Tips & Scams

Player Tips

  • Play Responsibly!

  • Fill out a play slip to ensure accuracy of the ticket you want to purchase.


  • Be an educated player – know the rules. Contact Customer Services at 1-877-962-7529 if you need information on how to play the games.

  • Tickets can be scanned only once. If you have your ticket scanned at one location, it will not scan correctly at a different location.

  • The lottery terminal will play a brief musical tune for all prizes of $50 and higher. Listen carefully for the tune when your tickets are being scanned.

  • The VFD customer display near the lottery terminal will show the winning amount up to $599; however, it is a good practice to ask for a validation receipt when redeeming a winning ticket. The receipt will verify the amount of your winnings.

    For prizes $600 and above the VFD customer display will read “Claim at Lottery”.  Prizes between $600 and $99,999.99 must be claimed at any NCEL Claims Office, NCEL Headquarters, or by mail using an NCEL prize claim form. Prizes of $100,000 or more must be claimed in person at NCEL Headquarters in Raleigh.

  • Find out how the retailer will pay out your prize on a winning ticket before you have the ticket scanned. Retailers may pay winners by money order if the winnings are over $25. If this is not acceptable to you, you may try another retailer, the regional claim center or mail it in with a claim form.

  • Remember that an exchange ticket must be printed and given to you when you redeem a multi-draw ticket with remaining draws. Retailers keep and deface all original winning tickets.

  • Verify the accuracy of your ticket and/or winnings before leaving the retailer’s premises – it is the player’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the ticket.

  • Enjoy playing our games! Thank you for supporting education in North Carolina!

Lottery Scams

The North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) is sometimes contacted by citizens who have received telephone calls, letters or emails concerning lotteries that are questionable. To help you in determining whether you have been contacted by a scam artist, we are providing a few guidelines, suggestions and resources.

There is no way to stop them without your help!
Here's what you can do:

  • Buy Lottery tickets only from authorized NCEL Lottery retailers.
  • Never redeem a Lottery ticket for someone you do not know.
  • Never give your credit card, social security, driver's license, passport or bank account numbers over the phone to anyone promising lottery cash prizes or memberships.
  • If you receive a letter, email or phone call to send money or you receive a check to cash with directions to send a portion of it back, do not respond. The check is not a valid check and will bounce. No legitimate lottery will ever send you this type of communication. (View Example)
  • If you are going to participate in a "lottery pool", do so only with people you know and trust.
The Scam The Truth

"This is a winning ticket, but I need money to claim it. If you help me with the upfront money, I'll share the jackpot with you."

Once the ticket is bought, no money is EVER required to claim a prize.

"I can't cash in my winning ticket because I'm not a U.S. citizen."

You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to claim a lottery prize as long as you have proper ID.

"Let's call the Lottery. They'll tell us this is a winning ticket."

NCEL NEVER confirms that a ticket is a winner over the phone. The person on the phone is just a part of the scam.

Keep in mind the adage: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

The following are resources where you can learn more about fraud and scams: