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FBI Fraud Alert Lottery Scam

Summary:
Email purporting to be from the FBI claims that a previous Microsoft lottery notification sent to the recipient has been checked and found to be genuine (Full commentary below).



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, June 2007)
Subject: FBI UK Internet Fraud Watch/Alert

OFFICER IN-CHARGE:
NAME: Mr. Brad Todd @
FBI UK Internet Fraud Watch/Alert
Phone: +44 701113 0369
E-mail: fbifraudalert_london@yahoo.co.uk
ATTENTION: Microsoft Winner,

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Has discovered through our intelligence Monitoring Network, that you have an on going transaction with the Microsoft Int. Mega Jackpot Lottery UK, as the Beneficiary of the said 5,500,000 Great British Pounds sterling. (Five Million, Five hundred thousand pounds sterling) confirmed on a certified Cashier's check.

So the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) Washington DC, in conjunction with the Scotland Yard, Has screened through our various Monitoring Networks and has been confirmed and notified that the transaction you have with the Microsoft is Legal and you have the Lawful Right to claim your due Prize of 5.5, million pounds. We advise you to go ahead with them as we are monitoring all their services and network. Be advised that any letter or lottery Notification received from anybody or company should be forwarded to us with immediate effect. The UK Government has spent over $1.7 million pounds to make sure these scammers are brought before the law. They are still ready to spend more to make sure they are brought before the law.

Meanwhile, you are advised to follow the procedure of the Lottery House (Microsoft). They have their own legal procedure which we have examined and confirmed legal. Follow their instructions while you keep us updated for more details. You are advised to contact the necessary office for more details of Transfer as we are monitoring every move now.

Please, be advised and be aware that your funds had been insured and the necessary charges would be taken care of by you, as confirmed by the Monitoring network. For your own good you are advised to confirm any lottery promo you have either involved your self with in the past to enable us trace this scammers. Only this lottery Promotion has been confirmed Legal any other are still under investigation, and so many others are scam, most especially from the UK and Europe.

You are to contact Mr Brad Todd with the email below in regards to more information on your claims.

OFFICER IN-CHARGE:
NAME: Mr. Brad Todd @
FBI UK Internet Fraud Watch/Alert
Phone: +44 701113 0369
E-mail: fbifraudalert_london@yahoo.co.uk




Commentary:
According to this email, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been monitoring an ongoing transaction between the recipient and agents of the Microsoft Mega Jackpot Lottery. The recipient previously received a lottery notification email, supposedly from Microsoft, claiming that he or she had won a large some of money. The subsequent FBI message claims that the supposed lottery has been officially screened and found to be legal and that the recipient has a lawful right to claim the prize.

However, both the original claim that the recipient has won the lottery and the follow-up claim that the FBI has verified the transaction are entirely bogus. They are both part of a typical lottery scam designed to trick victims into paying fees and revealing sensitive personal information, ostensibly to facilitate the release of the entirely fictional "winnings".

Scammers often claim that their fake lotteries are managed or endorsed by Microsoft. However, such claims are completely untrue. Microsoft does not organize, promote, fund, or in any way endorse email-based lotteries or prize giveaways.

According to the message, the FBI has been checking various lottery transactions for possible fraud via its "intelligence Monitoring Network", but has found that the particular Microsoft lottery being discussed is genuine although similar promotions may be fraudulent. Thus, the scammers have attempted to alleviate any suspicions held by the recipient of the original lottery notification email by sending a follow-up email claiming that the FBI has verified the transaction as genuine.

Of course, this trick is quite transparently fraudulent, as a brief examination of the scam message reveals. It is vastly improbable that the real FBI would send a private citizen an unsolicited email verifying a particular transaction involving a lottery win. Moreover, if a US based agency such as the FBI did write such an email, it would not be sent from a free Yahoo web mail account based in the United Kingdom. The strange phrasing and poor grammar also indicate that the message is quite unlikely to be an official government notification.

The message also implies that the FBI routinely monitors the private messages of its citizens and was therefore able to verify the claims in the original lottery notification email without being explicitly requested to do so. While such clandestine and widespread surveillance of private citizens might not surprise more cynical observers, the full and open disclosure of such surveillance would be most surprising indeed.

As Internet users become increasingly aware of how lottery scams operate, scammers are likely to employ more clever tactics such as this FBI "fraud-checking" ruse to achieve their aims. In spite of these tactics, however, with a little foreknowledge, such scams are not difficult to recognize. Any email message that claims you have won money or prizes in a lottery promotion that you never even entered is almost certainly a scam, regardless of apparent endorsement by any high profile company or claims that any law enforcement agency has verified the supposed transaction.

For more information about lottery scams, see:
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information

References:
Microsoft World Lottery Scam
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information

Last updated: 7th June 2007
First published: 7th June 2007

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen

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