Protect Yourself and Report the Latest Frauds, Scams, Spams, Fakes, Identify Theft Hacks and Hoaxes
Have you received an email from "John McCarthy Esq" at "Microsoft Awards Center" telling you that "Your Email ID has won" in the 2009 End of year "Microsoft Splash Awards" or "your email address won in the second category" or something similar, and to contact "Mr. James Andrew in London" to collect your winnings? It is a scam.
Did you know that Microsoft has a sweepstakes in which they randomly give away money to people whose email addresses Microsoft magically "collected"? This is news to Microsoft, too. It is a scam.
Microsoft has never had any sweepstakes (and we're pretty sure they never will). Bill Gates has made that pretty clear. Their motto is most definitely NOT "Fighting Poverty Around the World".
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", to reward users, nor "to promote 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 completely gullible!
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 Awards Center".
Although the most important clue is that there is NO Microsoft sweepstakes, lottery or any other giveaway, 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:
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.
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 Microsoft would write to your from and have you reply to an address "@Microsoft.com"?
Keep Confidential - Real sweepstakes and lotteries THRIVE on publicity - they don't want you to keep anything secret - the publicity causes people to enter or buy more of their products. 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!"
Require the winner to pay - U.S. federal law prohibits sweepstakes from charging you for anything, not "delivery", couriers, taxes, fees, handling charges, or anything else!
Here is a typical scam sweepstakes winning notification.
MICROSOFT AWARDS CENTER
124 Stockport Road , Longsight, Manchester M60 2DB - United Kingdom
Your Email ID has won One Million Great Britain Pounds (£1,000,000.00) in the 2009 End of year Microsoft Splash Awards (INT'L) promotion Emails ID Draw organized by Window live & Yahoo and few from other e-mail providers
To claim your prize contact Mr. James Andrew in London by this Email (email@example.com) TEL: 44 703 174 9721 and also furnish him with the followings for your claim.
Name (in Full) :
Amount Won: £1,000,000.00
Ref Number: 2008234522
Batch Number: MFI/08/APA-43658
Winning No: 01 14 21 30 35 48
We wish you the best of luck as you spend your good fortune in this season.
Yours in service,
Dr. (Mrs.) Joy Smith (Publicity Secretary)
JOHN McCarthy AND ASSOCIATES
75B Redditch Road , Kings Norton Birmingham, B38 8QS, Birmingham , UK , Principal Contact: JOHN McCarthy
Tel: +44 703 174 1934
Attention <your name appears here>
I charges you £2350 pounds and as you to pay 350 pound as part payment to swear affidavit on your behalf to get clearance from the national lottery commission/Management Board that will be present to the Ministry of finance as well as the British Revenue Services for them to authorized the bank to pay your winning amount to you. When the money gets into your account then you can pay me off the balance of 2000 pounds this was my agreement with you.
The bank said that Before your winning amount will be credit into your account I have to sign the Fund Release Order paper on your behalf as your legal representative (Attorney) with Mandatory Endorsement Fee (MEF) and Cost of Transfer (COT) which is Total of £889.84 pounds in South Africa Rand (10,800 ZAR ).
This fee has to be paid to enable me sign the fund release documents for immediate transfer of your One Million Pounds into your account. The bank will not make any transfer into your account if I did not sign the fund release order with the fee required from you.
Once the fee is paid, I will sign on your behalf and with 24 hours your winning amount will be right in your account. This is the bank (Banking regulation and proceedings) can not change it.
The said fee £889.84 pounds could has taken out from your One Million Pounds winning amount but due to that your winning amount has undergone insurance coverage policy, No deduction of cent till you have it in your account in South Africa.
When this fee is paid then I will sign the fund release order paper for the bank to transfer your winning amount into your account then they will issue to me the Telex Transmission transfer/deposit slip which I will send to you by attachment.
So urge you to go and pay the fee through our fiduciary account coordinator in South Africa. You have to make the payment in your local currency (10,800.ZAR) into this account below.
BANK NAME: ABSA BANK
ACCOUNT NO: 9210025380
BRANCH CODE: 632005
send to by attachment the deposit slip which I will forward to our fiduciary account coordinator in South Africa to confirm to us of the payment then I will proceed to the bank make the payment in your reference and sign the fund release order for immediate transfer of your winning amount.
I will send to you by attachment or fax the Telex Transmission transfer/deposit slip issued from the bank as a proof that your fund has been transfer once the signing of the fund release order is done by me. Do get back to me immediate you get this mail.
I await your response.
John McCarthy Esq