Planet Mars: will it really look as big as the moon?

Planet Mars, the Coca Cola lottery, and protecting your privacy: Internet ScamBusters #193


Planet Mars: will it really look as big as the moon on August 27?

A popular urban legend has resurfaced: “On August 27th … Mars will look as large as the full moon.”

We wrote about the planet Mars urban legend last July.

Here are the facts: Planet Mars did pass within 34,646,418 miles of earth on August 27, 2003 — this was the closest Mars has come to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. Mars also came quite close in October 2005.

However in both cases, planet Mars looked like a bright red star, not even close to the size of the full moon.

Nothing of interest is happening with regards to the planet Mars this year.

For more info, visit

The Coca Cola lottery

We’ve written a lot about lottery scams in the past — in fact, lottery scams are #5 on the Internet ScamBusters’ Top 10 Scams for 2006.

One of the newest lottery scam variants is the bogus UK “Coca Cola lottery.” Emails with the subject “Coca Cola Promotion” have been circulating for the past month.

These emails claim the lucky recipient has won $2.5 million in an annual lottery after being randomly selected when computers found their email address on different websites.

Potential victims are told to call or fax an agent to collect their winnings.

Naturally, the scammers are really interested in stealing the victims’ personal details so they can either steal money from their bank accounts or commit identity theft.

Action: Delete the email. You are not one of 50 lucky winners. You cannot win a lottery if you didn’t buy a ticket. In addition, it’s illegal for US citizens to participate in any kind of cross-border lottery system.

For more tips and clever twists on foreign lottery scams, click here.

Resource: Protecting your privacy by removing your name and personal info from online directories

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has created an excellent resource on how to remove your name, phone number and other info from many directory listing sites across the Internet.

This page gives web and snail mail addresses to get off a long list of websites that allow you to remove your personal info. We recommend you consider doing this.

Time to close for today. We have a very special issue for you next week, so be sure to watch for it.