A bizarre new scam involving the names of recent Powerball winners is targeting unsuspecting victims all over the US. People have contacted the authorities after falling prey to a scheme where criminals pose as recent lottery winners.
The scammers email their victims and offer a considerable amount of money. All the victim needs to do is send the scammer their bank account information.
Of course, jackpot winners aren’t randomly emailing people to ask for their routing numbers. These are identity thieves who want to steal money from regular, hard-working people.
Authorities have warned consumers to avoid opening fishy emails from people they don’t know. Most of all, internet users should never send their private banking information to strangers, no matter how convincing their story sounds.
Scammers posing as recent lottery winners are contacting people via email to request their banking details. These criminals will include images and links to news stories to corroborate their claims that they have experienced a recent windfall. They will say that they want to donate millions of dollars to charity and that they’re emailing lucky winners to send them their prizes.
If you send these people your private information, they can use it to steal from you. They have no intention of sending you money–the only transaction they’re interested in will go the other direction. If a lottery winner really does want to surprise you with a donation, they can do so without emailing you and asking for your account number.
Tammy and Cliff Webster of Oneida, Wisconsin, recently won $20 million on the Powerball. Their win was front-page news nationwide, as it was one of the biggest Powerball wins in US history. Scammers are now using the Websters’ names to defraud people online.
“The Wisconsin Lottery had not heard about this particular scam involving the Websters,” says Wisconsin Lottery spokesperson Kailey Bender. “It is not incredibly surprising as details are used in other countries, other states, in these types of scams. Pretending to be the lottery or winners. We have not seen this specific one, but we have seen this.”
The Better Business Bureau implores Americans to ignore any messages from people who claim to be famous or wealthy. If something sounds too good to be true, it is! Benevolent millionaires aren’t trying to give you millions of dollars, but underhanded crooks are definitely looking for ways to steal from you.