HUFFINGTON POST
11/29/2012 11:04 am ET

How To Know If You Won The Powerball Lottery

You may not have won the record Powerball jackpot on Nov. 28, but don't despair. You could still be a winner and not even know it.

Officials announced early Thursday morning that two winning Powerball tickets worth $293.8 million each were sold in Arizona and Missouri, but over 8 million tickets won some sort of prize, according to Powerball’s website.

Here's a summary of how you could have won a Powerball prize:

  • If you matched all five numbers and the Powerball, you win the jackpot
  • If you matched all five numbers without the Powerball, you win $1,000,000
  • If you matched four numbers and the Powerball, you win $10,000
  • If you matched four numbers without the Powerball, you win $100
  • If you matched three numbers and the Powerball, you win $100
  • If you matched three numbers without the Powerball, you win $7
  • If you matched two numbers and the Powerball, you win $7
  • If you matched one number and the Powerball, you win $4
  • If you matched just the Powerball, you win $4

According to Powerball, 58 players matched five numbers (excluding the Powerball number) in Wednesday's drawing and are entitled to a $1 million payout. Another eight tickets are worth $2 million -- these players paid for the Powerplay option, which doubles your prize money. A total of 4,501,738 tickets matched the Powerball number only. These tickets are worth $4.

Millions of dollars worth of lottery prizes go unclaimed every year, Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, told CNNMoney. In 2011, around $800 million in prize money in the U.S. was never collected.

"It doesn't shock me," Strutt told CNNMoney. "There are significant number of people buying tickets who don't know there are secondary prizes. And when we get a big prize like $550 milllion, many people buy tickets who haven't bought before."

Even huge prizes sometimes go unclaimed.The state of Oklahoma is currently searching for the winner of a $10,000 Powerball prize, which expired on Dec. 3. The state is also searching for the winner of a $250,000 Mega Millions lottery who has until March 19 to come forward. The last time a jackpot ticket wasn’t collected was in 2011 after the winner of a $77 million prize did not come forward with 180 days of the draw.

The rules governing lotteries vary state by state, but generally winning tickets expire within 180 to 365 days of the drawing, according to AARP. If you lost your ticket, you have a chance at getting it back as long as you signed it. Unfortunately, if you do not sign your ticket, the person who finds it is entitled to the winnings.

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