Today I received an email apparently purporting to be from the “The UK. Natioal Lottery” (I think they meant “National”). However, I didn’t pick up that it was a scam immediately from the subject and name (I didn’t spot the obvious spelling error immediately). Normally that sort of thing would have raised my suspicions immediately. However, not today. Today is the last EuroMillions lottery before Christmas. Normally I don’t normally enter the lottery at all. I pay a pound a week to the office syndicate and that is it. But I do enter the lottery at Christmas time for a bit of a laugh. I know the odds are stacked heavily against me which is why I only enter once per year.
Back to the scam. There are a number of things that you can look out for in a scam email. Bad spelling is just one of those things. But there are cultural markers too.
However, there are some things that make it seem genuine. The address is given as “The U.K. National Lottery, Online Lottery Promo Dept., Customer Service., PO Box 1010, Liverpool, L70 1NL United Kingdom.” and if you look on the internet you’ll see that this is, more or less, the real address.
The date of notification is one the date of a lottery draw. It talks about an online lotto draw. And Friday’s draw is indeed an internet draw.
It gave some results numbers, presumably to make it appear genuine.
Luckily there are pointers to show that it is a fake.
For a start the email arrived before the actual draw took place.
Next it talked about “online lotto draw” – but Friday’s draw is the “EuroMillions” draw.
It also said the draw was “conducted from an exclusive list of 50,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet.” Why would it pick email addresses from the internet? You have to pay to enter a lottery draw. You don’t just get entered randomly.
It goes on to tell you your prize – and if you read the National Lottery’s real guide they will tell you that they will never tell you that you’ve won in an email, let alone the actual prize amount.
When it talks about money it says “Great British Pounds” but it isn’t a term I’ve ever heard used. There is of course the standard abbreviation “GBP” that is used in text only financial systems but if you were to say the name of the currency in full in a formal document you’d give it the proper title. (“Pounds Sterling” – if you didn’t already know)
Then there is some fluff about the history of the prizes giving various fake names such as the “Big Game Mega Millions”. Curiously the amounts it gives as highest and lowest historical winnings are wildly out. Obviously the person putting together the scam didn’t do enough research.
They then tell you that “For security reasons, be advised to keep your winning information from public notice until your claims is processed and your prize money remitted to you as required in this grand category “B’ terms and conditions of claims. This is a part of our precautionar y measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by non winners.”. So more bad spelling, punctuation and even American spelling to show this one up. The more interesting thing here is that “for security reasons” don’t tell anyone about this until we’ve scammed you. Nice!
Then it goes on to tell you how to contact “Phil Smith” to process your claim. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about how to spot fraudulent emails purporting to be from the UK National Lottery look at this guide to spotting a fake from the National Lottery website. They also tell you in the FAQ on the site what the actual procedure for making a claim is.
Bottom line is, if you didn’t enter a lottery, then you can’t win it. As the advert for the real National Lottery goes “You’ve got to be in it to win it!”
For your delight and reading pleasure here is the full text of the email:
The U.K. National Lottery Online Lottery Promo Dept. Customer Service. PO Box 1010 Liverpool L70 1NL United Kingdom. Date of Notification: 22-12-2006 Ref N0: KPL/09-002/JA. Attn: Winner. We happily bring to your notice the results of the U.K. National Lottery annual draw held on the 20th December 2006 in London. The online lotto draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 50,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet. Congratulations! Your e-mail address attached to the Batch N0:P2/0056 with Serial number: 06/1055 drew 20th of December 06       , which subsequently won you a prize in the category "B". You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of ?1,500,000.00 (One Million , Five Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds) in cash credited to file Ref N0: KPL/09-002/JA. This prize is from a total cash prize of ?4,500,000.00 (Four Million, Five Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds) shared amongst the first Three (3) lucky winners in this grand category 'B'. This year Lottery program Jackpot is the largest ever for the UK National Lottery. The estimated ?35,000,000.00 (Thirty Five Million Great British Pounds) jackpot would be the sixth-biggest in the U.K. history next year (2007). The Lowest was the ?4,000,000.00 (Four Million Great British Pounds) jackpot that was shared between Four (4) lucky winners in January 2005 draw of the Big Game Mega Millions' predecessor. For security reasons, be advised to keep your winning information from public notice until your claims is processed and your prize money remitted to you as required in this grand category "B' terms and conditions of claims. This is a part of our precautionar y measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by non winners. Please note that, your lucky winning number:        falls within our European Booklet representative office in London as indicated in our play Coupon. In view of this, your ?1,500,000.00 (One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Great British Pounds) would be released to you by our affiliate bank. Our approved agent, Mr. Phil Smith will immediately commence on the processing of your claims, to facilitate the release of your Winnings to you as soon as you make contact with him. Please be advised as follows: To file for your claim, kindly contact our certified and accredited claims agent with the information below: *********************************************** Name: Phil Smith E-mail: email@example.com Claims processing agent For: The U.K National Lottery. *********************************************** You are advised to provide him with the following information: Names: Telephone/Fax number: Nationality: Age: Occupation: Note that, all claims processes and clearance procedures must be duly completed early to avoid impersonation and or double claiming. To avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please quote your Reference and Batch numbers in any correspondences with our designated agent. Congratulations once more from all members and staff of the UK National Lottery Promo. Yours Faithfully, Mrs. Patricia Spencer. Online Co-ordinator UK National Lottery Promo
NOTE: This entry was rescued from the Google Cache. The original date was Saturday, 23rd December, 2006
Here are the original comments for this entry:
i just got that e-mail, i had mixed views on it i thought it was to good to be true but also thought that maybe it was the real thing, so i went searching anyway this information was easy to find now i know its a fake, any1 out there plzz don’t get involved in it.
That guys thinks that everyone is a fool. I receive the same letter today. Thanks God we can search to find information like these.
We have to be carefully on these days of such frauds.
Queen fron El Salvador
I got too.
what is this e.mail?
it,s a fake?
plz tell me more.
thanks a lot.
Additional: I was actually surprised that people commented thanking me for telling them it was a fake. I would have thought it was obvious. But I guess not, which is why many people still get taken in by this kind of thing.
Just remember the golden rule: If it sounds too good to be true it most probably is.