I have been writing about scams related to Mavis Wanczyk for four years but recently I have received many emails from Scamicide readers telling me about various new incarnations of a variety of scams that share the same hook which is that Mavis Wanczyk is giving money away to lucky people.  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.

The latest version of the Mavis Wanczyk lottery scam that victimized a Scamicide reader started with a text message purportedly from Mavis Wanczyk informing the targeted victim that she would give $15,000 to the targeted victim.  All the victim had to do was pay some fees.  After paying $3,786.68 through untraceable Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the victim still had not received anything who was then prompted to send an additional $300 for expedited delivery of his check.  After paying that amount, the scammers still had not sent anything, but did demand access to the victim’s Facebook account.  Finally, the greedy scammers even threatened to turn in the victim to the FBI unless they were paid $500.  It does take quite a bit of gall for criminals to threaten victims with reporting them to law enforcement, but gall does not appear to be in short supply when it comes to scammers.

TIPS

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 with personal information. 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.  Also never pay anything to a lottery claiming you owe fees in order to claim your prize.  This is a telltale sign of a scam.  No legitimate lottery requires the payment of a fee to collect your winnings or requires you to pay the lottery income taxes on the prize.  While income taxes are due on lottery winnings, those taxes are either deducted by the lottery sponsor before giving you your prize or the prize is given to you in full and you are responsible for the payment of any taxes.  No lottery collects taxes on behalf of the IRS.

You should never give anyone access to your social media accounts because scammers use your account to scam others who trust you and fall for scams that appear to come from you.

Finally and most importantly, remember neither Mavis Wanczyk nor any other lottery winner is giving away money to strangers.

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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