Congratulations, you’ve won! The reality behind online lotteries

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    It’s amazing how often we get a message telling us we’ve won the lottery. These glad tidings share plenty of similarities: the winner is notified that he has won a handsome sum of money in a certain lottery and must contact a lottery official to receive it. Sounds tempting, but alas, this is nothing more than network fraud .

    In order to receive the winnings, the user is asked to send money – ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars – to a specified account. This is ostensibly to meet expenses like money transfer commission, taxes, fees for opening a bank account, etc. The “lucky winner” often sees this money as insignificant in comparison to the sum they’ve just won. However, once they receive the “fee”, the fraudsters disappear, and the unwary user has little chance of ever finding them.

    Be careful! Do not fall for these scams!

    Telltale signs of lottery fraud

    So, how can a user identify a fraudulent message?

    The answer is simple: if you haven’t participated in a lottery, all “winning” messages are fraudulent.

    The reader’s next question may be: what if I have in fact taken part in a lottery in the hope of a big win?

    If the prize draw has actually taken place and you have actually participated in the lottery, you will be addressed by your name (or the number of the lottery ticket that you purchased), and the letter will contain the address and the name of the company that organized the lottery.

    Fake lottery win notifications may come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A lot of them contain bad spelling mistakes. This is a sure sign of a fraudulent message. Serious lottery companies have editors and copywriters to make sure their letters are written properly.

    In some cases, the fake messages are well written, but they are sent from public mail servers like gmail.com, hotmail.com or yahoo.com. Please remember that messages from a reputable company are always sent from corporate addresses.

    In some fake lottery messages, you may be asked to reply to an e-mail address which is different from the sender’s address, e.g. to the address of an “agent” or “manager”.

    In other words, a fake lottery message will always contain some type of discrepancy. Watch out for them.

    Congratulations…

    Here are some typical ‘Lottery letters’ that make use of the ploys most favored by the fraudsters.

    A European lottery…in Nigeria

    One email informs recipients that they have won a prize in a European lottery:

    Expressions such as “your email address was selected” or “your address has won” are telltale signs that the message is part of a scam. After all, you haven’t used your address to participate in a prize draw, have you? And even if you have, it was unlikely to have been the European lottery named here.

    If nothing else, the request to contact a Mr. Marshall Ellis in Nigeria, who for some reason uses the public service live.com, is bound to convince us that what we are dealing with here is spam – lottery organizers just don’t ask winners to contact them at their personal email addresses. All communication in such cases would be sent to and from a business address. Moreover, if the lottery is European, then why does Mr. Ellis reside in Nigeria?

    Highly inquisitive users may well wonder about the euroonlinelottery.com domain from which the message was sent. Their suspicions would be confirmed. Yes, that’s right, no such site actually exists. Instead, the browser redirects to wn.com (World News). There is no sign of a lottery at the site and never has been.

    Participating in lotteries without knowing about it

    The second message promises a lottery win from Coca Cola, but, inexplicably, is sent from a French Yahoo! server:

    The fraudsters obviously expect some recipients to suspect a scam and attempt to convince them otherwise. Here’s another example of a scam that no doubt appears to be perfectly plausible from its authors’ point of view:

    We won’t bother citing this rather long message, which is designed to look like an email from Google, in full. We only want to draw your attention to the second paragraph where it states: “The online draws was conducted by a random selection of email addresses from an exclusive list of E-mail addresses of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet. However, no tickets were sold but all email addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and privacy.”

    Name-dropping

    It’s easier to get the victim to take the bait if the fake lottery uses the name of a reputable organization, be it Coca Cola or Google, BMW or McDonald’s, Microsoft or Yahoo! Unfortunately, these companies cannot do anything about random fraudsters exploiting their names for their own ends.

    These messages claim to come from large companies which are allegedly conducting lotteries. The attachments contain more “you won” messages. But why would representatives of all these companies send messages from public mail servers like Gmail or MSN?

    Should you receive an email of this type, visit the specific company’s official website; most likely, you will find that the company is not actually holding a lottery of any kind. Furthermore, if you Google “Coca Cola lottery”, “Yahoo lottery”, “Google lottery” etc., you will receive links to articles describing this type of online fraud with specific examples and even victims’ stories.

    Lost in translation

    The Google Translate service has made life much easier for online fraudsters with international ambitions. If earlier their target audience was limited to their compatriots, now they can send messages to users all over the world. We routinely receive such notifications in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Polish, Norwegian and a number of other languages, not to mention Russian.

    Below are examples of the joint creative efforts of the fraudsters and translating machines. The sample texts are in English, German and Spanish.

    We can’t really imagine that any of our readers would be suckered by such linguistic creations, but still, we urge all users to be cautious. Real lottery organizers would not mutilate a language like that in the above examples.

    Beware!

