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BMW Advance Fee Prize Scam

Email purporting to be from car maker BMW claims that the recipient has won 450,000 pounds and a BMW in an "international promotion program" run by the company.

BMW Advance Fee Scam


Brief Analysis
The recipient has in fact won nothing at all. The email is not from BMW. The message is a typical advance fee prize scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to fraudsters.

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Subject: Ticket number: 2752246896?


An Affiliate of BMW UK.

We are pleased to inform you of the release, of the long awaited results of the BMW CAR INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION PROGRAM held on the 20th of Feb, 2013. You were entered as an independent clients with: Ticket number: 2752246896 and Secret pin code x7pwyz2009. You have been approved for a payment of ?450,000.00 (four hundred and fifty thousand Great British Pounds) in cash credited to file reference number:BMW:2551256003/23 And a brand new BMW 5 Series Car. You are to contact our-accredited agent for your claim now.

Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper

You are also advised to provide her with the under listed information:
1.Name in full.
2.Address in full.
3.Nationality & Present Country.
5.Phone /Fax /Sex.
6.Email address.

Once again congratulations.
Program Co-ordinator

Detailed Analysis
This message, which purports to be from luxury car maker BMW, claims that the lucky recipient has won 450,000 pounds as well as an expensive BMW Series 5 car. The message claims that the winner was entered in the prize draw as an independent client and has now been approved for payment.

The "winner" is urged to contact the "accredited agent" via email to claim the prize.

However, the hapless winner has in fact won nary a cent and not so much as a tricycle, let alone a luxury motor vehicle. And the email was not sent by BMW or any of its affiliates. In fact, the email is a typical advance fee prize scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to criminals.

Those who fall for the trick and contact the "agent" will soon be asked to send various fees that are supposedly required to allow processing of the prize claim. The scammers will claim that the "winner" must send money to pay for expenses such as insurance, legal and banking fees or taxes. They will insist that the fees must be paid in advance and cannot be deducted from the prize money. Of course, the prize does not even exist. The promise of the prize is just the bait used to trick people into sending their money and information.

Victims will be instructed to send the requested funds via a wire transfer services such as Western Union. Requests for more and more up front fees are likely to continue until the victim finally realizes that he or she is being scammed or simply runs out of available funds. Moreover, during the course of the scam, the criminals may have tricked their victims into divulging a significant amount of personal and financial information, ostensibly to prove their identity for claim processing. Thus, the scammers may be able to steal the identities of their victims as well as steal their money.

Advance fee prize scams such as this are very common and have been around in various forms for decades. Before the Internet, scammers would send out such scam messages via surface mail. Despite widespread publicity about such scams over many years, people continue to fall victim to them every day.

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Last updated: May 1, 2013
First published: May 1, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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