Whether you are living paycheck to paycheck or have a comfortable income, winning a lottery jackpot would certainly change your life. Even if you don't win, playing the lottery makes life a little more exciting, which is why some people participate in lottery pools. Joining a pool can increase the odds of winning, and it's also a fun experience to share with friends, family members, or coworkers. If you decide to enter a lottery pool, follow these fives tips to protect yourself against scams and other problems.

1. Choose a trustworthy leader.

Things can get confusing if you have multiple people buying tickets and recording payments, so choose a trustworthy person to be in charge of running your lottery pool. The person you choose should be well-organized and detail-oriented, as he or she will be responsible for purchasing the tickets, collecting money from group members, and following up with people who still have not paid for their tickets.

2. Maintain transparency.

Your group leader should give everyone regular updates about how much money has been collected and how many tickets have been purchased. If any of the group members have yet to pay their share of the ticket fees, the group leader should keep everyone apprised of the situation. Keeping the group leader accountable to the rest of the group can prevent all of you from being scammed.

3. Keep the tickets in a safe place.

Don't let the group leader or any of the group members take the tickets home with them. Instead, find a safe place to store the tickets until the lottery numbers are announced and you find out if you have a winning ticket. If you are in a lottery pool with your coworkers, ask your supervisor if it would be possible to store the tickets in his or her office. For family lottery pools, a safe-deposit box is a good option. Be sure to store the tickets in a safe or fireproof box to ensure they are not damaged in the event of a fire or other disaster.

4. Photocopy each ticket. 

It is important to photocopy each ticket so that you have a record of the numbers that have been entered into the lottery. Otherwise, there is nothing to stop the group leader from putting most of the tickets in the pool and holding back a few for personal use. If one of the withheld tickets has the winning numbers, the group leader could claim that he or she purchased the winning ticket separately, leaving you and the rest of the pool members without any of the winnings.

5. Draw up a contract.

Avoid scams and hurt feelings by drawing up a contract that spells out who is involved in the lottery, how you plan to choose the numbers, and how you want to receive the winnings. For example, the contract should state whether you plan to accept annual payments or take a single lump-sum payment if you win the jackpot.

The odds of winning a mega jackpot are low, but it's still fun to think about how you would spend the money. If you decide to join one of the Powerball pools or Mega Millions pools in your workplace or local community, make sure you take these steps to protect yourself.