Want to go to the 2012 London Olympics? This email isn't your ticket
The BBB says the fake emails use the U.K. National Lottery logo making them look like they're legitimate. The emails tell recipients that their e-mails have been chosen as "one of 10 lucky winners." The emails instruct recipients to call a "global telephone" number and give their a lottery confirmation number for details about their winnings. Recipients are also instructed to send an email that includes their full name, address and date of birth.
Some people may think the e-mails are valid because the actual tickets to the Olympics will be given away through the National Lottery -- whose name is used in many scams. Tickets will also be sold through a ticket lottery system. But BBB President Tom Bartholomy says don't fall for the trick.
"All the scammers are doing is using a new 'hook' to lure you into giving them your personal information so they can steal your identity," he said in a statement.
The BBB learned about the ploy after receiving one of these scam e-mails. Janet Hart, vice president of public relations and communications with the BBB in Charlotte, N.C., wrote in an e-mail that she contacted the Olympic Organizing Committee in London to make sure the email did not come from the group. The committee confirmed that the email was not legitimate and that Olympic-related scams such as fake lotteries and prize drawings have been circulating. Some of the scams claim to raise funds for the 2012 Olympics or try to get a person to pay up-front before receiving a prize.
"As a general rule, if you have not entered a competition, you won't have won a prize, and you should treat the email with absolute caution," reads the committee's response to the BBB.
The committee says that legitimate emails are always sent from one of the following addresses: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BBB warns consumers not to call the number listed in the email because they'll be asked for personal information. They should also not click on any links in the email because that could infect a computer with malware or spyware.