BMW Award Scam Alert

BMW Award Scam Alert
Some scams seem to never die. I recently received an email about a so-called BMW Award. It was obviously a scan, but I decided to research it further. Apparently, the BMW Award scam has been around for years. Maybe you've gotten an email about it and didn't fall for it, but don't dismiss it. There may be people you know who might reply and give out their personal info to con artists. Here are some facts you need to know.

Nature of the Scam

Recipients—or targets—receive an email that usually states they've won a prize of cash and/or a BMV vehicle. All you have to do is respond to the email with certain info to claim your prize. This tactic is called phishing and is used to collect your personal information.

The email I received appeared to come from a reputable university account but once I opened it there was the following address in the body of the email: An internet search for this address led me to several sites that specialize in warning people about scams. In fact one site listed the domain as having 63 addresses associated with it. Scammers use these addresses to send out their bogus award emails hoping they can get a fish to bite.

The BMW USA site lists these legitamate sounding department names used in the fraudulent emails:
  • The International Awareness Promotion Department of the BMW Automobile Company

  • BMW USA Security Department Assistant

  • BMW Lottery Department

  • BMW Grand Promotions UK

  • BMW Group Promo
These are clearly meant to instill confidence in the sender so you respond with your personal info. Never click on attachments or links in these emails. You never know what nastiness awaits your computer via viruses or malware if you do.

BMW, like any other auto manufacturer, doesn't give away free cars unless it's a legitimate sweepstakes. Even the most prolific sweepstaker usually remembers when they've entered a car giveaway since it's such a big ticket item. If you think you won't be able to remember, a monthly list is easy enough to keep track of whether it's in paper form or digital. Be safe and good luck with your future sweeps.

Sources consulted:

Email Fraud Warning. BMW USA site.
Your BMW 2009 Award!! forum thread. Scam, posted July 12, 2009.

You Should Also Read:
Computer Safety Tips for Sweepstakers
Paying to Win
Organizing Sweepstakes from Favorite Websites

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