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Groups warn of Powerball scams ahead of historic drawing

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Lottery is warning Powerball players about an online scam.

The lottery sent out a news release Tuesday saying a website calling itself USA POWERBALL Syndicate is offering shares of tickets that are purchased as a group with the winnings paid out equally for every share.

The lottery said Powerball tickets can only be purchased at authorized retailers and not by phone, Internet or mail.

The jackpot for Wednesday's drawing is estimated to be $1.5 billion.

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Meanwhile, in Ohio, a Better Business Bureau expects scammers to take advantage of the drawing for the largest lottery prize in U.S. history to trick people into thinking they won smaller prizes.

The central Ohio bureau says scammers reach out via email, telephone and regular mail to "inform" secondary winners of smaller prizes.

Officials say targets of the scams are often asked to pay "taxes" or other fees upfront before they can claim their supposed winnings. They also may receive a letter informing them they won a prize and including a fake check to cover taxes on winnings. Victims are told to deposit the check in their bank account and then send the money to a third party.

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