Greensboro, NC -- The NC Lottery Commission says it caught two cashiers stealing a winning ticket. It happened during a sting with Guilford County Sheriff's Deputies.
They arrested Yogesh Jayantibhai Patel and Minaben Yogesh Patel. Investigators say the pair ran a winning ticket presented by an undercover officer and then said it was a losing ticket.
The Lottery Commission says the two cashed the $1,000 ticket the next day.
So, how can you protect yourself?
At convenience stores, the lottery machine monitor should be pointed in a direction where customers can see it. If you win between $50 and $600, the dollar amount you won will appear on the screen.
If you win more than $600, you'll have to claim the ticket at a lottery office. You'll see a message that tells you to do that. The machine will also play a short song if you win. If you hear that song, that's a clear sign you have some money coming your way.
However, before you ever decide to turn in a ticket or check to see if you've won, sign your name on the back of the ticket. In fact, lottery officials say you should sign your tickets immediately after you purchase them.
By the end of the year, you will have another way to see if you're a winner. The state is in the process of buying scanners that you will be able to use to see if your ticket is a winner.
Win or lose, don't throw your ticket in the trash or let the clerk keep it. You can enter the numbers into the Lucke Zone websiteand enter a "second chance" drawing.
SAFETY TIPS FROM THE NC LOTTERY:
• Play Responsibly!
• Fill out a play slip to ensure accuracy of the ticket you want to purchase.
• SIGN THE BACK OF YOUR TICKETS AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE - THEY ARE BEARER INSTRUMENTS. WHOEVER SIGNS THE BACK OF THE TICKET IS THE OWNER OF THE TICKET.
• Be an educated player - know the rules. Contact the Player Hotline 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.