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Winning Notification / Lottery Scam

Netlore Archive: Beware email notices claiming you have won a vast sum of money in a foreign lottery you didn't even know existed. These folks are out to take YOUR money!

Description: Scam
Circulating since: Beginning of time
Status: Fraudulent

Email example contributed by Paul M., 31 March 2004:

Subject: Winning Notification

Dear Beneficiary,

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery Winners International programs held on the 30th MARCH, 2004. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 220982217413-7240 with serial number 34708-325 drew lucky numbers 3-34-28-13-41 which consequently won in the 1st category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay of US$500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information confidential until your claims has been processed and your money Remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants.

All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 companies and 30,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world. This promotional program takes place every three year. This lottery was promoted and sponsored by Ted Turner, Jesse Jackson, Ken Evoy, we hope with part of your winning you will take part in our next year USD50 million international lottery. To file for your claim, please contact our financial agent MRS. RITA PALLET of the, Prime Golden Trust Agency Email: rita_pallet@mail2rita.com

Remember, all winning must be claimed not later than 30th of APRIL,2004. After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in the next stake. Please note, in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible.

Congratulations once more from the members of Prime Golden Trust Agency staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.

Sincerely yours,

Lottery Coordinator

Comments: Sound too good to be true? It is. "Winning notifications" such as the above are mass-emailed (and mass-snail-mailed) to hundreds of thousands of random recipients every day. The senders aren't looking to give you money; they're looking to steal yours.

This is a variant of a scam known to law enforcement as advance fee fraud. The idea, briefly, is to convince you, the recipient, that you're owed a vast sum of money which can only be released if you pay a fee up front. Should you be foolish enough to pay that fee, you'll never hear from your "lottery representative" again.

Another version of the same con game is commonly known as the Nigerian 419 Scam, so named because the majority of its practitioners in recent years have plied their trade from Nigeria in violation of Article 419 of that country's criminal code.

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Sources and further reading:

Man Falls Victim to Lottery Scam
Canyon Courier, 10 February 2005

Elderly Woman Stung in Spanish Lottery Scam
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 7 February 2005

Bet On It: Online Lotto Scams Soar
The Detroit News, 11 January 2005

Lottery Scams - How Do They Work?
Website: Fight Identity Theft

U.S. Secret Service Advisory
Consumer warning on advance fee fraud

Last updated: 02/10/05

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