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Issue 130 - May 2012 (1st Edition) - Page 5

Facebook Sweepstakes Advance Fee Scam

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Outline
Email purporting to be from the "Facebook Team" claims that the recipient has won $100,000 in the Facebook Sweepstakes and needs to report to the nearest Facebook Office to arrange collection of the prize.



Brief Analysis
The email is not from Facebook and the claim that the recipient has won a prize is a lie. In fact, the message is a scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 25th April 2012
First published: 25th April 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Dear,

Congratulations! you are among the 100 lucky facebook email users that won $100,000 USD (One hundred thousand United States Dollars) each in the just concluded facebook Sweepstakes.

The Sweepstakes was organized to reward facebook email users because of their undying support and massive usage of the facebook email service.The facebook email was launched in November 2010 and by April 2012,facebook email users has passed 100 million,we were excited about this great number of facebook email users within a short period of time and we are hoping that this Sweepstakes will create awareness and encourage more facebook users to activate the facebook email feature on their facebook accounts.

Winners were picked randomly via a balloting process powered by Gmail.Your winning code is
wumt33/us.visa23/ikobo11-85/lutrija98-99/mcfcth5-6-10/[removed]@gmail.com

You are required to report at any facebook office nearest to you and present to them your winning code,to enable them pay you the prize money and give you the winning documents.

Reply if you dont know a facebook office near you,to enable us send you a facebook office address nearest to you.

Thanks for using facebook email

The facebook Team




Detailed Analysis
According to this emailed "notification" message, the recipient has won $100,000 USD in the Facebook Sweepstakes and is required to visit the nearest Facebook Office to collect prize documents and arrange payment. The message claims that the prize was organized to reward users for their support of Facebook Email.

However, the message has no connection with Facebook whatsoever and the claim that the recipient has won a large prize is an outright lie. In fact, the message is an advance fee scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals.

Those who take the bait and attempt to find their local "Facebook Office" to report, are unlikely to have much luck and will instead contact the "Team" via the email address provided. The scammers will respond by informing victims that they must visit a far off country to collect their prize money, or, alternatively, pay a fee to have the prize delivered to them. Given that this initial fee is likely to be less than the cost of travelling to said overseas Facebook Office, most potential victims will choose the delivery fee option. The scammers will insist that this fee cannot be deducted from the "prize" itself for legal or insurance reasons.

Of course, those who fall headlong into the scam and send the requested delivery fee will soon be asked to send money to cover further imaginary fees and charges. Requests for more and more such fees are likely to continue until the victim finally wakes up to the scam or runs out of ready funds. Victims are very unlikely to recover any of the funds sent to the scammers. And, of course, they will never receive the promised $100,000, which never existed to begin with. Moreover, during the course of the con, the scammers may amass enough personal information to steal the victim's identity.

Absurdly, this crudely executed scam firstly claims that the purpose of the sweepstakes is to encourage greater use of the Facebook "email feature" but then informs recipients that the ballot was powered by Gmail. And even includes a Gmail contact address. One would think that a "Facebook Team" intent on promoting the use of its own email service would actually use a Facebook email address.

At heart, this message is a classic advance fee lottery scam much like many thousands of scam attempts that have preceded it. In fact, such advance fee scams - in snail mail format - were around long before the Internet came along. But, sadly, many people around the world continue to fall for such scams every day.

Be wary of any message that claims that you have won a large prize in a lottery or promotion that you have never entered. Any unsolicited message that claims that your name or email address has been randomly selected as a winner of a major prize should be treated with suspicion. Real lotteries do not operate in this way.

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References
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information
Facebook Grant Award Advance Fee Scam



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Issue 130 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Fake Microsoft "Anti-spoofing Update" Notification Email
  2. Facebook Survey Scam - Free Pair of Ray-Bans
  3. New US Presidential Coins Omit "In God We Trust"?
  4. Warnings Claim Thousands May Lose Internet In July 2012
  5. Facebook Sweepstakes Advance Fee Scam
  6. Facebook Message Asks For Boycott Of Subway Store Due to Staff Treatment Of Autistic Child
  7. Hoax: HIV Infected Blood In Pepsi
  8. '22 Foot 2500 Pound' Crocodile Photo
  9. 'DGTFX Virus' Email Account Phishing Scam
  10. Bank Of America 'General Account Update' Phishing Scam
  11. Photos of Elephants Inside the Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia
  12. Miracle in Egypt - Buried Children Saved By Jesus
  13. Bogus Verizon Wireless Bill Email Points to Malware
  14. Boeing 797 Hoax
  15. 'Switch To Green' Facebook Survey Scam
  16. Phishing, Malware and Survey Scam Campaign - 'Click Here To See Attached Photos'
  17. Yahoo 'E-Mail Account Exceeded' Phishing Scam
  18. Hoax - June 2012 - 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays