Imagine the following scenario – you need a new car and you’re checking out used automobiles within your budget. Because after all, you don’t have a ton of money to spend on a car (regardless of the fact you wish you did).
All of the sudden, you receive an email telling you that you’ve won a brand new BMW from the lottery. What would you do? Would you jump for joy? Would you follow the instructions concerning the steps you’ll have to undertake in order to claim the prize? Or will you eventually question the validity of the email?
If you’ve answered anything but the last option, you’re in for a nasty surprise. That’s because the email is a BMW lottery scam you should never take for granted.
BMW Lottery Winner Scam: How Does It Work?
As already mentioned, the BMW giveaway relies on an unsolicited email that random recipients will get.
According to the email, the recipient has just won a BMW 7, as well as a cash prize of 1.5 million dollars. To give the scam legitimacy, its creators state that the BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and the International Association of Gaming Regulators.
So, how exactly does the scam work?
In order to “claim” their prize, recipients are asked to respond back to an email and list personal details like age, sex, occupation, phone number, email address, and others. Luckily, there’s no fee for prize processing – a common spam scheme that has worked surprisingly well over the year. Still, the BMW lottery scam is dangerous because it’s a phishing attempt.
What’s Phishing and How Can It Hurt You?
Phishing is a very simple type of online fraud that uses deception to force victims to disclose sensitive or personal information.
Very often, phishing relies on social engineering – psychological manipulation. When people are misled into believing something that they desire, chances are that they’ll reveal whatever information scammers are interested in.
It’s easy to see how damaging phishing can be. Sometimes, victims reveal financial information like their credit card numbers. In that case, they can lose lots of money. But even if the information disclosed isn’t financial, it can still have tremendously negative consequences. If someone provides their personal details, they’ll enable identity theft.
Did you know that in one year alone, scammers used phishing to steal a total of 4.2 billion US dollars? While you may feel that schemes like the BMW lottery email are ridiculous and nobody would fall for them, you’ll be surprised to find out how well stuff like that can work.
Phishing makes use of people’s curiosity or their desire to gain something quickly and easily. Often, phishing emails create a sense of scarcity or urgency. For example, lotto scam emails could ask recipients to respond within a certain number of days. Hence, people will be pressed to act instead of checking out what the whole ordeal is all about.
How to Report BMW Lottery Scam and What to Do About It
Ok, so we’ve now established the fact that the BMW lottery scam email is dangerous. What exactly should you do if you receive it? That depends on your location and the specific authorities/agencies that handle cybercrime there.
First of all, make sure that you’ve actually been subjected to an actual phishing attempt.
The BMW lottery email is usually sent out by the BMW lottery department, BMW Group Promo, or BMW automobile company promotion department. Needless to say, such entities don’t exist – they’re just randomly chosen titles to make you believe the legitimacy of the letter.
Next, don’t respond or send an email back featuring your personal details. In fact, don’t send back any emails at all.
Finally, consider reporting the email. There are online databases that show information about phishing attempts that have already been reported. And while the BMW lottery scam has been identified as such, it may not be investigated in your country.
A simple online search will reveal details about the local authority that handles cybercrime like lottery phishing emails.
On top of that, you can report a phishing email to a couple of other entities.
Your internet service provider is one of them. They could undertake specific actions to protect clients from phishing. Your email service provider is another organization that will benefit from information about phishing. They can improve their spam filters to keep letters like the BMW lotto scam mail from reaching others. Finally, you can contact the organization that the email is impersonating. In that case, it’s BMW. Companies like that are interested in clearing their name and undertaking actions against impersonation. Also, large brands like BMW have access to resources you may be missing.
Lottery scams work really well because all of us would like to get some easy cash.
There are a couple of very simple lottery fraud schemes that have been around for many years. Phishing attempts that aim at collecting personal information rank among those. If you ever fall for such a phishing attempt, you could potentially lose a lot – your money, your financial independence, and even your identity.
The BMW Lottery email is a scam. You should never interact with email senders in any way. And if you do receive such a letter, you’ll probably have to strengthen your email spam filter.
Many email service providers are very good at filtering out such letters. If you’re getting lottery scam attempts, something’s wrong. You should either come up with new filters on your own or switch your email service provider. That’s a good strategy for staying safe in the future.