Here’s one that seems to mostly circulate around Europe, but I’m sure some folks here stateside have ended up with this message in their inbox, too:
Microsoft Lottery Promotion
Unit 7, Metro Trading Centre,
Second Way, Wembley, Middlesex,
HA9 0YU – United Kingdom
DATE: 14th of March 2009
Microsoft Lottery! E-mail is pleased to announce you as one of the 10
lucky winners in the ongoing Microsoft E-mail Promotions.
Microsoft Lottery! is a free service that does not require you to register
or be a Microsoft registered user before winning.
This award program is conducted anually to promote the use of the
Internet.You have been awarded ONE MILLION GREAT BRITAIN POUNDS.
To file for your claim, do contact our accredited corresponding claims
agent as below for category “A” winners immediately with your Name and
Phone Number for the speedy release of your fund;
AGENT: Gabriel Phillip
Tel: +44 703 5963368
Warning!!! Winners that do not respond to this notice within seven days of
receiving this E-mail will authomatically be disqalified.
FOR VERIFICATION, PLEASE REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE WITHOUT MODIFYING THE SUBJECT.
There is no need to include any additional information in your reply.
Microsoft On-line Email Draws
Let me make this perfectly clear: This is a scam. Éste es fraude. C’est une escroquerie. Dieses ist ein Betrug. Ciò è un raggiro. This is a scam, innit, guv’ner?
(By the way, I used Babelfish for those translations. English is the only language I speak reliably well. If I’ve said something bizarre in your native tongue, please correct me.)
More specifically, this just is a variation on the old advance fee fraud. If you respond, you’ll be instructed to wire money or send a cashier’s check to someone. Then you’ll never hear from them again. Just like with a lottery scam.
As it turns out, Microsoft does give away awards every year. However, they give them to people like Peer Bork from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, not randomly to people like you and me (to be somewhat blunt about it). Unless you happen to be a research scientist of some renown, in which case you might be in the running for 2010.
But even then, they’re not going to notify you by email and say “Winners that do not respond to this notice within seven days of receiving this E-mail will authomatically be disqalified.” For one thing, Microsoft knows how to spell “automatically” and “disqualified.”
For another, they give their awards to people who are doing notable work and advancing knowledge. It’s not a random giveaway.