The 20-year-old became one of the biggest winners in Mega Millions history on Friday 5th January, and came forward a few days ago to tell his story. Along with his plans to ‘have some fun’, Missler spoke about how fortunate he felt and how he intended to use the money to help out others, and it is those generous words which have been seized upon by scammers.
A fake account quickly appeared which was offering $5,000 to the first 50,000 followers to like or retweet one of its posts. Twitter users were asked to share their Venmo and PayPal account emails as a response to another post, while others asking for money were asked to send private messages. The account, which attracted more than 50,000 likes and retweets, has since been deleted, but many others are still present and Missler has told people not to fall into the trap.
“Unfortunately many fake accounts have already circulated. My only active and real accounts are Instagram and Twitter both @TheShaneMissler," wrote Missler, who admits he has had a ‘crash course’ in financial management since finding out about his win.
How To Avoid Lottery Scams
One of the most common types of lottery scam is for fraudsters to impersonate big winners such as Missler and pretend they want to donate some of their money, perhaps by saying they have set up some sort of trust. While some winners are very charitable, they do not contact strangers to give their cash away. The aim of these scams is to extract financial or personal information so they can eventually steal your money.
In most cases, scams are easy to spot. The fake Missler account offering $5,000 to 50,000 followers, for example, claimed that it was ready to give away a total of $250 million. In reality, Missler opted for a one-off cash payment of $282 million and will only receive around $211.4 million after federal income taxes.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, you can not win a lottery prize for a game that you have not entered, and would never be asked to make a payment by a legitimate lottery in order to receive a prize.