Fraud Prevention Templates: “You’ve Won”

Here’s a nice rule of thumb that applies to email:

If it contains the phrase “you’ve won,” it’s probably a scam.

I’ve never seen an email from a stranger with those words that wasn’t some goofball scheme.

Now, if you’ve actually entered a legitimate drawing and know that they might contact you via email, this doesn’t apply. But those out-of-the-blue messages informing you of the untold riches awaiting you?


It sort of reminds me of those old letters that said, “You may have already won some fabulous prizes.” The prizes were always listed as one of the following:

  • One million dollars
  • A brand new car
  • A “diamond-style” ring

Gee, I wonder which one of those I’ll actually have a shot at. A diamond-style ring? What exactly is a diamond-style ring? (I’m sort of lifting material from some guy I saw on Evening at the Improv 20 years ago, but at least I’m admitting it.)

However, those schemes were usually just ploys to get you to subscribe to a magazine you didn’t want. The “you’ve won” emails are usually the setup for an advance fee scam that could end up costing you thousands. Personally, I’d much rather end up with twelve unread issues of Cat Fancy.