Free money giveaway? Not so fast, scammers target social media users

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — So, you didn’t win the lottery, but you’ve got the next best thing because a lottery winner is offering to gift you some of his cash. 

Before you jump at this, wait. It might not be what it seems.   

Criminals are taking the name of real lottery winners and then using those names to entice people with offers of free cash on social media, but It’s not legit. 

Winning the lottery is the dream of so many people. Although many enter, few win a prize. 

Dave Johnson is one of those few. The New York Lottery said the 56-year-old truck driver won $293 million in the Powerball drawing, and now scammers are using his name to trick people.  

Criminals are sending out social media posts like one on Instagram claiming Johnson is going to give away $30,000 dollars to the first 3,000 users who follow him. 

(Steve Sbraccia/CBS 17)

However, on Tik Tok, a post looking to be from Dave Johnson instead claims he will give $50,000 to the first 200 random people who follow him. 

Neither post are from the real lottery winner. 

Raleigh resident Sandy Brewer said at first glance, she would accept money from lottery winner.  

“Absolutely,” she said. 

However, Richard Fagala was more skeptical, saying he would “probably not” accept that kind of internet offer. 

He’s right to be cautious according to the Better Business Bureau.  

Scammers tend to include links in their text messages to news stories and other things like that to make it seem more believable,” said Susan Bach. “Those are all red flags to a scam.” 

The website Scam Detector says the fake lottery winner giveaway posts on social media are trending all across the country right now. 

These scammers behind them won’t give you money, but they’ll take it from you. 

“All you need to do is click on a link or share some personal information, or pay some money up front, ” said Bach. “It’s absolutely a scam.” 

Sandy Brewer liked the idea of free cash. But when she found out she needed to “follow” in order to get it, it became a deal breaker.  

Nope, nope,” she said. “He doesn’t need my contact information.” 

When you get a text like that, just delete it. 

If you respond in any way, the scammers will know it’s a real, working number and you’ll open yourself up to more scam attempts. 

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