As I posted previously, I "win" an awful lot of "lotteries" on a daily basis, and I "inherit" insane amounts of money from total strangers I have never heard of, every single day. So do you, most likely.
I thought I would update this blog to announce that my "lottery / inheritance" tally surpassed the Ten Billion dollar mark earlier today. (In US dollars.) That's Billion, with a bold, capital B.
To put that in perspective, I've been keeping my running total (it's right there in the right-hand column of this blog) since November 17th, 2008. That's only 267 days. That means for every single day since then, without fail, I have been either winning or inheriting or otherwise gaining a total of $37,472,423.71 -- EVERY DAY!
Ask yourself: how likely is that in the real world?
Of course: no I have not actually "won" or "inherited" anything. Nor has anyone else. The sad truth is that numerous unwitting individuals (I would use a far less charitable term here than that, but bear with me) fal for these scams on a daily basis. The only reason I see so much of these is that clearly I happen to have email addresses which are on a very poor list, which some Nigerian idiot spammer continues to send these messages to on a daily basis, unaware that perhaps 99.999998% of all recipients are clearly never going to fall for this.
But every month, we all continue to see news stories about apparently normal, bright individuals who have fallen for these criminal scams. I am asbolutely baffled by this, but the fact remains: people are sending their hard-earned cash to anonymous criminal individuals who they have never met, had never heard from before, under the impression that they will "win" or "inherit" the same kind of money I have been on a daily basis.
There have been recent stories covering the unscrupulous Nigerian (or otherwise West-African) scumbags who perpetrate these criminal acts on a daily basis, making a point to mention how much harder it allegedly must be for them now that the economy has taken a turn for the worse. Note this one, for example:
U.S. authorities say Americans -- the easiest prey, according to Nigerian scammers -- lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to cybercrimes, including a scheme known as the Nigerian 419 fraud, named for a section of the Nigerian criminal code. Now financially squeezed, Americans succumb even more easily to offers of riches, experts say.
How, I must ask, is this still possible? It isn't like this is some brand-new type of scam. I've been receiving them - as have most people I know - since at least 1998. I knew by the fourth or fifth one that these were fake, and this was at a time when the criminals behind this used to actually set up fake "bank" websites, and send emails using these custom domains. Those days are long gone.
Anyone receiving a message claiming that they are the "beneficiary" of anything featuring a reply address that is based in Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Live.com, Sify Mail, Excite, Mail.ru, jJail.co.za or Indiatimes.com, let me be frank:
USE YOUR BRAIN!
Does YOUR BANK contact you using any of these services?
Does ANY GENUINE LOTTERY contact you via these means?
Would any REAL LAWYER send you a legitimate message using Yahoo.com?
USE YOUR BRAIN!
Honestly! Everytime I hear another story about some moron victim who spends the better part of eight months continually sending more and more money to a complete stranger, via Western Union, I have to ask myself: how do you people remember to do normal things like drive to work every day? Or vote? Or decide not to drink turpentine every morning?
So to summarize:
The following "lotteries" do not exist, have never existed, and in all likelihood will never exist in the future:
- The Microsoft Lottery
- The Microsoft / Yahoo Lottery
- The Microsoft Mega Jackpot
- The Microsoft Security Department (UK) Euro Afro-Asian Lottery [what?!]
- The Microsoft Email Lottery Award Promotion
- The Microsoft and UK National Lottery
- The National Lottery Powered By The Internet [what?!]
- Golden Neo Life Diamite (GNLD) International Lottery Award [what?!]
- Surf Lottery International
- The UK Free Lotto Sweepstakes
- The UK International Lottery
- Beijing 2008 Olympic Promo Lottery
- Chevron Award Programme
- The Microsoft Email Draw
- Microsoft MSN Award Team
- Microsoft Promotion 2008 / 2009 / any future year
- The Yahoo Lottery
- The Yahoo Lottery Award International Program
- Yahoo International Lottery
- The Yahoo / MSN Lottery
- The Yahoo / MSN Lottery Inc & Windows Live
- The Google Lottery International
- The AOL / Microsoft Mega Jackpot Lotto Winnings Programs
- The Nokia Online Lottery
- The FedEx International Lottery
- The Royal Dutch Shell Awards-International Programs
- Euro Millions Promo Lottery
- The Canada Lottery
- The Canada / UK Lottery
- Canada Lottery / Email Draw Ontario 49
- The National Postcode Lottery (From the Netherlands, every time I see this one)
- The iWin Lottery Promotion Company
- Ecowas Donations 2008 Lottery
- Ecowas Donations 2009 Lottery
- The Glo Mobile Africa Lottery
- The BMW Lottery / BMWLand Lottery
- The Toyota Lottery
- The Lefthanders Lottery [seriously?!]
- The Chevron/Texaco International Online Lottery Promo Programme
- The Email Bonus Lotto
- Electronik Lottery International Email Promotion
- The Sponsor Bingo Lottery Email Sweepstakes Programs [what?!]
- The United Nations Lottery
- The FBI Lottery
- The Coca-Cola Lottery Promotion / Coca-Cola Lottery
- Online Lottery Award Promo Board
- The British International Lottery Promo (See below, however)
- The Asia Power Ball Online Lottery Promo
I've "won" the UK National Lottery the most of all of these, averaging 1.21 million GBP (UK Pounds Sterling) on a daily basis, every single day since Nov. 17th, 2008.
The following lotteries do exist, and they have legitimate websites where you can verify whether you have "won" anything or not (hint: you haven't, not if you've been told you did by anyone sending you a message using any freemail-hosted email address.)
* The UK Lottery [note their lottery scam page, so you can tell for sure that they will never email you.]
Note also: the UK National Lottery is located in (duh) the UK. They do not have any "representatives" anywhere else in the world, and they certainly don't have any representatives anywhere in continental Africa (again: USE YOUR BRAIN!)
* The UK Thunderball Lottery
* Stichting Exploitatie Nederlandse Staatsloterij. But please note: they never, not once, not ever, refer to themselves as the Netherlands National Lottery. It is always the "Staatsloterij", and they also feature a scam warning page, in both Dutch and English. Tell your friends.
Lotteries which I consider questionable since they offer no secure means of registering online:
* The Euro Lottery. It features an insecure registration form and no method of verifying their legitimacy.
Here is some further reading to educate yourself, and others you know. Clearly the word hasn't gotten out well enough or I wouldn't still be seeing any of these messages, and therefore would not also be a ten-Billionaire.
- Associated Press, March 2nd, 2006: Renowned doctor duped in Internet scam
- National Post, March 10th, 2008: Police lay 26 charges in multi-million-dollar Nigerian fraud scheme
- KATU, Portland, OR, November 11th, 2008: Woman out $400K to 'Nigerian scam' con artists
- MSNBC, March 5th, 2009: Nigerian scam continues to thrive
- Hindu.com, August 9th, 2009: Nigerian arrested in email scam
- Branford Expositor, July 30th, 2009: Internet scams costing residents thousands
- Global Post, July 22, 2009: Who's behind those Nigerian email scams?