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Security & privacy

Scam alert! Don’t believe an email that says you’ve won a new car

Maybe you’ve seen an email or two like this: For whatever reason, Bill Gates has decided share some of his fortune with you – no strings attached. Or maybe you had a long-lost uncle in Venezuela who just passed away and left his millions to you. You just have to send $1,000 or just provide your private information and it’s all yours.

We’ve all been there. The moral of the story is the same broken record. If an unsolicited email sounds too good to be true, it’s a scam.

Which brings us to one that’s recently been making the rounds. Maybe this one seems more plausible because it’s only promising you a new car, not millions of dollars. But just like the others, it’s a scam. I’m sorry to say you didn’t win a new luxury coupe.

This email says I won a new BMW

A new scam coming to an email inbox near you says you’re the lucky winner of a free 2018 BMW 2 Series M240i. You just have to respond with your full name, delivery address and mobile number. Right now, someone, somewhere just opened that email and is thinking, “This seems legit.” Well, it’s not. See an example of the email below, courtesy of

BMW email scam

Once you go down that rabbit hole, you’ll most likely get a response asking for more. That might include very sensitive information requests like logins, bank accounts or your Social Security number. Next thing you know, your credit card’s being used to buy train tickets in Scotland. Or worse.

Don’t be fooled by phishing scams

You can protect yourself from becoming a victim of a phishing scam. Here are a few tips:

  • I said it once, I’ll say it again: if it seems too good to be true, don’t believe it.
  • If the email looks like it was written by someone whose first (or even second) language is NOT English, it’s a scam. Many of these emails originate from overseas and have blatantly obvious spelling and grammatical errors.
  • If you don’t know who the email is from, don’t download files, open other attachments or click on any links.
  • If an email starts with “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam,” just delete it and move on.
  • Be wary of any email that wants you to verify sensitive account details.
  • Don’t be fooled by emails trying to scare you into thinking one of your accounts will be closed, or even worse, emails with blackmail or sextortion.

The big takeaway is to be suspicious of emails from anyone you don’t know, even if the Nigerian astronaut stranded in space seems sincere.

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