02 June 2008

That's rich

Moving aside from my continuing saga for a moment, today I received a letter from El Gordo - the Spanish Sweepstake - informing me that I have won 615,810 Euros (about £410,000) in their lottery. My first instinct, after I had overcome the initial shock, was to book a last minute holiday to the Bahamas - possibly a one-way ticket even. Then I calmed down a bit and decided a nonchalant stroll to the nearest estate agent to find out what houses they had in that price range might be more sensible. After all, that would give my daughter and me independent means to escape to a quieter environment than the one we currently find ourselves in. I was just about to do a list of minimum requirements needed for my soon-to-be new house, not to mention a list of flashy cars I might buy to replace my geriatric banger,
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when the penny dropped.
I googled El Gordo on my computer and came up with a genuine website for the Spanish sweepstake, but when I googled El Gordo Spanish Sweepstake SA - the heading on the letter - I came up with dozens of sites about a Nigerian scam using all sorts of names to inveigle money out of people.

Of course the letter I had received had all sorts of tell-tale spelling mistakes and strange English phrases which made it stand out a bit from the usual official letter you get, saying you have won something (not that I have had experience of receiving one before, mind you). According to the websites I researched, other people had obviously received exactly the same letter, some going back over three or four years, with exactly the same dodgy wording and all. One thing that made it have SCAM written invisibly across it was the fact that attached was a nicely laid out form asking for details of your name and address etc (why? - they had already sent a letter to my name at my address!!), my bank account details (aaah, now we are getting to it) and my next of kin (what???? - would the shock of me finding out a few months down the road that my bank account had been rifled give me a fatal heart attack?) One part of the letter advised "we ask you to keep this award top secret from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account as this is part of our security protocol". ( I bet it is... that would roughly translate into "don't breathe a word to the police until we have details of your bank account and have cleared the contents of it into ours, by which time it will be too late for anybody to do anything about it".)

I have sent off an email to BBC Watchdog about it and have got out the chocolate biscuits. I am in serious need of comfort. After all I have just lost £410,000.

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aims said...

You get anything suspicious - go to http://www.snopes.com

This site has everything on it - urban legends - scams - you name it!

Sorry about your loss btw!!

Robert said...

Hi there and thanks for dropping by on my blog. Due to time constrictions, I was only able to do a quick perusal of your blog, but it was enough for me to subscribe. I'll be back soon.

Eurodog said...

Ah, yes. Nice to dream.
I know about these scams. I get them frequently. On my dog club's address I receive an average of 100 scam ùmessages a day.

Expatmum said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog. I got two of these yesterday coincidentally. Since I've had numerous ones before, I was wondering just who would fall for them, but I suppose if you've never seen one before it might take a while. What's that saying - "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is."

Anonymous said...

Very funny!

Just be aware, Rosiero, that Watchdog are on their summer hols at the moment.

When their last pre-hols programme aired a few weeks ago they did a survey of telephone response times at call centres of utility companies (gas, water, electric, etc) and the results were amazingly GOOD -- all of the utility companies seemed to answer calls within 20 to 30 seconds.

I've been meaning to e-mail them about my useless bank with a name that rhymes with "shabby" who cannot answer a call in less than 59 minutes and 23 seconds (really, I timed it!).

When I get the bill from BT I want the Shabby Bank to pay whatever it cost me to stay on hold for those 59½ minutes, for a call which then only lasted 7 minutes in duration to sort out a minor problem !!!


Waiting the next season of Watchdog quite eagerly now!

Almost American said...

those dreams of what to do with the money are lovely aren't they? I ignore the spam (snopes.com is a great resource!), but occasionally buy a lottery ticket when the prize goes over $100 million! I know the odds of winning are infinitesimal, but I have a few hours of pleasant daydreams anyway!

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll - I'll be adding you to mine. I had an alcoholic boyfriend at one point. He sucked me into drinking too much for a while, and when I finally dumped him I went teetotal for a while. But then I realized I didn't have to quit just because HE couldn't handle it. Of course I wasn't living with him though . . . I heard he lost his job several years later for a drinking-related incident. He was not the only addict in his family - both parents were alcoholics, his sister was a drug-addict whose kids had been taken away from her by the state . . . Do make sure your daughter knows that this can run in families!

rosiero said...

Thanks for all your comments. It is amazing just how many people these scams reach.

gtaf - I am sure you can get the bank to refund your phone call costs. A friend of mine had a similar experience hanging on the end of a phone call to Comet and they sent a £5 voucher!.

Almost American - yes, it is a bit worrying that it can run in families. So far, Greg is the first in his family, but my daughter has been thoroughly put off alcohol just by seeing what it does to him, so hopefully she will not end up like that.

lady thinker said...

Ah, but the dream was lovely for a while .....

I must go over and see if Ernie has made me a prize winner for June. only came on-line to blog a link for the BMA 'save our surgeries' petition. couldn't resist popping in on a few favourites - but see I've a lot of reading to catch up on - will have to call back over the weekend to read your latest posts.

PS thanks for the link on your blog roll - I've made you the first of my 'June selection blog' on 'And Who Cares' - not sure it will bring you much traffic as I've not been able to post much recently but I hope to get going again over the weekend! ;-)

(Very) Lost in France said...

Roseiro, I get a couple of those a week and, together with my mysterious benefactors from the Ivory Coast, I make millions! VLiF