Over the past month or so, two friends of mine have contacted me about emails they have received.
Take note: these are smart people. They are well educated and, well, let’s just say they are as long on the tooth as I. And yet both were asking me to verify the emails they had received about having won some kind of cash prize in an online lottery (click on the image to see the entire letter).
I know what you’re thinking – How could they be so gullible? Right? Well, yes and no. There is no such thing as a free lunch… we all know that. But these letters are very plausible and convincing. In the example featured here, the logic is; this is Google’s way of “giving something back” to their users and getting some goodwill going their way. Look at the argument. You have won as one of Google’s users. And you are a Google user. You use their products all the time – so why wouldn’t they enter you into their draw. And you’ve won, not only £950,000 but also a Google Nexus 10 Tablet. Because when you win £950,000 you don’t want to have to spend a couple of hundred on a tablet.
You also get to be one of Google’s Ambassadors for 2015. So you even get to give back a little, nice touch.
Of course, it is a scam. There are a couple of spelling and grammatical errors which give it away – apart from the obvious – you’re not going to win £950,000 and a Nexus 10 Tablet without actively entering a draw!
Perhaps the biggest flag, however, is the email to which you should send the personal details the letter asks you to send. It is an email on the googlefps.co.uk domain.
A quick check with the Nominet website which administrates the .co.uk domains reveals the owner as one Ronald Moss Michael – and a quick search of his name reveals that in addition to this domain he also owns a bank – well, a website that claims to be a bank – http://lftb.co.uk – who offer their services to pension funds, endowments and charities – as well as a couple of other domain names that have no web presence.
I have little doubt that Ronald sleeps like a baby. After all, in the letter he sends to his winners, he is careful to warn them of the “unscrupulous elements” who may try to somehow trick them out of their rightful winnings.
With email lists being so cheap and the sending of emails free, it is no wonder that scammers will continue to ply their slimy trade. Send out a couple of million emails and get one result – and you’ve probably covered your costs. and they are sending out many, many emails.
Shame on you Ronald. Shame on all scammers.
Until registrars such as Nominet, and email providers decide to take a strong stance against these practices, they will continue to clog the internet. In the meantime just remember, no-one is so lucky that they win a lottery for which they never bought a ticket… oh, and Bill gates isn’t going to send $10 to you just for liking a facebook page.
What are your favourite scam stories? Use the comments to post the best you’ve seen.