No, a lottery jackpot winner isn't giving you money. How to spot a scammer (2024)

Sorry, a Nigerian prince doesn't need your help with his fortune, you didn't just win a contest you never entered and, no, a jackpot lottery winner isn't going to just give you his money.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The old adage is worth remembering when you see posts on Instagram like "I’m Dave Johnson, the winner of the Powerball lottery with the winning amount of $298.3 million. I’m giving out $30,000 to my first 2k followers."

Yes, Dave Johnson, a former truck driver from Brooklyn, did win a $298.3 million Powerball jackpot in 2018. But if you check out social media there sure are a lot of people with names like "dave_johnson23051" or "dave__johnson03" looking to give you money. A quick search of Instagram revealed at least 30 such accounts.

It might look convincing with photos of smiling people with wads of cash or holding signs like "Thanks, Dave Johnson." But beware, it's a scam.

More:Influencer Jay Mazini found fame on social media. Did he use that fame to swindle millions?

And it's not just Dave Johnson. Similar scams reportedly popped up after Tammy and Cliff Webster of Wisconsin won $316.3 million in the Powerball earlier this year and Scott Godfrey of California won $699.8 million in 2021.

No, a lottery jackpot winner isn't giving you money. How to spot a scammer (1)

Whether it's through emails, text messages or social media, someone looking to give you a fortune is just looking to make a fortune by scamming you and others looking to get rich quick.

The ruse is nothing new, but criminals now use social media too. The scammers will ask for personal information like your driver's license, social security number or banking account information or say they need a processing fee or tax money before they can "send you $30,000." The New York State Gaming Commission says, "'Processing fees' are a myth. Do not send anyone this money."

"These scams all have one thing in common," Mega Millions officials warn. "They try to trick you into sending them money or personal information ... They often target older people and have been known to wipe out victims’ retirement savings."

Powerball officials say: "If you are asked to pay a fee to claim a prize, you are likely being scammed, and you should not share any personal or banking information with those entities."

The Mega Millions website offers advice on how to avoid being scammed:

  • "If someone says you have won a lottery that you have never played, be suspicious. You can’t win a lottery if you didn’t buy a ticket.
  • "If you have caller-ID on your phone, check the area code when someone calls to tell you you’ve won. If it is from a foreign country, that is a red flag.
  • "Be suspicious if an email contains misspellings or poor grammar, or if the person who called you uses poor English.
  • "If you are told that you need to keep your “win” confidential, be suspicious.
  • "No real lottery tells winners to put up their own money in order to collect a prize they have already won.
  • "Just because a real lottery is mentioned does not necessarily make it a real prize.
  • "If they offer to wire the 'winnings' directly into your bank account, do not give them your bank account information.
  • "If you are told that you can 'verify' the prize by calling a certain number, that number may be part of the scam. Instead of calling it, you should look up the name of the lottery or organization on your own to find out its real contact information.
  • "If you think someone on the phone is trying to scam you, hang up immediately. If you engage them in conversation, your name and contact information could end up on a list that’s shared with other scammers."

If you suspect fraudulent activity, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or on the FTC website:

No, a lottery jackpot winner isn't giving you money. How to spot a scammer (2024)


No, a lottery jackpot winner isn't giving you money. How to spot a scammer? ›

"Be suspicious if an email contains misspellings or poor grammar, or if the person who called you uses poor English. "If you are told that you need to keep your “win” confidential, be suspicious. "No real lottery tells winners to put up their own money in order to collect a prize they have already won.

Is there a way to make sure you win the lottery? ›

To better your chances of winning any lottery, you have to buy more tickets, he said. The more tickets, the more chances of choosing the right combination of numbers.

Is the lottery winner Mavis giving away money? ›

Finally and most importantly, remember neither Mavis Wanczyk nor any other lottery winner is giving away money to strangers.

Why do lottery winners not get all the money? ›

Every lottery is required to withhold 25% of federal income taxes from a prize this large. With additional withholdings, you'll find about 37% of your winnings going to taxes right away. Then, depending on where you live, you'll see even more withheld for state taxes.

