Is JohnAndLisaGiveBack a hoax? Are the websites called John And Lisa Give Back a scam of some sort? It appears so. This site has been making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook, spreading like lightning because it claims that Powerball winners John and Lisa Robinson will be giving away $10,000 to 100 people. The site JohnAndLisa.com goes on to claim that you can be one of those if you just get two friends to click your link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Google Plus. Unfortunately, the website is a hoax. The Powerball winners are not giving away cash to random people. Don’t click any links or give away any personal information.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The ‘People Remaining’ Countdown Timer Is Fake
When you first go to the website, beneath the picture at the top, you’ll see the following countdown timer:
This usually starts at around 97. As you’re on the website, reading the page, the countdown timer quickly runs down to say “People Remaining: 6.” This is to create a sense of urgency, as you think that there are fewer and fewer chances to get that $10,000. However, if you clear your cache, including all your browser’s cookies, and refresh the page, the counter magically starts up at 97 all over again. Where did all those people who supposedly shared the website go?
Earlier in the evening, Todd Demers, a reporter with Daybreak on News Channel 3 in Memphis, Tennessee, shared on his official Facebook page that he also believed the website was a scam. He said that he wasn’t sure what kind of information they were getting from people who used the site. At the very least, they are likely getting your email address associated with your Twitter or Facebook account. Whether they will ask for money or routing information later is unknown. If you have already shared this site and are asked for personal information later, such as a routing number, don’t share it. But send us a message and let us know so we can add that information to this story.
2. The Winners Who Posted on the Website Have Posted the Same Testimonies on Confirmed Phishing Sites
The site says that the Powerball winners are giving away cash to random people in order to celebrate their win. The website then provides a referral code just for you where it will track if two people click on your link or not. Below this are comments from supposed winners talking about how they received their cash. Here are a few:
The only problem with these supposed winners is that they reported their money starting at 8:33 am. Even if you calculate in a time difference, this is long before John and Lisa Robinson even arrived back in Tennessee after appearing on the Today show and verified their win. It’s highly doubtful that this sweet couple would have put up this website before they left for the Today show and then not even mentioned it at all when they were on TV.
Tucker Hudgens posted the following warning on Facebook about the site:
And what he posted checks out. One of the testimonials on the site is from a “Sameer Payer” saying that he invited 5 friends by tagging them and then got the cash after he clicked the link. A web cache for a hoverboard “giveaway” also shows a testimonial from Sameer Payer stating the same thing. “I invited 5 friends by tagging them… After they clicked my link I got my coupon! Thanks Swagway…” In fact, everyone who “wrote” a testimonial for the John and Lisa site also “wrote” testimonials on the hoverboard cache, including Monica Orvis, Jason Williams, Amy Wilson, Mellisa Orvis, and John Graham.
Similar caches and testimonials from the same people were found for “free” Star Wars tickets, Best Buy coupons, Footlocker, and more. In fact, you can still see the Footlocker website, which has the same testimonials at this link. (But don’t click anything on that page!) The same type of page for a 2016 Six Flags Season Pass was later labeled a scam on Phishlist.
3. People Who Have Tried the Site Said It Doesn’t Work
The website reads: “Simply invite 2 friends to get your cash. After 2 friends click your link. Get your cash instantly!” The only problem is, that doesn’t work. People on Facebook and Twitter reported that they never got the cash they were supposedly supposed to get. They got an email saying “Congratulations – you’re a winner.” But when they clicked on that link, it just took them through the whole process all over again or gave them a code without any further information.
One person, Mike Bryant from Facebook, shared on reporter Todd Demers’ page that he shared the link and got a message saying he won, with another link. The link asked him to prove that he was human and gave him a choice of money or a Walmart card. He chose money and was then asked for his email, which he didn’t want to release. On the same thread, Eric Yeager wrote that he ran the website through an online query and discovered it was only a couple days old and the site will take your email address when you share the link.
4. Here’s What Should You Do If You Shared the JohnAndLisaGiveBack Site
Phishlist recommends that if you already shared your information or clicked on a share button from one of these types of sites, you should first change your Facebook or Twitter password. To change your Facebook password, edit it on the settings page here.
Next, you should remove any apps that you may have approved. To remove an approved app on Facebook, go to App Settings at this link. Scroll through the list of approved apps and look for anything that you don’t recognize. Click the “x” next to the app’s name to remove it.
Finally, scan your computer for malware. Phishlist recommends using Malwarebytes, which has a free version for cleaning your computer.
5. This Isn’t the First Powerball-Related Hoax and Likely Won’t Be the Last
With so much money being given away from the Powerball, hoaxes are coming out of the woodwork. Right after the Powerball was announced, professional skateboarder Erik Bragg posted a photo holding a “winning” ticket and claiming he had won. The photo is pictured above. People were quick to point out that his ticket looked clearly Photoshopped. Soon, many other people created fake Erik Bragg accounts claiming they would give away money if someone followed and retweeted them, such as this one:
The “John And Lisa Give Back” site isn’t the first hoax based on the Powerball and it likely won’t be the last. When new winners are announced, be on the lookout for similar hoaxes to surface.