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Northern Ireland Lotto winning couple used in online Covid-19 scam

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Frances and Patrick Connolly

Frances and Patrick Connolly

Frances and Patrick Connolly

Lotto winners Frances and Patrick Connolly have been used as part of an online Covid-19 scam bid.

The couple from Moira, Co Down scooped Northern Ireland's biggest ever National Lottery win last year - a £115m EuroMillions jackpot.

Now a fake email purporting to be from the couple has been sent out offering money as a "Covid-19 Relief Donation" and claims the target is one of 10 people chosen to receive almost £0.5m.

But the email address used for the bogus message indicates that it has been sent by a scammer in South Korea involved in identity theft.

It reads: "Congratulation (sic), We are Frances and Patrick Connolly from County Down we won jackpot in New Years Day in the Euro Millions Lottery of 114,969,775 Million Euros jackpot and after our joyful celebrations and excitements we decided to donate 550,000 thousand euros to 10 individuals worldwide as our charity project."

In a desperate attempt to appear legitimate, the email has four pictures of the couple attached - but the fact that they are of low quality suggests they have been lifted from the internet.

The fraudster also directs the recipient to media reports and interviews with the couple (left) conducted when they were announced as jackpot winners in January 2019.

They then say: "If you have received our email please, kindly send us the below details so that we can direct our payment legal adviser to effect the transfer of the funds to you as a cheque to your door step."

The email then asks you to send a number of personal details, address, date of birth and telephone number to a different email address which begins 'frapat' - to make it seem like it really belongs to the millionaire couple.

When they were revealed as winners at a press conference last year, they said they had made a list of 50 people with whom they intend to share their £115m EuroMillions prize.

Mum-of-three Frances (53) said: "This is a massive sum of money and we want it to have a huge impact on the lives of other people we know and love, as well as on our future, too.

"At the minute there are about 50 people. It's going to be so much fun giving it away. The pleasure for me is going to be seeing their faces."

Her businessman husband Patrick Connolly (55) added: "Money doesn't bring you happiness. We already had happiness and were very blessed in life."

Belfast Telegraph