Real-life internet scammers dissected

Summary:Listen to audio recordings of conversations with real-life internet scammers in this guide to their history and recent activities.

You win, you lose: the lottery scam
Similar to next-of-kin advanced fee fraud scams, lottery scams rely on victims believing it's their lucky day.

In this recording by security firm MessageLabs' researcher Mark Sunner, would-be victim "Alistair Ben" has responded to an email from a person claiming to be Pepsi's promotions manager, who advised him he had won €1.5 million from Pepsi's annual award.

Listen to MessageLabs chat with an alleged scammer

Alistair Ben was asked to give his name and quote a reference number, which rather than being used to authenticate the caller, was likely used to identify the sender. The promotions manager who answered the call claimed to be Pepsi promotions manager, Michael McAllister.

After the confirmation process McAllister warned Ben: "Please be informed that all winners of this promotion are liable to pay for the cheques to have this delivered to their location," said McAllister.

"How much is that?" asked Ben.

With some uncertainty, McAllister said it would be around €300. "How do I pay that?" asked Ben.

"When you contact the Universal Experts [courier], they are going to tell you how to pay it. If you give me a call in the next 15 to 20 minutes, I can tell you what to do, and exactly how much to pay," said McAllister.

When Ben called back, McAllister confirmed the total charge for the courier would be £221 to be paid via Western Union to a "Kenneth Peterson" of 151 Canada Sq, Canary Wharf, London E145DY.

Nearing the end of the conversation, McAllister took the opportunity move to the next stage of the scam by obtaining the caller's home address.

"Just try to make the payment at Western Union today. Do not forget to send me your complete mailing address," he told Ben.

Topics: Collaboration, Security


Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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