Gmail microsoft lottery
Latest: I’ve had multiple independent reports that suggest the scammers are starting to use snail mail (Post Office mail) to target potential victims in a very similar manner to their lottery e-mail scams. The same advice applies – bin any letters you receive, ignore them and do not reply to them.
Firstly, the scammer has to construct a reasonably convincing-sounding “you’ve won the lottery” e-mail, so they’re now tending to throw in verifiable correct facts in there to make it sound legitimate. The three most common things they put in are:
The draw number, date, winning numbers and jackpot amount of a recent UK lottery draw. Note that it won’t always be the latest one – quite often, it’s a few weeks old. Why would they take so long to e-mail you that you’ve won such a huge prize? Answer: they’re scammers and are probably a few weeks behind sending out bulk e-mails to potential victims with info from previous draws to catch up to the most recent one.
The name and/or address of something legitimate that’s lottery related. Favourites include Camelot’s full postal address (both the Olympia Way one in London and the P.O. Box one in Watford have been used) and, quite irritatingly, my name (Richard K. Lloyd), which people Google for and hence I get a constant stream of people asking if the scam e-mail they received is legitimate or not (and if you think about it, why ask me – what credentials do I have to verify such e-mails ?!).
Of course, they then blow this to smithereens by using a free Webmail-based e-mail account (e.g. yahoo.co.uk, hotmail.com and so on) to send their scam e-mail from – do you really think Camelot (who run the UK lottery) would ever send e-mail to end-users from a Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail account? Nope, they never would and this should be enough to stop you dead in your tracks and delete the scam e-mail.
It should be noted here that the only legal place to buy UK lottery tickets (and, yes, you have to buy them – there is no such thing as a “free UK lottery sweepstake” in existence) on the Internet is at the official UK lottery site located at http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/ and even then you need a UK address and a UK debit card. Any other site that says it sells UK lottery tickets is breaking the law. If you have not bought your ticket from either an official UK lottery physical terminal (e.g. in a UK newsagent, UK supermarket etc.) or from the official site mentioned above, then you *cannot* win a UK lottery prize.
Note that even Camelot themselves have now stopped e-mailing people who won via an online ticket (and not a moment too soon – you now have to log into the official Web site to discover you’ve won, which is as it should be). Hence, any person/organisation sending you e-mail saying you’ve won a (usually large) prize on the UK lottery is lying, it’s as simple as that.
The first e-mail you will receive will usually avoid mentioning any “processing/claim/courier fee” that you’ll have pay to them – this is to try to hook you in to the scam and not scare you off right away. Instead, the scammer will ask for as much personal information as possible (full name, address, date of birth etc.) – this is useful for them if you get so deep into the scam that they might want to try forging documents with your info on them. Don’t give them any info (you deleted that e-mail anyway didn’t you ?).
The scammer will often say “don’t tell anyone about this win” (by “anyone”, they probably mean the police, so that they won’t be tracked down and prosecuted !), which is a very silly instruction for them give if you think about it. Who are they to say who you can and can’t tell that you’ve “won” the lottery ?
If you are foolish enough to have started up a phone or e-mail conversation with the scammers, they will inevitably try to get a “claim fee” from you to process the lottery win. Let me see – you’ve “won” a lottery you never entered in the first place and now you’re expected to pay possibly thousands of pounds to someone you’ve never heard of to get hold of “winnings” that they provide no proof whatsoever even exists ?! If you haven’t twigged it’s a scam at this point, you’re quite a naive person to say the least.
Sadly, if you have fallen for the scam and actually sent them money, then you probably have no chance of recovering the money you sent, especially if it’s to a different country (that fact that someone outside the UK would be involved in a UK lottery really should have set alarm bells ringing). If it’s within your own country, perhaps contacting the police might be a start or possibly the standards trading officers for the county involved, but I don’t hold out much hope of ever getting your money back.
Some more reading on this subject to further enlighten you:
The official Camelot site’s Security Advice
Months after I put this page up warning about scams, Camelot finally did something similar. Because of their tardiness (especially poor since scam e-mails often mention the official site and Camelot’s postal address!), I’ve been fielding way too many “I’d like to claim my prize” e-mails, which hopefully will now go to the official site Webmaster and not me (update: nope, still getting a stream of queries about scam e-mails, ho hum).
The UK Government’s list of scam types
Basically says the same thing as this page (don’t communicate with them and delete any messages from them).
