SARASOTA, Fla. - The Florida Lottery has increased its investigations of suspicious retailers and have identified 96 retailers statewide who are frequent winners.
Four suspects have already been arrested in the last few days, suspected of pocketing their customers winning tickets while telling them they did not win. Lottery officials will continue their investigation of the suspicious retailers over the next two months.
So how do you protect your possible winnings? Lottery officials say the best way to protect yourself is by signing your ticket when you purchase it. They have released a PSA to inform their customers about the importance of signing their tickets. On the PSA, Florida Lottery Secretary, Cynthia O'Connell says, “We want our players to take one simple step to protect their winnings. The next time you play sign every ticket immediately upon purchase. It is the surest way to guarantee that you are the designated rightful owner and that only you are entitled to the prize won.”
If you do hand your ticket over to a clerk, always keep and eye on it and always ask for a receipt.
The receipt will confirm if your scratch off or lottery ticket is a winner or not.
As the Florida Lottery continues their investigation, they are promising to pursue the arrest and prosecution of any retailers caught committing crimes.
One of the best ways to make sure that your are not taken advantage of is to go to a lottery retailer that has a self validating machine so you can check to see if you are a winner without ever letting go of your ticket.
The Florida Lottery website has tips for avoiding lottery scams.