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Heineken Beer Company Promotion Scam

Email purporting to be from the Heineken Bottling Company claims that the recipient has been awarded a large cash prize in a company promotion (Full commentary below).


Example:(Submitted, March 2008)


"Heineken Light Champions" Promotion Notification.

Dear Winner,

This is to inform you of the Award of Five Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds Sterling (500,000 GBP) from Heineken Beer Company Promotions.

This promotional award is to raise the profile of Heineken beer consumers males /females aged 18 to 85 in rural and urban centers to support the spirit of Footballing.

The online promotions build email lists were generated from the World Wide Web. This promotion takes place annually to challenge and to take market share from the popular Dutch import beer.The tactics included live events, local campaigns and general buzz to establish the brand one neighborhood at a time in major urban / rural centers to support the spirit of Footballing.

Your Email Ref Number falls within our European booklet representative's office in United Kingdom. In view of this, your award of Five Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds Sterling (500,000 GBP) will be released to you by our payment office in United Kingdom.

Verification form
First Name.............
Last Name............
Next of kin...............
Amount won..............
PHONE NUMBER..........

Our United Kingdom Promotional Officer will commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him.

Below is the contact details.

[Name Removed]
Email:[email protected]
Heineken Beer Promotional Officer.

[Name Removed]


Image credit:

Heineken Beer Bottle
Prize promotion emails claiming to be from Heineken are scams that have no connection with the company whatsoever
This email claims that the recipient has been awarded 500,000 in a promotion organized by European brewer, Heineken. According to the message, the purpose of the promotion is to raise the profile of Heineken beer and "support the spirit of Footballing". Supposedly, the winner's address was selected from lists of email addresses collected online.

However, the claims in the message are entirely bogus. The supposed promotion does not exist and there is no prize money. The message was not sent or in any way endorsed by Heineken. The email is just one more variant of the long running International Lottery Scam. Heineken has published a warning about these scam emails which notes:
Heineken has become aware that the Heineken brand name and logo, as well as personal names of Heineken officers, are being fraudulently used for activities in which Heineken is not involved whatsoever.

Alleged Heineken lotteries, promotions, job offers or even cars are wrongfully being promoted or promised under the Heineken name, even with Heineken imagery and logos copied from official websites. In some cases, personal names of Heineken officers, the Heineken logo or other Heineken imagery are even copied and used for these purposes to give the impression that it is genuine.
Those who fall for the ruse will eventually be asked to send fees supposedly required to allow the release of the imaginary prize money. The scammers will claim that these fees cannot be deducted from the prize itself for legal reasons. They will insist that, because of legal or administrative requirements, the "winner" must pay the requested fees before the prize money is transferred. If a victim complies with the initial request to send fees, further requests are likely to follow. Often the scammers will continue to request more and more payments until victims belatedly realize that they are being conned or they have no more money to send.

The scammers may also use the fake promotion ruse in order to harvest sensitive personal information from their victims. This scam email requests the recipient to supply a significant amount of personal information, ostensibly to verify identity. Those who fall for the ruse and send the requested information will most probably be asked to supply even more personal details during the course of the scam. Eventually, the scammers may harvest enough information to steal the identity of their victim.

While companies often do run prize promotions of various kinds, some sort of explicit entry or registration process will be required. No genuine promotion is likely to randomly select a winner based on their email address and notify them via an unsolicited email message. Moreover, genuine company prize promotions are likely to be widely publicized via advertisements, product labels, websites and other means, not solely via a vague and poorly presented email message. And, of course, a large company such as Heineken is extremely unlikely to use a free Yahoo email address to contact winners of promotions.

Scammers often use the names of high profile companies as a way of making their fraudulent claims seem more legitimate. In some cases, they may include seemingly official company logos in the message and add links to the genuine company website. Such embellishments can fool some potential victims into believing that the message really did originate from the named company. However, the scammers use these names, logos and links without the permission or knowledge of the targeted company.

Internet users should be extremely cautious of any email that claims that they have won a prize or lottery in a promotion that they have never entered, even if it is seemingly endorsed by a well known company or organization.

Warning: important notice on alleged 'lottery'
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information

Last updated: 26th March 2008
First published: 26th March 2008

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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