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Fraudulent Lottery Emails And Common Scams

Jun 9, 2008
Recently I received an email stating that I had won a sum of money in the UK National Lottery. Knowing that I live in the U.S. and play the lottery in the U.S. only, I didn't buy a ticket or ever play in the U.K. Lottery. After further investigation, I found out that receiving these types of emails is a common occurrence.

These are usually scam emails sent out to solicit or phish for personal information from the recipients of the email to be used, most likely, for identity theft purposes. Emails, such as this one that I received, often say Winning Notification or Lottery Sweepstakes Winner or some other derivative of such. These emails may also ask for a payment from you as a down payment to release the funds that are due to you.

They often contain a sense of urgency in the wording of the emails as well, stating that you only have a certain number of days to respond or you lose your winnings. Also, there may be links to other sites. These links may look legitimate because they may contain a real company's name or such information. These links can send you to a dummy site asking for your personal information to update it in their systems, again trying to get your info for identity theft.

They may also simply download key-logging programs that tell the phishers what you type, giving them access to your screen names, passwords, personal information, other information which may include credit card numbers, social security numbers, names, and/or birth dates. These dummy sites may be very hard to differentiate from real ones, so getting the actual website used by the lottery that you actually use, typing it in, and comparing it to the emailed site can be helpful in finding out if the email is real.

Also you may look at the email address that sent it to you. Ask the lottery site that you use what email addresses their notifications will come from, if any, and if it is a different one that you received an email from, chances are that its fake.

Some tips to help protect you from phishing emails:

- Never send any money or fees to claim your prize. If the email is real, you wouldn't be asked to do this.

- Never give your personal or financial information through email or in a claims or verification form.

- Don't click on the links contained in unsolicited emails.

- When you visit a website, always enter the address directly instead of using an embedded link sent to you through an email.

- When setting up accounts with companies, also set up a password to use that verifies that you are who you say you are. This should be a password the company has to use in verifying that they are legitimate. Also a password for you to use verifying that you are who you say you are would be helpful.

The more you verify, the less chance you have to be taken for a fool. Just remember, when things look too good to be true, they usually are. So when you get an email that looks like its from a lottery company and you don't remember playing one, beware. If their email addresses can be found online.
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