Issue 166 - November, 2013 (2nd Edition) - Page 24
'Microsoft Facebook Yahoo Windows Live Award' Advance Fee Scam
Message claims the recipient has won £650,000 in a prize award organized by Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Windows Live and should contact the "fiduciary agent" to begin processing of the prize claim.
© Depositphotos.com/ lineartestpilot
The message is an utterly absurd attempt to trick gullible recipients into sending their money and personal information to Internet criminals. There is no money and no winners. Although rather lame, the scam attempt is quite amusing.
According to this message, the lucky recipient has won a whopping £650,000.00 based on the random selection of his or her email address online. Supposedly, the award was organized by British Microsoft working in conjunction with Facebook, Yahoo and Windows Live.
The recipient is asked to send personal details to a listed "fiduciary agent" in South Africa to claim the unexpected windfall. The message comes in the form of an abysmally formatted .pdf attached to a "notification email". Of course, the message is a scam. In fact, it is so transparently a scam that one would hope that even less experienced users would quickly ascertain its true nature.
It is a scam so obvious that it hardly needs to be analysed at all. But, it is such a poor attempt at advance fee scamming
, that it is actually rather amusing and contains some inherent entertainment value. Hence my discussion here.
The listed companies certainly have not decided to work together as claimed. Perhaps in some strange alternative universe, that may actually happen. This is not that universe. And, given that Windows Live comprises a collection of services and software that is owned and operated by Microsoft, its inclusion in the list of participating companies is in fact rather redundant.
Moreover, one would think that, with all that combined technical expertise at their fingertips, they might manage to create a winning notification document without distorted and pixelated images. Perhaps such experts could have avoided creating a document that was so amateurishly rendered that it hurts ones eyes to gaze upon it?
Alas, having worked in this area for more than a decade, what silliness people will actually believe no longer holds any surprise for me. There are perhaps some who will actually fall for the scam and reply as instructed. Those that do will quickly be asked to send a series of payments, ostensibly to cover various unavoidable expenses associated with the pending release of the prize money. They may also be tricked into sending the criminals a good deal of personal and financial information. The money will disappear into the scammer's pockets and the information may be used to steal the identities of victims.
Last updated: November 6, 2013
First published: November 6, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
Pages in this issue:
- Philippines Typhoon Disaster Scams
- Wedding Invitation Malware Emails
- 'Suspicious Guy Claiming He is You' Spam Emails
- Hunting Family Posing With Dead Elephant Picture
- 'Missing Persons in Australia' Facebook Like-Farming Scam
- Baby Iko Facebook Sick Child Hoax
- 'Young Romanian Woman' Car Crash Scam Warning
- No, Scientists in Texas are NOT Going to Use Sex Offenders for Medical Research
- Facebook Hate Campaign Against Keely Currie
- Chinese Teleportation Road Rescue Video
- PlayStation 4 Like and Share Giveaway Facebook Scam
- Circulating Video of Girl Throwing Puppies Causing Outrage
- 'Bizarre Unknown' Fish Caught in Malaysia Not So Mysterious
- No, The Bitstrips App is NOT an NSA Trojan
- 'Removing An Old Setting' Facebook Notification Message
- Did a Man in China Sue His Wife For Being Ugly?
- '200 Pieces of iPhone' Facebook Giveaway Scam
- Gmail '4 Missed Emails' Pharmacy Spam
- 'Freedom Award Lottery Promotion Agency' Facebook Page Scam
- Spider in Oreo Cookie Photograph
- 'Giant Fukushima Mutant Dog' Picture
- Oprah Winfrey is NOT Dead - Links in Message Lead to Rogue App
- ANZ Phishing Scam - 'We Detected a Login Attempt With a Valid Password'
- 'Microsoft Facebook Yahoo Windows Live Award' Advance Fee Scam
- Chemical Burns From Gel In Diaper Warning Message
- Charles F. Feeney 'Grant Donation' Advance Fee Scam
- False and Damaging Rumour - 'RSPCA Paid to Keep Quiet About Halal Slaughtering'
- 'Apple ID Information Updated' Phishing Scam
- ASDA Attempted Kidnapping Hoax
- Bogus Message Proclaims ' Christmas is banned: IT Offends Muslims'
- False Rumour - Patron at Cosmo Romford Finds Dog Microchip Wedged in Tooth
- Hoax - Picture of 'World's Largest Tortoise'
- Fogg Hill Wolf Kill Warning Poster
- NO, Obama is NOT Opening Free Gas Stations in Poor Neighborhoods
- Marks & Spencer Poppy Sales Three Percent False Rumour
- Westpac 'Login Attempt From Unrecognized Device' Phishing Scam
- 'Really Bad Virus' Warning
- Facebook Surcharge Hoax - £1 Per Month From January 2015
- BMW M5 Giveaway Like-Farming Scam
- 'Baby Andrei Needs Help' Facebook Page Donations Scam
- Beware of Fake Obamacare Websites
- 'Temporarily Blocked From Liking Pages' Facebook Message
- 'Pieces of iPad' Giveaway Facebook Scam
- Hoax - Hacking Group Anonymous Targeting Facebook Users With Giraffe Profile Pics
- Bogus Warning - Canned Fruit From Thailand Contaminated With HIV
- Giraffe Profile Picture Virus Hoax