Scam artists have spoofed the website of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission in an attempt to steal the personal and financial information from lottery players across the country.
The fake lottery website, www.mass-lottery.org, which was hosted by HostRocket.com had been taken down Wednesday afternoon (9 July). But the site, which was registered on 13 June, was nearly identical to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission's official site, www.masslottery.com, according to lottery spokeswoman Amy Morris.
Morris said the spoofed site operators, believed to be in Nigeria, sent e-mails, as well as text messages via mobile phones, to people telling them they had won $30,000 (£18,471) in the Massachusetts State Lottery.
Once consumers clicked on a link contained in the e-mail or text message, they were taken to an official-looking website, asked to key in a user name and password, provided to them in the e-mail, and then asked to supply personal information, including a credit card number and a social security number.
They were also asked to pay a $100 processing fee.
According to Morris, about 200 people have notified the Lottery Commission about these e-mails since May, and some had given out their personal data. She said the Lottery Commission has no way of knowing how many other people may have fallen victim to the scam.
"In May there was another [spoof] website set up at www.mass-lotto.org, which has since been taken down," Morris said. "But we don't know how many others there might be."
Morris said the Lottery Commission is working with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down the perpetrators.
Linda Rosencrance writes for Computerworld