Imagine you have won the lottery. Isn’t that great? Your whole life is about to change with this sudden windfall and you just cannot wait to claim your prize. But, before that can happen, there are some decisions to be made. We have all seen other lottery winners on television; they have a press conference, a photoshoot and are also interviewed on different programs. Does that mean that you will have to do the same? While some lottery winners want nothing more than be able to bask in the glitz and glamor of winning the jackpot, there are others who are not comfortable being in the spotlight and would rather keep it a secret.
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Therefore, lots of winners often wonder if they can remain anonymous when they win the lottery. Why? This is mostly because winning large sums of money can lead to some unforeseen circumstances and not everyone wants to deal with them. Your anonymity can depend on the laws in the state from where you have one. For instance, lottery winners in Kansas, North Dakota, Delaware, South Carolina, Ohio and Maryland are not required to disclose their identity to the public and can choose to stay anonymous if they wish.
In other states, people are required by law to come forward if they win the lottery. Nonetheless, exceptions can be made if there is a threat to personal security or another similar genuine reason. A number of people wonder why it is necessary to reveal the winner’s information. Various lotteries reveal some basic information about their winners such as their name, city and the amount they have won. It is not just to publicize the jackpots, but also applies to other wins. The purpose of doing so is to achieve transparency in the lottery process.
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The lotteries want the people to know that they use an honest procedure for selecting winners and the games are not rigged. It is to tell the public that an ordinary citizen can and does win lottery prizes, which also include jackpots that are worth millions. Distributing stories about people who have won substantial jackpot prizes can also benefit the lotteries because this kind of publicity automatically generates huge interest and also gives ticket sales a boost. Regardless, there are various lottery games that do allow their winners to conceal their identity if they wish. This includes big names such as SuperEnalotto, EuroMillions, EuroJackpot and even the UK Lotto.
Some people want to know why going public is not a good idea. When you win the lottery and decide to go public with it, it doesn’t just end with the announcement. Most people say that winners should enjoy their fifteen minutes to fame, but the fact is that it can get a lot more complicated with that. Not only do you have to deal with the interviews and constant attention, it can also open doors to new problems such as security risks. When the winner is disclosed, the entire world finds out who you are.
In today’s technological age, it is very simple to find anyone, which means that anyone can get to you. Obviously, a large number of people will reach out to you and ask for monetary assistance now that they know that you have won the lottery. You will hear all kinds of sob stories not only from strangers, but also from friends and family. Everyone will try to play on your sympathies to get you to give them money. Sure, some people may be genuinely in distress, but you are only going to feel hassled and will not know who to trust.
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Likewise, the constant attention means that you will not be able to maintain your privacy and go about your routine normally because people will be hounding you right and left for various reasons. Money is the top demand, but others may want to know about how you chose the numbers and may also ask you to give tips. Moreover, when it is public knowledge that you have won a sum of money, you also become a target of criminals. You become vulnerable to theft, blackmail and other similar security issues. Family fights also break out over the distribution and spending of money.
In a nutshell, the spotlight can be unnerving for a number of lottery winners. Yet, there are those who don’t have a problem with going public with their win. Some people actually do like the attention and wish to share their good fortune with everyone whereas some winners have said that they felt there was no other choice. According to them, if you are already rich, then it becomes easy for you to hide your winnings because you already have a luxurious lifestyle. But, for those who come from a simpler background, it is tougher to keep it a secret.
Therefore, lots of winners chose to go public because they believed there was nowhere to hide. Telling even one person means that there is a chance of the secret spreading and when people do find out, it can be even worse than public disclosure because now your attempt at hiding will add fuel to the fire. Even if you do succeed in keeping a lid on it, people ask questions if you change your lifestyle. You may not move into a new place or get a new car, but going on a vacation, quitting your job or changing your wardrobe can also alert people that something is up.
