A new Mega Millions scam has dragged a young single mom whose life recently took dramatic turn when she won a $66 million jackpot into a “phishing” scheme that attempts to persuade internet users to give up sensitive personal information.
Michigan lottery officials cautioned that the latest in a series of Instagram scams this time claims that 24-year-old Kelsey Zachow, the Port Huron mother of one who on July 31st was revealed as the winner of a $66 million jackpot.
A new Instagram account under the name “kelseyzachowgiveaway” claims that Zachow, who pocketed $27 million after taking her Mega Millions winnings as a single payment and deducting taxes, offers to pay $1,000 to each of the account’s first 15,000 followers. The fake Kelsey Zachow account is one of “more than a dozen Instagrams with similar offers,” warns Michigan lottery official Jeff Holyfield.
Needless to say, if you come across the Kelsey Zachow page or any similar bogus “offers” from Mega Millions winners — or winners of any lottery — ignore them. And whatever you do, never leave any personal information in the comments section, or anywhere else.
Lottery scams are common, and so-called “phishing” scams, in which con artists use names of known lottery winners — which in most states are required by law to be publicly revealed — to elicit personal information are a growing trend.
Often the scam involves a bogus email stating that the lottery winner wants to share his or her good fortune with the random members of the public. The e-mail then asks the recipient to transmit bank or PayPal information, in order to receive their share of the winner’s supposed financial largess.
The Kelsey Zachow Instagram version is just the latest twist on this increasingly common lottery scam.
Back in the real world of Mega Millions, ticket sales for the August 15 drawing, in which $144 million was at stake, topped 30 million for only the second time this year in a single sequence leading up to a jackpot winner.
The Mega Millions jackpot hit $160 million after no one matched the numbers drawn Friday night.
Friday’s total of 30,008,993 was the highest ticket sales total since a March 18 drawing for a $400 million Mega Millions jackpot, which sold more than 113 million tickets. The run-up to that jackpot saw sales top 30 million on February 21.
Sales in that Mega Millions run rose from there until reaching the March 18 drawing, but otherwise had not exceeded the 30 million mark since, until Friday.
All told, there was more than $4.6 million won in Friday’s Mega Millions drawing. Was any of that cash yours? Find out by checking your August 15 ticket against the following numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm in Atlanta, Georgia.
16 — 19 — 28 — 29 — 68 Mega Ball 9
The next Mega Millions drawing, on August 19, offers a $95.4 million payout to a winner who takes the cash in a single payment.