7 on Your Side: Don't fall prey to buying cashed-out lottery tickets

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - An East Texan says he was ripped off by someone selling cashed-out lottery tickets. Now, he is worried more unsuspecting folks may fall victim.

Scott Jones said he was approached by a man desperately needing gas money.

"He said he was trying to get to Tyler," said Jones. "He just got off work."

He showed Jones several winning lotto tickets that he'd already scratched off, but said he couldn't cash them in. You see, the gas station they were at wasn't a lottery retailer. Because it was so early in the morning, other stores were closed. Believing the man was really in a jam, Jones agreed to buy the tickets.

"[I] had no reason to think he was lying and so he sold them to me for $25 and went to cash them in the next day so I could put gas in my truck and they'd already been cashed in," said Jones.

He worries it could grow into a bigger scheme.

"Over a period of time it could be a lot of money to a lot of people," said Jones.

The Texas Lottery Commission said retailers have to deface winning tickets once they're cashed in, but Jones says the tickets he was sold were not.

"There wasn't a hole punch, they weren't defaced, 'cause I looked at them and they were all winners," he said.

The Lottery Commission encourages anyone who thinks they may have been connected to file a claim online so they can investigate, and never buy a ticket you can't verify right away.

"Having a lottery retailer scan that ticket for you, or we have over 8,800 nearly 9,000 Check a Ticket machines around the state where you can check that ticket yourself," said Bobby Heith with the Texas Lottery Commission. "So I would be very careful about taking a ticket from someone in exchange for services."

Something Jones learned the hard way.

"You live and you learn," he said.

Tyler police say if someone was caught selling cashed-in tickets they could face theft charges and even jail time depending on how much money the victim lost.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.