We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Microsoft and Yahoo fight to stop lottery scams

Scam victims urged to report crime to tech companies

Microsoft and Yahoo have joined forces in a bid to put an end to bogus lottery scams.

Both tech companies have reported a huge amount of spam emails that use their brand names to convince receipents they've won a lottery. The scammers then instruct victims to pay fees in order to collect their winnings, a scam known as advance fee fraud.

The African Development Bank and Western Union, whose brands are also used in the scams have also joined Microsoft and Yahoo.

People who have been scammed should report the crime to their local police authority. Then, the four companies would like people to send them the police reports by email or post. Their internal investigators will look for patterns and other data and pass it along to police. The international law enforcement agency Interpol will also work with countries to help coordinate the program.

Indicators show that a relatively small number of gangs are responsible for administering the scams, said Roger Halbheer, Microsoft's chief security advisor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The scams are cheap to run, since they often send email through free services. They're also quite lucrative, he said.

A recent Microsoft survey of 4,930 internet users in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark revealed that 113 people had lost from €100 (£79) up to €7,000 (£5,560) to an internet scammer in the past 12 months. Put another way, one in 44 people had been scammed.

Someone running a direct mail campaign would probably be 'manager of the year if you had that kind of return', Halbheer said.

People are encouraged to send their police report to the following addresses:

African Development Bank: [email protected]
Microsoft: [email protected]
Western Union: [email protected]

Alternatively, scam victims can also visit a dedicated Yahoo web page.

Visit Security Advisor for the latest internet threat news, FREE net threat email newsletters, and internet security product reviews

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks - plus sign up for our unique and FREE business IT newsletter

IDG UK Sites

Microsoft launches Office for Android: Check the system requirements first

IDG UK Sites

8 reasons you should start a blog

IDG UK Sites

Do we need to fight the government again over design and art education?

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch release date & UK price rumours: Watch 'not confirmed' for April release in UK says...