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September 27, 2009

Lottery Scammer With a Web Site

I don't recall seeing a 419 lottery scammer go to the trouble of creating a web site aimed at strengthening his credibility. But, just as most 419ers use free email accounts as points of contacts, the Thai lottery scammer discussed here uses free web site hosting offered by officelive.com (a Microsoft product).

Let's get to the email message first. Interestingly, although the phony lottery is identified as being in Asia, it invokes the pretty well-known U.S. game, Powerball (albeit with slightly different construction).

From: Power Ball Int'l Lottery Ass
Subject: Congratulations!!!


Dear Sir/Ma,

We are Pleased to inform you that your email was selected among the winning numbers of the recently Lotto conducted from the Lotto Website and we shall be glad if you can claim your prize, please respond to this mail within 72 hours otherwise we will assume that you are not interested.

We conduct the Lotto using Lotto as part of our tax relief program set up by the International Lottery Board and America Government, on this note we congratulate you and wish you best of luck as you claim the prize attached to this Lotto.

For more details visit:http://ojpowerbl.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

(Winner’s directorate office)
TEL: + (66) 823-337-743
Office Fax: + (66) 273-452-16

Coordinator Power ball Jackpot Lottery
Regd No: 79472002

Some pretty funny (as in "ha ha") things in the message. How a lottery would be associated with tax relief escapes me. Since when have taxes gone international? And then to have a member of the clergy acting as a lottery contact person is just too bizarre.

The web site is a combination of smooth templates supplied by officelive.com and absolutely butt-ugly extra content supplied by the scammer.

Phony lottery web site

Among the treasures is an image ripped off from the actual U.S. Powerball lottery, boldly declaring "It's America's Game!". Would a recipient wonder what America's game is doing in Thailand? I'd like to think so, but then again it wouldn't surprise me to have uncritical thinkers blow a brain fart whenever they think they've won a big chunk o' cash. Further images at the bottom of the page show photos of winners of other lotteries holding those oversized novelty checks.

To me, the real joke is that the landing page for the site — not requiring any visitor identification to view — reads like a personal message aimed directly at the email recipient. It tells me that my email was attached to ticket number blah-blah.

As preposterous as this whole campaign appears to those who follow 419 lottery scammers, there are plenty of email and internet users out there who will fall for the trickery. Even if they might be skeptical of an email message, the web site, with its professional-looking template, will convince them that it's legitimate. They'll be out thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to cover fees, documents, taxes (no tax relief here!), and other totally fake costs before they realize they've been taken. And Microsoft isn't helping by allowing this site to be operational for at least 24 hours after the emails started flowing.

Posted on September 27, 2009 at 04:05 PM