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FTC Advisory Against Scammers Masquerading as Government Officials

Giving a new twist to an age-old scam, scammers are pretending to be government officials while informing customers about their lottery winnings. Con artists also exploit the Internet technology that makes the mails look as they have originated from Washington D.C or the customer's hometown as they identify themselves as representatives of Federal Trade Commission or other government bureau.

Furthermore, to make the scam appears more credible, the con artists take advantage of the Internet technology to create a false telephone number that appears on the customer's caller I.D., supposedly coming from the Washington, D.C., area code.

According to Nat Wood, FTC's Assistant Director of Bureau of Consumer Protection, which released an advisory (in the end of June) alerting customers against scam, scammers always search for new methods for trapping unwitting victims.

These con artists persuade customers to transfer money overseas. They normally recommend to utilize popular money transfer corporation like Western Union to wire the amount to a broker of "Lloyd's of London" or any other renowned insurance firm to serve as "cover" for transportation of the "reward". Actually, no insurance firm is implicated; scammers just grab the money and vanish.

FTC warned customers against paying any amount to gather sweepstakes prize money. In case someone has given money to gather the prize, it means he has won nothing. Officially recognized sweepstakes don't demand money towards insurance, duty or shipping and handling costs to gather your prize money. Also, people should not dispatch a bank check or money order by overnight courier or delivery services. As per FTC, scammers suggest these services to receive the money before the customers can comprehend they've been conned.

Besides, it's unlawful for any agent to mislead anybody about an association with -- or an approval by -- a government organization or some other renowned corporation. Notorious firms may manipulate a deviation of an authorized or nationally renowned name so as to mislead customers into having faith in their offers. Well-known insurance firms, such as Lloyd's, don't insure delivery of lottery prizes, FTC warns.

Related article: FTC Reaches Million-Dollar Settlement For Spyware

» SPAMfighter News - 7/16/2008

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