With the development of mass communication there has been a growth in the number of frauds and scams available – many involve supposed lottery wins and not all involve legitimate lotteries such as the UK lottery draw or the European lottery.
There are indeed many global lotteries in which you can win but I have been sent details of a scam involving a fictitious lottery run by Microsoft (thank you, Nelson).
An email is sent out claiming the recipient has won a substantial sum of money in the ‘Microsoft Lottery.’
The winner is then requested to send either personal details (perhaps bank details) or a sum of money as an ‘administration fee’ or similar.
Clearly the fraudsters want either to steal the recipient’s personal details/identity or simply relieve them of money. In some instances victims have supplied the requested details or funds and are then contacted several times in succession with further requests. It would seem that, once a victim has been identified, the criminals see them as an easy target and try to get more.
There is no Microsoft lottery of course and in any case you will never be in a lottery you did not know about. You have to pay money to join a lottery or lottery syndicate in advance. Also none of the legitimate global lotteries will contact winners direct – if you think your ticket has won you a prize, it is up to you to claim the money.
Microsoft themselves issue this advice on their website
: “Microsoft customers are often targets of a scam that uses email messages to falsely promise money. There is no Microsoft lottery. Delete the message. If you have lost money to this scam report it. You can also send the police report to Microsoft and we will use it to help law enforcement catch the criminals who send out these email messages.”
The best general advice is to ignore any emails, letters or telephone calls that are both unexpected and seem too good to be true – even if it seems to be from one of the legitimate global lotteries.
If there is any doubt you can always Google the name of the lottery, look to see if any scams are already reported and check the official website of whichever of the global lotteries is concerned.
Never part with money or details to someone you do not know.
I have been given details of the contacts on one such ‘Microsoft’ email and these might help identify future frauds. Avoid anything using these, even if it apparently comes from one of the global lotteries.
The details on the email were:
Promotion Director: Mrs. Catherine Douglas.