Today’s Scam of the day again comes from my own email although I am sure many of you have received the same email. It appearsto inform me that I have won a huge prize in a lottery sponsored by Microsoft. Lottery scams are among the most prevalent scams year after year and with good reason. People, often blinded by their greed, fall for these scams and end up paying thousands of dollars to scammers and receive nothing in return. Generally, there are two ways that phony lotteries work. Either you are told that in order to claim your prize, you must pay administrative fees or income taxes to the lottery sponsor. In both cases, victims pay money to the phony lottery sponsors and never see a dime. Here is a copy of the email that I received.
“Dear Cash Winner,
Your e-mail address was selected and confirmed by our co-sponsor Microsoft International, through their latest internet software. You have therefore been approved by Microsoft® Corporation UK the sum of £3.6 Million POUNDS (THREE MILLION, SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS). These funds are in cash, Credited to a valid cashier’s check, with a winning Reg. No. MCIMJ: 36925/0751 and payment ID mast/isd/04-15. Be informed that your prize has been insured and ready for pay out to you. You are to contact your assigned claims officer below with your required information’s:
Name: Sergey Alexandro
Claims Verification Department.
Microsoft® Liaison Office”
The first tip off that this is a phony lottery is that the email address sending me the email is that of an innocent individual whose email was hacked and made part of a botnet to send out such phony lottery emails. The email address shows no relationship to either Microsoft or any lottery. The second thing to remember is that it is difficult to win a lottery you enter. It is impossible to win one that you never even entered. Finally, in regards to administrative fees, no legitimate lottery will ask you to pay for administrative fees in order to collect your prize and while it is true that income taxes are due on lottery winnings, those taxes are either deducted from your winnings and paid directly by the lottery sponsor on your behalf to the IRS or the entire winnings are paid to you and it is your responsibility to pay the income taxes to the IRS. No legitimate lottery collects income taxes on behalf of the IRS.