If it looks too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true. You are invited to claim the winnings from a lottery that you can't remember entering, you are told that you are the long lost relative of someone you've never heard of, or you are asked to help transfer a large sum of money to a local bank, with a percantage cut to go to you.
Below, I'll reproduce some of the emails that I have received that are attempting to corale me into some devious scheme - perhaps as simple as getting me to give up my bank details so that I can have my identity stolen, or perhaps as a first step to persuading me to make payments to release much more massive funds which aren't (and never have been) in some foreign bank.
Standard advise ... do NOT reply to these emails.
FROM: THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARDS DEPARTMENT
AUSTRALIAN LOTTERY INC.
We are delighted to inform you of your prize release on the
31st of December 2008 from the Australian International Lottery
Program with the following information:
Winning Numbers 1 2 26 30 40 21
Which is fully based on an electronic selection of winners
using their e-mail addresses.Your name was attached to ticket
number; 575061725 8056490902/188 serial number 6741137002
This batch draws the lucky numbers as follows: 11-13-26-34-44-48
bonus number 17,which consequently won the lottery in the
You hereby have been approved a prize of FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND GREAT BRITISH POUNDS (£500,000.00GBP) in cash credit
file ref: ILP/HW 47509/02 from the total cash prize shared
amongst eight lucky winners in this category. All participants
were selected through a computer balloting system drawn from
Nine hundred thousand E-mail addresses from Canada, Australia,
United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa as part of
our international promotions program which is conducted annually.
This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by a conglomerate of
some multinational companies in the world as part of their
social responsibility to the citizens in the communities where
they have operational base. Further more your details(e-mail
address) falls within our African representative office in
Nigeria, as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of
FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND GREAT BRITISH POUNDS (£500,000.00GBP)
will be released to you from our African regional branch
bureau in NIGERIA.
We hope with part of your prize, you will participate in our
end of year high stakes for 0.5 Billion UK POUNDS international draw.
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE: Simply fill the form below and send
to our Regional Claims Agent:
REGIONAL CLAIMS VERIFICATION OFFICE
CONTACT NAME: MR. CARL ROY
TEL:+234-803 666 9213
LOTTERY WINNER`S APPLICATION FORM
To file for your claim, Please quote your Date of draw, Reference
Number, Batch Number and Winning Number, which can be found on
the top-left corner of this message. Also, you should give in
your telephone number to help locate your file easily.For
security reasons, we advice all winners to keep this information
confidential from the public unt il you r claim is processed
and your prize has been released to you. This is part of our
security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarran ted
taking advantage of this program by non-participant or
Note, all winnings MUST be claimed on or before the 14days of
notification, otherwise all funds will be returned as Unclaimed
and eventually donated to charity.
Congratulations once again on your winning!
ALSO ENSURE YOU TYPE THE E-MAIL ADDRESS CORRECTLY TO ENSURE
SAFE & QUICK MAIL DELIVERY/RESPONSE;ANY BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY
ON THE PART OF WINNERS WILL RESULT TO DISQUALIFICATION.
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL. CONTACT YOUR CLAIMS AGENT AT:
You must be 16 or over to play or claim a prize
Mrs. Adam Rose
You'll note the request that you should not tell anyone (as almost anyone you told would tell you than you are being fed a porkie!) and that the office for claim happens to be in Nigeria, which is the most famous hotspot for such scams.
Dear Email owner,
The Board of Directors and the International Promotion Department
of the Euro Million Intl, wishes to congratulate you on your
success for being one of the 8 LUCKY EMAIL CHRISTMAS STAR prize
winner of 1,100,000.00(euros) in our CEYLP(CHRISTMAS END OF
YEAR LOTTO PROMO) program. This notice will come to you as a
suprise,The results of the 2008 electronic online email
sweepstakes is out,and your email ID won 1,100,000.00 euros
in the category A, attached to Qualification EF/039/RAC.
This is a random Computer Game in which all participants were
selected through a ballot system drawn from over 500,000
companies and 10,000,000 Individual email ID?s from all over
the world.It is a program aimed at encouraging Internet users
hence no ticket sold. We request you pay attention to this
notice and follow,the procedures to claim your prize. Call
and email your Qualification number,full names,phone number,
mobile,occupation and contact address to the paying finance
CAJA FINANCE ESPANA S.L
Tel:+34 608 526 311
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE:YOU ARE TO KEEP ALL INFORMATIONS FROM PUBLIC AS WE WILL
NOT ENTERTAIN CASES OF MULTIPLE CLAIMS PROCESSING BE WARNED.
