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Scam Alert: A Fraudulent E-mail Scheme Claiming to Originate from the FMC

April 28, 2010

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has learned of a scheme that uses the name of the FMC to perpetuate a scam on consumers. This alert is intended to warn consumers that the fraudulent e-mail and correspondence were not sent by the Federal Maritime Commission or any of its employees. Individuals are warned not to respond to the fraudulent e-mails or provide personal information. The FMC strongly recommends that individuals safeguard personal information and not respond to any unsolicited request for personal information.

Individuals have received e-mails and correspondence that appear to the reader to be from the FMC. The fraudulent e-mails and correspondence inform you that you have won a lottery or sweepstakes. To receive the prize, "all you have to do is pay the taxes and insurance." The correspondence asks you to "wire money or send a check for an amount between $1,000 and $10,000 USD" (the amount is usually requested in the recipient's currency). The fraudulent e-mails and correspondence are designed to look like a page from the FMC's authentic website and include an alleged employee's name and signature.

Links to examples of the fraudulent e-mails and correspondence are provided below:

If you have received an e-mail or correspondence similar to the ones shown in the above examples, please contact the FMC Inspector General's Hotline at OIG@fmc.gov.

To avoid falling victim to sweepstakes/lottery scams, here are a few tips:

  • Don't pay to collect sweepstakes winnings. This includes paying "insurance," "taxes," or "shipping and handling charges" to collect your prize.
  • Don't wire money. 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.
  • Don't send a check or money order. Resist any push to send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier. Scammers recommend these services so they can get your money before you realize you've been cheated.