Of all the scams I have written about in the ten years that I have been writing Scamicide.com, one that continually ensnares people is phony gifts from Mavis Wanczk. Many of you may not remember the name of Mavis 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 emails with the message line referring to the Mavis Wanczyk Cash Grant. The email indicated that you were chosen to receive a large cash grant from Mavis 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. These Mavis Wanczyk scams continue to proliferate and hardly a week goes by that I don’t receive questions from Scamicide readers and others about these.
Many of you may not be familiar with the name MacKenzie Scott, but she is the extremely wealthy woman who is best known as both being the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as well as being one of the most philanthropic people on the planet. In 2020 alone, she gave away almost six billion dollars to universities, food banks and other charities, however, she does not give money away to individual people. This, however, has not stopped scammers from using her name to scam people into thinking that Ms. Scott is contacting them to tell them that she has chosen them to receive some of her wealth. The scam begins with an email that appears to come from Ms. Scott telling the “lucky” intended victim that he or she has been chosen to receive a substantial gift from Ms. Scott. The emails and the scams are quite sophisticated and often show a bank account in the name of the targeted victim. All the victim needs to do to gain access to the funds is pay some associated fees, which the scammer requires be paid through Bitcoin. Of course, the entire setup is scam. There is no money for the victim and the funds transferred to the scammers through Bitcoin are lost forever.
This scam is even more insidious than those using the name of Mavis Wanczyk because some of the victims have Googled MacKenzie Scott and found legitimate stories indicating that she is giving and has given away billions of dollars. What these people fail to notice is that Ms. Scott is not and has not given money away to individuals, but only to institutions. Whenever you receive an email offering you substantial amounts of money that you have never asked for you should remember one of my mottos “B.S. – Be Skeptical.” No one is contacting strangers to give money to them. Also, paying any fee by Bitcoin, gift card or wired funds should always be something about which you are skeptical because these methods of payment are favored by scammers because they are impossible to stop or trace. Making this problem even worse is that many of the victims of this scam have had their names provided to other scammers who contact them with similar scams.
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 http://www.scamicide.com 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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