Scammers impersonating lottery winning couple

A WARNING has been issued that scammers are impersonating a lottery winning couple.

Frances Connolly, who hails from the Glebe area and her husband, Patrick, scooped the EuroMillions jackpot in 2019.

The couple's windfall was Northern Ireland's biggest ever National Lottery win last year - £115m.

Since their huge win, the generous couple have shared their wealth with family and friends, as well as charitable organisations.

They have also established two charitable foundations; the Kathleen Graham Trust which has been of huge support to communities across Strabane and further afield throughout the pandemic and the the PFC Trust based in County Durham where the couple now live.

The PFC Trust aims to improve the lives and life chances of the people of Hartlepool by celebrating all of the good in the town and helping those who need it.

As with many lottery winners in the past, the couple's good fortune has fallen prey to scammers.

The latest scam doing the rounds is a an email give-away purporting to be written by the couple and claiming to give over £1m to 15 lucky recipients worldwide.

The email asks recipients to click on a link to provide their personal details and claim their winnings which in turn allows the scammers access to those details.

It's not the first time the couple have been targeted by scammers.

Earlier this year, they were used as part of a bogus online COVID-19 scam bid offering money as a 'COVID-19 Relief Donation, claiming the target was one of ten people chosen to receive almost £0.5m.

Elsewhere, a little over a week after going public with their good news a fake Twitter account pretending to be Patrick was set up stating that the couple would randomly select 50 people to give a portion of the money to once their YouTube channel got to 10,000 subscribers.

Following the latest scam, warnings have been issued for people to be on their guard against the would-be swindlers.

A spokesperson for the Kathleen Graham Trust said: "The Kathleen Graham Trust has been made aware that a scam email purporting to represent the Trust has been circulating.

"Please note, Patrick and Frances, founders of the Kathleen Graham Trust, will never deploy email or social media correspondence as a means of requesting funding for charity purposes.

"All funding from the charity will be awarded directly to the recipient, either via Patrick and Frances personally or from the Kathleen Graham Trust."

The National Lottery and EuroMillions has also issued a warning.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware that there are individuals and organisations that attempt to obtain payment or personal details from people under a variety of pretexts.

“The National Lottery, winners of The National Lottery and other lotteries are sometimes falsely used as part of these scams.

“We would urge people to remember that, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

"We would also like to remind people the only place you can legitimately purchase National Lottery tickets or scratchcards is from an official National Lottery retailer.

“The National Lottery provides security advice in respect of lottery scams: at www.national-

lottery.co.uk/security.

"As always, if any individual believes they are a victim of crime, they should contact their local police.”

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