No, a Billionaire Didn’t Pick You for a Payout

No, a Billionaire Didn’t Pick You for a Payout

Name a famous billionaire.

Bill Gates comes to mind almost immediately. Warren Buffett is an easy one. Oprah Winfrey is a solid example. Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are newish kids on the block, while Ted Turner is kind of a classic at this point (he was one of the go-to examples a few decades ago).

They have this in common: they all have a very large net worth, despite the disparate paths they took to get there.

They also have this in common: none of them randomly select people by email to give millions of dollars to. They also do not give gifts of thousands of dollars to everyone who shares a photo on a social network or forwards an email to everyone they know.

Yet the myth persists. Every year, far too many people get an email claiming that Warren Buffett is just itching to give away all his money in some late-stage act of magnanimity and end up wiring thousands of dollars out of the country to claim their share. Or they share a doctored photo of Bill Gates on Facebook because he's holding a sign altered to say that he'll give them a couple thousand bucks in return for reposting it or liking a page.

The world simply does not work that way. Sure, a lot of very wealthy people do give away a lot of their money, but this is done through foundations and donations to established causes. There is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and they do make grants. However, they do not make grants to individuals, and they definitely don't just draw random names out of a giant hat. There is a whole application process, and I am willing to bet it is pretty intense. Most grant applications are. Furthermore, there is also no such thing as a "Microsoft Lottery," there never will be, and you didn't win it.

So, the next time you get an email from a "warrenbuffett25" (at a Hotmail or Gmail address) telling you you're one of the lucky ones, count yourself as one of the lucky ones who see right through it, and delete the message on sight.