BBC News: How not to win a million
Interesting article, including some bloke from the Midlands who was conned out of almost 20,000 Euros.
The Dutch Lottery Scam
This page is handy because it gives you some useful advice on how to report advance fee frauds.
Fraudwatch International’s lottery scams section
A shockingly high number of lottery fraudsters out there!
Please note – although scammers have used my name in their fraudulent e-mails, I am NOT involved in any way with any of these scams. Having read this page, I hope you realise that I don’t need to be e-mailed about these scams – if they use my name and claim you’ve won the lottery, they are fraudulent and should be ignored. I did get one very funny UK lottery scam e-mail though which I think is worth sharing with you , but sadly, it was the exception to the rule.Gmail microsoft lottery Latest: I’ve had multiple independent reports that suggest the scammers are starting to use snail mail (Post Office mail) to target potential victims in a very similar
12 Warning Signs of Sweepstakes Scams
How to Recognize and Avoid Prize Scams
Winning a fabulous sweepstakes prize is a dream come true. However, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare what you think is a legitimate win notification turns out to be a sweepstakes scam. So it’s vital to know the warning signs of scams before you respond to any potential win.
The consequences of falling for sweepstakes scams can be severe. With bad luck, you could lose money, be harassed by con men, and even be added to lists of easy targets, making you more likely to be scammed again.
On the other hand, you don’t want to miss out on any real wins. There are some common aspects of claiming prizes that might seem unusual, but are actually commonplace and legitimate. Read about some Unsettling Things that Aren’t Signs of Scams for more information.
Sweepstakes Scams Want You to Pay to Receive the Prize
Does your notification ask you to pay money for any reason? If so, you’re almost certainly dealing with a scam.
Legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay fees to participate or to receive a prize. You should never have to pay sweepstakes taxes, handling charges, service fees, customs fees, or any other kind of charges up front to receive anything you’ve won.
Sweepstakes taxes are paid directly to the IRS along with your regular tax return, except for rare exceptions such as paying for port fees or hotel taxes. Anyone who asks you to pay taxes on prizes directly to them is running a scam.
Sweepstakes Scams Use Free E-mail Accounts
If you receive a win notification by email, check the email address that sent the notification. A notification that is sent from a free email address like Gmail or Yahoo Mail is a warning sign of a scam.
Some small companies might legitimately notify winners from a free email address. But if you receive a win notice claiming to be from a big company like Publishers Clearing House or Microsoft, but the email arrived from a free account, you can be sure that you are working with a sweepstakes scam.
Also, be wary of email addresses that look close to, but not the same as, those from official companies. Like “[email protected]” might look OK until you notice that the official company has an “s” after “publisher”.
Sometimes scam artists will spoof the email address so that it looks like it’s coming from a legitimate company, even when it’s not. Stay alert for phishing emails.
Sweepstakes Scams Tell You You’ve Won Contests You Don’t Remember Entering
The only sweepstakes you can win are the sweepstakes you’ve entered. If you receive a win notification from a giveaway that you don’t remember entering, it’s a red flag.
Now, maybe you did enter and forgot, or maybe you entered through an easily-overlooked method like scanning your grocery store club card. But before you respond, take a moment to do some additional research.
If you organize your sweepstakes entries with folders, you can easily check to make sure that you actually entered that giveaway.
Another way of verifying that your prize win is legitimate and not a scam is to look up the telephone number for the sweepstake sponsor, then call and verify your winnings.
Do not use a telephone number given in your suspicious win notification unless you can verify that it is legitimate from another source like a phone book.
Sweepstakes Scams Send You a Large Check with Your Win Notice
If your win notification actually comes with a check to cover your prize, it’s a sure sign that you’ve won, right? Wrong. If the check is worth more than $600, it’s a sure sign that you’re being scammed.
To fool people into thinking that a sweepstakes scam is legitimate, con artists send counterfeit checks along with their phony win notifications.
This is dangerous in more ways than one because cashing fraudulent checks is a crime. If you deposit that check, you could be liable for fines and even closure of your bank account, as well as losing any money you send to the scammers.
Remember, legitimate sweepstakes require affidavits before sending out any prize valued above $600.
Sweepstakes Scams Instruct You to Wire Money
Does your win notification include instructions to wire cash to the sponsor? If so, run. Even in the few legitimate cases where you have to pay money to a sponsor, you would not be required to use a wire service.
