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Yahoo International Lottery Programme Scam

Summary:
Email purporting to be from Jill Nash, Chief Communications Officer at Yahoo! claims that the recipient has won $500,000 in the 'Yahoo International Lottery programme' (Full commentary below).



Status:
False - Advance Fee Scam

Example:(Submitted, May 2008)
Subject: YAHOO CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER CONGRATULATES YOU

FROM THE DESK OF JILL NASH, THE CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER/MANAGER INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT, YAHOO INCORPORATION USA.

Ref: 475061725
Batch: 7056490902/188
Winning no: GB8701/LPRC

WINNING NOTIFICATION

Congratulations,

I am Jill Nash, the Chief Communications Officer of Yahoo Incooperation . We are delighted to inform you of your prize release on the 5th May, 2008 from the Yahoo International Lottery programme. Which is fully based on an electronic selection of winners using their e-mail addresses from different sites.Your email address was attached to ticket number; 17212, serial number 7741137002.This batch draws the lucky numbers of
Lotto Balls and bonus number Lotto Ball , which consequently won the lottery in the second category. You hereby have been approved a lump sum pay of USD$500,000 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS) in cash credit file Ref: ILP/HW 47509/02 from the total cash prize shared amongst eight lucky winners in this category.

All participant were selected through a computer balloting system drawn from Nine hundred thousand E-mail addresses from Canada, Australia, United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania as part of our international promotions program which is conducted annually. This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by the Yahoo Incooperation World wide as part of their social responsibility to promote the use of internet world wide.

Further more your details (e-mail address) falls within our African representative office as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of USD$500,000 will be released to you from the Payment Center in United Kingdom. We hope with part of your prize, you will participate in our end of year high stakes for US$1.3 Billion international draw. Your Winning fund of USD$500.000 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS) has been insured with the Paying Bank in United Kingdom with REF NO: MSW-L/200-26937 and will be released or delivered to you when you are through with the official process involved for the release of your prize.

It will be processed on your behalf by our Claims Officer in charge of African zone (BARRISTER JOHN AKROMA). Your E-mail address should be used in all correspondence with your claims officer, you are to contact your claims officer via email and phone call as we are promoting the use of E-mail. Also you have the right to call him to confirm your winning Details. Please note that we have instructed that you will receive your prize money in full of USD$500,000. Therefore you should make sure that you follow all the rules accordingly for the processing and release of your prize to you without any delay.

HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE:
Simply contact our African Claims Officer
Barrister John Akroma
Email: j_akroma@yahoo.com

Please make sure that you quote your reference, batch and winning numbers which can be found on the top left corner of this notification as well as your full name, address and telephone number to help locate your file easily. For security reasons, we advice all winners to keep this information confidential from the public until your claim is processed and your prize released to you.

This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this programme by non-participant or unofficial personnel.

Note, all winnings MUST be claimed within 30 days from the date of this notification. Unclaimed funds will be returned to the national treasury for our next draw.

Congratulations once again on your winning!!!

Best Regards.

Jill Nash (Chief Communications Officer)

[Image Removed]

Blake Jorgensen (Chief Financial Officer), Michael J. Callahan (General Secretary and Counsel), Michael Murray (Chief Accounting Officer), Mrs. Sandra Becker (President), Mr. David Filo (Executive), Mr.Jerry Yang (Chairman)




Commentary:
This "prize notification" email purports to originate directly from Yahoo! Chief Communications Officer Jill Nash. According to the message, the "lucky" recipient has won 500,000 USD in the "Yahoo International Lottery programme" after his or her email address was randomly selected from a list of addresses collected online. However, the message was not sent by Jill Nash or anybody else at Yahoo! and the supposed prize is nothing more than the bait used to hook Internet users into falling for a typical advance fee scam.

The message instructs recipients to contact the "Claims Officer" to confirm the prize and begin processing of the claim. However, those who do make contact will soon be asked to submit various fees in order to allow the release of the "prize money". Supposedly, the requested payments are to cover insurance or legal costs or any other imaginary fees dreamed up by the criminals running the scam. The scammers will claim that the "winner" must pay these fees in advance or risk forfeiting their prize-money. Moreover, they will insist that the fees cannot be paid out of the prize money itself.

If a victim does comply and sends the requested fees, other fee requests are likely to follow. Of course, the victim will never receive a cent of the supposed lottery prize, which is entirely imaginary. After the scammers have tricked their victim into submitting the requested fees, they will simply disappear. The victim is quite unlikely to get back any of the money that he or she has been tricked into submitting.

And, as well as being left out of pocket, the victim might also have his or her identity stolen. During the course of the scam, the bogus "Claims Agent" may ask the victim to provide a large amount of personal and financial information which might subsequently be used for identity theft.

Jill Nash really is Chief Communications Officer at Yahoo! Inc, but she has nothing whatsoever to do with this scam email. The scammers have fraudulently used her name and position in order to make their bogus claims seem more believable. They have also included a photograph of Nash in the email that was apparently stolen from her biography on the Yahoo! Press Room website. In a rather lame attempt to further enhance the credibility of their message, the scammers have included the Yahoo! Press Room logo along with animated spinning globes and other text decorations. Yahoo has warned its users about such scam emails in its online help files.

Advance fee scammers often use the names of high-profile companies or organizations in order to fool more victims into believing their bogus claims. There are a great many variations on the same basic lottery scam. Internet users should be cautious of any unsolicited emails that claims that they have won money or prizes in a lottery that they have never explicitly entered. Lottery organizations do not randomly select winners from lists of email addresses or names collected on the Internet. Any message that makes such a claim is quite likely to be a scam. If you receive a scam message like the one above, do not contact the sender. Do not click on any links in such messages or open any attachments that they may carry.

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

Last updated: 2nd June 2008
First published: 2nd June 2008

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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