The International Lottery Winner scam attempts to trick recipients into believing they have won large sums of cash, and then bilks them out of their own dough in a similar fashion to the Nigerian 419 scam.
Example of scam email:
Subject: LOTTERY WINNER
We happily announce to you the draw of the Euro - Afro Asian Sweepstake International programs held on the 1st of May 2003 in Dakar Senegal. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 564 75600545 188 with Serialnumber 5388/02 drew the lucky numbers: 31-6-26-13-35-7, which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of US$2,500,000.00 (Two million, five hundred thousand, United States Dollars) in cash credited to file C/9080118308/02. This is from a total cash prize of US $ 25 Million dollars, shared amongst the first Fifty (50) lucky winners in this category.
Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon. In view of this, your US$2,500,000.00 (Two million, five hundred thousand,United States Dollars) would be released to you by our security firm in Europe. Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him.
All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 companies.
This promotion takes place annually. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claims is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements. Please be warned.
The grim reality:
Alleged winners are asked for large upfront fees for "processing" the fictitious winnings. In the process, bank account and credit card details are solicited which could be used for further compromise in the future.
Grandma said it best, "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is." In this case, it defintely is. This particular scam has many variants, including a GLOBAL NET SWEEPSTAKE and a Group Lotto International Lottery variant. The only thing you've won when receiving one of these emails is the right to delete it immediately.