While browsing through her spam folder, woman finds email about $3 million prize

Originally published at: While browsing through her spam folder, woman finds email about $3 million prize | Boing Boing


Just did the same thing, but with different results, sadly.


“It’s all still so shocking to me that I really won $3 million!”

I would be saying this for years if it were me.


The difference between this junk lottery email and most junk lottery emails is that this lady had actually entered the Michigan Lottery.


Before everyone starts dredging their spam folders, ask yourself this: “Did I even buy a lottery ticket?”


that’s nothing! i got an email from the former head of the Nigerian treasury and i can get 51M USD! all i need to do is send my bank information for a quick and profitable transfer. some of us were just born lucky.


I’m playing the long game; I got an invitation from the Illuminati to join them, so eventually I’ll be privy to all of the secrets of life, and be rewarded grandly, I’m suuuure.


I don’t quite agree with the “Tax on people who are bad at math” thing.

I think it’s more a tax on people who’ve been denied a decent education by the state. The irony is that most (all?) lotteries are state run and the profits end up paying for government services like education. Really if the wealthy were taxed appropriately, governments wouldn’t need to call upon lotteries to fund these services. However, the view is that people are going to gamble anyway, lotteries may as well be run by the government.

Also, lotteries are geared toward the poor/unwealthy. If you are a multi-millionaire+, a few more million means nothing to you - but it’s easy to sell the plebs on the idea of getting to easy street without slogging away at an unfulfilling job for 25 more years.

Still, I think many people who play the lottery do it for fun, not because they seriously think they will win if they play often enough. Humans do all sorts of irrational things for fun but people who play the lottery seem to get singled out by the priviliged and better educated.

There are undoubtedly people that get addicted to gambling and lotteries and the amount of money they lose playing the games goes past the point of being fun. But I’d wager that in most cases the problem is not the individual but society’s failure to educate and put in place safeguards to prevent people getting too far down the rabbit hole. But calling it a tax on the innumerate strays a little too close to victim blaming for my liking.


The problem being that SPAM is so cheap to send that spammers don’t need to identify people who played the lottery, they will get enough hits through sheer volume, and to those people who get the spam and did enter the lottery, the email can seem legit.

That makes it the perfect feedback loop! The more badly in need of funding the education system is the more lotto tickets get purchased, so the education level goes up and lotto sales go down. No need to figure out the correct amount to fund schools, just let it fine the natural level!

(and in case my sarcasm isn’t evident, this leaves out a lot of problems, from a technical point of view the biggest is the cycle time is way way too long to actually converge on an ideal funding level in a sane time period, even if other factors don’t shift the ideal funding level)

Yep, I have idle fantasies about what I would do if insanely rich (for example: fund an animal sanctuary, focused mostly on older dogs who had and lost a happy home). So far I haven’t needed to add $1 worth of chance at actually getting all that money in order to make the fantasies “rewarding”. I can absolutely see people who can’t really manage to get any fun out of that sort of speculation unless they have “a chance” at it (i.e. buy a lotto ticket).

Yeah, but I’m guessing they are not playing lotto at that point.

Possible three million? Still not worth looking in my spam folder

I have always believed that my chances of them accidentally sending me the money are better than my chances of actually winning the lottery.

This was kind of proven true in 1988 when, out of the blue, I received a promotional California lottery hammock despite never having participated in the lottery or giving them my address or anything else that would have caused them to send me a promotional California lottery hammock.




I agree with your take … I think a notable feature of many who have historically been associated with gambling problems is they have been very capable of “doing the math” . Ada Lovelace and Babbage were said to share a gambling addiction, and I seem to recall Adam Smith in this context? Lovelace and Babbage were both very good mathematicians, Babbage had Newton’s chair I believe. To dismiss destructive gambling as a consequence of lack of knowledge is kind of simplistic I think.
My personal approach: when I was in my twenties I had the urge to buy a lottery ticket. I said "OK, if you forgo a more destructive practice, you can use the money saved ", so I gave up an almost daily chocolat bar habit :grin: I retained many more destructive habits in case I required more bargaining opportunities in the future .
Edit: punctuation, spelling, posture

The association of the acronym SPAM with the Hormel lunch meat is inaccurate. SPAM actually stands for “Solicitations Perceived As Mail” and was invented and initially used by marketers. /s

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You should look in there occasionally. Spam filters have gotten terrible lately. Not only do they fail to block a lot of spam, but I find quite of lot of legitimate mail gets thrown in there. Yes, I know you can theoretically “train” them. But in practice that doesn’t do much good, especially in GMail.

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Yeah, you’re right. I was hoping I’d die first, but… Well, anyway, gonna need a bullwhip and a bottle of whiskey

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