Check Lottery Tickets Yourself… Or Else!

Checking lottery tickets with woman behind the ticket counter

Here’s a timely warning. Always check winning lottery tickets yourself.

Most lottery retailers are honest decent people. And they get a real buzz when their store creates a big lottery winner.

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Check Lottery Tickets Yourself… Or Else!

244 Comments so far ↓

  • CM

    I checked my scratch off ticket at the kiosk and it shows file claim at lottery, what does this mean?

    • LG

      It means you won over $600, so you need to claim from the lottery office. Congratulations 🙂

      But look, it’s pretty important to understand the games you choose to play. If you don’t understand it, see if you there is an explanation leaflet or check the official website for that lottery company. Or just choose a less complicated scratcher. It’ll be more fun playing a game where you understand how you win too 🙂

    • Jayiz4jeep

      I have a scratcher with reads, “file claim form”. There is not a winning figure at the kiosk or at cashiers validating voucher. It claims the ticket number, game identification, and “file claim form”. I never scratched the ticket just the bar code itself. I checked four kiosk and they all read the same. I called the lottery office and a lady told me, it’s a losing pack. It was never activated. Enter 2nd chance you’ll waste your time claiming the non-winning pack.

      I have yet to claim it to the office, 7 days of work and the holidays are coming. She really killed my hope. Tell me if you won anything.

      Holiday spoiler in Los Angeles.

      • LG

        It’s possible the pack wasn’t activated. But there’s no such thing as a ‘losing pack’ (maybe she confirmed it was a losing ticket..?). So I would recommend you scratch the actual ticket and play the game – see if you did win. And take it from there. Hope it’s Happy Holidays news instead 🙂

    • Zantea

      Same thing with me. I have a $30 ticket which says ‘file a claim form’. When I called the lottery company says they can’t verify and there’s an issue. I told her I have other cards that are the same one, but when I scanned it says non winning tickets. But the first one said ‘file a claim form’ and in the mobile apps say ‘can’t process see retailer‘. I don’t know what’s next to do with this ticket. By the way the card has no figure winning number, it’s weird but says file a claim form.

    • Andres Ramon V Jallorina

      Same with me, my Bingo card is a loser, but when I scanned it to check if it is a winner, the scanner says file a claim. I scanned it multiple times and also at the card retailer same result.

  • JL888

    On a somewhat related question, can clerks somehow check a ticket without scratching it? I bought four of a new Illinois scratch off ticket from a news stand today. When I got home, I discovered that they were not four consecutive tickets. Someone had removed two tickets and taped the surrounding tickets together to close the gaps. So I got numbers 17, 18, 20, and 22. It seems suspicious to me.

    • LG

      It shouldn’t be possible to tell at all without scratching the barcode/serial no part of the ticket – but you don’t have to remove much of it.

      This is suspicious enough though that I would recommend you report it to the lottery company – you should be able to find a contact email on their official website (but just let me know if you need help finding it). Tell them the store where you bought the tickets, which ticket it was and ideally the date/time too. They should take this seriously. Keep hold of the tickets you have and don’t scratch anything more from them, they may ask for them.

    • Suprena

      If you purchased tickets that weren’t in sequential order it doesn’t mean anyone knew that the missing tickets were winners. I’ve gone into establishments to purchase scratch off tickets and once they were torn off I realized that I didn’t have enough to purchase them all, so because they were already torn off the retailer just placed them on the counter in front of the roll of tickets that I purchased. Then when someone else came in to purchase the same tickets, instead of giving them the ones already torn off the clerk went right to the roll and pulled off the next ones forgetting the ones I had given back. Eventually they’ll remember the ones I returned and sell them but for the most part they were simply overlooked. Don’t worry yourself too much about it, I truly believe that if God has something for you nobody can take it… it’s yours and you’re gonna get it. And yes people “I do believe that God will bless you financially even on a scratch off ticket.. It’s legal” so save the smart remarks. Wish you much luck and blessings Jl888.

  • Darrn

    This happened to me about 10 years ago and I am just now reading about it. I had played MM lottery and when I scanned it the words ‘See clerk’ came up, so I took it to her. She scanned it and told me “not a winner, want me to throw it away?”, and I said sure. Then after a few weeks went by I noticed that the lady didn’t work there any more. Guess I got screwed .

