The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last month was made aware of an email scam in which victims receive emails that name drop different major organizations, including Microsoft, Scotland Yard, and the FBI itself. Claiming that they represent Lottery House, a so-called international lottery that has been approved by the FBI and Scotland Yard as a legal operation, the senders of the scam email attempt to part victims with their money through promises of a larger prize payoff.
The emails attempt to solicit money from recipients in order to claim “lottery” prizes, and often include the subject line, “FBI Internet Fraud Watch/Alert, " along with the name and contact information for FBI Director Robert Mueller. It instructs the recipient to send money for “up-front fees, ” sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars, to secure prizes that the victim supposedly won in an international sweepstakes sponsored by a major corporation, most often Microsoft and MasterCard. The email also states that the FBI and Scotland Yard are monitoring all monetary transactions, and that the securing fee is insured.
Predictably, those who fall for the scam never hear from the organization again, and never do get that “insured" money back.
The return email address of an email containing this scam may be listed as “FBIfraudalert@hotmail.co.uk" or “FBIfraudwatch@hotmail.co.uk. " If you have received this email or a similar email you suspect to be fraudulent, the FBI suggests filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, accepts complaints at their website from the victim or a third party to the victim. To report a crime, be sure to provide the following information to IC3:
- Mailing address
- Phone number
- The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you.
- Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.
- Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint.
The FBI recommends consumers beware of any email requesting payments, fees, or other up-front deposits, as these sorts of requests are usually fraudulent. Additionally, from a computer security standpoint, users should not follow any links in such an email, for fear of accidentally downloading viruses or spyware.