On Oct. 23, the “Microsoft Online Email Award” notifications were sent out. The only problem is that this “award” is a scam. This particular email reads as follows:
We are delighted to announce that your e-mail address has just won you the sum of 2.5 Million British Pounds in our E-mail free Online draws held in England September 2013.
Your e-mail won in category A, and you are entitled to reward sum of 2.5 Million British Pounds with this Free Ticket Numbers: RWR658214 and Lucky Winning Numbers: GB824177L.
The email goes on to give a contact telephone number and email address. The email address provided for contact is different from that used to send the email. In this particular case, the emails came from a domain in Thailand even though the supposed contact was in the U.K.
The “Microsoft Lottery” has been used as a scam tool for years, but had been dormant for a while. It appears to be making a comeback. Microsoft has even gone to the extent to address this in their support documentation with the post What is the Microsoft Lottery?
For any questionable email there are some telltale signs that it could be a fake.
- Email is addressed generically or not at all
- The “To” address is an address that could be easily gotten off the internet
- Typographical errors
- A sense of urgency or a deadline require immediate action