    • Steven

      Why would a losing ticket say see clerk? Scan it twice. In RI, the machines and your smartphone/tablet now scan tickets. Yes, I do not even have to go to the store to check the tickets.

  • Clara Vazquez

    I scanned a lotto ticket today – it says winner $1, I never saw that before. I told the clerk, she took the ticket, gave me a $1 dollar bill, no receipt and kept the ticket. Did it really mean $1 I wonder? I hope I did not lose my prize? How should the prize number really display? Please let me know, now I’m very anxious and worried.

    • LG

      It really depends on where you live – self scan machines vary around the world. If you are in any doubt at all, phone the lottery company and explain what has happened. They will be happy to explain what their machines say, and if anything sounds suspicious they will investigate. But don’t worry too much, this type of fraud is very rare.

  • Brittany

    I know this was written a long time ago, but a store clerk (at least in the USA) will not hand you back a winning ticket. They usually have to staple it to a redemption receipt and the winner won’t get a copy of that unless the prize is $30 or over.

    • Steven

      They in Rhode Island do hand the winning ticket back. They no longer send it back to the lottery. That was in the 1980’s. We have machines and customer displays and web apps that tell you how much you won, before you hand the ticket to the clerk. Unfortunately, this only applies to online tickets. Scratch tickets only say winner, and cannot tell you if the ticket was already cashed in. That is the prevent the store from cashing and selling you a dead ticket.

  • Sherri Becker

    I found a lottery ticket I had scratched off a few weeks ago. I have the app on my phone to check them. I use it often. This ticket said “take to a lottery retailer” I have never seen this before before what does it mean

    • LG

      Not 100% sure – it could mean the ticket is older than the app recognises. Or a temporary app connection problem. Or maybe a slightly damaged bar code that it’s not able to read properly. Just check visually if it’s a winner – the old fashioned way 😉

  • Lizard

    Won on 9s dollar scratcher Ticket Ticket Ticket redeemed it and the clerk gave me claim form – scanned it and said fill out the claim form. How much did I win?

    • LG

      I’ve no idea what game you’re playing. But why didn’t you ask the clerk how much you’ve won..? And why don’t YOU know? Seriously. If you’re playing a game you don’t understand then you’re just asking to get ripped off. Either learn how the game works or play a different game that is easier to understand in future.

      For your winning ticket however, I suggest you either go to the lottery office or phone them. Get them to explain how this ticket works and how much you have won.

      • Karen

        My 9s scratch ticket says same thing as ^^Lizard^^. We scanned it and machine says file claim form but nobody can tell me how much. Waiting on CA lottery to email me back.

      • LG

        Could be a printing error. Let us know what they say?

    • Christie

      We have a $20 California Premium Black and it says we won a free ticket. We play this game often. Went to redeem it and got a slip saying we must file a claim. Would love to know what the lottery said about your ticket?

  • Alyse Williams

    What does it mean if your scratch ticket says invalid?

    • LG

      It could be a temporary problem with the lottery network. Or it could be a problem with that scanner. Or it could be a damaged ticket.

      So try again later. But also double check the barcode is fully scratched off, and clean. If it still doesn’t work, try a different scanner.

  • Fabi E

    I bought a scratch ticket in Florida while visiting and scanned it in Los Angeles where I reside. The clerk at the gas station scanned it and said I won! It read “File Claim at Lottery” so I decided to rescan it at the little self scanner and it also said “Claim at Lottery” – I couldn’t believe it! So I decided to check it again at two other gas stations lol to make sure… and they all said the same thing “Claim at Lottery”. Did I actually win or could it be an error since it’s an out of state ticket? Can you scan your ticket in another state and still win, or not? Please let me know I’m sooo anxious! Thanks.

    • LG

      Wow, that’s really odd.

      You can’t claim a ticket outside of the state in which it was bought. So the fact the scanner gave anything other than an error message is really surprising – it can’t know if the ticket is really a winner or not. So it’s possibly just bad programming by the California lottery, as it should identify and give a general ‘invalid ticket’ type error message for an out of state ticket.

