No, Florida man who won $451M Mega Millions jackpot is not giving money away

By Christie Zizo, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 3:04 PM EST

If you see a tweet allegedly from the 20-year-old Pasco County man, claiming to be giving away some of his  $451 million Mega Millions winnings to the first 50,000 followers -- don't believe it.

An account started this month on Twitter claims to be doing just that -- $5,000 to each of the first 50,000 followers. The account reached 50,000 followers Tuesday before noon.

Even more disconcerting, the account asks those followers to reply to a subsequent tweet publicly with Venmo and Paypal account emails.

But the account is a hoax, says the real Shane Missler:

Fake accounts similar to this one are common in social media, especially when there's a high-profile story like this one. In this case, Shane Missler has an established social media presence on several platforms. It was not hard to find his real accounts, even though they are not verified. 

There are a few ways to check if a Twitter account is fake. 

  1. Check the name. In this case, though the account says "Shane Missler" is the name, the Twitter account name next to it says "@Shane_MissIer." That's not an "L," it's an "I."
  2. When was it created? In this case, the account was created this month. Take that into consideration.
  3. Check the account tweet history. Search Twitter by typing #FirstTweet and entering the account name. Why does this work? Because people can change the names on the accounts. This will show you the account's real information. 
If you were to go to this account now, you'll see a very different page and very different tweets. The hoaxster got his 50,000 followers, an untold number of email addresses, and changed the account.

Here's another way to tell this was a fake -- simple math. Missler took the one-time lump-sum payment from the Mega Millions jackpot -- which is $281,874,999, according to the Florida Lottery. 

If he gave $5,000 to 50,000 people, that's $250 million. It doesn't leave him with much after taxes are taken out of that $281 million. At least not enough to retire on, which is what he plans to do.