Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 8, 2016, 6:54 pm
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Phony Powerball tickets flood social media in wake of $1.6 billion jackpot

PowerballPowerball: Phony Powerball tickets flood social media in wake of $1.6 billion jackpot

A professional skateboarder showed his "winning" ticket for the $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot on Instagram. Another man held an impromptu press conference in the parking lot of the Chino Hills 7-Eleven where the ticket was sold, claiming to be the winner.

Then there was the poor nurse in Pomona, whose son text-messaged her a photo of her "winning" ticket, which led to a flood of media at her home and her work Thursday afternoon.

But in the end, all were hoaxes. In California, lottery officials still don't know who the local winner is.

"I never would've thought I'd spend half my day [Thursday] trying to shoot down all these crazy stories about how they won," said Alex Traverso, a California State Lottery spokesman.

Thanks to photo editing software and the biggest jackpot in U.S. lottery history, claims of people winning the lottery on social media soared this week, and even managed to trick some in the media.

"People can put together some pretty elaborate things. Sometimes it looks like a normal ticket," Traverso said. "But the red flag right off the bat — you don't share that [you won] with anyone. If you're serious that you've won... $528 million is not an amount of money to be trifled with."

The most successful hoax so far occurred Thursday, when a spokeswoman for a network of California healthcare facilities began shopping a story to local media that one of the networks' employees was the winner — and possibly thanks to the company's generous chief executive buying thousands of tickets for his employees and patients.

But in the end, the spokeswoman, the chief executive, the nurse's boss, her coworkers and even the nurse herself, had all fallen for a prank — her son had sent her a Photoshopped picture of her ticket that appeared to have the winning numbers.

The son eventually confessed it was a joke, but by then it was too late. The nurse's family and the company spent the rest of Thursday trying to quell the rumors.

"A lot of what we're seeing is someone having their moment in the sun," Traverso said. "But it hasn't risen to this level before because everyone right now is trying to figure out who this winner is. The magnifying glass isn't usually there when it's a smaller amount."

Three tickets matched Wednesday's winning Powerball numbers — one each in Florida and Tennessee and one out of the Chino Hills 7-Eleven. Each ticket is worth about $528 million.

Lottery officials aren't investigating any claims of winners who go online, Traverso said.

"That's the weird thing about it. We've had large jackpot winners for hundreds of millions of dollars. They don't put their picture on social media. They don't tell everyone they've won. People are more cautious than that," he said.

Traverso said the fastest way lottery officials have to spot fakes on social media is the number sequence at the bottom of the ticket, just above the barcode. That identifies the store where the ticket was sold, among other things.

"I'm really surprised how things are working out," Traverso said. "It just makes me want the rightful winner to come forward sooner rather than later."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

LA Times

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

21 comments. Last comment 11 months ago by pantherestates.
Page 1 of 2
United Kingdom
Member #140684
March 24, 2013
566 Posts
Posted: January 17, 2016, 8:57 am - IP Logged

Someone actually held a phoney press conference outside a store? That's some dedication.

2016 Won/Lost

EuroMillions / Spent: £22 / Won £0 / Total -£22

UK Lotto / Spent: £4 / Won: £0 / Total: -£4

2016 Total: -£24

Jan: -£22 Feb: £0 ~ Mar: £0 ~ April: £0 ~ May: £0 ~ June: £0 ~ July: £2


EuroMillions = £2 Line / Played: x11 [old price] 

EuroMillions = £2.50 Line / Played: x0

UK Lotto = £2 Line / Played x2


    United States
    Member #170707
    December 13, 2015
    185 Posts
    Posted: January 17, 2016, 9:21 am - IP Logged


      New Member

      United States
      Member #172174
      January 17, 2016
      1 Posts
      Posted: January 17, 2016, 9:26 am - IP Logged

      Something wrong with these people. Hoax is just a fancy word for liar. They've gotten their attention with lying about winning. People should scrutinize them further. If you're willing to go that far with lying to get national attention, you've probably aren't going anywhere in life and have lied your way through life..

        United States
        Member #172127
        January 16, 2016
        99 Posts
        Posted: January 17, 2016, 9:42 am - IP Logged

        FLguy30 I feel the exact same way! I also feel this way about all the supposed REALITY Shows They need to be all on one Channel and just call them The Rich Brat's & The NON-REAL HOUSEWIVES!!! LOL

          RedStang's avatar - tallman zps6gf4inoc.jpg
          United States
          Member #121961
          January 21, 2012
          3157 Posts
          Posted: January 17, 2016, 9:46 am - IP Logged

          Thought it was funny when everyone was congratulating moneybags. Just use the windows magnifier and it's obvious.

            haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
            Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
            United States
            Member #112968
            June 29, 2011
            3856 Posts
            Posted: January 17, 2016, 9:47 am - IP Logged

            Extraordinary popular delusions and

            "The madness of crowds"  LMAO !

            Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

              music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
              Happy California
              United States
              Member #157856
              August 2, 2014
              1522 Posts
              Posted: January 17, 2016, 11:58 am - IP Logged

              Extraordinary popular delusions and

              "The madness of crowds"  LMAO !

               California is the land of fruits and nuts. 

               Why is Alex Traverso the California Lottery spokesperson saying,"The winners should come forward sooner rather than later."  Alex, please give us winners some time to cool down and talk with everyone we need to talk with.

               I agree that the winner needs to call the Lottery and tell them the 18 digit numbers which are above the bar code. Better to have a lawyer make the call. You do not want the Lottery to have caller ID and bingo you are outed.

               We do have one year to come forward so hold your horses.

              Thinking of... I have no idea what this emoticon means.

               I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

               Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

                Wyomissing, PA
                United States
                Member #161050
                November 15, 2014
                301 Posts
                Posted: January 17, 2016, 12:19 pm - IP Logged

                Social media and 24 hour news cycle has further lowered the bar for news organizations, which have always struggled to get facts straight, to publish articles long before they're ready. Taking time to contact the California Lottery to verify is too long to wait, the article must post now to beat the competition.

                News organizations will seemingly publish most anything with little to no fact checking nor asking many, if any, questions. Such as the story of the restaurant workers who thought they'd won, but hadn't. Did that really happen, or was it a hoax? Could be to gain notoriety and/or generate revenue through YouTube views. Crazy what people will do for their 15 seconds; to make money, such as the skateboarder seems to be trying to do.

                  duckman's avatar - ducklogodrake64x64
                  Jacksonville Florida
                  United States
                  Member #23018
                  October 6, 2005
                  918 Posts
                  Posted: January 17, 2016, 12:28 pm - IP Logged

                  People who do this seek attention because in their real life no one gives them the time of day, probably due to their lack of social skills and their inability to interact with other people. True to form, the sewer rats on Twitter went wild with the fake ticket postings. The more someone posts the same fake ticket over and over, the more of an isolated loner they are.

                  To those who are faking these tickets, please spend some more time and do a better job of faking the ticket. Nothing worse than someone too lazy to do it right...

                    scarchelli's avatar - 1zwkm5v
                    hinsdale, il
                    United States
                    Member #125346
                    March 28, 2012
                    31 Posts
                    Posted: January 17, 2016, 12:58 pm - IP Logged

                    Why does a lottery spokesperson say 528 mil is not to be triffled with? That's the annuity of 1.584 bil ÷ 3 not the cash value of much less and not to menton the taxes taken out.

                      noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                      Bay Area - California
                      United States
                      Member #136477
                      December 12, 2012
                      4108 Posts
                      Posted: January 17, 2016, 1:54 pm - IP Logged

                      Sir Alex was part of that outfit that outed a multi millionaire lottery winner from my city a few years ago. They rocked up to a local convenience store and demanded the video of the winner purchasing the winning ticket after less than 2 months & put his mug on TV.Their actions resulted in the winner being hounded from the city fleeing con men & the like. So l agree with Music- back off Alex & leave the winner alone.When they good & ready- they will appear. 

                      People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                        luckyshoes's avatar - butterfly neg.jpg
                        United States
                        Member #79502
                        September 2, 2009
                        6395 Posts
                        Posted: January 17, 2016, 7:33 pm - IP Logged

                        Looks like it wasnt the "ticket"to succe$$

                          Deo-nonfortuna's avatar - hqdefault
                          United States
                          Member #165922
                          April 27, 2015
                          3337 Posts
                          Posted: January 17, 2016, 7:37 pm - IP Logged

                          It was a ticket to ride. A long ride.

                            maximumfun's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg
                            Lavender Rocket

                            United States
                            Member #124616
                            March 16, 2012
                            2642 Posts
                            Posted: January 17, 2016, 7:43 pm - IP Logged

                            Sure you might have a year to come forward... as long as you #1)want the annuity & #2) dont mind losing out on the interest you would have otherwise earned re: your annual payment.  (in RI you have a year to collect on a ticket but only 60 days from the drawing date to choose the cash option.  from day 61 to day 365 you are only option is annuity.)