Cybercriminals are once again relying on the fame and reputation of Microsoft in an attempt to trick unsuspecting internet users into handing over sensitive information and various amounts of money.
This particular lottery scam – which arrives via email as a “Micro-soft Sweepstakes Promotion” - is not new.
It started circulating back in 2008. In 2009, the fraudsters changed the name of the company from “Microsoft” to “Microword” and started sending it out once again.
This latest version - which has been hitting the inboxes of many users in the past days - pretends to come from “Micro-Soft Corporations”.
Here’s what the emails look like:
We are pleased to inform you of the release of the long awaited results of Sweepstakes promotion organized by Micro-Soft Corporations, in conjunction with the FOUNDATION FOR THE PROMOTION OF SOFTWARE products, (F.P.S.) held this July 2012, in London.
Where in your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails in the 2nd category and therefore attracted a cash award of £1,000,000.00 Pounds (One Million British Pounds Sterling) and a Toshiba laptop. To begin your claim, do file for the releaseof your winning by contacting our Foreign Transfer Manager with your feed Form Below.
If we compare it to older versions, we notice a number of differences. The amount of money that has been allegedly won is much bigger, and the name of the Microsoft representative and his/her contact details have been changed.
Furthermore, to make it more “realistic” the following line has been added: he Micro-Soft Sweepstakes Internet E-mail Promotion Awards is sponsored by former CEO/Chairman, Bill Gates and a consortium of software promotion companies.
As with all lottery scams, the potential victim is requested to provide information such as name, gender, age, address, phone number and email address.
In the second phase, once they gain the individual’s trust, the con artists request certain amounts of money to be transferred via Western Union, allegedly being needed to complete the transaction.
Microsoft advises internauts to check out this website, which they specifically designed to help users avoid scams that fraudulently use the company’s name.