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With the Mega Millions jackpot up to $1.55 billion, people across the U.S. are embracing their dreams of wealth and spending their dollars at convenience stores, gas stations, and other places that sell lottery tickets in the hopes of a big win.

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If you win Mega Millions Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, and choose the cash option, you’ll receive a lump sum of roughly $757.2 million, Fox News reports. After the IRS takes federal taxes of 24% off the top, you’ll walk away with roughly $575.4 million.

Either way, that’s life-changing money for most people. Experts suggest that if you win, you should keep it a secret for as long as possible.

That’s because winning that much money makes you a target — not just of theft, kidnapping, and other scams — but even friends and relatives coming out of the woodwork asking for cash.

Unfortunately, only 16 states allow you to remain anonymous after winning a big prize in the state lottery. In most cases, you’ll need to request to remain anonymous. Some of these states only let you stay anonymous if you win more than a certain amount.

16 States Where Lottery Jackpot Winners Can Remain Anonymous

  • Arizona (only for winners of $100,000+, but city and county will be revealed)

  • Delaware

  • Illinois (only for winners of $250,000+)

  • Kansas

  • Maryland

  • Minnesota (only for winners of $10,000+)

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • Montana (town or city may be revealed)

  • New Jersey

  • New Mexico (only for winners of $10,000+, but you can request anonymity if you have security concerns)

  • North Dakota

  • South Carolina

  • Texas (only for winners of $1 million+)

  • Virginia (only for winners of $10 million+)

  • West Virginia (only for winners of $1 million+)

  • Wyoming

Why Can’t Other Winners in Other States Remain Anonymous?

As you can tell from the list above, the majority of states mandate that lottery winners have their identities revealed. In many states, lottery winners are a matter of public record, so even if your win isn’t promoted by the state lottery, it is readily available for anyone who wants to look it up.

For instance, winners in Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee keep open records of lottery prize payments, so there is no way to hide the information. However, you may be able to request that your name is not released publicly, although it will still be available by request.

New York, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and California all have disclosure laws requiring that the lottery winner’s name is released publicly. In Colorado, your first name and the first letter of your last name will be listed on the state lottery website.

These laws exist to show that the lottery is run honestly and that funds are paid out to a real person, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

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Additionally, showing real winners and sharing their stories can inspire other people to buy lottery tickets in the future, helping to drive revenue in states that sell lottery tickets.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: You Can Remain Anonymous If You Win the Mega Millions Jackpot in These 16 States — Why Not the Others?

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