Microsoft, Yahoo!, Western Union and the African Development Bank team up to fight internet scammers

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419-scammer.jpgThe little-known Littlewood’s Law states that individuals can expect a miracle to happen to them at the rate of about one per month. The reasoning is that a miracle is a one-in-a-million event, and a human experiences things at the rate of about one a second for about 8 hours a day. There are approximately a million seconds in 35 days’ worth of 8 hours, so the average person can expect a miracle about once a month.

That probably explains why I win the African National Lottery, or am contacted by a Nigerian prince on at least a daily basis, promising me riches beyond my wildest dreams. Microsoft, Yahoo!, Western Union and the African Development Bank are here to rain on my parade, however, because they’ve formed a coalition dedicated to stopping people winning fabulous prizes, because they think they’re scams.

The General manager of communication and community products for Yahoo! Europe, George Hadjigeorgiou, told Tech Digest:

“Yahoo! is in a unique position to help educate consumers about dangerous scams online and we have a special responsibility to help provide a safe online experience. We’ve long told our users that if it sounds ‘too good to be true,’ it probably is.

But as internet fraudsters continue to get more creative in their approaches, consumers continue to be deceived. This unique initiative is a continuation of our online safety and trust initiatives and is intended to help support our consumer awareness efforts.”

Victims of lottery scams can report cases by sending their police crime reports to the following dedicated and security-enhanced addresses:

  • African Development Bank: security@afdb.org
  • Microsoft: lotfraud@microsoft.com
  • Western Union: spoof@westernunion.com
  • Yahoo!: http://antispam.yahoo.com/phishingtips

No idea why they all have separate addresses despite now being a coalition.

Related posts: OPINION: Internet scams are clever… or I am really stupid. | Don’t go to (click on) Hong Kong – one-in-five .hk domain names are scams

Duncan Geere