Ok, I know, this doesn’t really have much to do with travel, but it’s an important message that actually goes along with a YouTube video I put out years ago, about why you should never post pictures of your boarding pass to social media (it’s a bit outdated now but the point remains the same).
Ok now that the shilling for the YouTube channel is done, let’s get back to the point of this post…
NEVER post pictures of your lottery ticket to social media
The mega millions drawing tonight has a jackpot of $1.6 billion, so plenty of people who normally wouldn’t play are playing this time (what if?) and I’ve seen an absurd amount of people posting pictures of their tickets online. This is bad for two reasons:
- Many people are posting the barcode at the bottom of the ticket. NEVER EVER EVER EVER DO THIS. The same goes for sports and concert tickets. In about 4 seconds someone could grab that barcode, paste it in photoshop on a “ticket” they create, and steal your ticket right out from under you. Same goes for concert tickets, I’ve had more than one friend go to a concert with tickets they had bought (and posted to social media) only to find that the tickets were already used for entry
- You do not want anyone to be able to look at your Facebook post and see that you’ve won. This has to do with what you should actually do if you win the lottery…namely: NOTHING. Let me explain further.
What you should actually do if you win the lottery
You’ve probably seen tons of articles out there talking about all of the lottery winners who went bankrupt: people came out of the woodwork asking for money, family members asked for money for that bar they always wanted to open, friends expected you to always pay for everything, etc. So here’s how to combat that:
- Wait and do not tell ANYONE you’ve won. There will be an announcement that a winning ticket was sold in your state and they’ll immediately know where the winning ticket was sold. Lottery winners have between 180 days and an entire year to claim their winnings, you do not have to claim them immediately. If some time goes by without someone claiming the ticket it would not be beyond someone trying to get a hold of the security tapes of the store who sold the ticket to see what the buyer looked like. This is why you shouldn’t buy lottery tickets from the gas station or supermarket that you go to all the time. You don’t want anyone saying “oh that’s Andy, he lives nearby and runs the best travel blog ever”.
- Make a copy of your winning ticket and store the actual ticket in a safe-deposit box away from your hometown.
- Before thinking about claiming your prize, delete Facebook, delete your Twitter account, delete Instagram, EVERYTHING. As soon as your name is out there, especially in the current political climate, people will search through your history as deeply as they can to find any sort of incriminating social media posts
- There are certain states where you can claim your prize anonymously but the majority force you to claim the prize and take a picture (for marketing purposes). When it comes time to claim your ticket, alter your appearance with a wig, glasses, facial hair, and heck even a prosthetic nose. You do not want your face to be recognizable (“hey you’re that lottery guy! Can I tell you about this awesome bar idea I have? It’s RUN ENTIRELY ON BITCOIN”). Claim your prize on a Friday afternoon after excitement about the jackpot has died down (a few months later)
- I’m not a financial advisor nor an attorney. Get a lawyer who has experience dealing with lottery winnings, an investment officer who has the same experience, and an accountant to keep track of everything. Pay them well, and make sure none of them are related to you. Uncle Bill, the DWI attorney, is not qualified to deal with something like this
- Decide how much you want to give to friends and family and let that be the end of it. Make it be your idea, not anyone else’s
I’m not going to get into whether you should or should not play the lottery. Play it if you want but only with an amount of money you’re comfortable losing. Just be smart about how much of your life you share on social media! If everyone in the world knows you just got a $700 million payday people will do whatever they can to get in on the action, I’m sure of it.
And thus endeth the PSA. Back to the travel content you know and love soon!