Today’s Scam of the day is prompted by an email from a Scamicide reader who received an email that purported to be from the Paula Filtz Foundation telling him that Paula Filtz who had won more than 500 million dollars in a Powerball drawing was giving two million dollars to a few selected people and that he had been chosen as one of these lucky people. However, in order to claim his money, he was told that he would have to open an account with an African bank to which he would be required to send money in order to claim his substantial gift. There are a number of indications that this is a scam, not the least of which is that there is no Paula Filtz Foundation nor records of a Paula Filtz winning Powerball.
This scam is very similar to one that I wrote about in the Scam of the day for January 3, 2018 referring to emails purporting to be from the Mavis L. Wanczyk Cash Grant indicating that you were chosen to receive a large cash grant from Mavis L. Wanczyk. You may remember that Mavis Wanczyk was the actual winner of a 758 million dollar Powerball drawing. At the time she claimed her prize, just like now, emails were sent to people purportedly from Ms. Wanczyk telling strangers that they were chosen to receive a cash grant. All the lucky strangers had to do was provide personal information in order to qualify for the grant. Phony social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were also set up in Ms. Wanczyk’s name through which people were contacted with the same phony offer of free money and all that needed to be done to qualify for the grant was to provide personal information.
This particular Paula Filtz Foundation scam steals money from you by requiring you to send money to a bank in Africa from which the scammers will then take the money. The fact that it requires you to send money to an African bank is a good indication that the scam itself originates in Africa.
Other versions of this type of scam require you to provide personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information in order to direct the wiring of funds. Doing so merely results in your becoming a victim of identity theft and/or your bank account being looted.
Lottery winners are not sending free money to strangers. Communications purporting to do this are always scams. As for the myriad of lottery scams in general in which people are told they have won money from lotteries that they have not entered, it is difficult to win a lottery you have entered. It is impossible to win one that you have never entered and neither lottery winners, nor anyone else is sending out messages offering free money to anyone who responds with personal information or pays a fee. No legitimate lottery requires a fee or tax payment to be made to them to claim your prize. Also, foundations do not send grants to people who have not applied for grants. Finally, never give out personal information that can make you vulnerable to identity theft unless you have absolutely verified that the party requesting the personal information is legitimate and has a legitimate need for the information.
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