People are reporting receiving the email copied below informing them that they are one of seven people who have won a huge cash prize through a non-existent program described as the United Nations Poverty Alleviation Program. The idea behind this scam is simple and one that has been used many times previously. You are told, as with the Nigerian letter scam or phony lottery scams, that you have won or inherited a large amount of money. At first you are told that there are no fees involved, but as your communications with the scammer increase, you are asked time and time again for money under various guises, such as necessary fees or administrative costs. Ultimately, you receive nothing.
As scam emails go, this one is not particularly good and has a myriad of indications that it is a scam. It purports to come from Western Union, but even though it carries a legitimate looking Western Union logo, the email address is that of someone whose email account has been hacked and made a part of a botnet to send out massive amounts of these emails. In addition, the email is directed to “Dear Beneficiary” rather than your real name. As with many other scams that may originate in foreign countries, the grammar is quite poor.
It is hard to win a contest or lottery you enter. It is impossible to win one that you have never entered. Whenever you receive such an email, you should be immediately skeptical. It is also important to remember that no legitimate lottery will ever ask you for fees or administrative costs to claim your prize. In addition, while income taxes are owed on lottery winnings, no lottery collects them from you. They either deduct taxes from your prize or leave it to you to pay the taxes to the IRS.