Who won Mega Millions Friday? When will we know?

Winners have good reason to hide their unexpected good fortune when they can.

CHICAGO — A single Mega Millions ticket purchased at a suburban Chicago Speedway gas station beat the odds by 1 in 302.5 million to earn $1.337 billion on Friday.

So who is the winner? Her identity was not revealed as of Monday morning – and may never be revealed. Illinois is one of the states where lottery winners of more than $250,000 can choose not to reveal their names. A spokesman for the Illinois Lottery said this weekend that the vast majority of big winners do just that.

We still don’t know who won the biggest Mega Millions prize in history, a $1.5 billion jackpot draw in 2018, because the winner chose to remain anonymous. All that is known about this person is that he was from South Carolina and visited Greenville.

Winners do not have to claim their prize immediately, so even lottery officials may not know the winner’s identity for a while. The new billionaire has a year to advance, but Illinois lottery rules say they only have 60 days to decide if they want to take the smaller lump sum — the vast majority of people choose to do so.

So it’s likely that the winner (or winners) could announce themselves before the end of September.

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“We won’t know if it’s an individual or a lottery until the winner comes forward to claim their prize,” National Mega Millions spokeswoman Danielle Frizzi-Babb said Saturday.

That could change when lottery offices open for this week – but others who are curious may never learn the identity of the winner.

Should the winner announce themselves?

Winners have good reason to hide their unexpected good fortune when they can.

One expert who has worked with past lottery winners says winners should avoid going to the lottery office and instead send a lawyer or financial advisor to protect their anonymity — if lottery officials allow it.

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“There will be people who will do whatever it takes to find out who the winner is,” said Kim Kamin, a 17-year trust and probate attorney who now teaches estate planning at Northwestern University Law School. “There will be many eyes watching.”

Some previous winners were unlucky, being chased for money and falling victim to scams.

One such winner is Manuel Franco from Wisconsin who won a $768 million lottery jackpot in April 2019. The then 24-year-old is said to have gone into hiding because of unwanted attention.

That wasn’t the end of his troubles with the lottery. Using Franco’s name in messages and phone calls, scammers told recipients that they had been chosen to receive money. Instead, the BBB said they phished for personal information and scammed people out of thousands of dollars.

MORE: Winning the lottery is a godsend for some, a tragedy for others

Despite the problems encountered by winners, lottery officials prefer to publicly identify winners in order to build public trust in the games – some previous draws have been rigged.

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