As a matter of fact, if no explanation is provided, some people may come up with their own bizarre theories that can also create problems for you in the long run. Therefore, those who do go public believe that it is better to do so by yourself and not wait for others to find your secret because this allows you to have control. You can decide on how to handle the situation and the steps to be taken to ensure you have to face as little hassle as possible.
If you are still adamant on keeping your identity a secret and wish to stay as anonymous as possible if you win the lottery, here are some simple things you can do to make it happen:
Purchase your ticket in a way that you don’t have to come forward
As mentioned above, there are six states in the US where you don’t have to disclose your identity if you win the lottery. This means that you will not have to attend a press conference and receive the giant check of your winnings. You can either visit these states to buy your lottery tickets or you can also do the same online nowadays. Other than the US, there are also other lotteries, which were discussed earlier, that let their players stay anonymous if they want.
Don’t share the news with anyone
Yes, if you win, you are going to be very, very tempted to share the big news with someone. But, if you have decided to stay anonymous, it is best to keep it a secret from everyone. The person you tell may share the news with someone and before you know it, your secret will be about and your problems will begin.
Don’t make meaningful changes in your life
One of the biggest signs that there is something wrong or different about your life is when you make some drastic changes to it. People are going to be instantly suspicious if they know that you were saving up for a car and now you have bought it out of the blue or you are going on vacation to an expensive location. Those close to you will notice the change and may not hesitate in questioning you or taking a close look. You don’t want them to get the wrong idea so it is best not to make any sudden and major changes.
Get rid of your social media accounts
In today’s age, everything is online. This makes it crucial that you erase your digital footprint as much as possible before you actually go to claim your prize. Get rid of your social media accounts because they make people privy to your life and you don’t know what anyone might pick up from them. It is not just social media accounts that need to go out; you should also consider changing your phone number and address, if possible. This is highly recommended in the situation when you have decided to go public with your winnings.
Change your looks
Again, this applies in the case when you have no choice, but to go public with your winnings. If you are required by law, there is nothing you can do about it, but you can minimize the trouble you will face as a consequence. This requires you to make changes to your appearance so it is difficult for people to recognize and hassle you. It is time to take inspiration from all the spy movies you see on television- wear a disguise. People will only hassle you if they know who you are. You can change your hair color or wear clothing that can come in handy for concealing your face and appearance. This is something celebrities often do when stepping out in public and you can go down the same route.
Say goodbye to your old phones
Similar to your address and social media accounts, your phone numbers also need a change. It is best to switch to a prepaid phone that you buy with cash and is not registered in your name. Only give your number to immediate family members and don’t contact others from it. Otherwise, people will be able to track you easily, again due to the technology available these days and you will be back to square one.
Get out of town
When the lottery is announced, people are all excited and there is a furor. They want to know everything possible about the winner and want to see them. But, gradually, the interest starts dying down as there are lots of other things to focus on plenty of new and more exciting news. If you really don’t want people to hound you in any way, it is a good idea to get out of town temporarily. With the lottery win, you can probably afford to do so and it is best if you leave until things have calmed down and the discussion has died down. This gives you time to relax, stay out of the spotlight and plan what you wish to do with your winnings and the steps to take.
Set up a trust or LLC
If you do a research on lottery winners who claimed their winnings anonymously, you will discover that they used a trust for this purpose. Establish a trust and you can use it to get your prize and not reveal your name in this manner. In the situation where your identity has to be revealed, you can set up an LLC for preventing people from tracking you by buying everything under the company’s name instead of your own. Obviously, most people will have absolutely no knowledge of the things to be done in this regard so you need to do some research and hire a good attorney to help you in taking the necessary steps.
Hold on for a year
When you have won a massive amount of money, it will be very tempting for you to spend some of it. Previously, when you saw something you wanted, you knew you didn’t have the cash and couldn’t afford to get it. But, now you do have the resources and have to control yourself. It is undeniably tough, but doing so can be a good way for you to protect your identity. You should maintain the appearance of living a normal life while you work with your finance team to figure out how to use your money the right way to make it last.