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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?

Debbie says:
8 July 2021

Had the email today….knew it was a scam but part of me wished it wasn’t before I looked it up in Google. Awful to do this to people.

Maureen says:
8 July 2021

Got my email – luckily there are soooo many scams happening now that I hope it doesn’t catch many out, as it doesn’t look like they’re asking too much private information in a reply… and that they’ve linked to ligit news – but it was years ago!

It gets you excited to think, I deserve to be one of their ‘lucky Individual(s) Selected,’ but I am lucky to know better – hope they get caught and not their hunted suckers.

They had the nerve to add they were doing this “to show God our appreciation.” I believe, He’ll show them His, to be sure, Please God!

A.Campbell says:
9 July 2021

Omg I’m so upset I knew it was fake but it’s too late as I already gave my info 😩 had to lie and tell them it was fake info ugh I’m so p****d cause I’m a mom of two and times are hard so part of me was like okay maybe god is on my side this time but nope

Jane Parker says:
4 September 2021

I just received this email today telling me I have been made a beneficiary. What a way to scam someone since everyone is excited about the though of receiving money.

I had this email today. These scammers are sick and twisted!

Habib Bank AG Zurich
Sat 04/09/2021 20:52
Mrs Frances Connolly, Wife to Patrick Connolly the winner of £115m ,citizens of Northern Ireland has agreed to share a donation in your favor.

To authenticate my sincerity and verification, please visit my secured link. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-46756469

Kindly send a reply to guide you on how to make your claim.

Thank you

Habib Bank AG Zurich