Facebook Lottery Scams
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‘Facebook Online International Lottery’ Advance Fee Scam

by Brett M. Christensen


Email purporting to be from Facebook claims that you have won $650,000 in the Facebook Online International Lottery for 2018 and should contact the Facebook “agent” to process your prize.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from Facebook and you have won nothing at all. The message is a typical advance fee scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to Internet criminals.


Subject: CONGRATULATIONS FROM FACEBOOK TEAMFacebook Loyalty Reward Promotion!!!
From The Desk Of The President.
International Promotions / Prize Award.
Category : 2nd
Ref: BML / B528 / 11US.

Dear Winner,

The Entire Facebook team are very happy to inform you that your name appear on the FACEBOOK ONLINE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY and we are giving out the total sum of US$650,000.00 (SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) which is what you have just won.

This promotional program takes place every year and this years online draws was conducted at the Facebook headquarters in California. Your Facebook account was picked randomly by the CEO himself and your winnings reference number is BML/ B528 / 11US. For more info as regards your claims, contact agent Thomas Charlse of the claims department via this e-mail address (fb.agentcharlse@usa.com) with your full name, contact address and phone number.

As soon as he gets your email with the information stated above he will tell you on what next to do as regards the claiming and receiving of your winnings of US$650,000.00.

Thank you and More Congratulations.

Announcer for Facebook.
(Director of Comm./Public Affairs)
Facebook, Inc.


Detailed Analysis

Advance fee lottery scams have been around for decades and still continue to find new victims all around the world every day.

To make their lies seem more legitimate, scammers have regularly used the names of high profile companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google in their fraudulent messages. And, an increasing number of such scam messages pretend to come from Facebook.

Many are quite crude. Others are considerably more sophisticated and may include seemingly official Facebook graphics and formatting to falsely enhance their credibility. Some even claim to come directly from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg himself. 

The version discussed here is typical of its ilk. The email claims that you have won $650,000 in the “Facebook Online International Lottery” for 2018. Supposedly, your email address was randomly chosen – by Mark  Zuckerburg himself no less – as a winning entry.

The email urges you to contact your appointed agent Thomas Charlse of the claims department to begin the processing of your prize claim.

But, of course, the claims in the email are outright lies. The message is not from Facebook and you have not won so much as a cent, let alone $650,000.

Those who are taken in by the lies and contact the “agent” as instructed will be informed that they must pay various fees before their “winnings” can be transferred to them. The criminals will explain that, for legal reasons, none of the required fees can be deducted from the prize itself and must be paid in advance.

Victims will be told that the fees are required to cover taxes, insurance payments, banking fees and a raft of other – entirely imaginary – costs invented by the scammers. Requests for further fees are likely to continue until the victim runs out of available funds or finally realises that the set up is a scam. All the money sent will be pocketed by the scammers.

Moreover, the criminals are likely to trick their victim into providing a large amount of personal and financial information, ostensibly as a means of proving his or her identity and allowing transfer of the “prize”. This information might later be used to steal the identity of the victim.

Why, you might ask, do such scams still take place, even after decades of exposure? The simple answer is “because they work”.

There are apparently still many people that are not aware of how these and other scams operate and are naive enough to fall for them. During a particular campaign, the scammers may spam out hundreds of thousands of identical scam messages.

In reality, even if only a tiny percentage of recipients actually fall for the ruse and send their money and information, the campaign will pay off handsomely for the criminals running it.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,