Jan 16, 2018, 10:05 am
By Todd Northrop
When a 20-year-old Florida man won a $451 Mega Millions jackpot earlier this month, the first thing he did was post a brief social media post.
Now Internet scammers have mimicked him, and are creating numerous bogus social media accounts in an attempt to deceive people looking for a share of the loot.
Shane Missler won the $451 million Mega Millions jackpot on January 5, 2018, but opted for a lump sum payment of $281.2 million instead of the full amount divided into 30 payments over 29 years.
A Twitter account purporting to be owned by Missler put out a tweet yesterday saying the first 50,000 followers to retweet and like it would get $5,000.
Unfortunately the tweet (archived here) is bogus:
Hey guys! I am the lottery winner of $451 Million. With this incredible opportunity I am giving back $5,000 to the first 50k followers that retweet and like this post. This is to much money and I love helping people!???? pic.twitter.com/pHvqB5Umgp— Shane Missler (@Shane_MissIer) January 16, 2018
The twitter account @Shane_Missler was only registered on January 15th 2018 while Shane's real account @TheShaneMissler was registered in February 2016. He already used it to put out a warning about fake accounts:
Again, thank you all for tuning in. This journey has only just begun, mark my words. Unfortunately many fake accounts have already circulated. My only active and real accounts are Instagram and Twitter both @TheShaneMissler ???? ?? #GratefulBeyondWords— Shane Missler (@TheShaneMissler) January 13, 2018
That didn't seem to stop many people from taking a chance anyway. At the time of writing the fake tweet had over 21,000 retweets.
Ironically, around 5,000 of the people falling for the hoax would not get the $5,000 even if it were real, because they failed to follow the fake instructions and "like" the tweet in addition to retweeting it.
Illustrating the insidious nature of social media scams that prey on human nature, the tweet from Shane Missler's real Twitter account warning about the scams has received only around 200 retweets and 1,200 likes.
More and more
The bogus Twitter accounts just keep coming.
Jackpot win of $281M I can't believe it!! ???? Out of generosity I will be giving away $1,000,000 to someone who retweets this. Must be following ????— Real Shane Missler (@ShaneMissIer_) January 15, 2018
I feel like because I have gotten so lucky I should share my wealth with some of you! I would like to get into social media and start doing more things for others please RT & FOLLOW! I will be giving everyone $1000 who does ?? Happy 2018 I am so blessed!— Shane Missler (@shane_missler) January 13, 2018
Although some may claim that these fake accounts are victimless scams since no money is actually exchanged, the victims are actually all the users of the Internet, who cannot trust anything they read or see. The constant scamming turns social media into a cesspool of bogus accounts and information, and over time greatly increases the chances that one day you too will fall for a scam.
The best thing you can do when you see a social media post like these is to report it using the links on the post, and by all means do not like, share, or retweet the post. Doing so only spreads the foul post to more people.
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