Cristy Davis, a Michigan Powerball winner who secured a $70 million jackpot in 2020, is now advocating for the safeguarding of lottery winners’ identities. This advocacy stems from her encounter with identity theft and scams after winning the jackpot three years ago.
The laws in Michigan allow local game winners to remain anonymous for prizes over $10,000. However, multi-state game winners like Powerball cannot keep their identities private.
As a result, scammers posing as Davis have created numerous fraudulent social media accounts. These scammers solicited people for their bank details to supposedly donate a portion of their lottery winnings.
Once they obtain the bank information, these scammers swiftly drain entire savings accounts. The number of criminal cases using her personal information prompted Davis’ lawyer to try claiming the money anonymously but facing legal constraints.
“We tried to get a lawyer to see if I can [claim] anonymously, and they said no. That was my big thing — I didn’t want to go on TV,” she said. “I know so many [who’ve] been through so much in life, and it was either that or no money.”
Davis explained to the Lottery Post that she had come across a post in the Waterford Matters Facebook group where someone was claiming to be her. The scammer was also offering giveaways and requesting personal information via phone number.
Comments on the post have multiple victims complaining about the scammer emptying their bank account. These comments are met with various responses of why the victims would share the bank account details in the first place.
“The Lottery people need to know when they expose your name, this is the stuff that happens,” Davis said. “The Lottery even emailed me like, ‘Oh, we heard you’re out here scamming people.’ I said, ‘You know, that’s what happens when you expose people’s names.’”
She denied any involvement in the scam, saying that she was financially stable and had no need to steal from someone who likely had a small amount of money in their account.
In 2020, Davis transitioned from a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle to matching all five numbers plus the Powerball. This resulted in her receiving the entire sum of approximately $36 million after taxes rather than in installments.
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