Live 5 Scambusters: Beware of lottery imposters and cash giveaway scams
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – For millions of Americans now living without paychecks, a five-figure cash giveaway could be enticing. An old scam is circling back during this latest financial crisis.
It’s been two years since food service manager Richard Wahl won a Mega Millions jackpot worth $533 million. Since his win, scam artists claiming to be Wahl have set up fake social media accounts offering cash giveaways to followers. If only a couple of them were real. Wahl would have given all his money away several times over.
Accounts in the name Richard Wahl showed up on Facebook and Twitter almost immediately, using official pictures from his introduction with the New Jersey Lottery. As other social media platforms grow, so does the number of “Richard Wahl” accounts.
A search of the name Richard Wahl on Instagram turns up at least 60 fake accounts. The accounts offer various giveaways such as $5,000 through his charity, or $30,000 to one lucky winner. One account even makes a very generous offer of $50,000 to the first 20,000 followers. The math doesn’t really work out because that would be $1 billion which is almost twice the amount Wahl won in the first place.
Richard Wahl accounts are now appearing on TikTok too and the message is the same. A search turns up 50 Richard Wahl profiles on the video app. These come with videos from people claiming to be winners and clearly sound like they are reading from a script.
The nuts and bolts of the scam are always the same. The scammer gets some personal information such as name, birthday, and address. Then he claims the money is on its way. You will have to pay the courier, typically from FedEx, and the common form of payment is by a gift card.
If you pay, you lose that money and you don’t ever get a check from the supposed multi-millionaire. A tough time financially gets even tougher.
If you encounter this scam, report the account to the social media site and also to the FBI at ic3.gov.
If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at [email protected]
Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.
For millions of Americans now living without paychecks, a five-figure cash giveaway could be enticing. An old scam is circling back during this latest financial crisis.
We gave half our €130m EuroMillions jackpot away… but hubby bought me a second-hand motor
- 8 Dec 2020, 9:25
- Updated : 8 Dec 2020, 9:25
- Invalid Date,
WHEN Frances Connolly won €130million on the Lottery she vowed to help out 50 pals and relatives.
Now, nearly two years on, the big-hearted former teacher has told The Sun how she and her husband Patrick have given away an astonishing €65million of their EuroMillions jackpot winnings.
Instead of just the 50 close friends and family on a list that Frances drew up when the couple were too excited to sleep on the night of their win, they have now brought joy to an incredible 175 families.
Many of them have been able to buy homes or pay off their mortgages.
At the time, in January 2019, their win was the fourth biggest jackpot in 25 years of the Lottery — though it is dwarfed by the €200million Euro- Millions jackpot up for grabs tonight.
Yesterday Frances, 54, said: “We won £114,969,775.70 and we have given away more than half.
“That’s €65million-worth of love. And the thing that makes me even happier is that every single person we gave money to has passed some of it on to other people. I can’t think of a day since winning the Lottery that I haven’t smiled.”
And the couple have also taken out insurance so that if they die in the next six years, none of the people they helped will be out of pocket from paying the tax that would then be due on the money.
Grandmother Frances said: “I’ve had more joy from changing lives than buying jewellery. I knew from the start that I’d never become part of the jet set.
“Patrick joked for years that if we ever won the Lottery, he’d take away my mobile phone and never let me use the computer again because I’d give away the lot.”
And one of the most amazing Lottery giveaways ever is not over yet.
‘CELEBRATED WITH A CUP OF TEA’
This weekend at the couple’s £1.9million five-bedroom home in the North East, Frances was helping to wrap 1,000 presents of toiletries she bought for people who will be stuck in local hospitals over Christmas.
She has also paid for 30 computers, 20 laptops and dozens of wifi dongles for youngsters who will be caring for invalid parents so they can stay in touch with family and friends over the festive period.
Frances and businessman Patrick, who have three daughters and three grandchildren, played the Lottery for years using a mixture of family birthdays to pick their numbers.
But it was a lucky dip EuroMillions ticket that 56-year-old Patrick bought online at their then home in Moira, County Down on January 1 last year which changed their lives. Their numbers — 1, 8, 11, 25 and 28, along with stars four and six — all matched.
Frances said: “I was doing my knitting on the sofa when Patrick went on his laptop to check the results.
“He checked and double-checked, then said, ‘I think I’ve got some good news for you — we’ve won’. I asked him how much we’d won, and he said, ‘No, you don’t understand — we’ve WON!’
“He turned his laptop around and I could see £114million. I thought, ‘With our luck there will be 114million winners today and we’ll have all won a quid each!’
“We sat staring at the laptop, then when the news sank in, we had a hug and celebrated with a cup of tea.
“At 1am Patrick had an email from Camelot. As soon as we realised it was true, we knew we wouldn’t sleep.
“Patrick looked at me and said, ‘Make your list — it’s a lot of money’.
“He handed me a notepad and pen and in the middle of the night we made the list of friends and family — 50 families we wanted to share our good fortune with.”
She added: “We wanted to give money to all our siblings and nieces and nephews, but we decided not to give money directly to anyone young, because if they crashed a powerful car, I’d never forgive myself.