Can lottery winners give away money? ›

You can physically take cash out of the bank to give to your loved ones, or you can transfer funds into their accounts. Just know that these can also be subject to taxation depending on the amount. This allows your family or friends to do what they please with the money to fund personal expenses.

How to mathematically win the lottery? ›

There is no mathematical formula or method that can accurately predict the winning numbers in a lottery. Lotteries are typically designed to be random and based on chance, making it impossible to predict the outcome with certainty. Each number in a lottery draw is usually drawn independently and randomly.

What is the formula for the lottery algorithm? ›

Understand the calculations involved.

To find the odds of winning any lottery, divide the number of winning lottery numbers by the total number of possible lottery numbers. If the numbers are chosen from a set and the order of the numbers doesn't matter, use the formula. r ! ( n − r ) !

What is the biggest mistake a lottery winner can make? ›

7 Biggest Mistakes Lottery Winners Make
  • 2 They get confused about how much they owe in taxes. ...
  • 3 They don't wait long enough to start spending. ...
  • 5 They let it get to their heads. ...
  • 6 They quit their jobs too quickly. ...
  • 7 They don't realize it can come with some profoundly negative consequences.
Feb 23, 2024

How long does it take for lottery winnings to hit your bank account? ›

Once the money has been collected, it usually takes five to ten business days to hit your account. Banks are often wary of handling such large transfers, and not all are equipped to handle jackpots. At the earliest, you should plan to receive your lottery winnings between three and four weeks after the draw date.

How do lottery winners deposit their money? ›

You don't literally cash them in, you get a check which you can deposit in a bank, or direct deposit. I suppose you could cash your check at the bank, if you really wanted to, but it would take them a while to arrange to have that much cash. Probably not the best idea, though.

Does Powerball annuity end at death? ›

Though many believe the government keeps the money, annuity payments are generally passed to a winner's heirs if they die, according to In this situation, the remaining assets are distributed to a living beneficiary, or to an estate where the money can be disbursed to a group of beneficiaries.

How much money to give to family after winning the lottery? ›

You can gift up to $18,000 in 2024 per person (up from $17,000 in 2023) without owing a gift tax. If you go over the limit, you probably still won't owe tax. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raises the lifetime gift and estate tax exclusion in 2024 to $13.61 million for single filers.

What is the best trust for lottery winnings? ›

An irrevocable trust is considered the best type when multiple individuals claim a single prize. These work well in situations such as workplace lottery pools. Irrevocable trusts allow the funds to be dispersed to each winner in the pool without relying on a single winner's honesty.

Is there really a strategy to winning the lottery? ›

There is no trick to winning the lottery. There is no magical combination of numbers that will help you beat the odds. Buying extra tickets may help your odds, but the improvement would be so small as to make it virtually worthless.

Is there a way to predict winning lottery numbers? ›

There is no such thing as a winning formula because lotteries are games of chance. There is no strategies which can give a player a better than average chance of beating the odds.

What are the 6 most common winning lottery numbers? ›

The most frequently drawn winning numbers from the main barrel are 17, 7, 11, 2, 3 and 9, while the least frequently drawn are 33, 15, 34, 31, 26 and 1. The most frequently drawn Powerball numbers are 19 and 2, while the least frequently drawn Powerball numbers are 14 and 16.

What is the best lottery number picking strategy? ›

In particular, pick random numbers. If you pick your favorite number or the day of your birthday like the 7th, which is the day of the next drawing, many people can be doing the same and that puts a lot of numbers between 1 and 31. Picking your own numbers doesn't change the odds of winning.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kerri Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6250

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kerri Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1992-10-31

Address: Suite 878 3699 Chantelle Roads, Colebury, NC 68599

Phone: +6111989609516

Job: Chief Farming Manager

Hobby: Mycology, Stone skipping, Dowsing, Whittling, Taxidermy, Sand art, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Kerri Lueilwitz, I am a courageous, gentle, quaint, thankful, outstanding, brave, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.