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Classic Spam: Winning the Spam Lottery

The bottom line: The bogus lottery/sweepstakes notification is a very old scam that predates electronic mail. It is a form of advance-fee fraud, as you will usually (as in this case) be required to pay some sort of fee before you can claim your "prize."

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery — and, in the case of the message below, my own dreams appear to have come true! Of course, this being a spam lottery, chances are that more money will be leaving my bank account than will be going in, at least if I were to follow up on this news:

Return-Path: <freelotto_award@universia.net.mx>
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  address deleted ; Sat, 15 Jul 2006 19:49:19 -0500 (CDT)
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Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2006 01:37:34 +0100
From: <freelotto_award@universia.net.mx>
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To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Reply-to: freelotto_london@kaixo.com
Message-id: <5c338d5c1219.5c12195c338d@universia.net.mx>
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Dear Winner,

We are please to announce you as one of the 10 lucky winners in the Free Lotto draw held yesterday the 14th July. All 10 winning addresses were randomly selected from a batch of 50,000,000 international emails. Your email address emerged alongside 9 others as category 2 winners in this year's Annual Free Lotto Draw. Consequently, you have therefore been approved for a total pay out of 1,000,000.00 pounds (one million pounds sterling) only. The following particulars are attached to your lotto payment order:

(i) Winning numbers: 37-13-43-85-67-11
(ii) Email ticket number: FL754/22/76
(iii) Lotto code number: FL09622UK
(iv) The file Ref number: FL/04/736207152/UK

Please contact the under listed claims officer via email (freelotto_london@kaixo.com) or fax +448712435310 as soon as possible for the immediate release and payment of your winnings:

Mr. Allison Carl A.
Prize Claim Officer
The Free lotto Company
Fax: +44 8712 435 310
Tel: +44 7040 185 599
Tel: +44 7031 966 638

N.B: Steps to claim your prize

1. Winners must immediately pay a non-deductible amount of 497.00 GBP pounds only as fee before claiming their prize for the processing and handling of award. Note that your prize have been insured to the real value of ?1,000 000.00 pounds hence no deduction can be done.

2. Please quote your Reference number in all correspondence with the claims officer.

3. Winners should send to claim officer account detail or address where they want their prize paid or sent.

4. Winners must send their names, address, and telephone number and means of identification (international passport or drivers' license) to claim officer to process immediate payment of their prize.

Our winners are assured of the utmost standards of confidentiality, and press anonymity until the end of proceedings, and beyond where they so desire. Be further advised to maintain the strictest level of confidentiality until the end of proceedings to circumvent problems associated with fraudulent claims. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program.

Once again on behalf of all our staff, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Diana Hill
Promotions Manager
The FreeLotto Company


The FreeLotto Awards is proudly sponsored by a conglomerate of International IT Companies. The free lotto Internet draw is held once in a year and is so organized to encourage the use of the Internet and computers worldwide. We are proud to say that over 200 Million Euros are won annually in more than 150 countries worldwide.


We also encourage you to visit our website at www.freelotto.com and take your chance to play and become part of our daily winners. Millions are won on a daily basis on one of the world's most famous free lotto service.

This is, of course, the old-fashioned lottery scam dressed up in new electronic-mail clothes. The yellow highlight reveals the not-very-well disguised hook: in order to clam your million-pound prize, you must actually send these guys £497 “only as fee” (I guess not rounding it up to an even £500 makes it sound “official”). And, darn it, it just so happens that this measly 500 quid cannot be deducted from your forthcoming winnings because “your prize have been insured to the real value of ?1,000 000.00 pounds” (whatever the hell that means). If you are unwise enough to send the £497 to the crooks, then — well, I really don’t have to tell you what will happen to it, now do I?

This business of a crook asking you to send a (relatively) small amount of money in order for you to (so says the crook) receive a much bigger amount of money makes this and other lottery scams further examples of the advance-fee fraud, which may be better known to internet users in the far more common guise of the Nigerian 419 scam. In fact, there seem to be some Nigerian perps involved in this particular message as well; certainly the header info, as well as the goofy story, fuzzy details, and overall sloppiness of this mail, suggest that some of the Lads From Lagos may be at work in this particular case:

So, in light of the above points, I decided to pass on this particular £1,000,000 award, secure in the knowledge that I'll get offered another prize of this sort very soon. In the mean time, should you need them, here are some tips regarding online lotteries:

Like most other advance-fee scammers, the lottery folks depend upon the suckers being able to contact them via return e-mail. So, their operations can be greatly hindered if their free-mail providers pull their accounts out from under them based on spam reports made by spam recipients like you and me. In this case, both universaria.net.mx and kaixo.com got notifications of the probable fraudulent use of their services, so let’s hope they acted.

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(c) 2003-2007, Richard C. Conner ( )

05926 hits since March 27 2009

Updated: Sat, 18 Aug 2007