Latest sweepstakes scams feature con artists impersonating government officials.
It Could Happen to You
Here at Auto Credit Express Car Loans, we were reading about the latest scam at the FTC consumer site just a few weeks ago regarding internet fraud as it related to scam artists impersonating a governmental agency. At the time, it sounded like the height of stupidity. Why would someone try this? Certainly no one would believe it. But just as people have fallen for money scams from a barrister in Nigeria, it would appear that those people willing to perpetrate a fraud know no bounds when it comes to imagining new ways to bilk people out of their hard-earned cash.
If I was looking for proof of that, all that I had to do was look in my email inbox this morning, for here is what I found:
URGENT ATTENTION NEEDED (805)
Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc
This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly Investigated with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you are having an illegal Transaction with Impostors claiming to be Prof. Charles C. Soludo of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr Frank Nweke, Dr. Philip Mogan, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Barr. Derrick Smith, kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule,Larry Christopher, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen, Dr. Philip Mogan, Paul Adim, Puppy Scammers are impostors claiming to be the Federal Bureau Of Investigation. During our Investigation, we noticed that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment.
Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in total USD$11,000.000.00 in an ATM CARD which you can use to withdraw money from any ATM MACHINE CENTER anywhere in the world with a maximum of $4000 to $5000 United States Dollars daily. You now have the lawful right to claim your fund in an ATM CARD.
Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this transaction, you have to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free it is our duty to protect the American Citizens. All I want you to do is to contact the ATM CARD CENTER via email for their requirements to proceed and procure your Approval Slip on your behalf which will cost you $260.00 only and note that your Approval Slip which contains details of the agent who will process your transaction.
NAME: MR. Daniel Wilson
Do contact Mr. Daniel Wilson of the ATM CARD CENTER with your details:
So your files would be updated after which he will send the payment information’s which you’ll use in making payment of $260.00 via Western Union Money Transfer or Money Gram Transfer for the procurement of your Approval Slip after which the delivery of your ATM CARD will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay.We order you get back to this office after you have contacted the ATM SWIFT CARD CENTER and we do await your response so we can move on with our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.
Thanks and hope to read from you soon.
ROBERT S. MUELLER, III
DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535
Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possession of your ATM CARD, you are hereby advice only to be in contact with Mr. Daniel Wilson of the ATM CARD CENTER who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your ATM CARD PAYMENT and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation.
Unbelieveable. In any case, here is the warning from the FTC regarding this type of email:
Some con artists use the lure of a sweepstakes to convince consumers to send in money to claim a “prize” they’ve supposedly won. They tell consumers that the only thing that separates them from their “winnings” is a fee to cover the taxes or service charges. But as all too many consumers know, the winnings as described never materialize.
In a new spin on the age-old sweepstakes scam, crooks are getting bolder, using names of government agencies and legitimate phone numbers that mask where they’re calling from. Claiming to represent “the national consumer protection agency,” the non-existent National Sweepstakes Bureau, and even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), they say that the delivery of the sweepstakes prize is being supervised by the supposed government agency. And they’re using Internet technology to make it appear that they’re calling from Washington, DC, the nation’s capital, or the consumer’s own area code.
These scammers then convince consumers to wire money to a foreign country — they usually suggest using a commercial money transfer company like Western Union to wire the money — to an agent of “Lloyd’s of London” or some other well-known insurance company to “insure” delivery of the “prize.” In fact, no insurance company is involved; con artists take the money and disappear.
According to the real Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. government’s chief consumer protection agency, consumers can keep from falling for the lure of the sweepstakes scam by taking a few precautions. For example, the FTC says:
• Don’t pay to collect sweepstakes winnings. If you have to pay to collect your winnings, you haven’t won anything. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay “insurance,” “taxes” or “shipping and handling charges” to collect your prize.
• Hold on to your money. Scammers pressure people to wire money through commercial money transfer companies like Western Union because wiring money is the same as sending cash. If you discover you’ve been scammed, the money’s gone, and there’s very little chance of recovery. Likewise, resist any push to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier. Con artists recommend these services so they can get to your money before you realize you’ve been cheated.
• Look-alikes aren’t the real thing. It’s illegal for any promoter to lie about an affiliation with — or an endorsement by — a government agency or any other well-known organization. Disreputable companies sometimes use a variation of an official or nationally recognized name to try to confuse you and give you confidence in their offers. Insurance companies, including Lloyd’s, do not insure delivery of sweepstakes winnings.
The Bottom Line
After going through schemes involving Nigerian lawyers, Microsoft Corporation and various U.S. and international banks, internet scam artists are now willing to misrepresent themselves as high-level government officials (and real ones, at that).
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