Saturday, 08 November 2008

How to win the Canadian lottery

As you sift through your mail one morning you come across an email from Canadian International Lottery. The mail contains the following information:

"From: Mrs. Susan Davies

Canada Lottery-Soccer World Cup 2010 Promotional Draw

1550 Princess Street Kingston, ON, Canada, K7M 9E3

Tel/Fax: +1-702-447-9499

You are hereby informed about your winning notification which is attached to this mail as a file. Download the attached file to view your Winning Notification. However, you are expected to follow the instructions as stated in the Notification.

Thanks for your anticipated cooperation.

Mrs. Susan Davies (Secretary Canada Lottery Board)"

The poor sentence construction and winnings notification should already make you suspicious. You have no recollection of having entered the Canadian Lottery.

Nevertheless, you download the attachment. It begins as follows:

"Attention: Customer AFRSA680

Ref: EAAL/851OYHI/07

Batch No. Lotto 6/49


The Canadian Government sponsors this lottery for the promotion of the 2010 Soccer World cup to be hosted in South Africa. We happily announce to you the draw of the Euro-Afro-American Sweepstake Lottery International Programs held on the Sat. Sep 20 2008 in Essex United Kingdom and Ontario Canada. Your e-mail address attached to Ticket Number: B956475604545 100, with Serial Number 46563760 drew the winning numbers 2 /10 /24 /31 /33 /49 / with a bonus number 3, for LOTTO 6/49 under the choice of the lottery in the 2nd category of daily three.

You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 820,000.00 (Eight Hundred and Twenty Thousand British Pounds) in cash credited to file number EAAL/9080118308/07. This is from a total cash prize of 11,100, 000.00 Million Pounds, shared amongst the first One Hundred and-thirty (130) lucky winners in this category Worldwide. Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our Afro booklet representative office in Africa as indicated in your play coupon, because this particular draw was selected to promote the 2010 World Cup to be hosted in South Africa hence your winning information must be kept to enable you participate in our subsequent draws which will see 500 participants traveling on an all expense paid trip to South Africa for the Soccer World Cup 2010. In view of this, your 820,000.00 (Eight Hundred and Twenty Thousand British Pounds) would be released to you byan accredited commercial Bank in South Africa. Our African agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact our African Agent's office."

The mail looks quite plausible at first site. The site refers to to check the winning numbers. Follow the links to the 6/49 lotto results for September 20th and lo and behold, the winning numbers are exactly as stated in the mail.

What are the clues to suggest that this is a scam? The first is that you have not entered the Canadian Lotto. Even if you have, the numbers on your ticket are not the same as those in the mail.

Can you really believe that "All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draws system and extracted from over 10,000,00 companies and personal e-mails" as the notification continues. Who has paid for these tickets?

Lotto tickets are not handed out for free to random email addresses. Not ever. The mail warns you to keep your winnings confidential until you have received your money. If you tell someone else they may suggest that this is a scam.

There are other rather strange facts quoted in the mail:

The funds will be remitted through a South African bank.

The contact details contain a South African email address and South African phone numbers.

There is at least one spelling error and why should the Canadian Lotto have an African Agent?

Why would the Canadian Lottery make payments through a South African bank and provide South African phone numbers and email addresses? Why is the prize money stated in British pounds instead of Canadian dollars?

The official Lotto 649 site provides the following advice:

"Some Advice Regarding Lottery Tickets

1) Always Sign Your Ticket Immediately!

2) NO Lottery Commission will send you an email telling you that you have won.

3) NO Lottery Commission will call you by phone to tell you that you have won.

4) NO Lottery Commission will ask you for money by email or over the phone.

5) Be Alert - Keep the Above in Mind!"

Read through the letter carefully. It is full of grammatical errors and poor English. An official notification would be much more professional!

Lotteries thrive on publicity, yet you are asked to keep your winnings secret. Especially from the fraud squad.

Look at the email addresses. This scam has genuine looking addresses, but many scams provide hotmail or yahoo addresses. A genuine notification would never have a free Internet email address.

If you still have doubts and think (or hope) that the email maybe authentic and that you stand to win a fortune, then cut and paste the email heading into a Google search engine. The results will leave you with little doubt. The first result reads "Scam Lotteries: Canada Lottery-Soccer World Cup 2010 Promotional Draw".

The site provides details of how to report the scam. Reporting scams helps to trace the criminals responsible.

Do not contact the scammers under any circumstances. If you do, you will be asked to provide your bank details and your signature. This will be used to empty your bank account. You may be asked for a "facilitation fee". You could even be induced to travel to meet the representative, resulting in kidnapping.

I received this email this morning. I have previously "won" the Irish Lotto and the Euro Lotto without buying a ticket! No doubt more will follow. If only these scams were true! I would really love to be a multi-millionaire.

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