This story was first published on May 28, 2007
According to this email, you have 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 and the promotion is an annual event intended to “encourage the use of internet and emails 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. 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.
A recipient who falls for the ruse and submits the requested details to the “Paymaster/Claim Agent” 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 very common. Regardless of how “official” it may look, any message that claims that you have won money or prizes in a lottery that you have never even entered should be treated with suspicion.
An example of the scam email:
FROM: THE DESK OF THE E-MAIL PROMOTIONS MANAGER INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT, MICROSOFT CORPORATION WORD LOTTERY AFRICA.
REFERENCE NO: MSW-L/200-26937
BATCH NO: 2017 JUNE L#22
WINNER NO: 5
ELECTRONIC MAIL AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION
AWARD PRESENTATION CENTER: AFRICA NIGERIA.
WINNING NOTIFICATION !
Dear Sir/ Madam,
We the MICROSOFT CORPORATION MANAGEMENT WORLDWIDE are pleased to inform you that you’re among our winners of MS-WORD LOTTO LOTTERY conducted in NIGERIA BEING THE HOST OF THE EVENT FOR THIS PRESENT NEW MONTH MEGA JACKPOT LOTTO WINNING PROGRAM .
Your Personal E-mail address or your Company email is attached to WINNER NO: 5
JUNE-2017-02 MSW in the first lottery category. You have therefore been approved the sum of $1,000,000.00 (One Million United States Dollars Only) in cash Credited to file REF NO:MSW-L/200-26937.
All participants were selected from Worldwide Websites especially Yahoo mail,msn mail,aol mail, icq mail and outlook.com through our Microsoft computer ballot system drawn from 21,000 Names, 3,000 names from each continent (Canada, Asia, Australia, United state, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania , as part of International “E-MAIL” Promotions Program, Which is conducted annually for our prominent MS -WORD users all over the world and to encourage the use of Internet and emails worldwide.
Your fund has been insured with your REF NO: MSW-L/200-26937 and will be ready for transfer/delivery to you as soon as possible. It will be delivered to you by one of our Paymaster Staff in charge of AFRICA (NIGERIA) Zone ( DR JAMES MORGAN). Your E-mail address should be used in all correspondence with your claims officer, please Note that, you are advised to contact your claims officer via email and phone as we are promoting the use of E-mail. Also you have the right to call him to confirm your winnings as he will provide you with the necessary details on how to claim Your prize.
You are to keep your REF NUMBERS and BATCH NUMBER away from the general public, until you have been processed and your prize money transferred to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming.
To claim your winning prize, you must first contact our claims department by email for Processing and remittance of your prize money to you.
THE PAYMASTER OFFICER CONTACT EMAIL IS:
(PLEASE REPLY WITH THIS EMAIL BELOW)
NAME: DR JAMES MORGAN
YOU HAVE TO CONTACT YOUR PAYMASTER WITH THE MICROSOFT WINNER’S APPLICATION/VERIFICATION FORM OF PAYMENT PROCESSING
WINNER’S PERSONAL DATA
5.Month Of Birth… Day.. Year…
10.Mobile phone No………….
11.House Phone No……………
12.Email Address.: .eg. email@example.com
Remember, all prize money must be claimed within 14 days. All funds not Claimed on or before the fixed date will be returned as Unclaimed and will be seen as forfeited by you hence will be donated to charity organization around the world.
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in all correspondences with your claims officer.
Congratulations, once more from the entire Management and Staff of Microsoft Cooperation African/Nigerian Regional office to all our lucky winners this year. Thank you for being part of this promotional lottery program. Our special thanks and gratitude to Bill Gates of Microsoft and all his Associates for alleviating poverty around the World.
LOTTERY SPONSORS: CHIEF SPONSORS;
Importance NoticeAfter 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 YouI 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 DateHoax-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!