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Financial Investigation Agency Fraud Alert

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The Financial Investigation Agency is advising residents of the BVI to be on the lookout for a new scam that has been recently identified. The scam is being perpetrated via the internet and mobile phones and appears to be targeting civil servants with BVI Government issued mobile phones.

The scam is initiated by a text which is being sent to Government mobile cell phone numbers informing recipients that his/her mobile number has been verified and approved as one of the winning numbers in a FIFA 2010 Promotion and as a result has won Five Hundred Thousand GBP £500,000.00. FIFA is the world’s governing body for football (soccer).

The initial text is then followed by a series of phone calls and emails instructing individuals how to go about claiming their prize money. The emails include a copy of a check made payable to the targeted individual. In this particular scam, the check has a Citibank logo with this address – Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, UK. The emailed copy of the check is accompanied by several other documents including documents from the British Inland Revenue Service and the UK Financial Services Authority. This is all geared towards adding legitimacy to the scam. The targeted individuals are ultimately asked to send money to cover certain fees which the perpetrators claim have to be paid before the prize money can be released by the bank. The Agency believes that the use of FIFA to help lure potential victims into the scam is likely linked to the upcoming football World Cup matches which are scheduled to be held in South Africa next month.

The Agency is currently aware of four individuals in the Territory who have received such texts and one of these individuals has reportedly lost money after following instructions given by a perpetrator who made contact subsequent to the initial text message informing them that they were winners of the GBP £500,000.00 prize.

The Agency continues to warn residents to be on the lookout for this and other similar scams and to bring such matters to the attention of the Agency by contacting the Agency at 494-1335, 494-1339 or by emailing [email protected].

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Any person that fails or refuses to provide information to the Agency that it considers relevant to the performance of its functions commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.

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