Happy Ten pyramid game can lead to identity theft

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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@gcluley

Katherine in our marketing department received this letter through her postbox yesterday, inviting her to take part in a pyramid game called “Happy Ten”.

Happy Ten

The idea is that you put £10 in the bank account of player number one, and then forward the letter on to as many people as you can (removing the name of the stranger you just gave £10 too, and shifting all the other names one place up the list).

According to the letter’s author you could have £100,000 or more in your account in next to no time! Marvellous!

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And what do you know? The person who passed on the chain letter has given her the bank account details of ten customers of Lloyds TSB, Barclays and the NatWest bank.

Happy Ten bank accounts

Now, firstly, if you really believe that you’re going to get rich from something like this then there’s a marvellous Opera House in Sydney that I’d like to sell you.

But secondly, are these people crazy passing on their bank account details to complete strangers?

The worry is that there are vulnerable people out there who might fall for a scam like this and be all too willing to pass on this chain letter believing that they might make a small fortune.

Forget “Happy Ten”. This should be called “Happy Identity Thief”.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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