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Yahoo Awards Scam Email

Summary:
Email claims that the recipient has won a large sum of money in a Yahoo Awards prize promotion (Full commentary below).



Status:
False - The message is a scam

Example:(Submitted, November 2007)
Subject: Yahoo Award Notification!!

Yahoo Awards Center
From The Desk Of The Promotions Manager
International Promotions/Yahoo Award Center
124 Stockport Road, Longsight,
Manchester M60 2DB - United Kingdom

This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of Three Hundred,Twenty Thousand Pounds(320,000,00.) for the month of November, 2007 Prize promotion which is organized by YAHOO AWARDS & WINDOWS LIVE.YAHOO collects all the email addresses of the people that are active online,among the millions that subscribed to Yahoo and Hotmail and few from other e-mail providers. Six people are selected monthly to benefit from this promotion and you are one of the Selected Winners.

PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
Winners shall be paid in accordance with his/her Settlement Centre.Yahoo Prize Award must be claimed no later than 15 days from date of Draw Notification. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited.Stated below are your identification numbers:

BATCH NUMBER: MFI/06/APA-43658
REFERENCE NUMBER: 2006234522
PIN: 1206

These numbers fall within the England Location file, you are requested to contact our fiduciary agent in London and send your winning identification numbers to him; Below you will find a Documentation Form, requesting you're required Particulars.

YAHOO ONLINE DOCUMENTATION FORM

FULL NAMES:__________________________________
ADDRESS: _________________________________________________CITY:_________________________
STATE:__________________________________ ZIP: _____________________
PHONE:/FAX__________________________________
COUNTRY________________________________
SEX:_______________
AGE:__________________
MARITAL STATUS: _________________
OCCUPATION: ________________________
E-MAIL ADDRESS: _____________________________
NATIONALITY_________________________

You are required to fill and submit the above particulars to our Overseas Claims/United Kingdom Payment Unit with the below email address.

Overseas Claims/Exchange Online Payment Unit

Contact Person: Name: Mr. James Stafford

Tel/Fax+ 44- 870-478-3038

Email:yahooaward.helpdesk@gmail.com

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

At your disposal, I remain.

Yours in service

, Mercy Martins
Dr. (Mrs.) Mercy Martins
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WARNING!
Do not tell people about your Prize Award until your money is successf handed over to you to avoid disqualification that may arise from double claim. You may also receive similar e-mails from people portraying to be other Organizations or Yahoo Inc. This is solely to collect your personal information from you and lay claim over your winning. In event that you receive any e-mail similar to the notification letter that was sent to you, kindly delete it from your mail box and give no further correspondence to such person or body.Yahoo shall not be held responsible for any loss of fund arising from the above mentioned.




Commentary:
According to this email message, the "lucky" recipient has won three hundred, twenty thousand pounds in a prize promotion organized by Yahoo! and Windows Live. The message claims that, every month, 6 winning email addresses are selected as winners from millions of Yahoo! and Hotmail users.

However, the claims in the email are false. The message is part of a typical lottery scam designed to steal money and identities from victims. Those who reply to the message will eventually be asked to send money to cover such expenses as processing, tax or insurance fees before the prize money can be released. These supposed fees are entirely bogus and any money sent will be pocketed by the scammers. And, of course, the promised prize money does not exist. The supposed prize is simply the bait used to hook potential victims into replying to the scammers. Over the course of the scam, the victim may also reveal enough personal information to allow the criminals responsible to steal his or her identity.

Yahoo! has stated in its help files that there is no Yahoo! Lottery and that the company would never send unsolicited emails informing recipients that they had won a contest they never even entered.

In fact, it is not difficult to identify the message as fraudulent. Firstly, it is highly improbable that rival companies Microsoft and Yahoo! would combine resources to offer such prizes. And it is laughable to suggest that Yahoo! would use an email address provided by rival Google (yahooaward.helpdesk@gmail.com) to communicate with "winners". Moreover, the exclamation mark at the end of "Yahoo!" is an integral part of the company's name, but the scam message omits this exclamation mark. Any official correspondence from Yahoo! would use the correct name of the company. Other spelling and grammatical errors also help to identify the message as fake.

The message uses the Yahoo! and Windows Live logos in a lame attempt to make the message seem more legitimate. The inclusion of these logos should not be seen as any sort of endorsement by the companies. The scammers have simply copied these graphics from genuine websites and used them in scam messages without the permission of Yahoo! or Microsoft.

Internet users should be extremely cautious of any unsolicited email that claims that they have won money or prizes in a contest that they never even entered. No legitimate lottery or prize promotion is likely to operate in this way.

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

References:
Is there a Yahoo! Lottery? Does Yahoo! Mail ever offer cash prizes?
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information

Last updated: 22nd November 2007
First published: 22nd November 2007

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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