Fact Check

Are Lottery Winners Sharing Their Fortunes with Social Media Users?

Are lottery winners sharing their fortunes with social media users?

Published Nov. 30, 2012


Claim:   Lottery winners are sharing their fortunes with social media users.


Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2012]

a male named Nolan Daniels from Florida Ridge Fl is posting he will give a million dollars to the millionth person who shares his picture on Facebook... is this true?

This guy on Facebook says he won Powerball and if you share his photo, he will give 1 million to a random individual. The picture features the user in question holding the "winning" Powerball ticket.

Nolan Daniels


Origins:   At the close of November 2012, the record Powerball jackpot was hit to the tune of $587.5 million. One of the winning tickets was sold in Missouri, and the other in Arizona.

After the drawing, a couple in Missouri bearing the surname of Hill was identified as the holders of one of two winning tickets, and nearly

two weeks later Phoenix, Arizona, resident Matthew Good was identified as the other.

Nolan Daniels looks nothing like either of those winners. While the numbers displayed in the photo that he'd like others to post to their Facebook walls in hopes of being the lucky millionth poster do match the winning numbers drawn for the $587.5 million jackpot, they're not in numerical order, which proves the photo is a fake.

As stated in the Powerball FAQ: "The tickets print the white ball numbers (the first five numbers) in numerical order."

A handful of days later, a Facebook post authored by "Sokhavy Hilton" appeared. He announced:

Yes, I am one of the winner of 580$ Million PowerBall :) I will pick 10 random people to get 1 Million $ each if you share this! I care for others too! :)


The chunk of cheese being used to lure the easily gulled had grown: while "Nolan Daniels" promised to bestow one winner with $1 million, "Sokhavy Hilton" promised 10 winners $1 million apiece.

In November 2014 a similar claim emerged, this one initially posted on Instagram before it crossed over to e-mail and other social media sites:

My wife just reposted an image from Rick Knudsen on Instagram saying that he'd send $1000 to anybody who follows and reposts. Sounds a bit like the Bill Gates email chain back in the early 2000's. Anyways, it seems super sketchy to me but couldn't find definitive proof on if it was legitimate or completely fake.

Thanks @oprah & @tylerperry. Such a blessing for us to win this amount of money and now I'm giving back to those in need. My name is Rick Knudsen I won the California lottery of $180 Million. I am a father of five and very blessed. First 50k followers will receive a $1000 from me. ONLY WAY TO GET $1000 YOU MUST 1.) FOLLOW ME REPOST THIS VIDEO AND TAG YOUR FRIENDS 2.) SHOUT ME OUT 3.) COMMENT


While a man named Rick Knudsen did win a $180 million Powerball jackpot in California in September 2014, the Instagram account was a phony; mentions of Oprah and Tyler Perry were included to lend the hoax legitimacy.

So, once again, there is no free lunch to be had, no free-spirited $1 million giveaway from some hithertofore unheard of overjoyed Powerball winner. Instead, it's all just a hoax intended to lure the gullible into chasing a non-existent rainbow and in the process bestowing upon its perpetrator some cheap Internet fame.

Last updated:   14 November 2014


    Bradley, Tahman.   "'Possible Powerball Winner Caught on Tape."

    WABC-TV.   29 November 2012.

    "Riverside County Father of Five Wins $180M Mega Millions Jackpot."

    CBSLosAngeles.   3 September 2014.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.