As the Mega Millions sweepstakes draws closer, players may be wondering how they can protect their safety and identity if they happen to be the lucky winner.
No one matched the numbers from the last millionaire draw. That pushed the jackpot to $1 billion as of Thursday.
The hefty prize could draw the attention of any winner whose identities have been compromised — arguably making them a target for theft and other security compromises.
However, according to Mega Millions, public disclosure laws actually vary from state to state.
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“Some states require their lotteries to publicly identify winners, while others do not,” the lottery game’s website states. “Go to the lottery in your jurisdiction and check.”
Below are some of the 45 participating states for millionaires in the United States, where winners can remain anonymous.
(The list is subject to change as more states have been pushing legislation to protect the identities of lottery winners.)
According to the Arizona Lottery, the name of the person (or legally incorporated entity) who wins a prize of $600 or more is kept confidential for 90 days from the date of the winning.
During this period, winners will also not be disclosed in public records.
Winners of $100,000 or more may choose to keep their names private in perpetuity. However, under Arizona law, the recipient city and county of residence are not kept secret.
According to the Delaware Lottery game, Delaware state law allows winners to remain anonymous.
In May 2022, Florida passed a law that allows winners of $250,000 or more to remain anonymous for 90 days.
After 90 days, any third party may claim the winner’s name, city of residence, date of win, game and amount won. According to the Florida Lottery, the winner’s street address and phone number will be kept secret.
If someone wins a lottery prize of $250,000 or more, that person may remain anonymous.
The Kansas Lottery said winners may request that their names and residences be kept private, and “the Kansas Lottery is pleased to accommodate this request,” the organization said on its website.
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Lottery winners have the right to remain anonymous in Maryland, according to the state lottery.
“We will not publish the name or photo of any such winner unless the winner specifically agrees to us in writing to do so,” the Maryland state’s website said.
After a bill is passed in 2021, the names and cities of lottery winners of more than $10,000 will be kept anonymous unless the winner chooses to make them public.
According to the Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law, the Mississippi Lottery will not reveal the identities of winners without the person’s written permission.
According to the Missouri Lottery website, under the law, the Missouri Lottery cannot release the names of winners without their prior consent.
The names of the Montana Lottery winners were not released.
The Montana Lottery also said it would not release winners’ names without their permission.
The New Jersey Lottery allows winners to choose to remain anonymous for more than $1 million in prizes that have been claimed since the 2020 legislation.
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On January 21, 2020, the New Jersey Lottery Laws were amended so that winners may choose to remain anonymous indefinitely, “and the identity of winners may not be included in materials publicly available under the state’s open public records law,” New Jersey The lottery said in a 2021 press release.
In North Dakota, winners can choose to release their information or remain anonymous.
Ohio also allows anonymity.
In South Carolina, the winner may remain anonymous.
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In 2021, however, freedom of anonymity is being challenged by a man who filed an open records request with the state lottery commission; he is looking for the names of winners of $1 million or more in 12-month periods in 2013 and 2014, according to the Associated Press , contact information, date and jackpot amount.
At first, the state Supreme Court sided with the man.
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The commission then charged the man. A judge ruled that releasing “personally identifiable information about the winners would constitute an unreasonable invasion of an individual’s privacy” under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, according to the Associated Press.
The judge also prohibited the man from continuing to seek information from any source.
While not always possible in Texas, lottery winners can now remain anonymous.
Specifically, people who win lottery prizes of $1 million or more are eligible to remain anonymous, according to a 2017 announcement from the Texas Lottery.
According to the Virginia Lottery’s website, as of July 1, 2019, a law in Virginia allows winners of more than $10 million to choose to remain anonymous — meaning the winner’s name and location will not be released to the public.
A West Virginia law, also in effect in 2019, allows winners to remain anonymous as long as the winnings are $1 million or more.
“All other winners are publicly listed in the winners database on wvlottery.com,” the state’s lottery website said.
The Wyoming Lottery said it would respect the anonymity of lottery winners.
As an alternative, State Farm suggested, winners might be able to form a blind trust through their attorneys to receive prize money anonymously.
Insurers say lottery winners should also keep news of their winnings private until they turn in their tickets.
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Winners should also be prepared to change their contact information.
This is because many lotteries share names or require interviews or press conferences for transparency reasons.
State Farm also warned that lottery winners should read the rules and contracts of each game before signing a winning ticket.
“In some cases, signing your ticket may prevent you from building blind trust later,” states the insurance company’s “What to Do If You Win the Lottery” article.
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A financial advisor in the New York City area suggested that the lottery be put in a bank safe until the winner completes consultations with legal and financial advisors.
Also, the consultant said to know your state’s rules about whether you can remain anonymous. “It’s very important,” he said.
Be sure to visit your state’s official lottery page for more information.
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The next millionaire draw is Friday at 11:00pm ET.
Cortney Moore and Maureen Mackey of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.