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
I just got one on my insta only a pic and no pics
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
Ya my bf has did this scam with Julie leach and gave her all his banking info she sent 5000.00 to his bank account it is in his account know but the bank is holding it for 10 days they said to see if the 5000.00 is a scam so the bank has a hold on his account right know
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.
Instagram Lottery Winner Scam: How It Works
Did anyone just contact you about an Instagram lottery? You are not alone. Instagram has over 850 million active users every month (of which over 500 million daily!) so there is no surprise that scammers came into the game to find a fool or two. Hopefully, you’re not one of them.
In this article, you’ll learn how the scam works and how to easily identify if the profile of the person you’re talking to on Instagram is fake. Let’s dive right into it. How does the scam work? Essentially, it has the same base as the Facebook Lottery Scam:
Watch the video below to see in action the scam exposed:
Criminals create fake profiles using stolen pictures from the Internet – like the one above – and claim to be Instagram employees. They keep following Instagram users until they are followed back. Once that happens, they contact the new ‘connection’ and start a conversation that goes like this:
“My name is Janet Howard, Claim Agent Officer at Instagram in Menlo, California. I would like to inform you that your name was selected among the 20 lucky Instagram winners who won the sum of $600,000.00 on the Instagram online lottery international draw. This is 100% real and legit. You can also check this link to find the best history of the Instagram past winners.” (she sends you a link to a page with really bad Photoshopped images featuring winners of some sort, but with the name ‘Instagram’ added).
The text could differ from one scammer to another, along with their names. ‘Janet Howard’ is just the last scammer approaching Instagram users with the lottery bait. She uses the username howardjanet111, but rest assured that you could be contacted by many others.
So, what happens to those who believe they actually won the Instagram lottery?
Suggested read: 5 Instagram Scams Everyone Should Be Aware Of
Those who ask how they can get in the possession of the money are required to provide personal information, including address.
Then she will proceed by saying your cheque will be sent to them via FedEx. However “FedEx will contact you to pay a little fee, in order to deliver the cheque”, she will say. That’s where the scam occurs. As you can imagine, a fake FedEx employee will contact the victims to ask for that fee.
Alternatively, the scammer could say that the small charge is just a ‘processing fee’ of 3% of the winnings. In this case, the victims are required to pay via Western Union.
Recommended read: Facebook Customer Service Phone Number Scam
How To Find Out If an Instagram Profile Is Fake
Here is some good news. Watch the video below to see how you can easily identify if the profile contacting you on Instagram or Facebook is a fake).
Instagram Lottery Scam: How To Avoid
According to stats, Instagram will reach the 1 billion users mark by 2024, so rest assured various scams will continue to hit the users. You need to know how to avoid them.
There is no Instagram lottery nor will ever be one. When someone new on Instagram contacts you asking for money ‘to make money’, you should automatically ignore and report him. There are many naive victims out there, just don’t be one of them.
On the same token, beware of anyone claiming to be the latest “Power Ball winner Instagram user”. The scammer might pretend to give away part of the earnings – as exposed in the Lottery winner donation scam.
Instagram Lottery Scam: How To Report
Share this article about common Instagram scams on social media and warn your friends about it. Post in the Comments section below the name of the Instagram scammer contacting you in regards to the lottery win.
Last but not least, you can also officially report the scammers directly to Instagram or the Federal Trade Commission using the links below:
How To Protect Yourself More
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
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