SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is issuing an alert concerning a lottery winnings-sharing scam circulating in the community.
Authorities said emails and cell phone texts are appearing, purportedly from John Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, announcing that he recently won $328 million in the Powerball Lottery and wants to share a portion of his winnings – a million and a half dollars.
“This is scam, pure and simple.” said county Detective Dick Blust. “And like many scams, it uses doses of the truth to make it sound believable.”
Early this year, a man named John Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, did indeed win $328 million dollars in the Powerball Lottery, as reported in the mainstream media and by many Internet sources.
“That much is the truth, but that’s where it ends,” Blust said. “Scammers are fraudulently using Robinson’s name and providing links to news websites about his winnings to make their con scheme look authentic.”
The bogus email declares that if you wish to share in Robinson’s prize, you need first to open an account with the Halifax Bank, based in the United Kingdom, with a deposit of between 500 and 2,000 British pounds (about $725 and $3,600) “to enable the transfer of funds” to an offshore account.
The Halifax Bank is legitimate, but once a victim opens a new account, the funds deposited disappear because the victim, in following precise instructions, has provided the scammers with the necessary account information to access them.
There are other scams circulating concerning John Robinson and his Powerball winnings, including some on social media sites such as Facebook. One has been the subject of a report from Snopes, the internet reference website.
For more information on this and many other fraud schemes, law enforcement officials recommend the FBI website.