Every major event brings new cybercrime activity where people use Social Engineering to try to con you out of your money. One of these never-ending scams is the Nigerian 419 or Advanced Fee Fraud scam, where you are promised a large sum of money and you only have to send a “small” amount to cover the cost of releasing the money and various transaction costs. This has been discussed many times by different people here on WeLiveSecurity.com. Yet people still fall for this, especially in these financially challenging times, despite almost endless stories explaining that it never works and it will cost you money.
On any given day there are several of these scams running around. Recently it was announced that Satya Nadella will be Steve Ballmer’s successor as CEO of Microsoft. Of course for the cybercriminals this is the time to dust off and polish the good old Microsoft Lottery scam and update it. This time French speaking terrestrials (I’m sure they already use more advanced techniques on Mars) are send a nicely formatted e-mail message basically informing the recipient that he has won 250.000 Euro.
Of course to get your prize you have to submit all kinds of details about yourself…
And to make the prize look really authentic, they include a copy of the winning ticket:
If you believe all this, and are all set to claim your prize, before you do perhaps we should examine everything that is wrong with this ehhhh… notification of your prize, starting with the Winning Ticket above.
Did you note the comical misspelling of Bill Gates’s last name “Gate” (twice, though it is spelled correctly in the repetitive orange character background)?
The lottery claims to be sponsored by Microsoft, but the folks at Microsoft would hopefully know that the correct spelling is “Sponsored” and not “Sponsord”.
But this does not appear anywhere on the ticket.
Also, the number below the barcode does not resolve to anything, and neither does the barcode.
And are you really sure that a US –based foundation is giving away a prize in Euros rather than dollars?
The address of the “Bill Gate Foundation” – by the way, its real name is the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” – is, according to the Winning Ticket, here:
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
A look at the real “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” website shows that this is not an address at which the foundation has an office. A search for what is at that address reveals that there is actually a pharmacy there.
It is highly unlikely that you can retrieve 250.000 Euro there with your winning ticket, but if you are living in New York, why not give it a try and let us know how the pharmacist reacts? Especially when you tell him you want it in Euros!
If we then focus on the text of the e-mail, you are requested to send all the information to:
which is an e-mail address at a sports-site in Israel.
Or you can contact “Me Micheatanoh” or “Micheltanoh Me” by telephone at:
Tel: (+223) 72 22 41 64
New York has many area codes, but none of them is 223. As a matter of fact, area code 223 does not even exist in the USA. The + in front of it already indicates it is an international telephone number, which actually turns out to be in Mali…
So summarizing the “prize” you won… You won a prize from a US-Foundation payable in Euros, where the Foundation is located inside a pharmacy in New York, which is not an official address of the Foundation, while your contact has an Israeli e-mail address on a sports- site and a telephone number in Mali, with the facsimile included of the “Winning Ticket” showing many anomalies… Sure thing you won the prize, right? Lucky you! And still people fall for this, and hand over the money!
I did not follow up on this particular scam, though on occasion I do. If I did, I am sure that within a short time I would be congratulated on my win and asked for the (advanced fee fraud) money.
Just let me reiterate what so many of my colleagues on WeLiveSecurity.com have told you before:
If you did not participate in a lottery and you suddenly win a prize in that lottery, or whenever it seems that your good fortune is too good to be true, the chances are that it is, in fact, not true.
Author Righard Zwienenberg, ESET