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EuroMillions impersonators move to scam emails

Scammers are impersonating EuroMillions winners Frances and Patrick Connolly. Have you had this fake email arrive in your inbox?

08/11/2019: EuroMillions scam moves to email

We’ve been made aware via Twitter that scammers impersonating EuroMillions winners Frances and Patrick Connolly have moved on to sending direct emails in a bid to potentially extort people.

You can see the fake email in full in the following tweet:

As we explained back in January, the original purpose of the scam was to grow the social media account’s following, only for it to be sold on later.

The email shown here is perhaps more sinister – it’s clear in asking for your name, address and phone number that your personal data is the target.

If you reply, this could easily move on quickly to bank details.

Our 10 tips for spotting an email scam can help you stay vigilant of fraud like this. If you think you’ve been the victim of a phishing scam, contact your bank immediately.

Have you received this email? Spotted scammers impersonating other lottery winners? Let us know in the comments.

19/01/2019: Original Convo

By Amelia Wade

When Frances and Patrick Connolly decided to go public with their £115 million windfall, I’d hazard a bet they didn’t expect being impersonated online was one of the consequences.

The lottery-winning couple said they’d drawn up a list of about 50 people they’d share the jackpot with.

Fraudsters, who’ll do anything to get their hands on your cash or data, saw an opportunity.

Scam plan

Within a week, someone set up a Twitter account pretending to be Patrick Connolly and said they’d randomly select 50 people to give a chuck of the money to once their YouTube channel got to 10,000 subscribers.

In just a few short days, they amassed almost 44,000 Twitter followers and more than 4250 YouTube subscribers.

As soon as we found out about the scam, we reported it to Twitter but it took at least three days for the account to be taken down, only for another account to spring up.

Impersonation scams

This time the fraudsters targeted students and gave the assurance this account was the Connollys’ genuine page – they claimed the other Twitter handle was fake.

That account has since been shut down.

But what’s the point of it all? Why would someone go to all that work in setting up these accounts, tweeting and retweeting all in the effort of gaining followers?

Why else? Money.

Cash for followers

I had a quick look online and found people flogging Twitter accounts for hundreds of dollars.

One offering was an account with 27,000 followers and aged 2010 all for the tidy price of $700USD.

Read more: our six tips to spot a social media scam

Another with 115,00 followers and aged 2009 was on offer for $300.

Once you’ve bought the Twitter account and get given access to it, it’s very easy to change the handle to whatever you like (as long as it’s still available) – a quick way to win a following for a new enterprise.

Twitter makes it very clear in its rules – you are not allowed to sell your account.

You’re also not allowed to ‘username squat’, which is where someone will set up an account with the handle of a celebrity or company and sit on it until they want to claim their own name back.

But even though we reported the fake Patrick Connolly account, it took days for it to be taken down.

Do you think this was fast enough? Have you spotted other types of this sort of scam?


Thee days is unreasonably long to close down a fake Twitter account. There’s no excuse for Twitter not to have acted faster. If Twitter has a constant backlog of reports, then it needs to clear the backlog, which is a one-off task, following which it can stay on top of reports in real time.

Being a Twitter ignoramus I was hoping to find out how this scam worked but I am none the wiser. I can see that selling Twitter accounts might make some money but how does the scammer who buys one make any money out of it? Are likers and followers having to pay something in the [false] hope of getting a prize? Are the scammers scavenging for personal data?

Obviously, all scams trade on the principle that the world is full of suckers, and that there’s one born every minute. Preying on the gullible, susceptible, suggestible, vulnerable, greedy, is one of the lowest forms of exploitation. Social media platforms should not host such deceitful ploys, and should certainly take them down as soon as they are discovered to be impostors. This makes me wonder what Twitter is for, and why people use it.

Nope. I’m equally befuzzled. Unless the cash happens when they resell it?

Anyone with a Twitter handle can change it to another while retaining all of the followers on the account. Thus one could amass a large following under one guise, then totally change it and market to or scam the same following under the other.

If this has been exploited as the basis of a scam, that’s a good reason for change.

People will be sent a message to say they’ve won and asking for their bank details to pay the money into. After that money starts disappearing from their account.

The companies that run social media need to have procedures in place to respond very promptly to scams or preferably ban its use for anything financial including competitions, so that it becomes obvious to users that something is amiss.

Am I alone in thinking that it’s not a good idea to have competitions with prizes of many millions of pounds?

I think the lesson is that if you win the lottery keep quiet.

