The spam emails state that the recipient has won a BMW lottery and is entitled to €950,000 and a brand new BMW 5 Series car.
The bogus message advises recipients to contact the 'claims department' and includes a fake corporate address, email address and telephone number to enhance the legitimacy of the ploy.
Sophos researchers believe that the emails are a variant of the common Nigerian 419 scams that fool innocent users into believing that large amounts of money will be transferred into their bank accounts.
The scam is actually designed to steal bank account information or demand a 'handling fee' for the money transfer.
Sophos noted that this is not the first time a major car manufacturer has been used in an email scam. Emails purporting to be from a Volkswagen lottery were spammed out to computer users worldwide in 2006.
"Few people would say no to a free BMW, or a huge wad of cash for that matter, which is precisely why these lottery scams are proving so successful," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos.
"There is little that BMW can do to prevent its name being used in this manner, and email users who take the bait risk handing over their personal details to fraudsters.
"The only way to stop the distribution of these messages is for users to stop responding."
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