A man in Michigan won a lottery jackpot despite at first believing that the news was a scam. Photo by Robert Lessmann/Shutterstock
July 22 (UPI) -- A Michigan man said he won a $139,221 prize from the Michigan Lottery, despite believing that the initial email notifying him of his victory was a scam.
The 32-year-old man from Oakland County, Mich., chose to remain anonymous, but said on Thursday that the money "couldn't have come at a better time."
He said, though, that when he first heard the news of his jackpot, which was sent by the lottery via email, he thought that it was likely a scam.
"My wife called me crying one day and told me about an email that had just came through informing me that I'd won a $139,221 Lottery prize," the man said. "We agreed not to get too excited yet, thinking maybe it was a scam email."
"When we called the Lottery and confirmed the prize was real, my wife started crying and I couldn't stop pacing the house in shock."
The lucky winner said that he then went to the Michigan Lottery headquarters to claim his prize. He told the lottery that he was planning to use the money to take a vacation, and spend the rest opening college funds for his two daughters.
The Michigan Lottery said that the man didn't actually win the money by playing the regular lottery game. His victory actually came when he was selected in a random July drawing that he entered by playing the state's online lottery game.
A portion of every purchase on the online game is used to fund a jackpot that is awarded in a monthly "second chance" drawing, the lottery said. A new drawing period begins each month with the pot being reset to $5,000.
Players are able to earn one entry in the second chance drawing for every $0.50 that they spend online.
In addition to the state lottery, a number of Michiganders have seen significant wins playing national lottery games such as the Mega Millions.
In January 2021, a person bought a winning Mega Millions ticket at a grocery store in Novi, Mich.
This ticket made them the recipient of a $1.05 billion jackpot, the third-largest in United States history.
And just days ago, it was announced that a Genesee County, Mich., man won his second lottery jackpot in 15 years, bringing home $339,768 after previously winning $250,000 in 2007.
In life-changing situations such as these, Jake Harris of the Michigan Lottery gave some helpful tips for anyone who would win such a prize.
"What I would tell the winner is that they're gonna want to make sure to sign the back of the ticket and keep it in a very safe place," Harris told the Detroit Free Press. "A lottery ticket is a bearer instrument. So, in order to claim the prize, they have to have that original ticket in their hand."
"If they don't have the ticket we can't pay on the prize so just make sure to [keep it] safe at home or some people do a safety deposit box," Harris said, adding that many people take a long time to claim their earnings as they attempt to wrap their head around the news.