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:
sure, this is the e-mail: pic.twitter.com/aV6keZINzD
— 🏳️🌈🌎Barbara Kruczyński🌍🏳️🌈 (@bbarbarahh) November 5, 2019
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.
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.
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?