Security experts have published details of a newly discovered email-based fraud that tries to ensnare recipients with a bogus notification purporting to be a lottery win from Coca-Cola.
The emails, which have the subject line 'Coca Cola Promotion', have been spammed out to internet users claiming that the recipient has won $2.5m in a lottery held by the soft drinks firm earlier this month.
The recipient is told that they are one of 50 lucky winners around the world selected randomly after computers found their email address on internet websites.
To collect their winnings, people are told to call, phone or fax an agent who claims to be working on behalf of Coca-Cola.
However, security firm Sophos warned that the spam is a ruse to steal personal details, and that the fraudsters can use the information to steal money from bank accounts and commit identity fraud.
Part of the email reads as follows:
'We happily announce to you the draw of the coca cola International promotion programs held on the 9th of June 2006 in The United Kingdom. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 564 75600545-188 with serial number 5388/02 drew the lucky numbers: 31-6-26-13-35-7, which subsequently won you the Promotion in the 2nd category.
'You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of US$2,500,000.00
(Two million, five hundred thousand, United States Dollars) in cash credited to
file RPC/9080118308/04 made available from a total cash prize of US $125 Million
dollars, shared amongst the first Fifty (50) lucky winners in this category.'
"These emails are not coming from Coca-Cola, and there is no lottery waiting to give you millions of dollars for nothing," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
"Scammers who send emails like this are only interested in stealing your identity and using that information to empty your bank account and fatten their wallets.
"Email users should always be suspicious of communications like this, as it's a common trick used by organised criminals."
This spam con-trick is the latest of many '419 scams', named after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code where many of the scams originated.
Once a victim has been drawn in, requests are made from the fraudster for private information which may lead to requests for money, stolen identities and financial theft.
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