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‘Millionaire’ E-mail Scam Taking Rounds

Sophos' security experts have sent out an alert of e-mail scam based on the popular TV show "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" The e-mail announces that the recipient has won a lottery prize of 800,000 pounds (US $2,000,000) that the show itself is the organizer of the lottery and they wish to award the prize money to a chosen member of the public.

The e-mail also tells recipients to use a yahoo.co.uk e-mail address for contacting. It also provides two U.K. 070 phone numbers to facilitate recipients get in touch either via telephone or fax. The e-mail further asks the claimant to reply with his personal information to enable transfer of the winnings to his address.

In reality, this scam has nothing to do with the makers of the popular TV show, rather criminals have structured it to exploit the vulnerable people, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. The e-mail could be declaring to offer a fortune of wealth but the scammers working the scheme don't intend it that way. The chances that this unsolicited lottery notification is genuine are far less than 50:50. Cluley says no phone call is as trustworthy for the grand announcement to happen.

In the views of Cluley the British authorities need to take action against the countrywide use of 070-telephone number by promoters of e-mail scam. Criminals are digging these free personal phone numbers, even redirecting them offshore and using them to rob British public off their money and private confidential information.

The 070 numbers of U.K. are the second most frequently used telephone numbers in lottery scam after similar telephone numbers of the U.S. These 070 numbers look like cell phone numbers but are easy to redirect to any number at any place in the world. Moreover, it is free to acquire these numbers, as the caller has to pay the charges to use them.

The Internet scammers easily carry out their malicious activities through some throwaway numbers to steal bank accounts and commit identity theft. These readily available free numbers have pushed Britain to a disreputable position in the scam chart, says Cluley.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 01-02-2007

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