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London Olympics Spam Promises Prizes, Awards, and Visa Lotteries that Don’t Exist

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bill-swift - July 8, 2012

The London Olympics are just around the corner. In the months leading to the event, internet scammers have been pretty busy sending out their Olympics-themed scams and spam in the hopes that some gullible people might fall for them and make them richer in the process.

Most of these scam emails promises the recipient a prize, as they have been drawn as the winner in some random Visa or MasterCard-sponsored raffle for a so-called 'London 2012 Olympics' promo that doesn't exist.

Another variant essentially tells the same message, only it advises you to download an attachment called '2012 OLYPIC AWARD WINNIG NOTIFICATION.docx' that contains the TROJ_ARTIEF.ZIGS Trojan.

There's also a pretty unbelievable email circulating that informs the recipient that he or she has just won 1,000,000 GBP, as well as tickets to watch the London Olympics. But to claim the prize, the recipient must send his personal contact information, like name, address, gender, phone number, occupation, and country, which can be used to steal your identity and attack your bank accounts as well.

Attackers are still using these because these scams are still giving them successful margins. Social engineering has worked for years and there are little signs of that changing.

-- Robert McArdle, Trend Micro Senior Threat Researcher

One other scam entitled 'Your email address has won the 2012 Olympic Award' tells recipients that their address was randomly picked in an electronic ballot system--even if they didn't do anything to enter.

One thing all these scams have in common is that they all sound too good to be true. If companies who held contests and promotions awarded prizes to people, then what could possibly be in it for them? A word of advice: if you get any messages that sound anything like these scam messages, hit 'delete' and spread the word about them.

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