CNN reports about online scams

A recent CNN article described various online scams, including fake lotteries and other 419 scams:

As one scam-watch site pointed out, lottery companies do not organize “promotional” lotteries, they advertise. A free “promotional” lottery that you only hear about if you win would only promote the lottery to a handful of customers. That doesn’t make any sense.

If you answer the e-mail, after one or two e-mail exchanges with the so-called lottery officials or claims agent, perhaps accompanied by some official looking but fake documents, you’ll be asked to pay fees for taxes or handling or some other reason. This is the scam — you pay the fees and never see any winnings, mainly because there are none to see.

Currently fake lotteries are the most prominent of online scams. We get far more queries about fake lotteries than about all other types of scams taken together. More people fall for them than for any other scam, maybe because so many people play lotteries in “real life”, so the idea of a sudden lucky strike is not alien to them.

In case you wondered, the unnamed scam-watch site quoted by CNN is the one you’re looking at right now. It was a quote from our 419 fraud FAQ about fake lotteries. The article also prominently mentioned of which we’re a member and listed it as the first of several fraud-information websites.

Education is the most effective weapon against scams. People who know about scams are not easily tricked any more. If more newspaper and TV and radio stations were to talk about scams, fewer people would fall victim to them.

A strange type of spam

On June 15 I received some unusual spam. It arrived from an IP address in Turkey ( that is listed by SpamHaus.

Subject: Credit card processing courtiers


Im Adam Aministers from credit card processing company. We can offer now good rates and bi-weekly payouts. If you are still looking for credit card processing, please contact me by ICQ 192687669

With regards,
Key account manager

A credit card processor who would handle card data for all your customers has to be trustworthy. Someone who sends spam, doesn’t have a website and can not be contacted via either e-mail nor the telephone (let alone gives a physical address) is the exact opposite. What merchant in his right mind would do business with these people?

My suspicion is that the credit card transactions these guys handle in themselves are illegal (e.g. software piracy, child pornography).

Communications via ICQ are very common in Russian spammer and online fraud circles.