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR IN ADVANCE!!
REPLY TO: email@example.com
QUALIFICATION NUMBER: EF/039/RAC.
Once again, you'll see the "keep this secret" tag ...
Then there are those "please help me launder a few million pounds because I am dying" messages:
Message from Mrs. Monica
I am Mrs. Monica Baru from Sierra Leone. I am a widow with a
chronic renal insufficiency case, a kidney disease and I am
presently putting up in a guest house with my son here in
Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire.
I want to inform you of an urgent assistance I need from you.
My late husband deposited the sum of $ 9,750,000.00 million (Nine
million seven hundred and fifty thousad US dollars) with a
Bank here in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa before his death while
in service as a general in the Army in my home country, but
before his death, while he was in the hospital, he reviewed
me about a deposit of above fund in the bank and asked me to
leave for Abidjan and source an Investor Abroad who will help
me and our only remaining son in transferring this money to
his/her bank account for investment, since our country Sierra
leone is no longer save for our staying.
Because of my ill health, I am mostly bedridden in the hospital
on renal dialysis, this is a system of artificially doing/performing
the functions of the kidneys. By this, the excess toxic waste
products in my blood are washed out. All my communication now
with you is through the help of my son (Kingsley) . He has the
details of what I have briefed you. If you are willing to help
us, reply with your telephone number, so that my son will call
you for more clerifications to you orally on the telephone.
In conclusion, I and my son have decided to compensate you for
your humanly assistant with $975,000 after confirmation of this
money in your account for a joint business investment with you.
Hope to hearing from you urgently.
Mrs. Monica Baru and son (Kingsley)
If you won't help a dying woman, should you help one who claims to have God on her side? I wouldn't risk it!
From Mrs. Jessie castor
ENDEAVOR TO USE IT FOR THE CHILDREN OF GOD.
I am the above named person from Czech Republic. I am married
to Mr. Jeffery castor who worked with Czech Republic embassy
in Egypt for nine years before he died in the year 2006.
We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after
a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death
we were both born again Christians. Since his death I decided
not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which
the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited
the sum of 7.2 Million Dollars (seven Million two hundred thousand
United State Dollars) with a Bank.
Presently, this money is still with the Bank Recently, My Doctor
told me that I would not last for the next three months due to
cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my stroke
sickness. Having known my condition I decided to donate this
Fund to church or better still a Christian individual that will
utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in. I want
a church that will use these funds to fund churches, orphanages
and widows propagating the word of God and to ensure that the
house of God is maintained. The Bible made us to understand that
blessed is the hand that gives. I took this decision because
I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my
husband relatives are not Christians and I don't want my
husband's hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers.
I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an
Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid
of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going
to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the
lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace. I don't need
any telephone communication in this regard because of my health
and because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me
always. I don't want them to know about this development.With
God all things are possible.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of
the Bank, I will also issue you a letter of authority that will
prove you as the original- beneficiary of this Fund. I want you
and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd.
My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever
that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and truth.
Please always be prayerful all through your life. Any delay in
your reply will give me room in sourcing for a church or Christian
individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you
will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to hear from you.
I have set aside 20% for your assistance and for your time and 10%
for any expenses if there is any. Remain blessed in the name of the
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Jessie castor
I think that Mrs Castor has the wrong end of the stick there - twice over. Firstly, I wouldn't exactly be the best candidate to be doing the will of God for her as I'm not exactly a believer, and secondly she's got a very strange idea of God if she feels that he wants her to launder the money in this way.
Here's a nice short one.
Contact Mr.Richard Carpenter(firstname.lastname@example.org)
for the claims of £1,200,000.00 GBP in the UK Electronics
Award 2008.Claims information: Fullname,Occupation,Nationality,
Quick Phishing trip for personal details. Phone number that looks like a UK one but is actually a personalised number, so that anyone who calls it will be diverted - at the caller's expense, to Mr "Carpenter" who probably lives half a world away.
And (but there will be plenty more) another fishing trip ... isn't it odd that a bank manager has to be contacted through a gmail account ;-)
From: Mr. & Mrs. Emmanuel Annan:
How are you today? We hope all is well with you and your family.
It?s really disturbing that you remained silent all these while. We have tried
to reach you without success. Didn?t you receive our previous emails? Well, we
are pleased to inform you that we have successfully completed the pending
transaction and transferred the funds to Ukraine through the
co-operation of new
partners from Ukraine but we did not forget your past efforts in assisting us
transferring the funds despite that it failed us.
