Let’s kick off the long weekend with a derpy lottery scam

May 24, 2013

Many of us (here in the States, anyway) will spend today looking forward to a nice three-day weekend, visions of grilled meat, open-wheel race cars and (if you’re like me) binge-watching the entire fourth season of Arrested Development on Netflix dancing in their heads.

Seems like a good time for a “fun” sort of post, so let’s snark at a bad lottery scam email I received this morning:

From: [redacted]@co.pg.md.us
Subject: ! Are You Aware!!

Your email has been announced the winner of the Microsoft E-mail Sweepstakes of 5.6, Million Pounds. Please send these informations:
Full Name:
Address:
Tel / Mobile No.:
Country:
Occupation:
Sex / Age:
Alternative E-mail:
Contact Mrs. Kathrin Rogers: { Kath.rogers@msn.com<mailto:kath.rogers@msn.com> } OR { Kath.rogers@rogers.com<mailto:kath.rogers@rogers.com> } with details. Sincerely, Josphine B. Clay
(Microsoft Management Board, Copyright 1991-2013)

—————————————————————————————

This E-mail and any of its attachments may contain Prince George’s
County Government or Prince George’s County 7th Judicial Circuit
Court proprietary information or Protected Health Information,
which is privileged and confidential. This E-mail is intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is
addressed. If you are not the intended recipient of this E-mail,
you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution,
copying, or action taken in relation to the contents of and
attachments to this E-mail is strictly prohibited by federal law
and may expose you to civil and/or criminal penalties. If you have
received this E-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately
and permanently delete the original and any copy of this E-mail and
any printout.

Oh, where to even begin?

For one thing, it doesn’t say I won anything. My email, on the other had, has won 5.6 million pounds. Fat lot of good it will do.

Also: pounds? Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, conducts business in pounds? Sure. Whatever.

“Please send these informations.” Uh-huh. Because Microsoft doesn’t have enough money to hire people who use proper grammar.

! Are You Aware!! Um, ?No I’m Am Not ! !!

Why would a message about a Microsoft sweepstakes come from a Prince George’s County, Maryland email address?

Why would the disclaimer refer to said county, and not, oh…I don’t know…maybe Microsoft?

Finally: there is absolutely no such thing as a Microsoft E-Mail Sweepstakes, nor has there ever been, and nor will there ever be. But if you’ve been reading this site for a while, you already knew that one, didn’t you?

Have a good weekend. Stay vigilant. (Also, try grilling corn with garlic butter and without wrapping it in foil if you’re cooking out this weekend. You have to move it around a lot to avoid flare-ups and burnt corn, but dude…seriously, you’ll never do it the old way again.)


Lottery scam originates from 876 area code (Jamaica)

March 15, 2013

It’s an old scam with a slight twist: lottery scammers based in Jamaica are using threats of physical violence to get victims to wire money.

Usually if you ignore a scam, that’s the end of it. Apparently this group takes it really personally, though; if a potential victim refuses to bite, they make threats. At that point, I suppose the whole “you won the lottery” angle is abandoned and it just becomes pure extortion.

Sometimes I make really general statements, and I’m going to do it again here: unless you personally know someone who lives in Jamaica or own/work for a company that does business in the country, don’t even answer phone calls from the 876 area code. There are exactly zero good reasons you should be getting out-of-the-blue phone calls from random people in Jamaica. The St. Louis BBB has some additional information about this scam.


When a stranger calls…don’t go loading up a Green Dot card, then giving them the number and PIN

February 22, 2013

In what appears to be a new twist on an old scam (aren’t they all, though?), some people have reported a new round of lottery scam phone calls.

In this variation, the would-be victim is told they’ve won a major award, then instructed to purchase a Green Dot (or other brand) card, load it with a specific amount of money, then call the scammer back with the card number and PIN.

What would happen next, of course, is that the scammer would use this information to unload the card and leave the victim without a million dollars or a Mercedes.

It’s easy to see through once you take a step back: the out-of-nowhere call informs you of your fabulous prizes, the bizarre instructions to claim said prizes. The fact that, once you give someone a Green Dot card number and PIN, whatever money is in the account is as good as theirs.

You know what would be awesome? If they ever catch one of these scammers, instead of sending them to jail, forcing them to actually deliver the prizes they promised. “What? Six months in jail? Pfft. Oh, no. You told 106 people they’d won a Mercedes and a million dollars. Now cough ‘em up…


British Telecoms Lottery Scam

February 8, 2011

I think just about everyone at REGIONAL received this message this morning:

From: guido13@web.de
To: winners@btlottery.com
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2011 4:42 AM
Subject: Confirmed Today And Must Be Claimed Immediately

BRITISH TELECOMS PROMOTION DEPARTMENT.
The sum of $1 Million USD has been awarded to you by the BRITISH TELECOMS LOTTERY, Fill the form below for more details and E-MAIL: TO (units291@gmail.com),

1. YOUR FULL NAME:
2. YOUR FULL ADDRESS:
3. YOUR MOBILE PHONE NUMBER:
4. YOUR AGE:
5. CURRENT OCCUPATION:

Yours Faithfully,
BRITISH TELECOMS PROMOTION DEPARTMENT.

Interesting.

Actually, it’s really not. It’s such a hackneyed format for a lottery scam email, there’s almost nothing to say about it.

The history of British Telecom, now known as BT Group, is much more interesting than this scam. Did you know they’re the world’s oldest telecommunications company? They emerged from an amalgamation of 19th Century telegraph companies in the United Kingdom, including the Electric Telegraph Company, the world’s first.

They also, in no way, shape or form, are in the business of running lotteries, or sending out million dollar prizes to random people. Being British, I’d guess they’re not in the habit of trafficking in U.S. Dollars much to begin with. Even if they were, I’m guessing they’d use “BT Group” in their messages, instead of “British Telecoms,” an incorrect pluralization of a corporate identity they haven’t used since 1991. They also would probably not use Gmail or United Internet AG (web.de) email accounts, seeing as how BT Group is itself an Internet service provider.

Dear fraud perpetrators: be more interesting next time.


Shoppers Sweepstakes Lottery: haven’t we been here before?

November 24, 2010
Deja vu

Image via Wikipedia

It looks like another lottery scam is making the rounds in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. This time, people are receiving letters that tell them they’ve won $125,000 in something called the “Shoppers Sweepstakes Lottery.”

There’s a cashier’s check enclosed, naturally, for $3,875, drawn off Evansville Teachers FCU.

The instructions are (say it with me, now) to cash the check and wire $2,875 back to the company, which in this case is “Dominion Investment Securities, Inc.”

To me, this is all déjà vu, that feeling you’ve been somewhere before. This is probably because this lottery scam is exactly like countless others I’ve seen over the past couple years.

Just make sure you don’t go all jamais vu if you get one of these letters. That’s the opposite of déjà vu—you’ve seen something a million times, but you feel like it’s the first time you’ve ever been there.

Tell your friends, tell your neighbors: please don’t feed the con artists.


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