Mass spam uses BMW to dupe users

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Mass spam uses BMW to dupe users

Hey, you've won €950,000 and a brand new BMW 5 Series.

Spammers are using the lure of a BMW car to trap users into falling for their latest scam, security firm Sophos has warned. 

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."

A typical message reads as follows:

'Dear Winner

This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of 950,000.00 Euros and a brand new BMW 5 Series Car from International programs held today the 26th of October 2006 in Amsterdam the Netherlands.


The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerised email selection system(ess) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world wich you was selected.

The BMW Lottery is approved by the Netherlands Gaming Board and also Licensed by the The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR). This promotional lottery is the 3rd of its kind and we intend to sensitise the public.

To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact our fiduaciary claims department for more infomation as regards procedures to claim your prize.'
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