Protect Yourself and Report the Latest Frauds, Scams, Spams, Fakes, Identify Theft Hacks and Hoaxes
Have you received an email from "KAREN PETERSON" at "BRITISH TOBACCO ONLINE PROMO" saying you won their promotion or lottery promo and to contact "Mr. ALBERT GREGORY" to collect your winnings? It is a scam. And don't get too excited if the names are different; the scammers make many versions of this scam!
It is actually a very simple scam. They claim you won a promotion, which is giving away millions of dollars based on a randomly selected email address. The scam is obvious: it's simply preposterous to think that any company would give money away randomly to encourage you to buy their product. That would be self-defeating.
Although the most important clue is that no legitimate lottery, and almost no legitimate sweepstakes or promotions will 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:
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.
Using free email account: The scammer is writing to you from a FREE email account (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.). Don't you think a real organization would use its own email, its own domain and website? Wouldn't they want to promote that?
Keep Confidential - Real promotions THRIVE on publicity: that's the purpose of them! They don't want you to keep anything secret - the publicity causes people to buy their product. 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!"
What are they promoting? No one promotes "world peace" or "use of the internet" by handing out millions to random strangers. And if they are promoting a product or a lottery, then this must be the world's worst promotion, because no one has heard of it, outside of the email you just received. Just giving away money to random people who have an email address wouldn't promote a darn thing! It is a scam!
Pay a fee to collect the prize: Nope, it is illegal for free sweepstakes and promotions to charge you ANYTHING! Of course, in a scam, that is the whole point: to get you to send money to the scammer.
It is a typical scam promotion sweepstakes winning notification. Also see these pages:
From: "BRITISH TOBACCO ONLINE PROMO" < email@example.com >
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 6:03 PM
This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of $1,500,000 in the International programs held on the 26th of March 2007 in London Uk.The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection system(s) from a database of over 250,000 mail addresses drawn from all the continents of the world.To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact our executive claims officer vian email;
Mr. ALBERT GREGORY.
Fudiciary Agent/Payment Officer.
1. Name in full,