You Didn’t Enter But You Won! – Lottery Fraud

Imagine how excited you’d be if you got an email notifying you that you won millions of dollars? Never mind that you never heard of this particular sweepstakes (lottery, promotional event, giveaway or whatever) and don’t remember entering. You can just let your excitement sweep all that aside. What’s important is that YOU WON and you’re going to get tons of money.

Really? People actually believe that they won a lottery they didn’t enter?

Sadly, yes.

Judging by how often we see this particular form of email fraud there’s no shortage of potential victims. As P.T. Barnum probably didn’t say: There’s a sucker born every minute.

For example, would you respond to this:

Subject: Finale Notificatione!!!

From: “Faenza, Michael” <Michael.Faenza@jacobs.com>

To: [blank]
Finale Notificatione!!!

For the Last time, we are pleased to notify you of your Windows© E-Award for 2.5, million. Please confirm if you received our previous message with;

E-ticket number: 7219231BB-988,
Category: A,
Draw: 6756
Amount: 2.5, million Dollars

You may establish contact with the Enquiry Officer via the e-mail address below with the information’s necessary: Name:, Address:, Phone:, Cell Phone:, Email:, Alternative Email:, Occupation:, and E-ticket number:

Enquiry officer: Damien Lewis, Tel: +31 626 006 051 Ext; 1000, E-Mail: [ enquirydept.lewis@live.nl ]

NOTE: You are expected to contact the Enquiry Officer for details of claims.

Faenza, Michael.
Promotions Co-ordinator

NOTICE – This communication may contain confidential and privileged
information that is for the sole use of the intended recipient. Any viewing,
copying or distribution of, or reliance on this message by unintended
recipients is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in
error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and deleting
it from your computer.

We chose this particular example because it diverges from some of the standard fraud motifs.

  • The subject is not all caps (although it does have some extra exclamation marks)
  • The formatting, spelling and grammar are quite good
  • It doesn’t have any ties to Africa

Based on the phone number (31 626 006 051 Ext; 1000) and the email address you’re expected to respond to (enquirydept.lewis@live.nl) this scam originates in the Netherlands. OMG it’s spreading!!!

We searched the “From:” name and address (“Faenza, Michael” <Michael.Faenza@jacobs.com>) and didn’t find anything particularly incriminating. There appear to be a few people named “Michael Faenza” but none of them seem to be involved in anything to do with a lottery. We did find some interesting stuff by searching the Dutch phone number and the email address mentioned above. The phone number especially lead to a number of anti fraud web sites and reports of this particular scam.

Another common feature of “you won” fraud is the attempt to add credibility by referencing a familiar product or brand. The one above uses “Windows”, this next one is a version of the car manufacturer sub-genre:

Subject: Confirm infomation

From: KIA WINNERS <agimp@regione.sicilia.it>

To: [blank]

KIA MOTORS INTERNATIONAL PROMO!!!

Ref No: KIA/2AC/2010
Batch No: 042010
Serial No: KIA022AC
ATTN:

This is to notify you that Kia Motors held an international Promo/Bonanza in Abuja, Nigeria due to the massive sales of our Product in the African region, so we have decided to use Nigeria as our Redemption centre.

Your Email and registration detail was selected by an automated machine because of the visit of our site, use of our product and registrations to our database worldwide

We have therefore selected you amongst seven (7) others worldwide to receive a Brand New 2010 Kia Optima car and a whooping cash of sixty seven thousand united state dollars ($67,000)

This winning is subject to disqualification if the winner(s) fail to complete their claims processing after 10 working days

Contact our customer care for claims with subject “CLAIMS”
winners@kiapromo.com
TEL: +234 703 875 2704

Any Prize not claimed after 10th April will automatically be forfeited; if you think you are receiving this Mail in Error please contact our help desk for more details on info@kiapromo.com

We’ve seen similar fake promotional emails using BMW, Toyota, Subaru and many other car manufacturers and given that this one has a phone number (+234 703 875 2704) with a Nigeria country code and actually mentions Nigeria in the text, we’re inclined to just call it fraud and quit.

Still, in the name of due diligence we searched the phone number and didn’t really find anything useful. However, the domain “kiapromo.com” turned up a bunch of fraud warnings and an un-configured web site on a sloppily configured server. (This last was determined by actually visiting the domain with a browser. If you don’t have excellent and up to date virus software DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Spammer sites are often infested with malware.)

As a rule of thumb, any email that’s a.) unexpected; b.) “too good to be true” and c.) asks you to contact an “international” contact (phone, email or even snail mail) should deleted. Read the rest of our email fraud posts for more details on how to avoid becoming a scam victim.

Updated 5/21/2010

This one is an example of the “we picked your email address out of a hat” variety:

Subject: ATTENTION TO THE OWNER OF THIS EMAIL ADDRESS

From: “Electronic Award Promo” <e-lot@award.nl>

To: [blank]

ATTENTION TO THE OWNER OF THIS EMAIL ADDRESS

We are pleased to notify you of your Electronic ward for 2.5, million. Details
of your winning prize is as follows;
E-ticket number: 890231AN-333,
Category: A,
Draw: 6756
Amount: 2.5, million Dollars

You may establish contact with the claims Officer via the e-mail address below
with the information’s necessary: Name:, Address:, Phone:, Cell Phone:, Email:,
Alternative Email:, Occupation:, and E-ticket number:
Enquiry officer:Leon Becker, Tel: +31 61 671 0747 Ext; 1000, E-Mail: [
claimrep_becker@yahoo.cn ] NOTE: You are expected to contact the Enquiry Officer
for details of claims.

Anne Jonas.
Promotions Co-ordinator.

All the stuff we mentioned above applies to this one as well.

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