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Scam watch: lured by ‘lottery winner’ on Instagram

An Instagram account has been sending private messages promising $50,000 of lottery winnings to its first 50k followers. It’s a scam, and this is how it works.

Carl got in touch with us to let us know he’d been sent a private message on photo-sharing app Instagram. It read:

“I’m Julie Leach the powerball winner of $310,500,000. I’m giving out $50,000 to the first 50k followers and to those in need of help”

There are pictures of a lady collecting the winning cheque on the account itself.

Julie Leach was a genuine lottery winner in the US in 2015. Her name and image have since been abused by scammers via email and on social media.

Fraudsters often use genuine news stories and events to add plausibility to their story. In January, scammers were posing as EuroMillions winners Frances and Patrick Connolly on Twitter.

Multiple Instagram accounts

Our cursory search of Instagram revealed 20 accounts bearing the name ‘Julie Leach’ alongside promotional images of the genuine Julie Leach collecting her winnings.

The account that messaged Carl was still active and had doubled its follower numbers. We tried to report it via Instagram’s reporting tool, but found there was no specific category for scam accounts.

When we instead tried to report it as ‘impersonation of a public figure’, we were unable to do so unless we provided the genuine account username of the real Julie Leach.

Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) has confirmed that scams and fraud should be reported as ‘spam’. A Facebook spokesperson said:

“We are aware of this issue and will continue to look into this matter to disable any accounts in violation of our policies. The account you spotted has now been removed for violating Facebook’s community guidelines”

Impersonation of celebrities on social media

As our investigation has shown, scams impersonating celebrities on social media continue to crop up regularly.

The observation that this account had doubled its followers in an important one – more often than not accounts like this are sold on then rebranded and renamed once they’ve accrued a large audience.

This then makes its following vulnerable to whatever content the new owners may choose to post, including scams.

If you’ve spotted this scam or anything similar, make sure you report it. If you’re concerned that you may have given your bank details to scammers, contact your bank immediately.

Have you spotted fraud like this on Instagram? If so, get in touch and help warn people in the comments.

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If Instagram FB Snapchat can delete the accounts of rich politics and Farrakhan for high profile cases and/or anti semetic bigotry they can’t cancel these scam accounts. Ive been looking at Mavis lottery scam for two yrs and I reported them many times. There’s SO MANY signs that’ll tell u it’s a scam. Main thing is them wanting YOU to give them money or gift cards and also if you’re FILTHY rich why should I pay you . Also notice they barely have any comments on their pages. That’s because they delete the comments that expose them.

I just got messages from them right now on Instagram and then on Whatts app

Look out for luckywinner016 on instagram they are impersonating the real julie leach.

Julie messaged me on Instagram so I searched her up and this is what I found.

Julie contacted me on Twitter

She is also on the cam streaming app bigo.. under the same name ..

Thank you for writing this article. I am new to Instagram and have started a small business account in arts/designing, so without your input, I wouldn’t really know if this was a scam… I would have thought this was someone who wanted to support artists…I reported the account as spam…

For me this article is way too late

I received a message from someone using JulieLeach5229 for the exact scam stated in this article. They promised the same thing, asked for info, sent that info to a FedEx agent holding the winnings. Luckily, I looked up the person’s name and read the comments here and on another article. I stopped communication, reported the account, blocked, and restricted the IG profile from contacting me. I was being offered $45k this month for being a fortuitous person to whom they chose to receive $310,5000,000 In Powerball.

These two women are currently doing the same to me in instagram right now!

I am being scam by julie leach on Instagram and hangouts [edited] they already sent 100 dollars to here Agent and he wanted 300 more for delivery of the package for 50 thousand can u check here out on Instagram thanks

[Moderator: we’ve edited this comment to remove personal contact details. Please don’t post yours or others’ contact details, as this is for everyone’s safety and privacy. For more information see our Community guidelines]

Robert – Ignore “Julie Leach” and related impostors completely. None of what you read is the truth. Blot the scam out of your mind. There is no way you or any other UK citizen can make any money at all – let alone get rich – by doing what the messages say. Constant pestering is annoying, I know, but, believe it or not, you have not been personally selected to receive anything; it is just a ploy to get hold of your money and you will get nothing in return.

