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Fraudsters are posing as representatives of a lottery sponsored by Liverpool Football Club in an attempt to defraud gulliable net users.

The spam messages claim that recipients are one of 40 lucky winners to have won £500,000 in a lottery supposedly run by Liverpool FC. The emails say that LFC's financial success exceeded expectations (thanks to last season's Champions League win), making available a total of £20m as an "end of year promotion", and that the recipient has been randomly chosen by a computer as one of the winners. Why the club hasn't earmarked this money towards securing a much-needed goal scorer1 when the mid-season transfer window opens in January isn't explained.

Some of these emails ask recipients to provide their personal details in order to claim the prize money. Whether marks will be eventually asked to hand over bank account information or simply tricked into stumping up fees to process the collection of non-existent winnings remains unclear. UK-based security firm Sophos says it has blocked around 200 copies of the Liverpool FC lottery scam emails in its UK spam traps and a smaller number in its Italian traps. It hasn't seen the scam emails elsewhere in the world suggesting that scammers are targeting UK-based surfers. The spam run was sent out via a Texas-based machine (which may or may not be compromised) via a Yahoo! UK email address, according to Sophos.

The latest scams comes less than two months after a different campaign posed as a winning lottery notification from FIFA, football's international governing body. The Lads from Lagos also tried to reel in suckers via claims they were forming a Irish football squad in, of all places, Bangkok. ®

1Coming from a Manchester United supporter, Liverpool fans should feel free to treat this remark as biased. But with Peter Crouch yet to hit the back of the net a third of the way through the season - even via the penalty spot - they ought to concede I might have a point, especially when strike-partner Morientes has scored only one goal in domestic competition.

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