pile of money

Photo via Andrew Magill/Flickr (CC-BY)

Sorry, this lottery winner is not trying to give you $5,000

People who win the lottery don't typically give all their money to strangers on Twitter.

 

David Britton

Internet Culture

Published Jan 16, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 4:34 am CDT

Earlier this month, 20-year-old Shane Missler of Port Richey, Florida, won the fourth-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time: $451 million dollars. Missler opted to take the lump sum, which, after taxes, amounts to $211,406,249.25.

Then this appeared on Twitter:

fake lottery tweet

As you might have guessed, the account, which features a picture lifted from the real Missler’s Facebook page, is fake, and the tweet is a scam. One clear giveaway: The account was created in the last 24 hours. The account was also deleted while this article was being written, so that’s another fairly damning piece of evidence.

The real winner noted on both his Twitter and Facebook accounts that he knew people were stealing his identity.

Thank you everyone for the kind words. I am truly grateful and appreciative! Unfortunately fake social media accounts…

Posted by Shane Missler on Friday, January 12, 2018

But that didn’t stop people from doing the fake Missler’s bidding. Before the account was deleted (whether by Twitter or its creator, we don’t yet know), he had over 32,000 followers, and the tweet was quickly approaching the 50,000-retweet mark.

He even threw in a retweet as “evidence” of his generosity.

Interestingly, this guy allegedly received his money before the goal had been reached and, in fact, before the initial tweet offering the money had even been posted.

For the most part, people were skeptical, but many found it hard to resist the chance that a few simple clicks could get them $5,000. It’s also odd because it’s not clear what the fake Missler was hoping to gain, other than a bunch of Twitter followers. Possibly he was hoping to somehow gain access to to people’s Paypal, Venmo, or bank accounts. Maybe he just wanted a few moments of viral fame. Maybe he’s among the huge number of people on the internet who don’t know the difference between a “prank” and a lie.

While there’s no free $5,000, there is a least a bit of entertainment to be had from the story. The Tampa Bay Times did uncover one of Missler’s Facebook post from 10 months ago. It shows the young man posing next to a statue of wrestling legend Hulk Hogan. Missler is striking a pose but it also kind of looks like he’s gesturing towards the name of a store in the background. A store called “Filthy Rich.”

Eat your vitamins, brother!

Posted by Shane Missler on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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*First Published: Jan 16, 2018, 1:02 pm CST