Do you need to worry if you lose your lottery tickets?
Back in 2015, one California lottery ticket holder lost out on claiming a $1 million Powerball prize. He had lost his ticket.
The winner spotted a news report about himself purchasing his ticket in the Rosemead area and came forward to claim his prize. But he said he had misplaced his Powerball ticket.
Powerball rules require winners to produce the actual ticket, which means the Californian could not collect his winnings whatsoever.
It happens to the best of us. We misplace our phone, or we lose our keys. But what about a Powerball lottery ticket?
The rules governing lotteries tend to vary from one state to the next, but typically you have between 90 days to a year to claim your prize from the date of the draw.
If you so happen to come across a winning ticket lying around, you can claim the prize provided it’s within the stipulated timeframe.
But losing your winning ticket is a whole other matter. The chances of claiming your winnings when you don’t have the physical ticket are just about as good as the odds of winning the big jackpot. Or striking it lucky twice.
If you believe you have a winning ticket, you need to contact your state’s lottery office either by mail, email or telephone. You’ll usually find a list of unclaimed lottery prizes on a state’s lottery website.
However, if you have lost your Powerball ticket, the only chance you really have of claiming your winnings is if you signed the back of the ticket and someone finds it and hands it back to you. That’s because most places, by law, will only pay the person whose name is written on the back of a winning ticket. That’s why if you lose your ticket, unsigned, and someone finds it, they can sign it and claim what should be yours.
In fact, your signature does not guarantee that you will get your ticket back. But it will stop anyone else from profiting on your misfortunate, or misplacement.
It’s pretty scary, isn’t it? On a better note, there are several things you can do to protect your Powerball tickets and ensure that if you do win, you get to claim your prize.
Not everyone has the bad luck of the Californian winner we mentioned earlier, and not all lotteries will put as much effort into denying you your winnings. But your best bet is to be safe. You don’t want to have to go through a lengthy appeal process or heartache when you can’t claim what should be yours.
There are three very important things you can do to keep your ticket safe.
Firstly, as soon as you purchase your Powerball tickets, be sure to put them somewhere safe so you won’t lose them. Think along the lines of a box, a folder, or the kitchen drawer – somewhere secure that you will remember. Carefully storing your tickets will also protect them from any damage. The rules tend to vary from one lottery to another, but the powers that be at Powerball probably won’t let you claim your winnings if your ticket is drenched, torn, or taken a spin in the washing machine.
Secondly, don’t keep your lottery tickets in your pocket. They could just end up in the washing machine.
Finally, sign the back of your lottery ticket the moment you get it. This helps prove that you are the rightful owner of your Powerball tickets. Remember, your signature isn’t going to guarantee that someone will hand your ticket back to you if you lose it, but it does stop anyone else cashing in on your loss. Leave your tickets unsigned and lose them, and anyone can pick them up, sign them, and laugh their way to the bank.
So, the next time you purchase your tickets, sign them and store them safely and you could be the one laughing all the way to your very own luxury trip – or whatever else you want to do with your winnings.
Find all the latest Powerball news today at Powerball.ca.