Lottery Scammers Exploit Names of Real Lottery Winners Violet and Allen Large
Email purporting to be from Canadian Lottery winners Violet and Allen Large
claims that the couple has decided to donate $2 million of their winnings to the recipient. The message asks the recipient to contact the couple via email to find out more details about the donation.
© Depositphotos.com/ Yukchong Kwan
The message is an advance fee scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to cybercriminals.
Violet and Allen Large
really did win a large lottery prize in 2010 and proceeded to give almost all of their winnings away to family members, local churches and community groups. Since then, heartless scammers have attempted to capitalize on the couple's generosity in ongoing scam campaigns. Sadly, Violet Large has passed away since the 2010 win and husband Alan is reportedly devastated that criminals are using their names to prey on people.
My wife Violet and I Allen Large won $11.3 million in a lottery 6-49 in July, 2010 and we have decided to donate the sum of $2,000,000.00 USD to you.
Contact us via our personal email for more details (removed )
You can verify our story by visiting the web page below.
This email, which purports to be from lottery winners Violet and Alan Large, claims that the couple has decided to donate $2 million to the recipient. The message includes a link that the recipient can supposedly use to "verify" the claims and urges him or her to contact the couple via their "personal email" to find out more details about the donation.
In fact, Canadian couple Violet and Alan Large really did win
$11.2 million in a Lotto jackpot in July, 2010. But this email is certainly not from them and the claim that the recipient is to be awarded $2 million is - of course - utter nonsense.
Violet and Alan gave away almost all of their massive win to family members, local churches and community groups and their
generosity was widely reported in the media. Alas, Internet piranhas were quick to use news of the win - and the couple's generosity - as a means of making their scam attempts seem more legitimate. Soon after news of the couple's good deeds was made public, scam emails like the one above began hitting inboxes all around the world. And they continue to be distributed to this day.
Those who respond to the emails, will, of course, not really be communicating with Alan as claimed. Instead, their response emails will reach the eyes of online criminals who will rapidly began asking their victims to send money and personal information. The scammers - all the while still pretending to be Alan and Violet - will claim that the would-be beneficiaries of their largess must first pay a series of fees and expenses before the donation can be sent to them. The scammers will maintain that the fees must be paid in advance for legal reasons and cannot be deducted from the donation itself.
Request for further fees will continue until victims run out of available funds to send
or at last realize that a scam is afoot. Victims will never receive a cent of the $2 million donation - which the scammers never had in the first place - and they are very unlikely to get back any of the money they have sent . When the scam has run its course, the criminals will simply disappear with their ill gotten gains.
During the course of the scam, the fraudsters may also ask for a large amount of personal and financial information from their victims, ostensibly to allow verification and processing of the money transfer. This stolen information may later be used to steal the identities of victims.
This particular tactic
victimizes not only those who fall for the scam itself but also the lottery winners whose names are used in the scam messages. Sadly, Violet Large has passed away
since the 2010 win. And her husband Alan is extremely upset
that scammers have attempted to so callously capitalize on the couples' generosity and heartbroken that his late wife's name is being used in this way. And, Mr and Mrs Large are not the only lottery winners whose names have been misused by advance fee scammers. Similar scam emails falsely claim to be from UK couple Colin and Chris Weir
who won a large lottery prize in 2011. And, in another ongoing scam campaign, criminals have posed as 2012 UK lottery winners Adrian and Gillian Bayford
While lottery winners may well decide to give away a portion of their winnings to help others, it is vastly unlikely that any winner would decide to randomly distribute money to total strangers via unsolicited emails. Any email that makes such a claim should be treated with the utmost suspicion.
And, of course, these examples are just a subset of the ubiquitous lottery advance fee scam, which makes the false claim that the recipient has won a large price in an international lottery.
Last updated: May 22, 2013
First published: May 22, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen