Avoid the "International Official Lottery" scam

Also Known As: International Official Lottery pop-up
Damage level: Medium

What is "International Official Lottery"?

"International Official Lottery" is a phishing scam promoted on various deceptive websites. It is presented as an online lottery, which users supposedly take part simply by entering the scam web page.

Once users attempt to collect their winnings, however, they are redirected to different websites, which steal the information entered into them (e.g. credit card and digital wallet details, email addresses and telephone numbers).

Most visits to these deceptive/scam pages occur via redirects caused by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already infiltrated into the system.

International Official Lottery scam

When accessed, the scam claims that it is an "International Official Lottery", the broadcast of which has been simplified due to an unstable internet connection. It is stated that a ticket has been registered for regular users. The numbers of this ticket match with those drawn, hence users have won a large sum of money.

When the "CONTACT THE PRIZE CENTER >>" button is clicked, another page is displayed. Within this, users must select the chosen payout method (e.g. transfer to a bank card/internet wallet or cash transfer via shipping services). Collecting the prize at the prize issue center is allegedly impossible, since the winning amount is too small.

Both of the available methods have transfer/shipping fees. After one of these is selected, people are asked to provide the legitimate information in two different web pages (e.g. their credit card and/or digital wallet details, email addresses and telephone numbers), however, rather than having the fake prize transferred to them, they have their private information stolen.

This can lead to various serious issues. For example, the scammers can use credit card and digital wallet details to make online purchases and fraudulent transactions. To summarize, trusting scams such as "International Official Lottery" can lead to financial loss and serious privacy issues.

PUAs can force-open not just deceptive/scam sites, but also sale-based, untrusted, rogue, compromised and malicious sites. These applications also have additional capabilities. They can deliver intrusive advertisements (e.g. banners, coupons, surveys, pop-ups, etc.), which reduce browsing speed and web page visibility.

Furthermore, once clicked, intrusive ads can redirect to similarly harmful websites and stealthily download/install rogue software (e.g. PUAs). Other unwanted app can hijack browsers and restrict/deny access to settings to promote fake search engines. Most PUAs can track data.

They can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, web pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This vulnerable data is often shared with third parties, seeking to misuse it for profit.

In summary, the presence of PUAs on systems can lead to various infiltration and infections, financial loss, serious privacy concerns and even identity theft. To ensure device/user safety, remove all dubious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins without delay.

Threat Summary:
Name International Official Lottery pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.
Fake Claim Scam claims it is an international lottery and users have won a prize.
Related Domains officialsite0304[.]buzz
Detection Names (officialsite0304[.]buzz)
Kaspersky (Phishing), Full List Of Detections (VirusTotal)
Serving IP Address (officialsite0304[.]buzz)
Symptoms Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.
Distribution methods Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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"2020 Web Research Survey", "You've Made The 5-billionth Search", and "$1000 VISA Gift Card" are some examples other schemes similar to "International Official Lottery". Popular scam models include (but are not limited to) prize giveaways, "amazing" offers and deals, alerts that software is outdated/missing, and warnings that the system is infected or at risk.

These schemes are used to trick people into providing their personal information, paying fake fees, calling fraudulent and expensive support/service lines, downloading/installing and/or purchasing untrusted or malicious content.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs are proliferated via the download/installation set-ups of other products. This deceptive marketing technique of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling".

By rushing through download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps and sections, using pre-set options, etc.), many users risk unintentionally allowing bundled content onto their devices. Some PUAs have "official" promotional sites from which they can be downloaded. Intrusive ads also proliferate these apps.

When clicked, they can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' permission.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

You are strongly advised to research all software and download it only from official and verified sources. Untrustworthy download channels such as unofficial and free file-hosting websites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders can offer deceptive and/or bundled content.

When downloading/installing, read the terms, study all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features, etc. Intrusive advertisements rarely seem suspicious - they often seem normal and innocuous - however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others).

