Tuesday, August 29, 2006

If I had a Million Dollars... or maybe 3 million pounds

WARNING: This blog post proves that you can take anything and turn it into blog fodder. I cannot promise anybody other than myself is going to find this clever or funny, but read on (and I'm do my best).

I've made no secret that my finances are in a pretty dire state. I'd had to borrow a LOT of money from my parents to come over here and get started, I owe even more money to the bank and OSAP for my year at the U of Windsor. I count every penny that leaves my pocket and really wish there was something I could do to improve things.

Apparently there is a solution to all of my troubles:

I have won the UK National Lottery.

I know! It's amazing! Congratulations to me! I'll never have to work again!!!

It doesn't matter than I never entered the lottery. Or that I'd never heard of it's existence before getting the email from them. By some mysterious circumstance (divine intervention maybe?) my name and email address got entered into this major lottery and apparently I won 2.9 million pounds. Amazing isn't it?!

Must be some kinda miracle because (I'll say it again) I never entered any lottery.

I totally hate these email scams - jerks out in the world trying to get personal information and money by preying on other people's natural greed (or stupidity, take your pick). When something legitimate like the UK National lottery contacts you to say you've won something, a little part of you wonders if by some miracle you actually might have... just for a second though. Most people's natural cynicism (and common sense) would immediately bring them to ask themselves how they won a lottery that they didn't enter.

Or just delete the email and curse the names of the people who somehow got your information.

Just for fun, I emailed them back. Not acting as though I believed them or not, but with some random question just to see what the response would be. I really wanted to see what they would say. Here's the email I got back (I'd LOVE to know how they got my name):

The National Lottery
P O Box 1010
Liverpool, L70 1NL
(Customer Services)
Ref: UK/9420X2/68
Batch: 074/05/ZY369

Attn: Melinda Peterson ,

We are via this mail notifying you that we have completed your payment processing and your winnings in the amount of £ 2,910,000.00 ( Two Million Nine Hundred And Ten Thousand Pounds Sterling) which has been deposited and drawn in JP COSTEN BANK OF UK international cashiers cheque accredited to file KTU/9023118308/03.

Your cheque,along with your certificate of winning and letter of affidavit has been registered and parcelled for onward delivery to you via courier delivery. Your winnings which is in international cashiers cheque, complies with the Anti-Fraud section 2, sub section (IV) of the procedural manual of the funds disbursement agreement existing between Courier Companies and the British Government.

As your cheque,winning certificate,and letter of affidavit has been registered under order number : AZ522406 and parcelled for onward delivery to you,do furnish the courier company that is charged the delivery of your vital documents, a valid and appropriate detail information of your home address.

You are , adviced to write down the order number and save it for future references. ORDER NUMBER : AZ522406 .Do make contact with Frontier Courier Express citing and completing your full name , contact address and phone number as required below
Name of receiver:
Mailing Address:
Phone number:
Order Number : AZ522406
Contact Mr.Simon Gibson via email or phone with the details required above so that necessary information concerning the procedures you are to follow,to enable your winning parcel which contain your vital documents for our lottery be couriered to you. Find as below :

Frontier House, Pier Road ,Feltham, Middlesex TW14 0TW
Tel :+44-703-189-8148 , +44-703-189-8150

We have adequately informed the Frontier Courier Express about your winnings, so you are to follow directives from Mr.Simon Gibson , who is directly in charge of the winnings. However,the cost of the courier service will be borne by you,this is because the UK GOVERNMENT did not make provision for the cost of delivery of your winnings to you in the lottery agreement existing between her and the Frontier courier company .

Also understand that your winnings have been insured under a hard cover insurance policy,so the cost of delivery to be charged by Frontier courier express for the delivery of your winnings cannot be deducted from your prize as aforementioned.So it is impossible to deduct the cost of delivery from your winnings. This fee is a token that can be handled by you.

Ernest Regards,
Dr. Barry Moore.

This is just hilarious. First off the email addresses they use have been with msn or yahoo. Then they use somebody with the prefix "DR" to make things appear more legitimate, give you all of this mumbo-jumbo about your money being all ready for you, then at the end - is of course, the CATCH.

The "cost of delivery". I'm tempted to email them back or call them and ask what that "cost" may be... Also providing your personal details like home mailing address. Brilliant. I can just see how that conversation would go:

Me: Hi, I'm calling about winning the national lottery. Apparently I've won about 3 million pounds and I'm curious about how to collect my winnings. And how much the delivery fee will be.

Dr. Scam (oh yes, i know how clever): Congratulations! Unfortunately since the UK GOVERNMENT (see above email) won't pay for the delivery of your giant check, there will be a delivery fee of oh, about 10,000 pounds. But since you're now a zillionaire, I'm sure you can afford it, right?

Me: Can I pay after you've sent me the money? Like C.O.D.?

Dr. Scam: No I'm sorry - you will need to pay that in advance so we can disappear with your money and sell your information to identity thieves. cough cough

Me: What if I can't pay for the delivery? Can I come and pick it up myself?

Dr. Scam: Oh well normally you could, but no. We really need your money. Just blame it all on Tony Blair.

Okay, maybe I'm not as funny as I think I am, but you get the point.

Here's what the website for the UK National Lottery had to say about email scams:
Lottery scam (fraudulent) emails are increasing at an alarming rate.

Scam emails try to persuade the email receiver to submit personal information or to part with money as an up front payment in order to release a winning lottery prize.

As a general rule, if you have not purchased a ticket for the UK National Lottery, you won’t have won a prize, and you should treat the email with absolute caution.

The following points are some things to look for in order to identify a fraudulent email:

  • We don’t advise that a Player has won a prize on an email. If the email says ‘Winning Notification’ or ‘Lottery Sweep Stake’ in the text, the email you’ve received is not from UK National Lottery.
  • We don’t put winning numbers or winning dates on an email
  • We don’t advise of a winning amount on an email
  • We don’t ask for any Player information like name, address or bank details on an email

I'm trying to think of whether I should send a response to the scammer people - am considering just sending them the information from the National lottery website about email scams. Wonder what kind of response I'd get?

The National Lottery people also had these wise words:
Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Guess I don't get to retire before 30 after all...


  • At 6:44 PM, Blogger Beechball * said…

    You should totally write back and play into their scam, all without revealing anything mind you, that'd be hilarious to see. If you do, post it so I can see! :P Congrats on winning by the way ;)

  • At 7:58 AM, Blogger Laura Coubrough said…

    That's hilarious... you know why? Because Jay won too. He even got a letter in the mail for it!
    I guess you'll have to share.
    There was something on CH news about these stupid things this morning too. So bizarre. I also occationally get the ones where people ask you to send them $100 to get them out of a country or something. V. Weird.


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