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'Facebook Online International Lottery' Advance Fee Scam

Outline
Email purporting to be from Facebook claims that the recipient has won $950,000 in the annual Facebook Online International Lottery and should contact the Facebook "disbursement department" to claim the prize.

US Dollars

© Depositphotos.com/alexkalina



Brief Analysis
The email is not from Facebook and the recipient has won nothing at all. The message is a typical advance fee scam designed to trick people into sending their money and personal information to Internet crooks.

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Example
Subject "Congratulations you are a winner. " 

Facebook Online International Lottery
From: The Desk Of the President.
International Promotions / Prize Award.
Category: 2nd

Greetings to you Dear lucky winner. We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws held on the 29th of April 2013 by Facebook group in cash promotion to encourage the usage of Facebook worldwide. Your name was among the 20 lucky winners who won $950.000.00USD (Nine hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars) each on the Facebook group promotion award attached to Lucky Number (FB-225-7736), Ticket Number (FB-172-60), Batch Number (FB-0281/544) and Serial Number (99352748-2013).

The online draws was conducted by a random selection of emails you were picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the Facebook in other to claim your $950.000.00usd the lottery program which is a new innovation by Facebook, is aimed at saying a big thank you to all our users for making Facebook their number one means to connect, communicate, relate and hook up with their families and friends over the years.

This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants and scam artists all participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 companies and 30,000,000 individuals email addresses from all over the world. This promotional program takes place every three years. You may be rest assured that this is real and legal. There are some scam artists around but thanks to the FBI, 216 of them have been arrested.

You are required to contact the head of our disbursement department in the person of Mr. Lincoln Howard via this email address (onlinefacebookprogs@gmail.com ) with information below for the complete processing of your Winning certificate and further information regarding the disbursement of your lottery winnings.

Full Name:
Contact Address:
Mobile Number:
Occupation:
Marital Status:
Sex:
Age:
Country of Residence:
Nationality:
Lucky Number:
Ticket Number:
Batch Number:
Serial Number:
Your Email Address:

Furthermore, if there is any change in email addresses please contact us on time. Do not reply to this email, Contact the disbursement department with the email provided above.

Note: if you are not interested please do not bother to reply.

Thanks and more Congratulations!

Regards,
Mr. Wright Jones
Announcer.

Detailed Analysis


Advance fee lottery scams have been around for decades and still continue to find new victims all around the world every day. To make their lies seem more legitimate, scammers have regularly used the name of high profile companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Google in their fraudulent messages. And, an increasing number of such scam messages pretend to come from Facebook. Some are quite crude, some are considerably more sophisticated and may include seemingly official Facebook graphics and formatting to falsely enhance their credibility. Some even claim to come directly from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg himself.

The version discussed here is typical of its ilk. The email claims that the recipient has won $950,000 in the "Facebook Online International Lottery" for 2013. Supposedly, the recipient's email address was randomly chosen as one of the winning entries. The promotion is billed as a "new innovation" by Facebook and is supposedly the company's attempt to thank its fans for their use of the network. The email urges recipients to contact the head of the "disbursement department" to begin processing of the prize claim.

But, of course, the claims in the email are outright lies. The message is not from Facebook and the "lucky" recipient has not won so much as a cent. Those who are taken in by the lies and contact the "disbursement department" as instructed will be informed that they must pay various fees before their "winnings" can be transferred to them. The criminals will explain that, for legal reasons, none of the required fees can be deducted from the prize itself and must be payed in advance. Victims will be told that the fees are required to cover taxes, insurance payments, banking fees and a raft of other - entirely imaginary - costs invented by the scammers. Requests for further fees are likely to continue until the victim runs out of available funds or finally realizes that the set up is a scam. All the money sent will be pocketed by the scammers.

Moreover, the criminals are likely to trick their victim into provided a large amount of personal and financial information, ostensibly as a means of proving his or her identity and allowing transfer of the "prize". This information might later be used to steal the identity of the victim.

Why, you might ask, do such scams still take place, even after decades of exposure? The simply answer is "because they work". There are apparently still many people that are not aware of how these and other scams operate and are naive enough to fall for them. During a particular campaign, the scammers may spam out hundreds of thousands of identical scam messages. In reality, even if only a tiny percentage of recipients actually fall for the ruse and send their money and information, the campaign will pay off handsomely for the criminals running it.

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Last updated: May 10, 2013
First published: May 10, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information
Microsoft World Lottery Scam
Yahoo International Lottery Programme Scam
Google 10th Anniversary Awards Lottery Scam
Advance Fee Scam - Facebook 2011 Sweepstakes Online Lottery




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