Email claims that the recipient has won $1,000,000 dollars in an international lottery run by the Microsoft Corporation.
From: MICROSOFT CORPORATION WORLD LOTTERY email@example.com
Subject: ELECTRONIC MAIL AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION
FROM THE DESK OF E-MAIL PROMOTIONS MANAGER
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT,
MICROSOFT CORPORATION WORLD LOTTERY UNITED KINGDOM.
BATCH NO: 2006JULY#414
WINNER NO: 17
ELECTRONIC MAIL AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION AWARD PRESENTATION CENTER: UNITED KINGDOM
Dear Winner, Microsoft Co-operation Management Worldwide are pleased to inform you today of 2nd May, 2007 that you are a winner of our annual MS-WORD LOTTO LOTTERY conducted in Africa being the host of the event for this present year MEGA JACKPOT LOTTO WINNING PROGRAM held on the 25th January, 2007.
Your email address was attached to ticket number 214-056-278 with serial number s/n-01025 and drew the lucky numbers 724-595-62-07-45 and consequently won in the 3rd category.
As a result of this , you have therefore been approved for a lump sum payout of US$1,000,000:00 (One million united states dollars) payable in cash credited to file Reference No:MSW-L/327015002/06 .
This is from total prize money of US$50,000,000 (Fifty million united states dollars) shared among thirty lucky international winners in this category.
All participants were selected through our Microsoft computer ballot system drawn from a collation of frequent internet users all over the world from America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia, as part of International Email Promotions Program, which is conducted annually to encourage the use of internet and computers worldwide.
Your fund (Cashier’s cheque) has been insured with your Reference No: MSW-L/327015002/06 and will be ready for delivery but in order for your cheque to be issued and insured in your name and for you to begin your claim you are urgently required to provide the following information through email to SIR TERRY WOGAN, Foreign Service Manager, London United Kingdom,
1) Your full names
2)Your full home / office address
4)Direct Land/Mobilephone/fax numbers
5) Occupation / Age
7) Next of kin
8) Amount won
9) Lottery date
Please note that above detailed information will be absolutely neccessary for the processing of your payment cheques,drafts or wire transfers.
Also this winning is valid for THREE WEEKS and failure to issue claims after this period will automatically void your
payment. Remember to quote your ticket number, serial number and lucky number in your future correspondence and most importantly as part of our security protocol you are to quote this security code MSW/JUN/SS06 to the Foreign Service Manager, this is to prevent scam.
Congratulations once again from the entire management and staff of Microsoft Corporation to all our lucky winners this year and thank you for being part of this Promotional lottery Program. Our special thanks and gratitude goes to Bill Gates of Microsoft and all his associates for alleviating poverty around the world through this promotion.
This unsolicited email claims that the “lucky” recipient has won a million dollars in an international lottery promotion organized by the Microsoft Corporation. Supposedly, winners were selected at random via a “computer ballot” system. According to the message, the promotion is an annual event intended to “encourage the use of internet and computers worldwide”.
However, the claims in the email are totally bogus. There is no prize or annual lottery promotion and the message does not originate from Microsoft. Instead, the message is the initial “bait” in a typical lottery scam designed to fraudulently obtain money and personal information from victims.
The scammers have tried to create the illusion that the message is a legitimate notification from Microsoft by adding Microsoft Windows logos, an official-looking signature graphic and other images including two supposedly depicting “past winners”.
The inclusion of these images may fool some into believing that the message is genuine. However, the Microsoft logos have simply been used without the permission or knowledge of Microsoft and their inclusion should certainly not be construed as any sort of endorsement of the message by the software giant.
Moreover, the photograph of the “Promotions Manager” has been used in a number of other scam emails, some in which she is identified as “Mrs. Sabina Aberto” rather than “Mrs.Olivia Ahmed Malik”.
And, rather ironically, one of the “past winners” photographs clearly displays a “Michigan Lottery” logo in the background. A quick Google Image search based on this clue reveals that the photograph actually shows a young woman who won a prize in the genuine Michigan Lottery and has nothing at all to do with the supposed “Microsoft World Lottery”.
A recipient who falls for the ruse and submits the requested details to the “Foreign Service Manager” will soon be asked to pay advance fees that are supposedly required before the “winnings” can be released. The scammers use a variety of excuses to explain why these fees are necessary. They may claim that the fees are required to pay insurance or delivery costs, to cover taxes, or to cover some other totally imaginary expense. They will insist that the fees cannot be deducted from the “prize money” because of insurance or legal restrictions. If a victim complies by sending the required fees, he or she will most likely receive further requests for money until he or she runs out of funds or finally realizes that the promised prize is totally imaginary. Unfortunately, due to the international nature of these scam operations, it is unlikely that a victim will ever recover the money that he or she has submitted.
Furthermore, during the course of the scam, the victim may ultimately submit enough personal information to allow the scammers to steal his or her identity.
Lottery scam messages like this one are often distributed via surface mail and fax as well as email. Regardless of the delivery method used, or how “official” it may look, any message that claims that you have won money or prizes in a lottery that you never even entered should be treated with suspicion.
Last updated: 28th May 2007
First published: 28th May 2007
By Brett M. Christensen