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FraudTech    Dedicated To Beating The Cons At Their Own Game

Bogus Contests

 

ANATOMY OF A CONTEST WINNER SCAM

Countless people have received email notices informing them that they’ve won a lottery, contest, or some special prize.  The following is a copy of such a letter.  Let’s take it apart and see how easy it is to spot a scam in progress.  I have added my comments, and highlighted them in yellow --- like that.

[PARAGRAPH 1]

Ref. Number: 132/756/4509
Batch Number: 538901527-Bc68
Ticket Number: 27522465896-6453    

(These same numbers appear on all “winning entries” sent out to hoards of people.  I know, because I checked and found many other identical notifications.)

[PARAGRAPH 2]

Dear Sir/Madam,

(If you just won a major contest,  it would seem reasonable to assume these folks would know your name and gender.)

[PARAGRAPH 3]

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Winners in our International Lottery Program held on the 16th of December, 2003.Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 27522465896-6453 with serial number 3772-554 drew lucky numbers 7-14-18-31-45 (the same winning numbers appear on everyone’s emails) which consequently won in the 2ND category, (What the hell was the 1ST category? )  you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of 2,000,000 EUROS (Two Million EUROS). CONGRATULATIONS! (If I won, then why don't they know I live in the USA, where we use dollars?  How rude of them not to do the conversion for me.

Though hard to believe, I was just notified that I won another lottery contest drawing held on July 16, 2003.  Even more incredible, I drew the same winning numbers that I got in the December 16, 2003 contest.  From this I must conclude that miracles do exist, and I am indeed one of the luckiest people on this planet!

[PARAGRAPH 4]

Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information confidential until your claims have been fully
processed and your money Remitted to you.

(This prevents you from discovering all those other lucky winners who have the same numbers, or from talking with people who have a brain and might alert you to a scam in progress.)

[PARAGRAPH 5]

This is part of our security protocol to avoid multiple claims and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. (If there is only one winning number, then how could there be multiple claims?  Oh, I forgot, there was that mix up thing.)  All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 company and 30,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world. This promotional program takes place every five years. (No, this scam takes place every friggin day of the year!)

[PARAGRAPH 6]

This lottery was promoted and sponsored by a conglomerate of some multinational companies in Europe as part of their social responsibility to the citizens in the communities where they have operational base.
(Okay, let’s see if we can figure this out.  These companies think it proper, for social reasons, to reward citizens who probably never heard of them or purchased any of their services or products.  This would suggest these companies are run by morons who will soon lead the company into bankruptcy.)

[PARAGRAPH 7]

We hope with part of your winnings you will take part in our next year Ten million Euros international lottery. (Wait a minute.  Did they just not say we were selected at random from computer ballot system?  Then, too, if the first random entry was free, then why do we have to pay to enter the other lottery? Are those magnanimous companies suddenly scrooges?)

[PARAGRAPH 8]

To file for your claim, please contact our fiducial agent:
Mr. Peter Kenneth Connely
Peter Connely & Associates
Reply Email :PETERCONNELY@REDIFFMAIL.COM
(Sure, like a person by this name really exists.)

[PARAGRAPH 9]

Remember all winning
(a typo, should read “winnings” with an s.) must be claimed not later than 15th of Fed 2004. (Fed instead of Feb? You would think that Mr. Fiducial agent would use some of those millions to hire a proof reader.) After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in the next stake. (So who draws the interest on this unclaimed money in the meantime? This would also mean there will be two contests five years from now.  Makes you wonder if these unclaimed prizes are accumulative.

[PARAGRAPH 10]

Please note in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all correspondence. (This is nothing more than busy work intended to make you think this is legitimate.  Remember, everyone has the same reference and batch numbers.)  Furthermore should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible.  (Change, what change?  How could they be confused over an address they never had in the first place? )

[PARAGRAPH 11]

Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.  (Key word here is promotional.  And let us not forget that we did not agree to participate in either a contest or promotional program. Hence, why thank us?  Just send the damn money!)

[PARAGRAPH 12]

Note: Anybody under the age of 18 is automatically disqualified.
(Okay, this is another idiot test.  If this was a legitimate contest, and some 15 year old received the award winning notification, do you suppose that some smart person in the kid’s household might lay claim to that email address?  Last I checked, there is no need to list one’s age when obtaining an email address.)

Yours Sincerely,
Mrs. Lylian Donald
International Lottery (co-coordinator)

[PARAGRAPH 13]

N.B: Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification.
(Another way of saying, please do not think or do anything that would spoil our scam.) Please do not reply to this mail. Contact your claims agent. (Responding to the  email would confuse the con artists because they sent out thousands of identical winning notices. It’s better for you to directly respond because this will give the con artists your email address, which they will sell to countless others con artists.  You will, of course, be contacted by Mr.Con, who will inform you that to claim your prize you will have to pay something.  Whether it's handling fees, taxes, or some other legitimate sounding fee---you will pay.  Then. too, you might have to purchase some type of overpriced inferior quality product before you can claim you so-called prize.  Whatever the case, it’s a scam from start to finish.) HAPPY NEW YEAR

193.120.73.115 received from DUBLIN IRELAND and linked to an outfit called: rediff.com   

In A Nutshell

Scams like this, and others just like them, all contain warning signs of a scam in progress.  Here’s the most obvious:

  1. You are winning a contest you never entered, or are being offered a chance of a lifetime from a complete stranger.
  2. The letter or email does not address you by name but uses generic titles. (see paragraph 2)
  3. The letters are wrought with typos and other grammatical errors. (paragraph 9)
  4. The correspondence contains many glaring contradictions.  (paragraphs 5,7,9)
  5. You are asked to keep the matter secret until you have claimed your prize.  (paragraph 4)
  6. You will be required to pay or purchase something in order to claim your prize.  (will occur if you respond to the email)
  7. No verifiable addresses or phone numbers appear anywhere in the document. Instead we are treated to fancy titles and phony names.

Here’s a  good scam site out of New Zealand that details the many contest winning scams currently in use: SCAMWATCH

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