G Data discovers: lottery mafia are on the prowl
"The scam is not new, but the fact that this time the perpetrators have given a genuine phone number, is unusual. Generally the scammers are aiming for personal or account information. These are then exploited to carry out other frauds or scams or even for money laundering actions. The latest spam wave is most probably a money laundering campaign. Therefore our advice is that in no circumstances must the emails be answered, and that they should be deleted immediately," says Ralf Benzmüller, manager of G Data Security Labs.
Frank Plewka, press officer for the Bochum police, confirms this estimation and warns most forcefully against contact with European Lotto Monitoring. „Criminals are highly resourceful and this mail belongs to those mass mailings which happily promise fantastic winnings. Even if only one user in a thousand is taken in, it pays for itself… but not for the user, rather for the scammers and money launderers. Those duped come from all walks of life, from shop floor workers through to a member of the clergy, who needed the money for a new roof and consequently lost all the money that was already saved."
G Data wanted to know what was going on precisely and rang the Spanish number in Madrid. The phone was answered by a pleasant man who spoke broken German and presented himself as a representative of European Lotto Monitoring. He cannot himself give any information about the winnings, as he is only collecting contact data. However he confirms that the sum of € 2.35 million is correct but that the actual winning amount may vary. The man's name: Randy Peters.
G Data immediately forwarded the collected information to the law enforcement agencies.
Summary of the telephone call with RANDY PETERS:
G Data: Hello, am I speaking with the European Lotto Monitoring Unit? I have received a winning notification.
RANDY PETERS: Who do you want to speak to? I didn't quite understand.
G Data: I've just received an email from Mr Hernandez and I'm really excited about the lottery win. So I just want to know what happens now.
RANDY PETERS: Ah you're calling because of the message from Lotto Monitoring. What did you say your name was?
G Data: My name is A.....
RANDY PETERS: Could you repeat that please? My German isn't so good.
In the background typing on a computer keyboard can be heard. Apparently the perpetrator is attempting to find the name in a database, so that he can see if the name belongs to a spam respondent.
RANDY PETERS: Unfortunately I can't find your name. Perhaps you could give me a telephone number.
We give the perpetrator a number which we have set up for just such purposes.
G Data: Is the winning amount really true? Is it really € 2.35 million?
RANDY PETERS: Yes, the win is € 2.35 million. You're right. We're collecting the data and forwarding it to Lotto Monitoring for further processing and transfer of the money.
G Data: How long will it take? Do I get all the money?
RANDY PETERS: Yes, absolutely. I can't give you the precise amount, as the prize has to be shared out. It could be less. I need your address, telephone number and bank details for further processing. These are then forwarded. My job is just to collect the data.
G Data: Are there any fees - I don't quite see how this works. Do I have to transfer some money first or what is the procedure? You hear stories about fraudsters.
RANDY PETERS: No, no - you just get the money. It will be in your account in the next few weeks. There are no fees, except for processing. This comes to 3.5 percent of your winnings. I.e. from the amount we're wiring to your account. So could you give me your details again?
G Data: The connection is not very good. Shall I send you my details by mail? To Mr Hernandez's email address?
RANDY PETERS: Yes, that' OK. Make sure you send all the details – then you'll have the first part of the money within a week. You just need to transfer the processing fee upon receipt.
At this point, the G Data Experts ended the phone call.
Spam email from the European Lotto Monitoring Unit:
European lotto monitoring unit
(Lotto payment processing Department)
DIRECTORATE OF INTERNATIONAL
PAYMENT AND TRANSFERS
Paseo de Castellana 64
E-28048 Madrid, Spain
Payment processing/audit department
Our ref: ELM/PD/MU/SX027
Re: irrevocable release of your payment
We have just been authorised by the President of the European Lotto Monitoring Unit and the Management Board of the Central Bank of Spain (Bank Of Spain) to investigate the unnecessary delay in your payment; we recommend checking your payment claims in case these appear justified.
During our investigations, we have, to our dismay, discovered that your payment has been unnecessarily delayed by corrupt officials within the organisation, who are attempting to siphon off your money into their own private accounts. In order to forestall this, security measures have been set up for your money in the form of a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and a Transfer Access Code (T.A.C). This means that you are the only person with direct control over the sum of money. Moreover we have reached an agreement with the presidency that we will take care of this payment ourselves in order to prevent such a desperate situation, caused by officials within the lottery authorities, from occurring again.
Moreover we received an irrevocable payment guarantee for your payment from the presidency. We are happy to be able to inform you that, due to our recommendation, the complete amount in your favour was credited via our foreign banking partner. In addition the unit has appointed a lawyer, who will act for you in all questions to do with the transfer and who will guarantee the security of your money.
Therefore please contact BARRISTER, RANDY PETERS on TEL: +34
645 XXX XXX FAX: 34 911 XXX XXX to make your payment with the aid of the PIN and TAC. He's ready to take your call.
As soon as the transfer process is correctly completed, you will receive the sum of € 2,350,000.00 (two million, three hundred and fifty thousand), credited directly into your account.
We await your prompt response so that we can make this transfer as quickly as possible.
JOSE M HERNANDEZ.