This scam is a kind of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other African countries. The victims are lured into large amounts of money, like lottery prizes, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account or in a deposit box at a security company etc. The victims will never get this non-existing fortune, but they are tricked into sending their own hard-earned money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses, as well as by communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Many Advance Fee Fraud Spam Emails & Advance Fee Fraud Letters contain a telephone number for contacting the sender. In most cases, these involve mobile phones, but fixed lines are used too. The email contains contact numbers, which are typical in such scams, because they allow criminals to hide their true location and identity. Most scams using +44 70xx numbers involve emails that are sent from Nigeria and other West African countries. So, if you see such a number in a scam email, don’t be fooled in thinking it has originated from the UK.
In most cases when you call one of these numbers the phone that starts ringing will actually be a mobile phone somewhere in Nigeria, as the UK number would have been programmed to auto-forward calls to another number. These +44 70xx numbers are used as a redirector service to obscure the fact that the person taking the call is not actually based in Europe. The UK number is only used to make the scam look more credible.
The reasons for demanding advance fee may vary. The scamsters may claim that the advance fee is for paying legal fees. Many scams involve fake lawyers. So, beware of anyone using @lawyer.com, @justice.com etc free webmail accounts. In some cases, the fees may be asked in the form of insurance. Any lottery prize that is supposedly insured is fake. Another reason given is shipping charges. The scamsters often use brand names like FedEx, UPS & other postal office mails, which give credibility to the spam mail as well as the delivery options. The amount of shipping charges is often stated as more than 500 GBP. Here lies the catch. Real lotteries don’t ask you to contact a parcel service to arrange for shipping of a cheque or a winnings certificate that you will have to pay for. Another reason for the advance fee is wire transfer charges. Here again, don’t be fooled — real banks don’t charge you several thousand dollars just for money transfer.
The victims are promised a fortune for providing a bank account number to transfer the money to. Then – if they fall for the scam – they are made to part with thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars before the scamsters finally disappear without trace.
So, before falling for such traps, check out the following facts about ‘real’ lotteries: Firstly, they do not notify winners by email. You cannot win a lottery without first buying a ticket. Secondly, they do not randomly select email addresses to award prizes to. Thirdly, they do not use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you. Fourthly, they do not tell you to call a mobile phone number. Fifthly, you don’t have to keep the winnings a secret. And lastly, they will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize. Any courier service, lawyer or bank that a fake lottery may have introduced you to is also fake. Log on to www.scamomatic.com for online help to check out and report suspicious emails that may have been sent to you by criminals.
CAUCE India, or the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, which was formed in the late 1990s is a non-profit advocacy group, works to reduce the amount of unsolicited commercial email, or spam. But there is no such thing as Anti-Spam Law in India unlike the Can Spam Act, 2003 of US and the Australian Anti Spam Law. The Indian Government needs to go for a strong Anti-Spam Law urgently. The proposed amendment to ITA-2000(information Technology Act – 2000) needs to be done on priority basis to prevent further spamming of internet users.
So next time, think before you get scammed.