Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lottery scams flooding my email

I've been receiving lots of emails lately telling me that I've won a lottery. Too bad they aren't real. I could have been so rich in a week with all those lottery winnings that I would have no problem forking out one million dollars for Britney's hair. Here's an example of such an email:
Dear Msn/Hotmail/Microsoft Subscriber,

We are pleased to inform you of the results of the just concluded msn Xmas Millions Promotional Bonus which drew your email address as one of the lucky winners ofthis year's Xmas Millions Platinum Vactaion Trip Card.

Being one of the lucky winners of the msn Xmas Millions Bonanza you are therefore a recepient of the Platinum Vaction Trip Card which affords you the opportunity to tour round five major cities in Europe, America and Asia as a special xmas vacation plan, arranged by Msn Inc.Uk, your accommodation and feeding cost are all inclusive in your winning Platinum Vacation Trip Card .

The Xmas Vacation Platinum Card has an instant cash value of 525,000.00GBP(Five Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand Pound Sterling),which is redeemable in cash. Winners can either redeem Platinum Vactaion Trip Card, to engage in the MICROSOFT INC. Round the world vacation trip,or the equivallent cash amount of 525,000.00GBP.

All Email Address where collated from our world wide data base, and electronically extrapolated,and after a random computarised ballot selection by our secure MICROSOFT ORACLE DATA BASE raffle system,five Msn/Hotmail email address emerged as the 2nd lucky winners of this year's Msn/Hotmail Xmas Millions Bonanza in which your email address was randomly selected as one of the lucky winners.

Your email address was electronically attached to the following credentials,
Play Ticket# :10222/YXP-00152
Claims Sort #:000000234/109.
Draw Date:week 9/20TH OF FEB. 2007
To Proceed with the immediate process of your claims you willl be required to contact the Msn/Hotmail Xmas Millions Claims Redemption Office,with the following informations.

FULL NAMES:
AGE:
NATIONALITY:
WINNING EMAIL ADDRESS:
OCCUPATION:
DRAW DATE:
Submit all informations via email to the Desk of the Msn Xmas Millions Claims Process office;

CLAIMS OFFICER:MR.Jerry Mills
EMAIL:xmas_milions42010@hotmail.com
The Msn Xmas Millions Email Bonanza is organised annually,as a Bonanza for all users of Msn/Hotmail world wide,above the age of 18years.

From all members and staff of the Msn/Hotmail Xmas Millions promotions of Microsoft word Inc UK,we say congratulations for your sucess in the recently concluded Msn Xmas Millions Draws of 9/20TH OF FEB. 2007
Sounds convincing? Well, according to Snopes.com, like the infamous Nigerian email scams, the lottery version is just as scheming:
Expanded versions of the lottery con have the thieves sending checks to their victims for the full amount of their "winnings" but in the same breath telling them to remit a smaller named sum to an agency that handles the transfer, either for fees associated with preparation of the paperwork or to pay taxes associated with the win. But of course the large checks bounce, leaving the suckers out the value of the fees they mailed off to those running the con. This form of the lottery con is an updated version of the cashier check scam. As in the original, the pigeons receive worthless checks from scam artists, deposit them into their own accounts, then wire the far smaller amounts requested to the crossroaders running the con.

And yes, cashier's or certified checks can bounce. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) requires banks to make money from cashier's, certified, or teller's checks available in one to five days. Consequently, funds from checks that might not be good are often released into payees' accounts long before the checks have been honored by their issuing banks. High quality forgeries can be shuttled back and forth between banks for weeks before anyone catches on to their being worthless, by which time victims have long since sent off their own money to the con artists.

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