      As to whether you have won or not, just scratch off the ticket and play the game! 🙂

      • Mickey Murley

        OK so two days ago I buy two $5 Bing-O-Rama tickets. I scratched them and they both won $5 each, so I go to a different retailer to cash in my $10. Well the lady scanned them and they both said claim at lottery. I rechecked the tickets and still both only won $5 each. So I go back to the store where I purchased them and bought another. So I have ticket 2, 3 and 4. The 4th didn’t win but when I scan it this also says ‘claim at lottery’ – what’s this about?

      • Mickey Murley

        Pretty much they said the retailer didn’t activate the pack, so mail it to us and we will send you a $5 check. I hung up and literally haven’t bought a ticket since, I’m disgusted.

    • Lucy

      Same thing happened this week to me… was your ticket a winner? Because my ticket from Fl at the California Nevada state line when I scanned it a few times and every time says file claim form. What does that mean since I’m looking at the scratcher and surely it’s not a winner… or is it?

      • Steven

        You have to scan it in the same state it was purchased. In RI there are two bar codes, one for the retailers and one for the customer under the latex. You will get an error scanning the wrong one. Never try to scan the retailer bar code on the back, it won’t work.

  • KH

    I was lied to by a cashier about the ticket I gave him to scan. He told me it wasn’t a winning ticket and I discarded and forgot about it. But I just discovered the old ticket and to my dismay found it actually was a winning ticket. It’s too late now to claim. I called the lottery people and told them about this frustrating incident, and the fun is that they say they can’t do anything. Not even look into the matter and punish the crooked store cashier to stop it happening in future. I guess the lottery people want more prizes to go unclaimed or swindled.

    • LG

      There’s a few critical facts missing here. Did you see the cashier actually scan the ticket? Did you hear the machine play a sound to confirm it was a winner? Or did the cashier pretend to scan it, or even just visually check it for you? Did the cashier automatically hand the ticket back to you, or did you have to ask for it back? Because if the ticket was genuinely scanned then it’s likely the lottery company have a record of this winning ticket being scanned. Making it very unlikely any crooked cashier would have actually scanned it for real. They would also have tried to hold on to the ticket – it’s no good to them if you walk away with it!

      So, do you know for certain that this is even the same ticket you’re now looking at, and not a different one?

      Lottery companies do put a lot of measures in place to protect against ticket theft. They don’t benefit from unclaimed prizes. Quite the reverse – more winners encourages more play, which means bigger profits.

      • KH

        Yes, he scanned it then said, “Not a winner. Do you want it?” I said, “Yes please I want it back”. Not because I had any suspicion but just on a whim. I very much believed him. I had no idea such crookedness happens.
        No, it’s not any other ticket, because it was a scratch off crosswords and I remember the words. And also,I don’t buy lottery tickets that much. So, there’s no doubt of it being another ticket. Actually my wife stumbled upon this ticket while doing a thorough housekeeping of our place a few days ago. The lottery people also said that they will inform the store (I didn’t tell them which store) about this incident, which I guess means my ticket was scanned. And if a store keeps many months old cctv footage then I am sure I am in the footage giving my ticket for scanning. So….?

      • LG

        So he scanned it and then offered to hand it back, but you didn’t hear a ‘winner’ sound played by the machine..?

        I don’t know what else to tell you, other than continue to pursue it with the lottery company. I’d suggest writing a formal letter to the security department clearly stating all the facts, and including copies of both sides of the ticket. And ask them to formerly investigate because you now believe the cashier was attempting to steal winning tickets. At this stage you just want them to investigate – I wouldn’t even bother trying to claim until they have investigated.

      • Richard

        You need to go to the store where purchased and speak to the store manager and have his security team check the cameras. Knowing the date and approximate time of event helps A LOT.

      • LG

        Not sure that would really help anything. At best you’d see someone appearing to scan a ticket, then hand it back. If they still have the video this far back. Any investigation really needs to start with the lottery company to get anywhere.

    • Amber

      I work at a liquor store that sells lottery tickets. I don’t care if the ticket is a winner or not – you will always hear a beep that shows that they had scanned the ticket. Always look out for that.

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