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Coke lottery - it's not the real thing

An email notification floating around the Internet last week, advising Netters that they have won a Coca-Cola lottery is a fake, according to Sophoslabs, the IT security research division of Sophos.

The emails, which have the subject line 'COCA COLA PROMOTION', have been spammed out to Internet users claiming that the recipient has won $2.5 million in a lottery held by Coca-Cola earlier in the month.

Sophos says that the recipient is told they are one of only 50 lucky winners around the world who were selected randomly after computers found their email address on various Web sites.

To collect their winnings, people are told to call, phone or fax an agent who claims to be working on behalf of the soft drinks giant.

However, Sophos warns computer users that this is a ruse to steal personal details, and that the fraudsters behind the scam campaign can use such information to steal money from bank accounts and commit identity fraud.

Graham Cluley, Sophos senior technoloy consultant (fx: doffs cap in the presence of IT security royalty) says that the emails are not coming from Coca-Cola, nor is there a lottery win waiting.

"Scammers who send emails like this are only interested in stealing your identity, and using that information to empty your bank account and using other tricks to fatten their wallets," he said.

According to the Sophos singing supremo, email users should always be suspicious of communications like this, as it's a common trick used by organised criminals...