With the Powerball jackpot now at $1.5 billion, the Better Business Bureau Serving West Florida warns that scammers will try to take advantage of consumers.
Bryan Oglesby, Director of Public Relations and Outreach for the BBB, said there is a significant amount of buzz about the jackpot in the media and it could turn into scammers trying to target you.
"Scammers want to play on people's emotions," Oglesby said.
Oglesby said consumers should not believe everything they read and hear or emails they may receive about the lottery. Oglesby said Florida Lottery officials would never contact you about the big winnings, you have to reach out to them.
"Scammers may send you bogus emails. They may make up fake websites. They can make you believe that they're the lottery, when they're not," he said.
Officials said people should remember not to get caught up in the hype. You should never give out personal information or pay money to try to get your winnings. Oglesby said scammers are ready to take advantage of consumers.
"Stop (and) think for a minute and don't click on things. Make sure you know what you're clicking on (and) want information you're reading and know where the source is from," Oglesby said.
Oglesby said their office has not been notified about any lottery scams yet, but that doesn't mean anything. He said last year lottery and sweepstakes scams were 1 of the top 10 scams people fell for and they do not want you to get ripped off.