Welcome to the Winners Club!
It was only a few months ago when Joe and Rhonda Meath were just regular people like you and me. That is until they won $11.7 million in the Minnesota Hot Lotto. Their prize was the largest jackpot that particular game has paid out in all of Minnesota’s Lottery history.
You are probably wondering what is so special about the Meaths. They are among an exclusive club that only major lottery winners can be part of. They join the ranks of Adrian and Gillian Bayford, Tom Crist, and the Edmonton Lottery Winners. All of these winners have had their names used in email scams.
$11.7 Million Lottery Winners Targeted in Email Scam
When the Meath couple learned they won such a large amount of money, they planned to donate part of their fortune to friends, and family, and even start a foundation to provide K9s to the local police department. One thing they want people to know is that they are not behind the email that is circulating stating the couple wishes to donate $1 million to four lucky individuals.
In an attempt to seem legitimate, the email even provides a link to the Fox9 story.
When asked about the scam, Rhonda stated, “It’s disheartening to me because people in Minnesota have embraced us. I still get people who say ‘Is it you?’ when I’m at work. I say, ‘Yes, it is.’ They want a hug, or I saw a lady at the Home Furniture store just the other day. To have that happen, it’s hard to believe someone would scam someone else.”
Because this is such a problem, officials in Minnesota are sending out public warnings. These warnings urge citizens to delete any email; they may receive that seems suspicious. They also go on to say that you should be wary of any phone call or letter that asks for an advance payment on any prizes or asks for your personal information.
The 411 on Basic Email Scams
The way these lottery email scams work is relatively simple. You receive an email, much like the one below (this is an actual email that is associated with the Meaths).
The email is unassuming enough, as it only asks for your name, address, and contact number. It doesn’t ask you to send in any money or information to your banking institutions. What some people do not realize is that a scammer can get a lot of information about you with just these three pieces of information.
These types of scams are not new, and it seems to be a common practice where scammers will use lottery winners who publicly announce they are donating some money to charity and whatnot. If you ever receive an email like the one above, you never want to give out your information. Contact your local law enforcement and follow their instructions. When people report these scams to the authorities, not only will the police be aware of the problem, but they can also work to catch the criminals behind it.