Don't be taken in by internet lottery scams

23rd October 2003, Comments 0 comments

On receipt of an email from Dr Brown Mike to say he had won USD 1 million in a mysterious "internet lottery", Cormac Mac Ruairi wasted no time in ringing up to collect his loot.

Editor's Note: Expatica continually receives emails from people who are trying to trace the "company" that has sent an email about a big win in a internet lottery. Be warned — if you supply your banking details you may end up poorer than before your mysterious windfall. Police caution strongly that you should never agree to meet these con artists. "Yes, it is amazing isn't it," the voice on the line from Germany replied as I expressed surprise at winning a lottery that I had never heard of before. (I didn't bother to mention that I had regularly consigned dozens of similar emails to the recycle bin). "You are all just very lucky," the man with an accent replied undaunted when told that two other colleagues have also received emails the same day telling them how to collect their winnings. So, if this isn't a scam, how does it work? "Absolutely, we are genuine. It is an internet lottery, special software picks out the numbers of the winning computers active on the internet," the man said. Really, how does that work?
 Don't be fooled into replying
"The software picks the computer numbers… I don't know… I only work here." Don't worry about it. Can I have my money now? "Sure. Which email did you receive and what is your name?" Doubt At this stage I begin to feel the guy on the other end of the phone isn't even trying. Who ever heard of anyone running a mysterious sweepstakes lottery, with USD 50 million (EUR 43 million) to promote their company? I had just "won" and I still wasn't any clearer about my benefactor who was supposed to be "promoted". And the man on the other end of the line didn't know who I – the winner – was. How many prizes were they awarding? *sidebar1*Why did I have to ring a number in Germany if the "MACOM GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL NETHERLAND SWEEPSTAKES LOTTERY AND PROMOTION" is based in Washeet Straat in Amsterdam. (The capitals and the incorrect spelling of the Netherlands come from their email.) I must confess in my eagerness I forgot to mention my strong suspicion — supported by maps of the city — that there is no Washeet Straat. Back to the email: "your company/individual name attached to the ticket numbers 1001-58255563-2285 with serial number 8888/03 drew from the lucky numbers 02-22-00-66-99-85, which consequently won the lottery in the TWO category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of US 1 million in cash credited to file SWD/5333/00128/03UAD". Killer blow This sounds great except for one minor detail: It does not make any sense. After about 10 minutes on the phone, I deliver what I thought would be the killer blow. Is Macon in any way connected to the internet lottery company in Eindhoven? "No." Are you sure? "Absolutely, we are an independent company." I'm just asking because this is the third time this month that I have won. I think I will buy a yacht with this million dollars to go with the mansion and the wife with big breasts I bought with the three million in winnings from the Eindhoven company. "What a good idea! (Chuckles) Just send us your details so we can deposit the money into your account… and remember due to the mix up of some numbers and names, please keep this top secret until your claims has been processed." When I continued to ask that he send me a cheque, he assured me Dr Brown would ring me shortly. I am still waiting for the good doctor's call and for my cash. The conversation was good for a laugh, but the people and rationale behind such lottery-win emails are far from a joke.

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