What to Do Online if You Win the LotteryJust for Fun
The big $1.5 billion Powerball drawing is tonight, and I have my ticket(s) ready! I'm sure many of you do, too. If you’re dreaming big along with me, you’ve probably already heard some of the advice circulating around the Internet: take the annuity, hire a lawyer, and stay as anonymous as possible. The truth is, winning a lottery jackpot means a lot of people (some you know and some you don’t) asking you for a handout or even causing you harm. If staying anonymous is your goal (and it should be) here are a few things you can do online to minimize your digital footprint in the wake of your record-breaking windfall:
1. Shut Down Your Social Media Accounts – If, after this evening, you find yourself $1.5 billion richer, please, please don’t post about your winnings on social media. In fact, you really shouldn’t be on social media at all. Shut down your accounts to stay under the radar and avoid unwanted attention.
2. Do Some Online Reputation Management – We’ve all Googled ourselves before, right? These days, everyone is on Google somewhere. If you don’t live in one of the handful of states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, you’ll have to disclose your identity eventually. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t try to minimize the amount of information that already exists about you online. You don’t want people finding your home address, your email address, your phone number, pictures of your kids, or any other details about your life. And, let’s be honest here, this will be particularly important if you have anything interesting in your past. I bet being on E! isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Online reputation management can be handled through an SEO company or a PR firm. It isn’t as easy as easy as Barney Stinson makes it out to be, so you’ll probably want to hire some professional help. Set aside a small portion of your winnings and call Papercut after you call your Mom. We promise we won't tell and we'll get to work burying what needs to stay dead.
3. Change Your Account Passwords – Hackers love a good story as well as the rest of us. Now is a good time to change them...all of them. Even if you have different passwords, it can’t hurt to update them, can it? Give yourself the added peace of mind, and be sure to monitor your account activity.
Good Luck, Everyone!
With the Powerball drawing scheduled for just before 11pm tonight, many of us will be staying up late to see if we’ve beaten the astronomical odds. Good luck to everyone, and if you are the big winner, we hope you’ll keep these tips in mind to help keep your identity and your newfound fortune secure.