Unofficial website claims to help buyers play Powerball - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Unofficial website claims to help buyers play Powerball

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A website claiming to sell Powerball tickets online has Virginia lottery representatives telling buyers to beware.

Wednesday night's drawing is the largest Powerball jackpot in history and people are lining up to buy tickets but buyers beware. Virginia lottery representatives say not all ticket venders are official.

This is the official Powerball website. This one is not, but it gives you the option to supposedly buy your tickets online. Even though the website sounds official, has the date of the next drawing, even a countdown of how long you have to make your pick, the Virginia Lottery Commission says buyers should be wary.

"Unfortunately when the jackpot gets big, there are all sorts of entrepreneurs who spring up," said Paula Otto with the lottery commission.

"It's pretty easy to take logos and create a website that appears to be legitimate," she added.

Otto says this website has nothing to do with the licensed agencies authorized to sell you a winning ticket.

"Anyone who is selling lottery tickets online is not affiliated with the Virginia lottery," Otto said.

Another website even says as a welcome gesture, you can buy one ticket and get another free.

"You certainly have to be careful about that. The cost of a Powerball ticket is $2," she said.

When you click "buy tickets", the page has an assortment of options listing which credit cards you can supposedly use.

"If you want to make sure you have a ticket for Wednesday's Powerball drawing and it is a legitimate ticket, that if it wins, you will get paid that price, you absolutely want to buy your ticket at a licensed lottery retailers or from one of the self service machines," Otto warned.

Through a Twitter account, someone claiming to be with one of the websites admitted it's not the official site, but said it allows people who aren't physically able to buy a ticket the opportunity to do so. The Twitter user said winners would receive a scan of their ticket through a company whose contact information is listed in the United Kingdom, but added "we have agents based across the U.S. so that players can choose what state they want to play in."

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