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Microsoft, Yahoo, Google Lottery Scam

Email claims that the recipient has won a large sum of money in a lottery draw organized by Microsoft, Yahoo and Google (Full commentary below).

False - Message is an advance fee scam designed to steal money and information

Example:(Received, September 2009)
Subject; Winner Microsoft Yahoo Google Lottery Promotion

MICROSOFT YAHOO GOOGLE LOTTERY PROMOTION North London Business Park (NLBP) Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP United Kingdom.

Dear Lucky Winner,

We happily announce to you the result of the Microsoft, Yahoo and Google Lottery draws held on Saturday 12th of September 2009, Lotto 6/49 in Essex, United Kingdom. All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draws system and extracted from over 100,000.00 companies and personal e-mail addresses.

Your e-mail address attached to Ticket number: B9564 7560 with serial number 046560 drew the winning numbers 6 7 14 16 17 27 Bonus 32. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 500,000.00 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS STERLING) in cash credited to file EAAL/9080118308/08.

To file for your claim, please contact your corresponding Fiduciary Claim Agent (Mr. Michael Walker) immediately you get this message for quick and urgent release of your fund.

Contact information is as follow:

Mr. Michael Walker
Tel: +44-7024031703

Endeavour to submit the below informationís as stated below to enable Mr. Michael Walker process your winning.
1. Full Name:................................
2. Full Address:.............................
3. Marital Statue:...........................
4. Age:.......................................
5. Sex:.......................................
6. Nationality:...............................
7. Tel. Number:..............................
8. Country of Residence.....................

***Due to possible mix up of some numbers and email contacts, we ask that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by some participants of this program. ***

Congratulations once more from all members and staff of this Lottery program.

Yours Sincerely,
Microsoft, Yahoo and Google Lottery Promotion **Customer Service**

This email claims that the recipient has won 500,000 pounds in a lottery draw sponsored by three giants of the computing world, namely Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. Supposedly, winners were randomly selected via computer draw systems based on email addresses collected from the World Wide Web. To claim his or her prize, all the "lucky" recipient has to do is contact the "Fiduciary Claim Agent" - in this case one Mr. Michael Walker - and supply personal and contact details.

Lottery Scam Emails
Be wary of emails that claim that you have won a large prize in a lottery chosen via the random selection of email addresses
However, the message is not from any of the companies named nor is it a legitimate lottery notification message. In fact, the promised prize is nothing more than the bait designed to hook hapless victims into sending their money and personal information to Internet criminals. Those who fall for the ruse and contact "Michael Walker", their bogus "agent", will soon be asked to send upfront fees that are supposedly required to allow the release of the entirely imaginary "winnings". The scammers will claim that these fees are required to cover such obligations as insurance, transfer taxes or bank fees and they will insist that the fees cannot, under any circumstances, be deducted from the prize itself.

If a victim does send the initial fee as requested, the scammers are likely to follow up with more demands for money, supposedly to cover costs for various other totally imaginary requirements. Demands for more money are likely to continue until the victim finally realizes that he or she is being scammed or simply runs out of money to send. Of course, all money sent will disappear into the pockets of the criminals running the scam. These scammers typically use false names and contact details along with disposable email addresses and after the scam has run its course, they will simply disappear with their ill gotten gains. Because such criminals often operate from outside the country where they target their victims, and have grown very skilled at covering their tracks, it can be very difficult for police to find and apprehend them. It is quite unlikely that any money lost by the victim of such scams will ever be returned.

Moreover, along with losing money directly via the requested "fees", some victims may also have their identities stolen. During the course of the scam, the scammers may built upon the personal details harvested via the initial email by sending requests for further personal details. Over time, the scammers may gain enough personal information to steal the identity of their victims.

Scammers often attempt to use the names of of well known companies or individuals as a means of adding a false aura of credibility to their claims. In a decided case of overkill, the scammer responsible for this particular message has apparently thrown caution to the wind and used the names of not just one but three high-profile companies in a rather lame effort to make his utterly bogus claims sound more legitimate.

Unfortunately, while more experienced Internet users may find such scam attempts transparent and easily recognizable, many more naive recipients may well fall for such tricks. In fact, people around the world lose millions of dollars every year to scams very like the one discussed here.

No legitimate lottery is ever likely to select winners via random drawing of an email address that has been collected from the Internet without the permission or knowledge of the address's owner. No legitimate lottery is ever likely to require the winner to pay upfront fees or charges before receiving his or her prize. There are a great many variations based on the same basic lottery scam. Internet users should be very wary of any email that claims that they have won a large prize in a lottery draw that they have never even entered. If you receive such an email do not reply and certainly do not send any money or information to those who send you the message.

If you are unfamiliar with this sort of scam, please help to protect yourself and others by reviewing the following, more in depth article discussing lottery scams:
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information

Last updated: 28th September 2009
First published: 28th September 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen