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Gareth & Catherine Bull Advance Fee Lottery Scam

Outline
Email purporting to be from UK lottery winners Gareth & Catherine Bull claims that the couple has decided to donate £1.5 million to ten people as part of a charity project and that the recipient is one of those selected.

lottery balls cartoon

© Depositphotos.com/ lineartestpilot



Brief Analysis
Gareth & Catherine Bull really did win a large lottery prize in 2012. However, they did not send the email and they are not randomly handing out millions of pounds to strangers. The email is an advance fee scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals.

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Example

Subject: Charity project

My wife and I won the Euro Millions Lottery of £41 Million British Pounds
and we have decided to donate £1.5 million British Pounds each to 10
individuals worldwide as part of our own charity project.
To verify, please see our interview by visiting the web page below:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2091124/EuroMillions-winners-Gareth-Catherine-Bull-scoop-41MILLION-lotto-jackpot.html

Your email address was among the emails which were submitted to us by the
Google, Inc as a web user; if you have received our email please, kindly
send us the below details so that we can transfer your £1,500,000.00
pounds in your name or direct our bank to effect the
transfer of the funds to your operational bank account in your
country, congratulations.

Full Name:
Mobile No:
Age:
Country:
Send your response to (mr.garthbul2012@foxmail.com)

Best Regards,

Gareth & Catherine Bull

Detailed Analysis


This email claims to be from UK couple Gareth & Catherine Bull, who won almost £41 million in the EuroMillions jackpot drawn in January 2012.  According to the message, the couple have decided to give £1.5 million to each of ten individuals randomly selected via their email addresses.  And, supposedly, the lucky recipient of the email is one of the ten chosen.

The recipient is urged to contact the couple via email to arrange transfer of the £1.5 million.

But, alas, the email is a scam. Gareth and Catherine Bull are real people and they did win a massive lottery prize. However, the email is certainly not from them. And, they are not handing out millions of pounds based on the random selection of email addresses.

Those who fall for the trick and reply to the email with the requested details will not be conversing with Gareth and Catherine. Instead, they will be talking to online criminals intent on stealing their money and personal information.

Those who reply will soon receive requests for various fees supposedly required to cover banking and transfer costs, insurance payments or tax. The scammers, still pretending to be Gareth and Catherine, will insist that these fees must be paid before the £1.5 million can be transferred. Requests for further fees may continue until victims run out of money or finally wise up to the scam.

Of course, the scammers will keep all of the money sent and victims will never receive so much as a penny of the promised windfall. And, if they have been tricked into supplying sensitive personal and financial information during the scam, they may also become victims of identity theft.

Advance fee scammers often use the names and details of real lottery winners in their fraudulent emails as a means of making their claims seem more believable. Advance fee criminals have also used the names of previous UK EuroMillions winners Adrian and Gillian Bayford. And scammers have similarly exploited the names of Canadian lottery winners Violet and Allen Large.

Some lottery winners may indeed give away part of their winnings to help others. But, it is extremely unlikely that any winner would decide to randomly distribute large sums of money to total strangers via unsolicited emails. Any message that makes such a claim should be treated as highly suspect.

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Last updated: July 26, 2013
First published: July 26, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
EuroMillions Couple Gareth And Catherine Bull Scoop 41m Jackpot
Advance Fee Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information
Criminals Use Names of Lottery Winners Adrian and Gillian Bayford in Advance Fee Scams
Lottery Scammers Exploit Names of Real Lottery Winners Violet and Allen Large