Winning the lottery is like a dream come true. But, I wonder how many people have actually been scammed out of their win?
Well, it happens more than you think, and for starters, your cashier may have a lot to do with it. You trust them to be honest, but some of them play on that trust.
Take, for instance, this recent news story covered by WBBH-TV in Fort Myers, Florida.
A customer went into a Winn-Dixie Liquors store to claim his monetary reward, but the clerk serving him was far from honest.
Instead of handing him his full prize, the clerk told the man his $600 lotto ticket was only worth $5.
It seems like a clever — if completely wrong — sleight of hand: who would be any the wiser? If the customer had to bring it in to be read in the first place, he wouldn’t know. She must have banked on that as she made the swap.
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After scanning the winning ticket, 42-year-old Crystelle Yvette Baton pulled a $5 bill from her purse, handed it to the customer, and kept the ticket for herself.
Thinking she had gotten away with scamming the man, she had no idea that her deceitful plan was about to crumble.
The customer came back inside, revealing his true identity. He was actually an undercover agent employed with the Florida Lottery Commission’s security division.
Baton’s little scheme had gone all wrong. She was later charged with larceny grand theft, placed on a $5,000 bond, and scheduled to appear in court Feb. 26.
Busting cashier workers like Baton is something the lottery commission does all the time. Investigators normally set up “these random visits to sellers to make sure the games are played properly.”
Therefore, Baton wasn’t the first to do this, and she won’t be the last. Many would hope customer service workers would be more trustworthy, but this is not always the case.
In response to the incident, Winn-Dixie released this statement: “We are taking this matter very seriously as the trust and safety of our customers is our highest priority.”
Fortunately, they stuck by their promise and wrote that “The associate’s employment has been terminated.” At least she won’t get another opportunity to scam customers at that location.
It may work in everyone’s best interest to be cautious when securing a winning ticket. This could mean signing your name on the back or using an electronic checker located near the lottery machine, as suggested by the Miami Herald.
Hopefully, these integrity investigations will continue to cut down on more of these crimes. If you agree, make sure to share this story with your lottery-playing family and friends.