It is seen that Advance-Fee Fraud i.e. a confidence trick to earn money is being used by scammers sending phone text (SMS) messages as a means of tricking new victims.
These text messages claim that the recipient has won a substantial sum of money in an online lottery as shown below.
The texts claim that the “lucky” recipient has won a substantial sum of money or, in some versions, a valuable prize such as a car. To claim their prize, recipients are instructed to call or send an email to the contact details included in the message.
In reality, the lotteries or promotions mentioned in the text message do not exist. There is no prize. The promised prize is simply a bait used to entice recipients to contact the criminals responsible for the scam. Those who make contact as instructed are asked to send money in order to allow the release and transfer of the supposed prize, claiming that this ‘advance-fee’ money is required to cover expenses such as tax, legal, insurance or banking fees. During the course of the scam, the victim may also inadvertently hand over a substantial amount of personal and financial information, supposedly as a means of proving identity and allowing transfer of the “prize money”. The scammers may subsequently use this information to steal the victims identity.
Advance-fee scammers use a variety of methods to reach potential victims including email, surface mail, fax, social networking, SMS etc. People need to be very cautious towards any unsolicited message that claims they have won money or a prize of some form regarding a lottery or promotion that they have never even entered. Beware of any message in any format that claims that your name, phone number or email address has been randomly selected as the winner of a substantial prize. Genuine lotteries do not operate in this manner. If you receive such a scam message, do not reply or respond to the message in any way.