UK numbers exploited by email lottery scams

Sophos has revealed that criminals running email lottery scams are exploiting 070 personal numbers in the UK in their attempt to defraud internet users. While these numbers have genuine honest and practical uses, their general availability makes them a perfect tool for cyber criminals looking for financial gain.

Email lottery scams typically claim that recipients have been selected to receive a large cash prize, and that the fortune can be collected once the victim has revealed confidential information, including their bank details. In an attempt to reassure recipients that their lottery win is genuine, these emails often contain a contact phone number.

Experts at Sophos have revealed that British 070 numbers are the second most commonly used telephone numbers in these scams. US-based telephone numbers top the list.

Known as ‘personal numbers’, 070 numbers look like mobile phone numbers, but can actually be easily redirected to any number anywhere in the world. In addition, 070 numbers can be acquired for free, as higher charges are paid by the caller to use them. This means that anyone can quickly and cheaply acquire multiple phone numbers for business/personal/new friends, all of which redirect or divert to the same mobile phone or landline.

Many new lottery scams using 070 personal numbers are seen each day. One recent example claimed to be a communication from the United Nations working with the World Bank, and indicated that USD 17.5 million was ready to be released into the email recipient’s bank account.

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