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21 Nov 2005

Bogus Liverpool Football Club emails aim to steal money from the unwary

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned internet users of a spam campaign which pretends that the recipient has won a lottery sponsored by Liverpool Football Club in an attempt to defraud computer users.

The messages prey on interest in the world-famous soccer team, and claim that recipients are one of 40 lucky winners to have won £500,000. The emails say that the football club's financial success exceeded expectations, making available a total of 20 million pounds as an "end of year promotion", and that the recipient has been randomly chosen by a computer as one of the winners.

Sophos researchers believe that the emails are a variant of the commonly-encountered "Letter from Nigeria" scams, also known as 419 Advanced Fee Fraud, that fool innocent users into believing that a large amount of money will be transferred into their bank account, but are really designed to steal information about the user's bank account or demand a "handling fee" for the money transfer.

The scammers are sending out bogus emails claiming £500,000 has been won

The scammers are sending out bogus emails claiming £500,000 has been won.

"This email scam campaign is using the name of one of the world's greatest football clubs in its attempt to steal people's money and identities. Everyone should be suspicious if they are unexpectedly told they have won a fortune," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Computer users who fall for this trick risk handing confidential details about themselves into the hands of fraudsters. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Liverpool Football Club has published a warning to its fans about the scams on its official website. The latest scams comes less than two months after a different campaign posed as a winning lottery notification from FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.

Sophos reminds users to be wary of unsolicited emails, and has published information about how individuals can learn how to protect themselves against this and other online scams.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at