Emails entitled “Congratulations you are a winner,” apparently coming from Facebook’s “desk of the president,” attempt to trick users into thinking that they’ve won an impressive amount of money in the Facebook Online International Lottery.
According to Hoax Slayer, the emails urge recipients to reply to the message and provide their name, address, mobile number, occupation, marital status, age, country, nationality, email address and other information.
While this type of information might not seem valuable, this is just the first phase of the scheme and the data could be put to good use by a skilled social engineer.
In the next phases, the fraudsters will start asking victims to pay all sorts of fees that are allegedly needed to transfer the money. Of course, these fees cannot be deducted from the prize money for “legal reasons.”
Remember, no matter how legitimate a lottery email sounds, it’s certainly just a scam. No one ever wins any money, except for the individuals that run the scheme.
Users must be careful because there are some cases in which they don’t only risk losing their money. In one case, two South Koreans were kidnapped by Nigerians after responding to such an email.
Here’s an excerpt from the scammy emails so you'll know what to look out for:
“Greetings to you Dear lucky winner. We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws held on the 29th of April 2013 by Facebook group in cash promotion to encourage the usage of Facebook worldwide.
Your name was among the 20 lucky winners who won $950.000.00USD (Nine hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars) each on the Facebook group promotion award attached to Lucky Number (FB-225-7736), Ticket Number (FB-172-60), Batch Number (FB-0281/544) and Serial Number (99352748-2013).
The online draws was conducted by a random selection of emails you were picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the Facebook in other to claim your $950.000.00usd.”