Here are two things we know for sure about the Internet: It is full of porn and liars. And it is absolutely not full of people willing to give you money in exchange for following them on Instagram or Twitter.
But apparently this basic truth is still not understood by a sizable chunk of the Internet population, who've fallen prey to a scam perpetrated by a teenager from Florida.
Andrew Kuczynski, a student at a high school in Coconut Creek, Fla., has tricked hundreds of thousands of people into retweeting him on Twitter by telling them he won the Powerball Lottery and will give $1,000 to anyone who RTs and follows him.
Kuczynski’s scam is very similar to another teenager’s trollish scheme to get people to follow her by promising money for follows. And it’s just as fake.
In addition to hoodwinking Twitter, Kuczynski is tricking Instagram users by claiming he will send $500 to his first 64,000 followers. He initially claimed he was giving money to his first 34,000 followers, but later changed the number.
As proof, he posted a screenshot of a PayPal account with money deposited by Powerball Lottery. Because the lottery totally pays its winners via PayPal in one giant lump sum with no taxes taken out. Right.
Won 34 mil in the March 1st Powerball ! Giving $1,000 to everyone who retweets this pic.twitter.com/BK5ZAz6uDw— Andrew Kuczynski (@andrewkucz) March 5, 2014
First of all, PayPal’s policy prohibits transactions that have to do with gambling, so Powerball can’t use it to pay people who bought lottery tickets. Second of all, PayPal charges 2.9 percent for transactions, so getting paid through PayPal would be completely foolish, and also result in a different amount of money deposited into his PayPal account than the one shown.
This scam is a pretty naked attempt to get followers, not unlike the Great Ramen Poisoning Prank of 2014. But it also veers into shadier territory. Kuczynski set up a donations page to solicit money from the people he promised money to. Kuczynski repeatedly assured his followers that he was not scamming them and set up a fake Instagram account for something called the “Andrew Foundation."
Kuczynski clearly thinks of this as a joke, but it’s cruel and manipulative to accept donations under the pretense that you’re giving money away. He gained followers and made the Internet a slightly shittier place.
At least not everyone fell for it:
If y'all really believe that Andrew Kuczynski is gonna give you $1000, then I know this Nigerian prince who would LOVE to speak to you— PitLookinBoy (@PitLookinBoy) March 7, 2014