Yahoo Lottery Scam Results in a $610 Million Settlement
When you think of the lottery, does Yahoo come to mind? No? Well, good, because it shouldn’t. Yahoo is known for email, news, and… Other stuff (does anyone even use Yahoo anymore?)? One of those other things does not include the lottery though, that much is certain. As you’ve probably guessed, Yahoo is the latest company whose name has been stolen and attached to a phony lottery scam.
Yahoo users have been targeted in the infamous 419 scams. These scams are also known as “Nigerian Scams” or “West African Scams”. These scams all start out the same way. You receive an email from some company telling you that you’ve won an X – the amount of money. All you have to do to get that money is to respond with your personal details or they will have you contact Mr. So and So. The most commonly used name on these emails is either “Dr. Mrs. Jenifer White” (because Dr. Mrs. is a legitimate title) or “Mr. Richard Olsen”.
In the case of the Yahoo lottery scam, Yahoo email accounts are being sent email notifications from Yahoo! Asia and stating that you (the user) have won $5 million in the Yahoo! Asia lottery draw. It’s the same as any other 419 lotto scam. These scammers are incredibly unimaginative.
This particular scam claims to collect email addresses and they select their winners from their vast database of users’ email addresses, websites from all across the globe, and even a computer ballot system. Now obviously these practices are illegal due to privacy laws, so that right there should be a clue that the email you’re reading is indeed a scam.
Folks, Remember, Legitimate Lotteries Will Never Send Out Email Notifications!
Although these lottery scams are nothing new, this scam started in December 2008 and 11.7 million emails were sent out by the time Yahoo caught on to what was going on. The lawsuit was started in 2009 and a settlement was reached in 2011 which awarded Yahoo $610 million against scammers who were actually able to trick customers into believing they won this bogus Yahoo lottery.
It is illogical to think Yahoo will ever see any of that money because pinpointing the identity of the scammers is next to impossible.
“Yahoo takes the protection of its users and its brand very seriously. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that users continue to trust Yahoo as the leading U.S. email provider,” said Christian Dowell, the company’s legal director of global brand protection.
My question is, who exactly did Yahoo sue if they don’t know the identity of the scammers? They were able to narrow the culprits down to a Nigerian and a Thai group, but that’s apparently it. Seems like a waste of resources. But that’s just me.
To be clear, legitimate lotteries will never send out email notifications to the winners. Not only that, there has never been an automated computer ballot system that randomly selects emails. If you don’t purchase a lottery ticket, you haven’t played any lottery, therefore you cannot win. It’s common sense.