/ Money

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.

You can also read our guide on getting your money back after a scam.

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

Comments

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.

Yaron bassa says:
25 October 2020

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

Justin says:
30 October 2020

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

Rodney Servage says:
3 February 2021

I also got a message saying I have a 50000$ gift from Leach winning. I had a text saying they need 950$ for IRC to get the package across the border it is waiting for me to send it

I got the same message from a Julie Leach said if I contacted some guy the next day he would tell me how much to send to him and he would send me a cash delivery for $50,000 from her winnings. I went along with this guy until he started cussing at me but I knew all along that this was a scam. People be careful don’t fall in their trap!

RST Million says:
30 July 2020

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

Julie contacted me on Twitter

Christina PRILLAMan says:
15 December 2020

I just got one on my insta only a pic and no pics

Shawn Adam's says:
30 July 2020

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

Homa says:
12 August 2020

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…

Millicent Marks says:
25 August 2020

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.

Jaime Acosta says:
2 September 2020

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

Corey R Calone says:
8 January 2021

Me to lol

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.

Brad Saunders says:
12 September 2020

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 judsonkertzmann@gmail.com. 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

Charlene says:
17 January 2021

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

Tanya Silelidis tanya@cnctech.me says:
2 October 2020

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

Sarah says:
3 October 2020

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.

Well i was told to send $200.00 to mr.mack to activate your winning of $50.000.that I would get 7 hrs after they got the money. Man I got my hopes up and then it all came crashing down on me,I thought for one time in my life I was going to get my life straight!

Barbie says:
7 November 2020

I have just been contacted by Juli.eleeach701. After they told me their story about giving away the money, I ask why? I immediately checked on Google and found the real story, they are scammers. Since i asked them a few questions, they just disappeared. I blocked them. I’m sorry to those who are victims to these people.

Danielle Burghard says:
9 November 2020

I have been contacted by Julie Leach on Thursday,November 5th at 1:19am on Instagram. She approached me saying “congratulations, your Instagram profile was announced as the winner of my giveaway program and I have been awarded $30,000 cash prize. Are you ready to claim your winnings now?” I have been scammed by her and lost $200. She had me purchase an Amazon gift card, take a picture and send the picture through messenger. She got back to me and said that the gift card won’t work and can’t be accepted because I paid for it with my debit card instead of cash. She wanted me to purchase another Amazon gift card of $200 paid in cash. I told her absolutely not and told her she can keep her money that she is awarding me and asked for a refund. She said she can’t do that till I pay another $200 in cash for gift card and id get my winnings and my refund at my doorstep. I immediately reported her and immediately called my bank but unfortunately their isnt anything Amazon, my bank or Instagram can do to help me get my $200 back. I reported a total of 79 instagram accounts going by the name Julie Leach.She claims the FBI is fully aware of her “charity” work for 15 yrs and its no joke. She had me text what she said was a fedex online agent who will deliver my winnings. I feel incredibly stupid because I know better than this and I just wanna say, im so sorry for all of you out there who are her victims as well. This is sickening and praying for justice because this needs to be stopped somehow.

Danielle – The real lottery winner Julie Leach, who has nothing whatsoever to do with these dreadful scams, must be feeling absolutely sickened by people exploiting other people in her name and conning them out of lots of money.

Your unfortunate story shows how easily it is done and how even aware people can get hooked. The real Julie Leach has never contacted you, nor made you do anything wrong, nor offered you any share of her winnings because she liked your Instagram profile. You were duped and defrauded by criminals who are experts in manipulation and extortion.

The lesson of this for everyone is: Never part with money on the promise of receiving more money. It never, ever, happens.

GaPeach says:
10 November 2020

I’m being contacted now via IG from juli_e8515. This just happened today so they haven’t asked for money yet. But when they do, I’m GOING IN on them!!!

Danielle says:
21 November 2020

Yup I was contacted by her on Instagram…FAKE

david Blais says:
23 March 2021

I was just contacted by this fake yesterday I looked up the name to see if it was a scam which I already knew it was, no one ever just gives money to complete strangers. this post should be shared on Instagram to warn others that may fall for this scam.

This is the scammers account https://www.instagram.com/leachjulei459/

the same scam is happing on FB. I was just told the same story about being one of the 200 people to get 50,000 with the same name of “Julie Leach” and looked it up and seen this article.. Thank you for telling your stories…

Dennis DuBois says:
25 January 2021

she’s back! just sent me the same nonsense on Instagram

Andrew edland says:
4 March 2021

I have the so called julie leach on line right now

Yvonne says:
3 April 2021

https://instagram.com/julie2999leach?igshid=1nl18yfcl8hr9

This is the account that messaged me. After the initial shock of obviously life changing news I wanted to research that I wasn’t being scammed . Although I am unbelievably discouraged that this is in fact a scam I put it to the test. I was asked for my name address number profession age and what country I lived in . Instead of providing that information I provided the information of a charity that I would have liked my winnings to go to and the person became very admitt and almost rude that I would not provide any other information other then the charity I would have liked my winnings sent to . That is when I 100 percent knew it was a scam and am now putting my story on here.