    We could go on forever with examples of fake lottery win messages. According to Kaspersky Lab’s statistics, messages like this can make up as much as three percent of all spam in any given month – that’s thousands of messages. To avoid falling victim to online fraud, you need to follow some simple rules:

    1. Remember, you cannot win a cash prize in a lottery you have not participated in.
    2. Do not trust automatically translated messages or those containing obvious mistakes.
    3. Always check the sender’s email address(es). Lottery organizers will not send messages from free mail services.
    4. If you still think the message you have received is about a real win, check all the information. Use search engines to look at the lottery name, the senders’ names and telephone numbers. Among the search results you may find detailed commentary.
    5. Most importantly, always remember: there is no such thing as a free lunch.

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    There are 22 comments
    1. Suresh P M

      I got an coca-cola award wining online lottery promotions message. It is true or false I don’t know. But I do not deposit money for registration. I told bank officers in our near branch bank they told me this a fraud message. Then I turned website similar ads are posted, they were pointing me same as fraud messages. If a online lottery getting more money but we pay advance amount then several problems getting prizes even if true or false message arriving e-mail:

      1. Ahmed AWADH

        I have received a massage from Coca-Cola too,but it’s an office mail not free mail. Also I received it as a word Dec with nobody mail. And it just (50, 000) out of (500, 000).

      2. victor ferrell

        You have a fraudulent award letter.

      3. Prathyusha

        Thanks for your review it helped me a lot.
        I got an email that I won a iPhone and laptop and money from coca cola.

    2. Caroline

      Youre missing the point. All lotteries are scams. They are a hiddien tax on the working masses

    3. Sandra Fabian

      Hello, the message below I received on Skype. I didn’t pay attention to it, but this morning, I decided to google for scam.
      Already several mistakes of the writing on this e-mail.
      I know It’s a scam.
      Thank you.

      LUCKY DAY ONLINE LOTTERY would like to add you on Skype

      Enter a message to introduce yourself.Dear Skype Owner.

    4. Lordomi

      I also got a scam email from some 4 letter 3 number random sender (like xmdc604) with something like EVO corporation 2lucky winners aganist ebola stuff. weird that im 4 out of the 2 winners…

      1. Lorenzo Rosas

        I’ve recived the same mail too! I’m wondering where did they got the emails… I’m not even from an english country..

    5. Marcos

      Recibi de EVO corporacion un email con una imagen en el cuerpo del mail.
      con las caracteristicas de fraudes mencionadas.

    6. Prabhat singh

      I got a lottery mail from SONY UK. It claim i have won some amount of money and Phone. I have sent some information like name, address, Photo. not card details, It is so because this mail had sent from sony-lotto@consultant.com. Further after reading that it is a scam i got scared. will they do anything with it?

    7. Alex

      I got an email from emebejeb@chmail.ir (IWON)…It said that they wanted to pay me $104,000.00 because of some Ebola fight… And they said I should sen information (Full name, residential or working address, telephone and mobile number, age, and occupation/job, to: mathias.edwards@representative.com
      Such a dumb scam…

    8. Thanks for this

    9. Franki

      Thank you so much for this article!! I just got one that looked so legit from ‘Google’ & when I began to research it I couldn’t find anything to help until I stumbled onto your stuff! Keep it up 🙂

    10. tony

      Wow I’m so glad I look into this I never heard of it which I guess is why I Google it thanks alot for info

    11. Katherine O'Neill

      Just got an email this morning with your Logi on it. Says I won $500,000 and an Apple laptop then wanted all my personal info-thought I’d let you know

    12. Donnie Hossack

      Hi
      I receive regular e-mails which says “news about your ticket” and end up winning anything from £3 to £50 – someone told me you get a different message if you have a big win – do you know if it’s true
      Thanks Donnie

      1. shahbaz ahmad

        Yes i have a msg from world bank of switzedland you win 500000 pound and some have a attachment rbi bank dtails and netwest bank chaque and etc

    13. Samar Ahmed Abou Koura

      Hi, I received a message on my mobile from viber from 001 4045495544 AREA ADDRESS: N GEORGIA: ATLANTA AND SUBURBS
      OPERATOR NAME: NOT AVAILABLE
      congratulating me on winning a Hamer car from a contest which I’ve participated at earlier (it is called the 100 Key) I’ve answered their questions on my mobile so I thought it is from this contest , the message require to call an international No. in Belguim to give your details in order for a company where I’m now to hand the car to me so I did but it seems from the answering system that they want to know the details about me I did give my name, address but not bank details I’m worried that it could be a fraud and don’ know what to do please give me a clue to what I’m facing
      I would appreciate your reply and if there’s a possibility to report something like that to whom should I address this matter

      Thanks
      Samar

    14. Mahir Aliyev

      i got a winning message from Russia 2018 Fifa about one million dollars . I sent my details to them . is it dangerous?

    15. Prax

      Please be careful ..I received about Tango Lottery

    16. milan vala

      I got a same mobile sms from coca cola companey they was tell me i win 500000 GBP one iphone 5 and one iphone 6

    17. LAMIA

      I also get a message from Canada lottery but I don’t know if it is true or not and they told me to send 549$ as a fee but I don t know what to do

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