It was an elaborate operation.
Someone called a Holly Township resident to say that he hit it big with the Mega Millions lottery in the beginning of August.
But in order to cash in on the $450,000 prize, the victim had to give money to the caller.
Throughout the month, the victim sent $24,000 to the person posing as a lottery worker. Then the victim got a call from someone saying he was an attorney.
The attorney alerted the victim that he had been giving money to a fraud enterprise, and that the lawyer wanted to represent him, but it was going to cost him more money.
“These folks are very skillful at what they do,” said Jeff Holyfield at the Michigan Lottery. “I’ll be honest. I have talked to players who say 'Oh my gosh, I could win $40 million and that would change my life.' When I talk to those players I always bring it back to this is a scam. You didn’t win a ticket.”
In this victim’s case, family members stepped in and called police.
According to Holyfield, there are red flags to look for.
“At the Michigan Lottery, we don’t charge for processing their prizes,” said Holyfield. “That’s a red flag right there. The other red flag - basic question. Had this gentleman bought a lottery ticket?”
According to the Michigan Lottery, you can not win the Mega Millions or any lottery if you did not buy at ticket. They say these type of scams often circulate when jackpots grow in size.
“Unfortunately there are folks who look at that and say 'Gosh this is great, this is a small price to pay to get that money,'” said Holyfield.
If you get a suspicious call, contact the Michigan Lottery or police right away. You can reach the Michigan Lottery at (517) 373-1237.