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 ↓

  • Justin

    I scratched a ticket, it said ‘free ticket’ but the clerk said the payout was too large to cash. And that I had to go to the lotto commission, anybody heard of this?

  • Steven

    My guess is that you won more than a free ticket. Take it to the lottery. Anyways.

  • Jahaze

    I just recently purchased a ticket at a nearby 7/11 – it was a 5 dollar Mega Crossword Scratcher. I scratched it, and got three words. Scratched the multiplier and got 1x. So I take it back to the 7/11, and the clerk says I have to file a claim. I’m like, what do you mean – he said that it read file a claim, but that they didn’t have any claim forms there they were out. So he stapled the little slip on my ticket and said to send it in not knowing anything on how much it was worth. He said it will usually tell you the amount… but not this time.

    So the next day I take it to the Circle K 1 block away, and I scan it there – same reading, ‘file a claim form’. Then the cashier scanned it, same thing, file a claim form? Can there be some sort of mistake? Or is it possible if it only says I won $10 I really won more then that because it says sign claim form… help?

    • LG

      It’s possible you could have won more than you think. But the fact is I’ve heard of quite a lot of cases of this happening when the win really is only small.

      It’s not clear why it’s happening. But unfortunately you don’t really have much choice – if it says ‘claim’ then the retailer really can’t do anything, and your only option is to send in a claim form. Even if you only end up getting $10 back.

      (P.S. I did email you about this – 11th August – check your spam folder if you didn’t get the email)

  • Melanie

    I got “TICKET” and two like numbers on a Louisiana ‘7’ scratch off – did I win?

    I asked the girl at the store to scan to see if I won, she said, no. She said I had to have 3 x “TICKET” on the scratch off.

    • LG

      But did you get any 7’s? As the instructions say – “Find a 7 symbol and win prize shown for that symbol”. If you didn’t get any 7 symbols then no, sorry, you didn’t win anything.

      It’s called ‘7’ for a good reason 🙂

      • Melanie

        Yes, I do have a ‘7’. I spoke with Lottery corp in my state, and I do indeed have a winning ticket.
        Thank you for your helpful comment/advice.
        Have a lucky day!

      • LG

        Awesome – glad it turned out to be a winner after all 🙂

        Just goes to show that it’s best to get the retailer to scan it anyway, even if they don’t think it’s a winner, as they might be wrong!

  • Michelle Marx

    I went in to check my Powerball ticket (rushing as usual). I scanned my ticket and it came up invalid ticket. So I took it up to the clerk and he said $4 winner. So I took 2 scratchies and headed to the door. Then something told me to go back and ask him for my $4 dollar winning ticket, and for some reason the clerk couldnt find it that quickly. And he never gave me a receipt saying it was a 4 dollar winner. I need to know what an invalid ticket means..?

  • Steven

    You should always scan tickets twice or even three times. In RI, the machines will tell you how much you have won before handing it over to the clerk. Also their machine will play a tune and a display will show you how much you have won.

  • John

    Hi Lottery Guy. I have a question about 3 letter codes on scratch off tickets. In NC I bought a ‘$5 ‘Red Hot Slots’ scratcher. I won 5 games out of twelve, BUT I DID NOT SCRATCH THE PRIZE AMOUNT. The code will abbreviate the amount. E.g. O N E = 1 etc. On my winning ticket it’s not an abbreviated code amount: The code is: R N W. Could it be a larger lesser jackpot amount? Sign me John, nervous. Can you comment? I will scan the ticket tomorrow…

    • LG

      If it was TNW that would be $20. So RNW is a much more exciting prospect :-). It’s definitely a prize over $25 – so we’re all eagerly waiting to hear how much you got? Good luck 🙂

  • Kim

    I have three questions. Have the CA lottery changed their scanners to show “see clerk” instead of telling you the amount you’ve won? If not, at what winning amount does the scanner start to say “see clerk”? I’ve tried to find this information on the lotto sites but can not find a direct answer.

    On 9/9/17, I took a Mega millions ticket in I’d bought in August and scanned it. It read “see clerk”. I went to the register. First I bought a few tickets for Super Lotto on 9/9/17. That was the end of the transaction. Then I gave my Mega Millions winner to the clerk. He said that I’d won a dollar. There was something odd about the way he told me. I got this strange feeling that something was not right. I’ve shopped here for years and this time I wasn’t given the receipt showing the amount I’d won. I could see him holding the ticket and receipt in his hand but he didn’t hand it over to me. I paused, and then remembered I needed a ticket for another game and purchased it. My purchases on 9/9 bookended my Mega Millions ticket he checked. If “see clerk” means you’ve won over a certain dollar amount then I was scammed. Would the bookended tickets allow the Lotto investigators to catch this retailer at the scam? If so, I will report him. What a terrible feeling. Whatever the answers, I know I will always sign each ticket I buy from now on! Thanks for your help.

    • LG

      Hi Kim

      There are two possibilities here. It is possible that the self-check scanner simply failed to read the ticket (dodgy reader, dirty scanner, creased ticket, slightly unclear bardcode etc). I’ve often seen a ticket fail to read the first time then work just fine the second – so it could even just be taking too long to check and timing out.

      The other possibility is that the ticket did actually win more than the clerk claimed (above the store payout limit for that state will typically show ‘see clerk’). It’s unlikely but it can happen. So I would suggest that you contact the CA Lottery (800-568-8379) and ask for their Security & Law Enforcement department. That dept exists to handle occasions like this. Have the address of the retailer to hand and the tickets you bought. If anything dodgy happened they will be able to find out.

      It is definitely wise to sign your tickets, but I also strongly recommend checking the numbers manually yourself too — it’s also more fun that way 🙂

      Let me know how you get on.

  • Lisa

    Hi Lottery Guy, thanks for your site. I play California lottery. Last week I took my scratcher in and I checked the ticket on a scanner – it said I won $100. Also the machine said scan the back of the ticket, never seen that before. I asked the clerk, and she said it doesn’t mean anything. I want to know does the scanner give you the exact amount you won? Thank you so much, Lisa.

    • LG

      Yes, they do give the exact amount you won. Unless it’s more than the maximum store payout amount ($600 or more) in which case it would say ‘see clerk’.

      So did they pay you the $100?

      Are you sure it said ‘scan’ the back of the ticket, or did it say to ‘sign’ the back? For your own protection it’s recommended to add your name, address and signature to the back of winning tickets.

  • Steven

    In RI, it is impossible for any scanner to give the exact amount you have won on a scratch ticket. The machines cannot tell you if it was cashed in. That would prevent a dishonest store employee from scanning tickets and selling the losers.

    • LG

      Not really – you have to scratch the hidden barcode/code to be able to tell if it’s winner or not. Which is why it’s important to always give your tickets a quick check before walking away from the counter. Reject any that have been even slightly scratched anywhere (there’s a technique called ‘pinning’ where tiny amounts of the latex are removed, just enough to check the code or the ticket for a win) and/or report them to the lottery company.

      • Steven

        The RI self service checkers scan a different bar code than what the agent scans. I scanned the wrong bar code on purpose, and the self service checker told me to scan the other bar code. To scan the bar code for the players, you have to play the game, it is mixed in with the play area on the front (that is to stop dishonest agents from weeding out the losers and selling the losing tickets). For the agent, he has to scan the bar code on the back and scratch a 4 digit code on the front, and enter the 4 digits to validate the scratch ticket. If an agent tries to validate it a second time, the machine will display already paid.

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