Warning over scam 'Google' e-mail

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 3:43am

Internet users have been warned to beware of an e-mail in which scammers posing as the internet giant Google try to gain personal information from them.

The e-mail, which carries the name of Google chief executive Lawrence Page, claims that the recipients have won £950,000 (HK$11,162,400) and asks for their personal information such as names, contact addresses and telephone numbers for registration. Three files named Google Promo are attached.

Information-technology lawmaker Charles Mok said that the e-mails could be carrying computer viruses.

"The attachments could have malware that copies your computer data. But they need to be analysed first," he said.

Police said it looked like "lottery fraud". But the commercial crime bureau had not received any complaints about it.

A police spokesman said victims in such instances usually received unsolicited messages by SMS, phone calls or e-mail, telling them that they had won a large sum of cash in lotteries organised by internationally renowned organisations.

Victims attracted by the prizes would contact the fraudsters who used stalling tactics to lure them to remit money as administrative fees or handling fees for the prize.

Sometimes the process continued for some time, until the victims finally realised they had been deceived, he said.

Police investigated 385 cases of lottery fraud last year, down from 400 in 2011. Losses amounted to HK$50.9 million last year, up from HK$49.1 million.

Google did not respond to inquiries.

Police warned that real lottery prizes never required users to pay to redeem them and urged the public to report suspicious messages.