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11 Jul 2006

Widespread Gmail phishing email lures with $500 cash prize

Think you've won $500 from Gmail? Think again.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned of a widespread phishing email campaign that tries to trick users out of money by pretending to be a random cash prize from Gmail, Google's popular free email service.

The emails claim that the recipient has been randomly selected for a $500 cash prize, and that the money can be automatically paid to them if they click on the embedded web link.

The email claims that the recipient has won $500 from Gmail

The email claims that the recipient has won $500 from Gmail.

The link users are told to click on pretends to be a legitimate Gmail link, but really points to a bogus Tripod-hosted website. The fake web page says that there has been a problem sending the payment, and asks victims to enter their details and pay a membership fee of $8.60.

The web page pretends to be connected to Google Gmail

The web page pretends to be connected to Google Gmail.

"Of course this email wasn't really sent by the folks at Gmail, and the $500 cash prize doesn't exist. Anyone tempted to try and collect it is in danger of walking straight into a trap set by these fraudsters," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "People need to learn that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and to be much more wary of unsolicited email communications whoever they may appear to come from."

Earlier this year, Sophos revealed in a survey that 58% of people receive a phishing email every day, and the company recommends that computer users protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend against the threats of spam, spyware and viruses.

Organizations concerned about being fraudulently represented in phishing campaigns can sign up to the Sophos early warning system, Sophos PhishAlert.

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