Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ingenious, but...

Now this took some ingenuity:

Not long ago I received this e-mail at my workplace. It purports to be from one m_cliford107@yahoo.co.uk, to a semadco@semadco.com, with me as the BC recipient:

It is our pleasure to inform you that you have emerged as a Category "A" winner of the International Premier Lotto United Kingdom.


You are entitled to a prize sum of Four Million Five Hundred Thousand British Pounds; Reference number for your prize is PILS/SA/UK/69-810278, ticket number A/04-3919.

As a category A winner, you have been selected from a total number of Twenty Five Thousand names drawn from Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East and America.
After the computer ballot of our International Promotions Program, only six winners emerged in the category and therefore both are to receive payouts of Four Million Five Hundred Thousand British Pounds from the total Twenty Seven Million British Pounds for second category winners.

This is part of the Country's Programme to fund for the Olympic Games in 2012 The £1.5bn Olympic lottery puzzle (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4719851.stm)
The Lottery must raise £1.5bn over the next seven years to pay its share of the
public money going into the Olympics.

A further £650m will be raised from council tax in London and another £250m from the London Development Agency, while similar sums will be raised from ticket sales, marketing, sponsorship and the sale of television rights.

Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon. In view of this, your £4,500,000 Four Million and Five Hundred thousand British Pounds will be released to you by any of our payment offices in Europe.

To immediately collect your prize, please contact our Category "A" financial handlers with information below:

Mr. Richard Spencer
Premium Finance & Trust Ltd
United KingdomEmail : ricsp2006@accountant.com
Tel: +44-703-590-1074
Fax: +44-87-1239-7031

Provide prize reference number-PILS/SA/UK/69-810278 and winning ticket number-A/04-3919 for confirmation.

In your best interests, you must initiate contact within one week of receipt of this correspondence. You are also advised to send a copy of this Email, either by fax or email, to your financial handler Mr. Richard Spencer when contacting him.

You are to keep all lottery information from the public as we will not entertain cases of multiple claims processing or compromise the privacy and security for all winners.

We congratulate you once again and it is our hope that you participate in any of our international programs in the nearest future.

Thank your sincerely,

Mrs Veronica Mallory
The lottery Coordinator,
International Premier Lotto United Kingdom
Great Surry House
203 Black Friars Road,
London SE 1 8NH

Pretty cool, no? As these spam “prizes” go, this one is fairly convincing—indeed, if one follows the link in the e-mail, one is taken to an honest-to-gosh BBC article about the lottery…not about my winning the lottery, mind, but about the inauguration several years ago of the lottery, designed to help fund the 2012 Olympics.

Of course, despite the apparent cleverness of the spammers, there are--even beyond the too-good-to-be-trueness of it all--a few red flags:

  • Doesn’t one ordinarily have to enter a lottery in order to win it? My local 7-11 doesn’t seem to sell UK lottery tickets.
  • Why is the original e-mail addressed to some third party if I’m the supposed winner? Does it make any sense to have the “winner” addressed via the blind-copy field?
  • Would the real lottery commission be using a Yahoo address for official correspondence?
  • Why doesn’t the sender’s alleged address (m_cliford107@yahoo.co.uk) not match the name on the notification (Mrs Veronica Mallory)?
  • Ordinarily one expects to see “Surrey” and not “Surry” in British connotations. A Google search of the address (203 Black Friars Road) brings up hits for several apparently legitimate businesses at Great Surrey (not Surry) House, 203 Blackfriars (not Black Friars) Road. However, the SE 1 8NH part seems to be correct.
  • "Thank your sincerely"? What kind of a complimentary close is that? That your sincerely what?

And so—“E” for effort but, alas, no sale. Perfection remains something to be striven for.

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