Any email sent to me, pertaining to be from; Bank; insurance; credit card; energy supplier, of whom I am NOT a customer, goes strait in the trash bin without being opened. If I am addressed as ‘Dear customer’ or any form of address, other than by my name, I considerate it as fake/scam/phishing. This is one of the ways to keep yourself secure.

Geetha Prodhom says:
30 November 2019

Sure enough. I got an email scam too and immediately looked up hoax alert sites like snopes and googled this

Geetha P says:
30 November 2019

Can you remove my full name? It was on autofill and you don’t have an option to edit the name or delete the comment

This comment was removed at the request of the user

John Clark says:
10 February 2020

Got the scam today…..didn’t bite

Feb 7 at 10:17 AM
Our names are [removed by moderator]. We have just won £ 115 million from the Euro-million Lottery jackpot draw. We therefore donate 1.5 million Euro each to (5) lucky international recipients around the world to show our God our appreciation. You have received this message because you have been listed as one of the (5) lucky selected. Send your full name, age / gender, address, phone number, country to urgent requirements now.

Please visit the link for more information on the win: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-46756469

We look forward to receiving your information for processing claims promptly.

Congratulations and good luck.

[Moderator: please do not include personally identifiable data when you post on Which? Conversation. For more information please see Community guidelines]

Judith E Brennan says:
10 March 2020

I have received a Scam email yesterday which to be fair I spotted immediately but feel very very sorry and sad for the relevant Lottery Winners and those succumbed by this scam, to such an extent that I have commented here something I never ever do . I do not use Facebook or twitter at all myself .

Rox says:
8 June 2020

I’ve had several emails today purporting to be from this couple, offering me money… along with 6 other spams from various company’s wanting to give me up to 37 million😂😂😂

I just received an email saying I’d been “assigned as a sole beneficiary”, asking me to contact an email address containing this couple’s names.

I hope you will take no action, Gayle.

If anyone is assigned as a beneficiary for anything they will not be informed by e-mail. A personal letter to the home address would always be used.

The only action I took was to search for somewhere on internet where I could post this alert for others! (But, wise advice, John Ward!)

Glen Richards says:
11 May 2020

I got a email from so called mr and mrs connelly.
Claiming im getting $550k
But as normal theres fees off $600 to be paid.
Then i decided to send them a message on facebook. And they said its all true. So id say the scammers have made a account on facebook as well. I live in Australia .
So how would the real connellys get my email address .

Ateeq says:
29 May 2020

Hi. I have been Recently Contact by the Frances and Patrick via E-mail that i have won 2M dollars donations. I don’t know it’s real or Fake. They have Already Given me their Bank and that is Yorkshire Bank. They also said that I should Contact i Guy name Matt Heilman works at (Foreign Account Department) in This bank. I did contact him but as i have ask Few Questions he hasn’t reply since. I don’t know if i Can Believe him. If you Convo Guys have Some Advice for me.

Ateeq – My guess is that this is an attempted fraud.

Ask yourself some questions:

Why would you be contacted by complete strangers with an offer of an enormous sum of money?

How do you know it is the Connelly’s and not scammers using their name?

Why have you been contacted by e-mail and not a letter to your home address?

How do you know there is a Matt Heilman at Yorkshire Bank? – It could be a false name and false contact details that connect you to the scammers.

Why is the money in dollars, and not in euros or pounds sterling?

Why must the money be transferred into your bank from an unknown source and not sent as a cheque?

There is no money. You were right to stop and seek advice.

My advice is to delete the e-mail contact and ignore it – that way you will not risk losing any money, but if you give any personal details you could be on the hook of a fraud attempt that could take all your money and ruin your life.

Nijam says:
11 June 2020

I also received email like u. From same person nd same bank!

Mas agora eles continuam a enviar e-mails pedido endereço, nome e país.

Recebi hoje em meu e-mail.

Como é o golpe agora? Como denuncio isso?

Maria Margońska says:
23 June 2020

I am from Poland and I received the scam in my email from Connolly Family with the title: COVID19 Humanitarian/Donation. How disgraceful trying to make money on the COVID19 sufferers! Thank you for your alerts.

David says:
12 July 2020

I had just received a text asking to respond via email. Saying I was one of 50 getting money. Message as follows.
You’ve got a financial donation of £1,000.000.00 from Frances and Patrick
Connolly NORTHERN IRISH couple who won the £115 million EuroMillions
jackpot .Email Back for more details