Many people may not remember the name of Mavis L. Wanczyk, but she was the lucky winner of a 758 million dollar Powerball drawing in 2017. Not long after she claimed her prize, a scam started appearing in which many people received an email with the message line referring to the Mavis L. Wanczyk Cash Grant. The email indicated that you were chosen to receive a large cash grant from Mavis L. Wanczyk. All the lucky strangers receiving the emails had to do was provide personal information in order to qualify for the grant. In addition, 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 informing them that in order to qualify for the grant they merely needed to provide personal information.  Of course, people providing the personal information ended up becoming victims of identity theft.

Now the scam appears to be resurfacing in large numbers as evidenced by emails I am receiving from Scamicide readers complaining of this scam.   The scam has now migrated from emails to  Instagram where a phony Mavis Wanczyk account is offering $10,000 to the first 2,000 people who respond to the post.  A Scamicide reader responded to the offer and was informed he needed to send the numbers from a $100 eBay gift card  in order to receive the $10,000 prize.  Other versions of the scam have asked for Walgreens or CVS gift cards.  The Scamicide reader who reported this scam to me knew this was a scam and did not buy the gift cards or lose any money, but other people are being tricked by this scam.  The truth is that no one is offering you money for nothing.


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 through the Internet offering free money to anyone who responds.  In addition, no legitimate lottery requires you to pay a fee to claim your prize and anytime you are asked to pay for something through a gift card, you should be suspicious of a scam.  Scammers love gift cards because they are easy to use and impossible to trace.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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