If you receive an “official” email from a foreign lottery “representative” informing you that you’ve just won a ginormous jackpot, think first before you faint. Did you actually buy a ticket from that source? That’s only the first clue that you’ve been baited in an international lottery scam that has been making the circuit for years. Senior citizens are often the prize targets of these scammers, but anyone can fall victim to the enticement of potential prize money; you just have to be pragmatic.
Besides not having actually purchased a lottery ticket, either online or in person, instructions requiring you to pay a fee (particularly via wire transfer) in order for you to collect your alleged winnings should have you hitting the delete key, sending that email directly to the Trash folder. Always remember this rule: If you are required to pay money to receive money, fugetabouit. Read this advice on lottery/sweepstakes scams thoroughly and memorize it or keep it as a handy reference.
Here’s one that has been making the rounds for a few years and which landed in my mailbox recently. This particular scam email purports to come from Lottomatica, an Italian company active in the gaming business:
You have been selected as the Grand recipient of the Global E-Services Reward Program. This entitles you to receive 2.5, million. Particulars of your award information is stated below:
Reference Number: LND-002XX5
E-Service Ticket NO: FFXX08897-13
Amount: 2,500,000.00 USD (Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars)
You are to establish contact with the Enquiry Officer (Sig.Marc Dario) via the e-mail address below with the information’s necessary such as your – Name:, Address:, Phone/Fax:, Cell Phone:,Email:, Alternative Email:,
Occupation:, and E-ticket number:Enquiry officer’s contact details: Sig.Marc Dario, Tel:+39 3896 9180 62,
NOTE: You are expected to contact the Enquiry Officer for details of claims.
There may be an “Elisa Masimo” out there somewhere, but she’s most likely not connected with this scam. A search of her name brings up more references to this particular spam email.
But wait, there’s more! Witness this lottery scam email supposedly from La Primitiva International, Spain’s national lottery. Here’s one I received:
Laprimitiva International – Annual Prize 2013
REF Nº: PHOG/77215047
This mail is to notify you that your Email
gained an award sum of **€615,810.00*Euros
In an Email promotional program held in our company
-La Primitiva International.
Please contact the claim officer with the below given contact information
for the verification and processing of your award.
PROSEGUR SEGURIDAD. S.A.
Mrs Maria Perez Sanchez
Telephone : +34 651 036 503.
Public Relation Officer.
There are quite a few Antonia Beltran’s out there, but none appear to have any connection with this scam (at least, I hope not). However, a search on Spanish lottery scams reveals much…and it ain’t pretty.
And so, in the end, the best litmus test in determining whether or not an offer is a scam: If it sounds too good to be true, it must be too good to be true.