Staff from the Trex Mart in Missouri hold advice of a winning $558 million Powerball ticket which was bought from their store. But what if the owner had lost it? Photo.
Betsy screamed out as the scrabbling noise increased and the automatic light flicked on again outside. "There's an intruder outside our back door!"
"Dick?" she called, "Dick?" No reply.
She put her head cautiously round the door and there was her husband rifling through the trash can.
"What are you doing?" she asked, more annoyed than relieved.
He looked up, his face shocked. "I've just won the lottery and I threw the ticket out," he yelled, diving back into the dumpster again.
Could that happen to you?
Sure! I've lost a ticket too, but many years ago. These days I've gotten wiser.
Here's a reminder of this and other essential things you should do to get the most from your lottery game - before it turns into disaster:
1. Write your name on every winning ticket. You can include the words "ticker owner" if you wish, but generally you'll be able to prove your name with your ID, driver's license etc.
2. What would happen if you lost your winning ticket like Dick? Yes - tears and disaster. So photocopy your winning tickets. Do this for both your Silver Lotto System tickets and your weekly tickets too.
3. Get your ticket numbers checked by your lotto shop after each game. Don't rely on your own eyes. By having the store or reader machine check them means that you won't miss a number - which could be the difference between a world trip and a disaster!
4. If you give lotto tickets as a gift, make sure the recipient can claim them. If the game requires players over the age of 18, it will be a few long years before your 14 year-old nephew gets to spend their $100 million from the ticket you gave them for Christmas.
5. Playing in a syndicate? At the very least you should have a document signed by everyone who takes part, with a brief description of the games you are playing, the amount you put in and what share you will get on winning. It keeps everyone honest.
Dick emerged holding a soggy ticket.
"Wahoo!" he shouted. Their problems were almost over. Now, how were they going to protect the valuable ticket from harm again?
Read more tips here.