If you encounter these ads/redirects, inspect the system and immediately remove all suspect applications and browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in the main page of the "International Official Lottery" scam:

I n t e r n a t i o n a l   O f f i c i a l    L o t t e r y
Participating tickets 63 911...
GRAND PRIZE 325 850 640 DOLLARS!!!
Simplified form of broadcast of the draw due to unstable Internet connection
57 62 21 7 66 81 74 16 1 32 34 52 14 33 36 38 41 45
49 75 2 40 36 89 55 10 43 19 90 11
Ticket issue registered by the drawing commission

Screenshot of the drawn numbers:

International Official Lottery scam drawn numbers

Screenshot of the page announcing that users have won:

International Official Lottery scam claiming users have won

Text presented in this page:

winning tickets: 219
+ combination "SQUARE"
$ 24 780

Screenshot of the page listing available prize transfer options:

International Official Lottery scam transfer option selection page

Text presented in this page:

I n t e r n a t i o n a l   O f f i c i a l    L o t t e r y
$ 24 780
5 to 10 minutes. Payment of fee required
3 to 7 days. Shipping cost $27.9.
Cash withdrawal at the issuing center is not available, as the amount of your winnings is less than $100 000

Screenshot of the first phishing page:

International Official Lottery first phishing page

Text presented in this page:

Your payout is ready to ship.
The fee for your winnings amounted to: $17.9
Enter card / wallet number
After paying the fee, you will immediately receive a money transfer to your card or wallet.

Screenshot of the second phishing site to which the "International Official Lottery" scam redirects:

International Official Lottery second phishing page

Text presented in this page:

Secure Checkout
Order number:28461910
Billing Information
Card Number
Expiration Date

Cardholder Name
Pay Now
When the online transaction is made, you will receive a verification code through an SMS to your registered mobile phone number.

The appearance of "International Official Lottery" scam (GIF):

Appearance of International Official Lottery scam

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How to identify a pop-up scam?

Pop-up windows with various fake messages are a common type of lures cybercriminals use. They collect sensitive personal data, trick Internet users into calling fake tech support numbers, subscribe to useless online services, invest in shady cryptocurrency schemes, etc.

While in the majority of cases these pop-ups don't infect users' devices with malware, they can cause direct monetary loss or could result in identity theft.

Cybercriminals strive to create their rogue pop-up windows to look trustworthy, however, scams typically have the following characteristics:

  • Spelling mistakes and non-professional images - Closely inspect the information displayed in a pop-up. Spelling mistakes and unprofessional images could be a sign of a scam.
  • Sense of urgency - Countdown timer with a couple of minutes on it, asking you to enter your personal information or subscribe to some online service.
  • Statements that you won something - If you haven't participated in a lottery, online competition, etc., and you see a pop-up window stating that you won.
  • Computer or mobile device scan - A pop-up window that scans your device and informs of detected issues - is undoubtedly a scam; webpages cannot perform such actions.
  • Exclusivity - Pop-up windows stating that only you are given secret access to a financial scheme that can quickly make you rich.

Example of a pop-up scam:

Example of a pop-up scam

How do pop-up scams work?

Cybercriminals and deceptive marketers usually use various advertising networks, search engine poisoning techniques, and shady websites to generate traffic to their pop-ups. Users land on their online lures after clicking on fake download buttons, using a torrent website, or simply clicking on an Internet search engine result.

Based on users' location and device information, they are presented with a scam pop-up. Lures presented in such pop-ups range from get-rich-quick schemes to fake virus scans.

How to remove fake pop-ups?

In most cases, pop-up scams do not infect users' devices with malware. If you encountered a scam pop-up, simply closing it should be enough. In some cases scam, pop-ups may be hard to close; in such cases - close your Internet browser and restart it.

In extremely rare cases, you might need to reset your Internet browser. For this, use our instructions explaining how to reset Internet browser settings.

How to prevent fake pop-ups?

To prevent seeing pop-up scams, you should visit only reputable websites. Torrent, Crack, free online movie streaming, YouTube video download, and other websites of similar reputation commonly redirect Internet users to pop-up scams.

To minimize the risk of encountering pop-up scams, you should keep your Internet browsers up-to-date and use reputable anti-malware application. For this purpose, we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.

What to do if you fell for a pop-up scam?

This depends on the type of scam that you fell for. Most commonly, pop-up scams try to trick users into sending money, giving away personal information, or giving access to one's device.

  • If you sent money to scammers: You should contact your financial institution and explain that you were scammed. If informed promptly, there's a chance to get your money back.
  • If you gave away your personal information: You should change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication in all online services that you use. Visit Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft and get personalized recovery steps.
  • If you let scammers connect to your device: You should scan your computer with reputable anti-malware (we recommend Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows) - cyber criminals could have planted trojans, keyloggers, and other malware, don't use your computer until removing possible threats.
  • Help other Internet users: report Internet scams to Federal Trade Commission.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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