For your own privacy and security I am asking the moderators to edit your phone number out of your comment.

I got a message from a Julie Leach saying that iwas picked my electoral manchine on instagram. and all i had to do was call the fedex agent cell phone at 1 650 684 7172 or text on hangout [email protected] they said to text him my full name so he could check their fedex database to approve my winning package.

Yes Julie Leach on Instagram is a fraud and asking for a 💯dollars to ship it or cash app Babe1247 scam Scam scam

I was scamed last night just before bed she wrote that the first 200 people to like her would recieve 10 000 dolars but first I needed to send her 100 dolars for an activiation fee before she would give me the money.
This saddens me as we are in hard times here in SOUTH AFRICA and to play on a persons livelyhood is just evil. she goes under the name Juli.e8121 on instergram.
I am also a new member to instergram so thanks you Julie you are a piece of work

I just received an Instagram message from someone saying they are Julie leach and that I’ve been selected for 50,000.. this also has a photo of a women receiving her 50,000. The Instagram account needs to be deleted.

An Instagram account has been sending private messages promising $50,000 of lottery winnings to its first 50k followers. It’s a scam, and this is how it works.

Examples of Fraud

Instagram Spam

Scammers are reaching out to Lottery Instagram subscribers and posing as the Lottery! Be sure to manage your privacy settings so that your information will not be accessible to these individuals. When on the Lottery’s Instagram page, a scammer only needs to click on subscribers to see everyone that has not set their privacy settings to private. It’s good practice to do this across all social media platforms that you use. Be aware! We will never contact you about winning a prize via Instagram.

If you receive a notification like the one that follows, it is a scam. The Colorado Lottery does not notify winners in this way.

Overseas Scam

Players are getting a call from an overseas telephone number (prefix 876) and being asked why they haven’t claimed their winnings. This is a SCAM.

The only time the Lottery Drawing Manager will contact a winner is for Bonus Draws and will always identify herself and ask you to come claim at one of the four Lottery Claims Offices. A representative from the Lottery will never contact you unsolicited.

The Lottery will never ask you to give us up-front money to process your claim.

E-Mail Lottery – Canada & Powerball Scam

There is an email scam that is claiming that the recipient is the winner of E-MAIL LOTTERY, held in Canada, in “conjunction” with Powerball Lottery. In order to claim the prize, the recipient is asked to contact a representative in South Africa and provide personal information. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS SCAM.

This is a documented scam and has been reported to the Federal Trade Commission and MUSL for Powerball.

To view a copy of the letter and other examples of letters and notices that are scams, see below. Check back often to be in the know.

2019 Mega Lottery Picker Scam

People are receiving letters that are addressed to them informing them that they have won millions in the 2019 Mega Lottery Picker. In order to claim the prize, the recipient is asked to travel to Madrid, Spain to claim the check, or to pay a “fee” for diplomatic delivery of the check. This letter is mailed from Lisbon, Portugal. The email address in the letter, [email protected], is an indicator of its non-official capacity. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS SCAM.

This is a documented scam and has been reported to the Federal Trade Commission and the Mega Millions Lottery.

Facebook Scam

Scammers may contact you via private message on Facebook — don’t be fooled! Some scammers even appear to have a local phone number, which is called “spoofing”.

Previous Colorado Winner Scam

A new scam may feature someone claiming to be a previous Colorado Lottery winner.
Do not engage with anyone over email or phone that you do not know, and do not give out any of your personal information.

Social Media Scam

A common phishing scam involves social media. A legitimate Lottery will never reach out to customers in this way. If you did not buy a ticket, you did not win money.

Please do not engage with scammers, and above all, do not give them any personal identifying information. Feel free to report such activity to www.ic3.gov.

Mega Millions Scam

The latest scam involves Mega Millions. Do not be fooled.

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