One definite downside of e-mail sometimes is the sheer amount of junk that can come in a single day.  I think the highest I’ve received so far was twelve “junk” e-mails in a single 24-hour period.  And they definitely seem to come in waves — for one month or so, the majority of the messages will be offers for online pharmacies, then it will switch off to “Lovely Russian ladies Looking for a Good American Husband,” or “hard to resist” bonus offers from some online casino.

You can tell that there has to be some kind of bot and not a real person that is sending these.  In the first scenario I mention, I’m a female, so I don’t really need cheap Viagra or Cialis or other male enhancement drugs, thank you very much, and in the second, well, I’m happily married, and I don’t live in a state where same-sex marriages are legal, anyway, so those Russian ladies are just wasting their time writing to me.  As for the casino… I’d rather go back to Vegas.

Those have tapered off, recently, however, and the latest wave has been variations of the stereotypical “Nigerian scam,” the one where they try to convince you that have inherited money from someone you have never heard of, or that some random stranger needs to your help to siphon money out of the country… that sort of thing.  Plus a few other “phishing” expeditions, hoping that I will be gullible enough to give a total stranger my most personal information over the internet.

The newest ones, at least to me, are the so-called “prizewinner” e-mails.  The first one I received claimed to be from Microsoft, with the oh-so-exciting subject line of “Final Notification!” Makes it seem really urgent, doesn’t it? Then it continues on, starting in all caps, no less:

YOU ARE THE WINNER OF THE
COMPUTER PROMOTIONAL DRAW
THIS MESSAGE IS FROM THE
PROMOTIONS MANAGER, MICROSOFT PROMOTIONS AND
PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT
MICROSOFT ONLINE PROMOTIONS
YOU HAVE WON ON THE COMPUTER BALLOT,
THE SUM OF 2,729,000.00 GBP
PLEASE CONTACT
(MR. John Evans)
YOUR CLAIMS DEPARTMENT FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE PAYMENT
ON PHONE +44-792-458-5889
Email: prize@mcstawards.com
PRIZE AWARD NOTIFICATION!!!
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement made today 4th Februay
2012, of winners of the MICROSOFT AWARD PROMOTIONS, as part of our
promotional draws HELD ON 6TH OF JANUARY 2012.
Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from
2,500,000.00 email addresses of Individuals and Companies from all part
of the world as part of our Electronic Business Promotions Program.
Note that your email address qualified for the draw, as a result of
your visiting various websites we are running the e-business promotions
for. You/Your Company email address, attached to Ticket Number 242 67
33 38 7 43 51, with serial number 7777/06 drew the Lucky Numbers
4-43-33-38-21 POP 21 and Bonus number 3 and consequently YOU HAVE won
in the Second Category.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of
2,729,000.00 (Two Million,Seven Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand Great
British Pounds Sterling) in cash credited to file MAP/3123/02/11. This is
from a total cash  prize of 13,645.000.00 Thirteen Million,Six Hundred
and Forty Five Thousand Great British Pounds sterling ),
shared amongst five (5)Lucky Winners in 4th category.
CONGRATULATIONS!
To begin your claim, urgently contact your claim Department through the
above Information:
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please
remember to quote your reference and batch numbers and other
information provided above and below in every one of your
correspondences with your Claims Department.
Congratulations” once again from all our staff and thank you for being
part of our promotions program.
Yours Truly,
Mrs. Rachael T. Ruben
Promotions Manager
Microsoft Award Promotions
153 Barlow Moor Road,
West Didsbury – M20 2YA,
Manchester,
United Kingdom.
© 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved
Okay, big red flags here.  First off, if this was really Microsoft, why is the origin email from “antell.com.py”? And if this is a UK prize, why does the website from which this message supposedly came from end with the Internet country code for Paraguay? Why would Microsoft be giving out a prize in pounds, rather than dollars? And last, but certainly not least, why, since this is supposedly a communication between businesses, does it start out by shouting(in the all-caps) at me?
Though the e-mail doesn’t specifically say that I need to pay a verification fee, or ask for my personal information outright,  I don’t doubt what would be asked if I had responded to this e-mail! Apparently this isn’t a new one, either.  I did an internet search which brought up complaints about this e-mail dating back to 2007.
These spammers never give up, do they? Guess I do have to give them a little credit for persistence, if nothing else.  And while we’re on the subject, why are some of these spam messages backdated? Drives me nuts to see that I have unread messages that I can’t see on the first page of my inbox.  It makes me worry that I somehow missed a potentially important e-mail, only to go back and find one of these.
Oh, and now I just received an almost identical message from Nokia.  Aren’t I lucky? Maybe I should make that next trip to Vegas soon, if I’m really on that much of a winning streak 😉
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