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If the light of the latest outreach we did around scam (Lottery Scam – The voice of the victim), Research firm Ipsos was retained to conduct research with consumers in Germany, Italy, Denmark, UK and The Netherlands. About 3'500 users were contacted and here are some of the highlights (well, lowlights?):
66% said they had received emails from unknown senders, of them:
Of the 1,194 people that said they had received emails telling them they had won money in a lottery or draw:
Let's do some math. Let's say that you send 100'000 "You won in the lottery"-mails per month. Let's say 5'000 of them are opened (16% open at least some). 10% - 500 will reply to you. If you are able to get 25% of them (and I think that this is not unreasonable), you will catch 150 people. If each one of those is losing €50'000 (similar to Mr. Ericson above), you will make € 7'500'000 a month by sending out 100'000 mails. However, studies show that the average is around € 5'000 – then the sum would be € 750'000 which is still good enough and 100'000 mails is not too much…
Now, if you look at the Economy of Cybercrime, the question about the cost factor immediately pops up. The monetary cost of the crime is rather low. You need a phone some paper, a PC and that's more or less it. The last point is about the likeliness of being sent to jail. So, how much do they get? The penalties for fraud vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In 2005 an Australian was sentenced to 5 years and 3 months jail for lottery scams. EFFC (the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission) has prosecuted scammers which have been sentenced to over 10 years of jail in many instances. Do you see now, why I think that working with Law Enforcement is crucial?