide personal information to someone who claims you have won a prize. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

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Contact: Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432


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