A recent email forwarded to Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington takes advantage of Coca-Cola's well-recognized name and logo to convince consumers they've won a foreign lottery prize.
BBB has an example from the email circulating.
The email claims the recipient is a winner, though no tickets were sold. Coca-Cola has a warning on their website with similar hoax examples.
BBB warns this email follows the patterns seen in many phishing emails and scams; which try to gain the consumer's trust before putting them at risk one of two ways:
- The "winner" received a request for detailed personal information such as a bank account number for direct deposit or a Social Security Number for identity verification. Respondents may become victims of financial fraud or identity theft.
- The "winner" is asked to forward funds or part of the winnings for taxes or fees. Sometimes it's a fake check and money never deposits. Other times the check is stolen from another person or business; it may deposit funds, but the rightful owner will need to be repaid. Either way, the transferred funds go to the scam artist, while the consumer loses transferred money and wins nothing.
Lottery Scams and Phishing were among BBB's frequently seen scams in 2010. For more scam prevention tips, visit www.bbb.org.