However, before we left Ghana to Ukraine, we made a cash Safe Custody
deposit of ($3m) with HFC Bank and have decided with our new partners to use the funds to
compensate you for all your past efforts so that we can share our joy together
and also to help you start a new life. We instructed Mr. James Michael the
Manager of HFC Bank (Ghana) Ltd, to process a bank to bank wire
transfer of the
funds to your bank account with immediate effect.
As a matter of fact, all the copies of the legal authorization clearance
documents which our new partners obtained during the bank transfer to Ukraine
are all intact with Mr. Michael so that he will transfer the funds to your
chosen bank account without any hitch. Therefore, quickly get in touch
Michael through the contact information below and request for the
to bank wire transfer of the funds to your account.
Mr. James Michael
Manager, HFC Bank Ltd.
Ring Road South East
Industrial Area Old
Fadama Road Accra, Ghana.
Please do not hesitate to pay back the loan you took and all the people you
borrowed money from at that time once you confirmed the funds in your account.
We might not be contacting you soon because we would be traveling to Japan and
China with our new partners for our investment projects. Thus, quickly
contact with Mr. Michael so that you will receive your compensation funds in
your account within (3) three banking working days.
Please do inform us through email as soon as you confirmed the funds in your
Take care and remain blessed.
Mr. & Mrs. Emmanuel Annan.
Here's the direct approach - and shouted at you too:
I DID NOT HEAR FROM YOU SINCE FOR YOUR CONFRMABLE CHECK OF $900, 000, 00 THOUSAND USD WHICH I KEPT FOR YOU, I WENT AND DEPOSTED IT WITH SPEEDWAY COURIER SERVICE, SO CONTACT THEM.
P.R.O: MR.PATRICK MEKOH
I PAID FOR THE DELIVERING CHARGES EXCEPT THEIR SECURITY KEEPING FEE OF 260 USD WHICH THEY SAID NO BECAUSE THEY' T KNOW WHEN YOU WILL CONTACT THEM IN CASE OF DEMURRAGE. SO YOU ARE TO PAY THE $260 AS SOON AS YOU CONTACT THEM.
PLEASE SEND TO HIM YOUR PERSONAL CONTACT
1, FULL NAME.................
2, DELIVERY ADDRESS........
3, PHONE NUMBER...........
PRINCE ALEX ANDERSON
And a direct request for $260 - so you can start to see what these folks really want!
See also What is Phishing?
Pressure selling in the fire safety business - (2016-02-19) 
A booking that looks too good to be true? It probably is too good to be true! - (2015-01-05) 
Youve Been Selected for the 2012 Edition of the Global Registry - (2012-09-16) 
Direct Message: Really horrible blog about you ... a clever phishing trip, said to be from an MP - (2011-10-14) 
Pay and refund scam - alive and kicking against Melksham businesses - (2011-05-16) 
Clickjacking - another way to get you to follow a malicious link - Facebook issue - (2011-03-29) 
Not mugged in London! - (2010-10-08) 
Global Computer Maintenance Department - (2010-07-29) 
The World Company Register - is it another scam? - (2010-03-23) 
An update on legal changes from the FSB? - (2009-12-03) 
Hotel Booking Scam / Cost of calls to 070 numbers - (2009-09-12) 
Translation from Ghanaian to English - (2009-08-23) 
What have iTime, honeytrapagency and domain listing center got in common? - (2008-09-12) 
Ken Palm, iTime, and Domain Name Tasting - (2008-08-25) 
Astroturfing - the online definition - (2008-06-17) 
Google, wwmdirectory, Freshwater, ATP - new scam? - (2007-09-09) 
Tratum Technologies - (2007-08-21) 
Warning - false emails, said to be from Paypal - (2006-09-09) 
Frightening and from-friend viruses and spams - (2005-06-14) 
Calling a spade a spade - (2005-01-15) 
Domain Registry of America - (2004-10-07)resource index - Deployment
Solutions centre home page
You'll find shorter technical items at
The Horse's Mouth
delegate's questions answered at
At Well House Consultants, we provide
subjects such as Ruby, Lua, Perl, Python, Linux, C, C++,
Tcl/Tk, Tomcat, PHP and MySQL. We're asked (and answer)
many questions, and answers to those which are of general
interest are published in this area of our site.