Every day you clear your inbox of fraudulent emails and spam. In a new scam, people are now receiving BMW Lottery Promotion Emails, informing them that they have won a new BMW and several thousand dollars. Who wouldn’t want to believe it?
It is not true, but unfortunately, many people fall prey to these and other email scams all the time. The BMW email I received is posted below. I’ve added notes, indicating some things to look for in fraudulent emails. This is just one of many scams. Be cautious sharing your personal information on-line.
BMW EUROPE REGIONAL OFFICE
Hamerstraat 2-4 1021 JV Amsterdam Netherlands.
Dear Winner, (I’ve won a BMW and they don’t even know my name.)
This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of 1 Million European Union Euro and a brand new BMW 5 Series Car from International programs held on the 19th of June. 2007 in Amsterdam Netherlands.(I’ve not been to the Netherlands in years. I have never entered a lottery there. )
Description of prize vehicle;
Year: 2006 ( A 2007 model would make more sense if this is a BMW promotion.)
Color (exterior/interior): Black Sapphire Metallic/Black Leather
Transmission: Automatic 6 Speed
Options: Cold weather package, premium package, fold down rear seats w/ski bag, am fm stereo with single in dash compact disc player.
The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection system(s) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world which you were selected.(This sentence doesn’t make sense.)
The BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and also Licensed by the The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR). This promotional lottery is the 3rd of its kind and we intend to sensitize the public. (An email from BMW customer relations confirms they have not approved the BMW lottery. Further, the Gaming Board of Great Britain has issued the following warning, “DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY OR PERSONAL DETAILS TO ANYONE WHO SAYS THAT YOU HAVE WON A PRIZE OR ANYTHING ELSE IN A LOTTERY OR SWEEPSTAKE THAT YOU HAVE NOT PREVIOUSLY ENTERED. SUCH CLAIMS ARE ALMOST CERTAINLY FRAUDS. ALWAYS CHECK FULLY ANY PERSON OR ORGANISATION BEFORE SENDING ANYTHING TO THEM.”)
To begin the processing of your prize, you are to contact our fiduciary claims department in U.K for more infomation as regards procedures to claim your prize.
BMW PROMO DEPARTMENT, EUROPE
7 DOCK WAY, SEFTON BUSINESS PARK (Google the address, you will find several cautions about this lottery fraud. )
LONDON, T40 4RT
NAME OF FIDUCIARY AGENT: FREDRICK MORGAN
EMAIL:compaymentcenter4_personal@yahoo.Email for confirmation of your secret pin code: x7pwyz2005 and your Reference Number: BMW:2551256003/23. (It isn’t wise to send pin codes or private numbers via public email accounts like hotmail and yahoo.)
You are also advised to provide him with the under listed informations as soon as possible: (This form doesn’t even look professional.)
1.Name in full.—————————————————————————
6.Telephone Nubmer.————————————————————— (Another misspelling.)
8.Short comment on our products. [optional]. —————————-
10.Email address. ——————————————–
Please you are to provide him with the above listed details as soon as possible so he can begin with the processing of your prize winnings.
Congratulations again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.( I am being thanked for being a part of something in which I never chose to participate.)
Mrs. Magret Swason ( [Magret]? Margret would be more believable.)
THE DIRECTOR OF PROMOTIONS ( Subtle give away, but most corporate positions do not include the word “The” in the title.)
BMW PROMO DEPARTMENT (Corporations giving away cars and thousands of dollars don’t abbreviate in official communication, i.e. “promo.”)
EUROPE. (Corporate addresses are usually complete.)
One would like to believe the general population knows better than to responded to such an email. The sad truth, however, is that people are getting ripped off every day.
Several clues that this letter was bogus appear in a number of fraudulent letters. Perhaps, this one can be a lesson for us all.
1. If you were fortunate enough to win a prize worth that much money, you would be notified via certified mail, not through an anonymous email account.
2. If I have deciphered the discombobulated third paragraph of the letter correctly, it is my understanding that they just picked emails out of a hat and randomly awarded prizes. Publisher’s Clearing House has made this point clear, “You can’t win if you don’t enter.” People do not randomly give away prizes, especially of this magnitude.
3. Misspelled words are very common in fraudulent emails. They often, not always, originate in countries where English is not the native tongue, making spelling and grammar mistakes common. I received a letter one time that had six misspelled words and the “company officer’s” who sent the letter did not even capitalize their names.
4. Any anonymous email that asks for your personal information should be suspect. These crooks didn’t ask for a social security number or bank information, but they would have eventually, or they may have sent a money order to deposit directly in my account, in exchange for a service fee. A common fraud scheme is to send out money orders as prizes, in exchange for a service or processing fee. The service fee is long gone, before the bank and the overdrawn customer are notified that the money order is bogus.
You may think the bank should catch every counterfeit money order that comes through their doors. As a former financial crimes investigator, I will tell you there are sophisticated criminal operations that can make money orders or cash look real, regardless of security features. Every watermark, or color thread, that is put in place to identify counterfeits can be duplicated by high dollar fraud factories.
Bank and retail employees are trained to identify fraud, but you need to be aware of who you are dealing with and the extent to which the potential for fraud exists. Your processing fee will likely be gone before you even get to the bank. Guard your personal information.
5. Notice if information in the email seems insufficient. Check it out with the company’s website, by obtaining it from a source outside of the email. Check out the information and the story.
Some think that only a real dummy would fall for this. Not really. Predators prey on people’s needs and emotions. Money is both a real and perceived need. People want to believe that they have really won. In desperation, they respond. In the end, their latter troubles outweigh their former need for quick money.
BMW customer service advised me via email that there are several fraudulent emails currently being circulated which “purport to be from BMW. These e-mails advise the recipient that he or she has won money or a BMW car and requests the recipient to provide personal data or to pay a fee in order to receive the prize. “
BMW further stated, “We would like to confirm that these e-mails are NOT authentic. The e-mails have NOT been sent by BMW, nor has BMW authorized the use of its name. Please be advised not to provide any personal information or transfer money to the perpetrators. Any personal information provided to the perpetrators will likely be used for illegal purposes. “
Most emails of this nature are fraudulent. Think twice before you get swept away by the idea that you are getting something for nothing. Protect yourself and your personal information.
“Gaming Board Warns of Fraudulent Lotteries and Sweepstakes, 2/08/2004.” http://www.gamcare.org.uk/shownews.php/000100.html
“Lucky,” Personal email From: BMW LOTTERY PROMOTION email@example.com, Tuesday, July 10, 2007, 7:53 PM.
“Re: General Contact Form – Anfrange von Lenora Murdock,” Personal email From: BMW Group Customer Service firstname.lastname@example.org , Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 12:49 PM.