“Instead, we gave them money towards buying their own homes.
“We started with 50 immediate family and friends and once we started giving out money, there are family you don’t always see but you want to help, and the neighbours all got a little bit that we shared with.”
They went on to give money to 175 people who the couple class as “family”, and charities also received help. Just this week Frances gave £1,000 to two local charities to buy toys.
The house where Patrick and Frances were living in Northern Ireland was rented, while their daughter Katrina, 33, and her husband Craig Smith lived in their old house in Hartlepool, County Durham.
In January 2019 the couple were due back in England after Patrick, who worked in manufacturing, landed a job in Croydon, South London.
But after winning the Lottery, he quit the job before he had even started and instead the couple flew to the North East — on an easyJet flight — to be near Katrina and her sister Fiona, 25.
LETTERS FROM STRANGERS
Later, when they went to New Zealand to stay with their other daughter, Fiona’s twin, Natalie, they flew business class rather than first because the money they saved “could pay a mortgage for a young person”.
Arriving in Auckland for a few nights to themselves before seeing Natalie, Frances discovered she had made a mistake with the hotel booking and the only option left was a suite for a few thousand pounds.
Recalling the thrill when they found out the room’s previous occupants included celebrities, US presidents and South Africa’s most famous former president, Frances said: “I’ve told everybody I’ve slept in the same room as Nelson Mandela. Oh my God, that was just fabulous.”
Despite suddenly being twice as rich as Kylie Minogue, all Frances really wanted was a bungalow and a second-hand Jag.
She recalled: “I told everybody I was going to buy a bungalow, but we couldn’t find one. An estate agent came over with glossy brochures of houses we might be interested in.
“One was a castle, and when they showed me pictures, I said, ‘That looks really small inside’.
“The agent said, ‘The guy that owns it lives in the other half’, and I said in disbelief, ‘You actually want me to buy a semi-detached castle?’ The other house they showed us was a 15-bed stately home in 250 acres, and if we bought it, we’d have owned a whole village as well.
“Patrick said to the agent, ‘We can’t afford it’, and the guy said, ‘I thought you’d just won the Lottery’.
“Patrick said, ‘Yes, but we can’t afford all the caps we’d have to buy just to get the villagers to doff their hats to us when we’re driving through’.
“The last thing we wanted to do was own a village and act like a lord and lady.
“We just wanted a house for us to live in quietly, with just enough room for the grandchildren and the odd friend to stay. It had to feel like a welcoming home.”
In the end she did not buy a bungalow but settled for a five-bedroom red-brick home set in five acres, with a swimming pool and tennis court.
She said: “It’s not a stately home and it’s not a listed building but it is a very nice house.”
A less savoury side to their win was receiving “a lot of letters” from strangers asking for money.
Frances said: “One was a guy who wanted me to buy him some new teeth. Some of it was sad because I think we’re the type of people that if there had been a genuine case, we might have helped, but it does strike me as rather strange that people would ask a total stranger for money.
“I’m happy to do that through the charities but I have no intention of walking about handing out money to strangers.”
Hit by online scams
WITHIN days of going public after their £114.9million Lottery win last year, Patrick and Frances were caught up in a cruel con.
After the couple had announced they intended to help 50 friends and family, scammers began sending out phishing emails pretending to be the Lottery winners.
Frances said: “I was shocked at how quickly people were getting emails supposed to be from us, asking them for their bank details so that I could send them money.
“It was pretty nasty and we had them stopped every time we came across this scam.
“There was even somebody who set up a fake foundation that was supposed to be me and Patrick.
“The National Lottery got that sorted and taken down almost immediately.
“Their help and support was fantastic. We wouldn’t have known how to do that sort of stuff – taking dodgy websites down.”
For her birthday last year, Patrick, who swapped his old Renault Laguna for a new £30,000 Alfa Romeo Giulia after their win, treated Frances to a £2,000 X-Type Jaguar — the same model she had owned more than a decade earlier and was discontinued in 2009.
She said: “I’ve always loved Jaguars, and I had one for my 40th, which I really loved. When I won the Lottery, I thought, ‘I’ll get that car’, but they didn’t make them any more, so I settled for a 2017 Jag.
“Last year, Patrick found the exact same car as the one I used to have, and bought it for me.
“We’ve no need for supercars, and I’m so proud that our daughters also drive second-hand cars. It’s something that does the job, and there’s no need to be flash.”
Frances also told how Patrick continued to buy his clothes at Debenhams — and even checked online beforehand to see if he had any discount vouchers to use.
She said: “When Debenhams got into trouble my brother had a picture of one of their stores printed on a T-shirt with the slogan, ‘Because Paddy shops at Debenhams with a discount voucher’.”
She added: “Our family and our friends have kept us very grounded. But we’re fairly grounded people anyway and we were comfortable before we won the Lottery.”
We gave half our €130m EuroMillions jackpot away… but hubby bought me a second-hand motor 8 Dec 2020, 9:25 Updated : 8 Dec 2020, 9:25 Invalid Date, WHEN Frances