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Adventures in Spam: Bogus Lottery Winnings

June 16th, 2007

Another popular “spam & scam” method that is often used by phishing artists is the notification of fake lottery winnings. This tactic takes advantage of the fact that despite the incredibly small odds of winning, many people play in the various state and national lotteries around the world in the hopes of miraculously solving all of their money problems in one fell swoop. Since many such people are already fairly desperate, they are vulnerable to being more easily duped by scams such as this one. People in these situations sometimes get fooled even if their better judgment suggests that not only is it unlikely that they could ever win the lottery in the first place, but it is even less likely that they would somehow win a lottery for which they did not even purchase a ticket, not to mention the fact that they do not even reside in the same country in which the lottery took place.

This latest spam mail that I have received is a good example of the above method, but was very poorly targeted in this case. Not only do I generally not play in lotteries (the odds of winning in an HYIP “gold game” are actually much better than the odds of winning a state or national lottery), but I do not even live in Ireland and certainly do not remember purchasing a ticket for this particular program:



The Irish Lottery
47 Meadow Vale,
Sligo, Ireland.
Ref: LSUK/2031/8161/05
Batch: R3/A312-59

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

We are pleased to announce that you have been selected in the draw of the IRISH LOTTERY PROGRAMME online Sweepstakes International Program held on the 15th of May 2007.

Your email address was drawn in association with the winning ticket number: 56475600545188 with Serial number 5368/05 drew the lucky number: 9 which subsequently won the LOTTO PLUS 1 prize. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 1,200,000 DOLLARS (One Million Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/05 of the Irish Lottery.

All participants for the online version were selected randomly from the pool of Internet users through a computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 unions, associations, organizations, and corporate bodies that are listed in online registries. This promotion takes place weekly.

Please note that your winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated the official play coupon. In view of this, your $1,200,000 Dollars will be released to you by any of our payment offices in Europe (UK). To file for your claim, please contact our official financial agent, the current Treasurer of the Irish National Lottery:

Mr.CLIVE GARRY
Email: infoatclaimsdepartment@yahoo.co.uk
Tel +44-704-570-2649

(Form HLP)
REFERENCE NUMBER: IE/9920X2/78
FULL NAME:
COMPANY NAME:
FULL ADDRESS:
SEX/GENDER:
AGE:
OCCUPATION:
E-MAIL:
TELEPHONE #..
CELL PHONE #…
FAX #..
COUNTRY:
NATIONALITY:

After contacting the treasurer, your Winnings Certificate and all other relevant documents and paperwork will be prepared for you. Note that all prize funds must be claimed not later than one month from the date of the drawing. If there are no valid claims after this date, all funds must be returned to the LOTTERY TREASURY as unclaimed. In order to make the claims process as easy as possible ,please remember to use your Reference Number (LSUK/2041/8261/06) and Batch Number
(R2/A214-59) when notifying your agent.

Furthermore, if your address changes or is different from what we have on file, please inform the treasurer as soon as possible.

For security reasons, it is prudent to keep your winning information confidential until your claim is processed and your money remitted to you by your desired method.

This is a precautionary measure that is desirable in order to avoid double claiming and other abuses of this program. Please be warned. Good luck from me and thestaff of the IRISH LOTTERY.

Sincerely,
LUCY, PAT Online Coordinator for IRISH LOTTERY PROGRAMME 2007.


It seems that I was not the only one who received spam similar to this; apparently this latest scam attempt has caught the attention of consumer fraud organizations and has been reported on by news outlets such as Irish Abroad.

Meanwhile, this poor sucker from the Esato forums actually fell for the scam at least partially by actually responding to an email about a “success outbreak” in the form of a bogus lottery that occurred on the “61th of September” back in 2005. The scammer, now pretending to represent a courier service that does not even exist, actually responded to his reply, hoping to entice the poor sucker to give up his bank account information so that he could receive a wire transfer for a bogus prize. At this point, our not-so-bright sucker fish (phish?) finally managed to rub a few of his brain cells together and became skeptical enough to post on the forum and find out that the series of emails he had received were actually part of a likely scam. Unfortunately, since he actually sent a reply, his email address (along with whatever other information he may have provided) has been captured by the spammer, which means that he has become a likely target for future spam.


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