Did you know that Microsoft's Word application has a lottery? And that they give away huge amounts of money to people simply for having "an active online email account"? This is news to Microsoft, too. If you received an email from "MRS.PATRICIA LAWRENCE" at "MICROSOFT WORD LOTTERY - MSWMEGA JACKPOT LOTTO WINNINGS PROGRAMS" telling you that "your email address won in the second category" or something similar, and to contact "MR. PRINCE FORDHAM" to collect your winnings, it is a scam. Microsoft has never had any lottery (and we're pretty sure they never will). Bill Gates has made that pretty clear. And, while we're on the subject, Microsoft is not, does not, and will not ever send you to DisneyWorld. They don't "test the internet", nor sponsor email lotteries to "promote use of the internet", "to promote the use of email", nor "the use of computers worldwide". Nor do they have lotteries to "promote MS Word" or "the launch of Vista", Hotmail, or other products. No lottery selects winners "using a database of email addresses", or "from websites worldwide", or from "our computer ballot system".
The scammers may change the names and details, but it is still a scam! Don't be an complete imbecile!
Below is the example of the fake email scam (the email is the scam, not any persons or companies named in the email) claiming to be from the "MICROSOFT WORD LOTTERY - MSWMEGA JACKPOT LOTTO WINNINGS PROGRAMS".
Although the most important clue is that no legitimate lottery will ever email a winner, there are many other signs that this is a fraud. We have highlighted some of these in the email below, not the least of which are:
Microsoft does not have or sponsor any lottery.
Email address ballot: There is no such thing as a "computer ballot system" or "computer email draw". No one, not even Microsoft has a database of email addresses of the type or magnitude they suggest.
"No tickets were sold": You care to explain where the money comes from? Perhaps the lottery money fairy? Why would a lottery give away money to "email address randomly selected by a computer ballot draw system"? This is CLEARLY nonsense: you MUST, repeat MUST buy a ticket to have a chance of winning any lottery!
Terrible spelling, punctuation, syntax and grammar - Scammers apparently don't know how to use spell checkers. We assume they dropped out of school before that class. They use almost excessive and random CapItaLiZAtion. They often can't even spell "February" or know that "22th" ought to be "22nd". These scammers usually write at the 3rd grade level. Being non-native English speakers, they also often get first names and surnames (last names reversed), so you will frequently see names like "Mr. SMITH JAMES.", instead of "Mr. James Smith", along with the peculiar usage of periods (full stops) and spaces or the lack thereof. Real lotteries also proofread their emails and look and read more professional.
Using free email account: The scammer is writing to you from a FREE email account (Yahoo, Hotmail, Excite, AIM, Gmail, etc.). Don't you think a real organization would use it's own email, it's own domain and website? Why would Microsoft be writing to you from their competitor's (Google in this case, gmail) email service?
Keep Confidential - Real lotteries THRIVE on publicity - they don't want you to keep anything secret - the publicity causes people to buy more tickets. there is NO risk of "double claiming" because they can validate where the ticket numbers were sold. The scammer want you to keep quiet because they don't want the police or ConsumerFraudreporting to hear about them! It should read: "For our own security, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential until we have finished scamming you!"
Email notification: NO REAL LOTTERY SENDS AN EMAIL TO NOTIFY WINNERS. Period. Full-stop. End of story. There mere fact ALONE that you received an email saying you won a lottery is proof that it is a scam.
Here is a typical scam lottery winning notification.
FROM: THE DESK OF THE E-MAIL PROMOTIONS MANAGER, INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT MICROSOFT WORD LOTTERY,UK 61-70 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, LONDON, United Kingdom, WC1B 4AR DIRECTOR:MR. KENT ANDERSON.
REF NO: MSW-L/200-26937
ELECTRONIC MAIL AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION
!!!CONGRATULATIONS!! !!TO!! !!YOU!!!!!!
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement today of winners of the MSWMEGA JACKPOT LOTTO WINNINGS PROGRAMS held on 8th November 2007.
Your company or your personal e-mail address, is attached to winning number20-12DEC-2004-02MSW, with serial number
S/N-00168 drew the lucky numbers887-13-865- 37-10-83, and consequently won in the first lottery category.
You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of GBP5,500,000.00POUNDS in cash which is approximately $10.4 MILLION US DOLLARS (this amount is excluding credited to file REF NO: MSW-L/200-26937. This is from total prize money of GBP 27,500,000.00POUNDS, shared among the Twenty (5)international winners in this category.
All participants were selected through our microsoft computer ballot system drawn form 21,000 names,3,000 names from each continent, as part ofInternational "E-MAIL" Promotions Program, which is conducted annually for our prominent MS WORD user all over the world, and for the continues use of E-mail.We are sorry to let you know that our site is still under construction, as we are updating our site.
Your fund has been deposited in an escrow account and insured with your REF NO:MSW-L/200-26937 and your E-mail address, Please note that, you are to contact usvian email and not phone as we are promoting the use of E-mail, any communications with this office should be by mail, You have the right to callthe bank, as we will provide you with the necessary details on how to claim your prize. You are to keep your ref. number and batch number from the public,until you have been processed and your money remitted to your account.
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and the act of scamming people of their ref number and prizes. We hope with a part of your prize, you will participate in our year high stakes US$1.3 billion International Lottery.
To claim your winning prize, you must first contact the claims department by email for processing and remittance of your prize money to you.
The claims officer contact email is:
CLAIMS OFFICER :MR. PRINCE FORDHAM
** WINNERS must claim their winning prize before the 27TH OF FEBUARY, 2008. All funds not claimed on or before the fixed date will be penalised accordingly.
THIS SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY THE BENEFICIARY OF THE STATED FUND, FOR VERIFICATION BEFORE TRANSFER.
BENEFICIARY FIRST NAME-------------
BENEFICIARY LAST NAME--------------
DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH------------
NEXT OF KIN NAME AND ADDRESS-------
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in all correspondences with your claims officer. Do not reply any other mails like this on net as they are alot of scam artist out there pretending to be us. You may see mails like this do not reply. Do contact your claims officer MR. PRINCE FORDHAM, at once by email. You will be asked to provide some details to enable us proceed file keeping.
NOTE: YOU ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO KEEP ALL YOUR WINNING CONFIDENTIAL TILL CLAIM IS MADE TO AVOID WRONG CLAIMING.ANY BREACH OF CONFIDENCIAL DISQULIFIES YOU FROMGETTING YOUR PRIZE.
NOTE2: Do not reply this mail. You are to contact your claims officer immediately.
MICROSOFT CO-OPERATIONS UK;MICROSOFT CO OPERATIONS ASIA; MICROSOFT CO-OPERATIONS USA ;AMTRAK COURIER EXPRESS;GLOBAL COURIER EXPRESS.
© copyright 2008 by Microsoft Co-operations United Kingdom. All Rights Reserved.
Click here for the huge list of the names of the currently identified lottery scams companies