The Irish EuroMillions Scam
Irish citizens have reported receiving messages from a sender identified as SMSINFO, bearing the message “You have been selected to win 1000 euro in the Irish Euro Lottery (second round!) [sic].” This is followed by a link, which the victim is urged to click, before ending with the phrase, “Hurry, access is limited.”
The Irish National Lottery confirmed it was not an official communication and suggested the scam was attempting to capitalise on people’s interest in the large EuroMillions jackpot, which has reached €74 million (£66 million).
How the Scam Works
People who receive the scam message might be tempted to click through the link by the thought of a €1,000 payday so soon after Christmas. The last sentence suggesting that they could miss out on the ‘prize’ is a common scam tactic, encouraging people to act without thinking it through rationally.
The link could either lead to a site that infects the user’s device with spyware, malware or some other virus to corrupt or steal their data, or they may be prompted to input personal banking details to ‘claim their prize’, which the scammers then use to empty their accounts. The latter method is known as phishing.
How to Spot a EuroMillions Scam
There are some obvious signs within the Irish text that indicate that it is not a genuine communication. Most obvious of which is the incorrect name of the lottery. The Irish National Lottery will only ever refer to the game as EuroMillions, it is not the Irish Euro Lottery. In addition, there has never been and never will be a random selection of winners by their mobile phone number, there are no first-come-first-served prizes and you cannot win a EuroMillions prize without playing the game.
There are many other types of EuroMillions scam, which can also come in the form of letters, emails and phone calls, and you can find out more at the EuroMillions Scams page.
Dealing with Scams
No matter how long it still is until payday and how insistent the message is that you act immediately, if something looks too good to be true, it more than likely is. You should never respond to a EuroMillions scam message, but instead report it to the anti-fraud agency in your country.
If you believe you may have fallen victim to a scam, you should tell the police immediately and then contact your bank and alert them. Cut off all contact with the scammer too.
There is a huge EuroMillions jackpot to play for this week, which you can only win if you buy tickets at retailers across the participating nations or choose your numbers online.