03/21/2012 05:59 pm ET

Lottery Scam: San Francisco Vendors Caught Cashing In Stolen Tickets (VIDEO)

San Francisco's local vendors are regularly winning the lottery--just not legally.

An episode of Dateline NBC's "The Hansen Files" featured San Francisco and a scheme by California Lottery Investigators to catch vendors stealing winning lottery tickets from their customers.


At the end of the day, eight different vendors were arrested for trying to cash in the stolen tickets. Luckily for us, their feeble attempts to keep their stories straight in the face of overwhelming evidence was all caught on tape.

Worried? A few tips, courtesy of Chris Hansen, to prevent your next winning lotto ticket from being stolen: check the winning numbers online rather than taking the ticket to the corner shop, scan the ticket yourself at self-serving lotto machines and make sure to sign your ticket as soon as you buy it.

Take a look at footage from the episode below, courtesy of Dateline NBC: