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Scam watch: lured by ‘lottery winner’ on Instagram

An Instagram account has been sending private messages promising $50,000 of lottery winnings to its first 50k followers. It’s a scam, and this is how it works.

Carl got in touch with us to let us know he’d been sent a private message on photo-sharing app Instagram. It read:

“I’m Julie Leach the powerball winner of $310,500,000. I’m giving out $50,000 to the first 50k followers and to those in need of help”

There are pictures of a lady collecting the winning cheque on the account itself.

Julie Leach was a genuine lottery winner in the US in 2015. Her name and image have since been abused by scammers via email and on social media.

Fraudsters often use genuine news stories and events to add plausibility to their story. In January, scammers were posing as EuroMillions winners Frances and Patrick Connolly on Twitter.

Multiple Instagram accounts

Our cursory search of Instagram revealed 20 accounts bearing the name ‘Julie Leach’ alongside promotional images of the genuine Julie Leach collecting her winnings.

The account that messaged Carl was still active and had doubled its follower numbers. We tried to report it via Instagram’s reporting tool, but found there was no specific category for scam accounts.

When we instead tried to report it as ‘impersonation of a public figure’, we were unable to do so unless we provided the genuine account username of the real Julie Leach.

Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) has confirmed that scams and fraud should be reported as ‘spam’. A Facebook spokesperson said:

“We are aware of this issue and will continue to look into this matter to disable any accounts in violation of our policies. The account you spotted has now been removed for violating Facebook’s community guidelines”

Impersonation of celebrities on social media

As our investigation has shown, scams impersonating celebrities on social media continue to crop up regularly.

The observation that this account had doubled its followers in an important one – more often than not accounts like this are sold on then rebranded and renamed once they’ve accrued a large audience.

This then makes its following vulnerable to whatever content the new owners may choose to post, including scams.

If you’ve spotted this scam or anything similar, make sure you report it. If you’re concerned that you may have given your bank details to scammers, contact your bank immediately.

Have you spotted fraud like this on Instagram? If so, get in touch and help warn people in the comments.

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If Instagram FB Snapchat can delete the accounts of rich politics and Farrakhan for high profile cases and/or anti semetic bigotry they can’t cancel these scam accounts. Ive been looking at Mavis lottery scam for two yrs and I reported them many times. There’s SO MANY signs that’ll tell u it’s a scam. Main thing is them wanting YOU to give them money or gift cards and also if you’re FILTHY rich why should I pay you . Also notice they barely have any comments on their pages. That’s because they delete the comments that expose them.

I just got messages from them right now on Instagram and then on Whatts app

Look out for luckywinner016 on instagram they are impersonating the real julie leach.

Julie messaged me on Instagram so I searched her up and this is what I found.

Julie contacted me on Twitter

I just got one on my insta only a pic and no pics

She is also on the cam streaming app bigo.. under the same name ..

Thank you for writing this article. I am new to Instagram and have started a small business account in arts/designing, so without your input, I wouldn’t really know if this was a scam… I would have thought this was someone who wanted to support artists…I reported the account as spam…

For me this article is way too late

I received a message from someone using JulieLeach5229 for the exact scam stated in this article. They promised the same thing, asked for info, sent that info to a FedEx agent holding the winnings. Luckily, I looked up the person’s name and read the comments here and on another article. I stopped communication, reported the account, blocked, and restricted the IG profile from contacting me. I was being offered $45k this month for being a fortuitous person to whom they chose to receive $310,5000,000 In Powerball.

These two women are currently doing the same to me in instagram right now!

I am being scam by julie leach on Instagram and hangouts [edited] they already sent 100 dollars to here Agent and he wanted 300 more for delivery of the package for 50 thousand can u check here out on Instagram thanks

[Moderator: we’ve edited this comment to remove personal contact details. Please don’t post yours or others’ contact details, as this is for everyone’s safety and privacy. For more information see our Community guidelines]

Robert – Ignore “Julie Leach” and related impostors completely. None of what you read is the truth. Blot the scam out of your mind. There is no way you or any other UK citizen can make any money at all – let alone get rich – by doing what the messages say. Constant pestering is annoying, I know, but, believe it or not, you have not been personally selected to receive anything; it is just a ploy to get hold of your money and you will get nothing in return.

For your own privacy and security I am asking the moderators to edit your phone number out of your comment.

I got a message from a Julie Leach saying that iwas picked my electoral manchine on instagram. and all i had to do was call the fedex agent cell phone at 1 650 684 7172 or text on hangout [email protected] they said to text him my full name so he could check their fedex database to approve my winning package.

Yes Julie Leach on Instagram is a fraud and asking for a 💯dollars to ship it or cash app Babe1247 scam Scam scam

Ya my bf has did this scam with Julie leach and gave her all his banking info she sent 5000.00 to his bank account it is in his account know but the bank is holding it for 10 days they said to see if the 5000.00 is a scam so the bank has a hold on his account right know

I was scamed last night just before bed she wrote that the first 200 people to like her would recieve 10 000 dolars but first I needed to send her 100 dolars for an activiation fee before she would give me the money.
This saddens me as we are in hard times here in SOUTH AFRICA and to play on a persons livelyhood is just evil. she goes under the name Juli.e8121 on instergram.
I am also a new member to instergram so thanks you Julie you are a piece of work

I just received an Instagram message from someone saying they are Julie leach and that I’ve been selected for 50,000.. this also has a photo of a women receiving her 50,000. The Instagram account needs to be deleted.

An Instagram account has been sending private messages promising $50,000 of lottery winnings to its first 50k followers. It’s a scam, and this is how it works.

Instagram scammer posing as Powerball winner

Someone’s been posting to Instagram claiming to be Raymond Buxton, the winner of the $425 million Powerball jackpot.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — It appears someone is trying to scam Instagram users hoping that a recent Powerball winner wants to spread his newfound wealth.

Over the weekend, someone was posting to Instagram claiming to be Raymond Buxton, the winner of the $425 million Powerball jackpot. The posts asked people to share their email addresses publicly in exchange for a share of the prize.

But Buxton’s attorney says it’s not him, and it’s a scam.

Last week, the real Raymond Buxton came forward to claim his prize, but declined to show his face. He bought his ticket at a Chevron station in Milpitas in February. He plans to set up a charity to fight childhood hunger.

UPDATE: In the time since ABC7 News initially aired this story, it appears the account has been set to private, but similar accounts have appeared on the social networking app.

someone was posting to Instagram claiming to be Raymond Buxton, the winner of the $425 million Powerball jackpot