Criminals use services like Western Union to receive illicit funds because it is nearly impossible to trace who received the money.
Western Union transfers are handled like cash, meaning that the con artists can simply pick it up and disappear. You can say goodbye to any money you sent.
A new twist on this sweepstakes scam signal: con artists are now asking their victims to buy money pack cards from retailers like Walmart.
These cards let you transfer money by simply reading out their numbers, and once you’ve done it, there’s little to no chance of getting your money back.
Sweepstakes Scams Pressure You to Act in a Hurry
Does your win notification pressure you to respond quickly before you lose your chance to claim your prize? If so, proceed carefully.
Sweepstakes scammers have a good reason for wanting you to act quickly: they want to ensure that they receive their money before their check bounces or you read an article like this one and realize that you are being defrauded.
Now, in some legitimate cases, a sponsor might need a quick answer. For example, if the prize includes tickets for a concert that weekend, they might need you to claim the prize quickly.
But you should always have at least a few hours to investigate the notification. If there is no good reason for a rush to accept a prize, then it’s probably a sweepstakes scam.
Sweepstakes Scams Ask for Bank or Credit Card Info to Receive Your Prize
Do you have to verify your bank account number or credit card number to get your prize? This is a clear sign of a sweepstakes scam.
Legitimate sweepstakes do not send wins by direct deposit, nor do they need to withdraw money from your bank or verify information using your credit card number. The only sensitive information that a legitimate sweepstakes sponsor needs to process your win is a social security number.
Asking for a bank account or credit card number is a huge red flag that you are dealing with a sweepstakes scam, and you should never hand over this information.
The “Win” is From a Lottery (Especially a Foreign Lottery)
Did you receive a notification that you have won a prize in a lottery? Perhaps the Microsoft Lottery, the Heineken Lottery, or Euromillions? If so, don’t get too excited, this is almost certainly a scam.
It’s impossible to win a lottery without buying a ticket. Even if you did buy tickets, the lottery wouldn’t call or email you. You’d have to find the winning numbers in a newspaper, the internet, or on TV and compare them to your ticket.
Win notices from foreign lotteries are even more suspicious. Not only do foreign lotteries have the same restriction as domestic lotteries, but it is also illegal to sell tickets for foreign lotteries across international borders.
Therefore, unless you were actually in a foreign country and bought a lottery ticket, foreign lottery notifications are frauds.
Sweepstakes Scams Don’t Know Your Name or Other Info
Does your win notification address you by a generic title like “Dear Winner”? If so, this is a strong warning sign.
Many sweepstakes scams send thousands upon thousands of fake mails or emails to every address they can get their hands on, often without knowing the names of the people they’re contacting.
On the other hand, legitimate sweepstakes have your entry information. Most of the time, this includes your name, which they’d then use to contactt you.
Sweepstakes Scams Pose As Government Organizations
To appear more legitimate, some sweepstakes scams pretend to come from government organizations such as the FTC or the “National Sweepstakes Board” (which doesn’t actually exist).
Real sweepstakes sponsors send their win notifications directly to the winners. Government organizations are not involved in awarding sweepstakes prizes, nor do federal marshals hand out the prizes.
If you’re not dealing directly with a company sponsoring or administrating the giveaway, you are being scammed.
Sweepstakes Scam Notifications Arrive by Bulk Mail
Take a look at the envelope that contained your win notification. Does it have first-class postage? If not, that’s a bad sign.
When legitimate sweepstakes sponsors send out win notifications, they use first class postage or services such as FedEx or UPS to deliver them.
Sweepstakes scam artists, on the other hand, want to target the most people at the least cost in order to keep their profits high. They lower their costs by using bulk mail for their mailings.
Any win notification that arrives by bulk mail should be treated with a great deal of suspicion.
Sweepstakes Scams Contain Many Typos
Scan your win notification. Do you notice a lot of bad grammar, missing words, or spelling mistakes? These are red flags for a scam.
Any company could make a minor mistake when typing out a win notification. However, multiple or glaring errors are a bad sign.
Many sweepstakes scams originate outside of the United States and Canada, and the people who write the scams may not be native English speakers.
Be very cautious of any win notices that have a lot of errors, use strange or stilted language, and otherwise sound “off.”Stay safe by learning the red flags and warning signs of sweepstakes scams, which cost consumers millions each year, while recognizing real prize wins. ]]>