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Criminals Use Name of Lottery Winner John Liappas in Advance Fee Scam Messages

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this message, which purports to be from lottery winner John Liappas, you have been ‘chosen by God’ to receive a cash donation of $500,000. 

Supposedly, Liappas has decided to share some of his $28 million win via the Internet with ‘other individuals who are in need’ as a means of adhering to Bible teachings about giving.

John Liappas really did win the Florida Lotto’s $28 million jackpot in 2015. However, he certainly did not send this message and he is not randomly giving away large sums of money to total strangers via the Internet.

In fact, the message is a typical advance fee lottery scam designed to trick you into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals. In this case, the criminals have used business focused social media service LinkedIn to contact potential victims. In other cases they may simply blast out hundreds of thousands of identical scam emails in the hope of netting at least a few victims.

The message first asks you to supply a driver’s licence, passport, or other documentation that can be used to prove your identity. It also asks for other personal details. This information, along with other personal and financial details procured during the course of the scam, may later be used to steal your identity. Armed with such information, scammers may be able to pose as you, take out loans in your name, and conduct other fraudulent activities that may have a major impact on your life.
Moreover, soon after you reply to the scammers, they will begin asking you to send money that is supposedly required to cover various expenses. The scammers may claim that, before receiving your ‘donation’, you are legally obligated to pay tax, banking and insurance fees, delivery costs, and a host of other – entirely imaginary – expenses. The scammers will insist that these fees cannot be deducted from the ‘donation’ itself for legal reasons. They will warn that if you do not promptly send money to cover the requested fees, the offer will be withdrawn and the funds will be given to somebody else instead.

After they have extracted as much money and personal information from you as they can, the scammers will simply disappear without trace, leaving you out of pocket and in real danger of having your identity stolen.

Be very wary of any message that claims to come from a lottery winner and offers to give you a large portion of the winnings. This is a common scammer ruse. The names of lottery winners who are featured in news reports are often used in advance fee scams. While many lottery winners are indeed generous and do seek to help others, they are extremely unlikely to randomly hand out millions of dollars to strangers they have selected via social media websites or email addresses. If you receive one of these scam emails, just delete it.

Example

From: John Liappas Foundation

The John Liappas Foundation
Coral Gables,
Miami, Florida.
Hello [Name Removed] ,

I am most grateful for your email and I use this as a medium to say thank you for writing Back. This is a lifetime opportunity and 100% legitimate. My names are John Liappas, i decided to make sure that my winning is put on the internet for the world to see. This was a gift from God to me and my entire family. I may not know you, but since you were chosen by God to receive this cash donation of $ 500,000.00 , you must be a God fearing individual. I do believe that good things happen to those who wait upon the lord. At first when i saw the winning numbers, I did not believe, thinking it was just a mere joke until the cheque of ($28 Million dollars) was given to me willingly as won. The main reason why i decided to share part of this fund among other individuals who are in need is according to the bible that teaches about given as part of Godliness and also with the prophecy we received from God Almighty. I have taken care needs of my immediate family members & friends, Hospitals & Charity Organizations in Africa, Asia and Europe that fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

I also do believe in the part of the Bible that says ask and you shall receive and consistently I have always asked for a miracle from God. I am hoping that you will definitely be able to use this fund wisely and judiciously on projects that will last you for a long time over there in your country. To facilitate the disbursement process of the funds and all the legal documents that will be signed and entitle to you, the below details will be needed;

1. NAME IN FULL:
2. COUNTRY & HOME ADDRESS:
3. OCCUPATION & MOBILE NUMBER:
4. SEX & AGE:
5. PASSPORT OR DRIVER’S LICENSE OR ANY OTHER MEANS OF IDENTIFICATION:

Kindly write to me about your view & plans on spending this fund that has been solely given to you. You are advice to view my winning webpage below in other to be rest assured that you are in the right hands;

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-lotto-jackpot-winner-20150804-story.html

May the good Lord bless your heart to be a blessing to your family & friends. Congratulations once again.

God bless you,
John liappas.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer