Message, ostensibly from the “Ministry Of Finance” in the UK, claims that the recipient must pay Non Residential Tax before receiving supposed winnings from an international lottery.
False – Part of an international lottery scam.
Subject: IMMEDIATE STOP ORDER ON TRANSFER VALUED AT 1,000,000.00 (One million pounds sterling’s)
The Directorate-General for Tax and Customs Policy Major Companies/Individuals Tax Unit Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA
Our Ref: MF/UK/CB-XX-02/08
The Directorate-General for Tax and Customs Policy revenue of the United Kingdom via its intelligence-monitoring network have discovered that the CITIBANK UNITED KINGDOM are about to remit some funds £1,000,000 (One million pounds sterling’s) being proceeds of UK NATIONAL LOTTERY without the payment of Non residential tax being a Non UK resident.
Non residential tax is the sole responsibility of the beneficiary .Income taxes are from source generally include direct federal tax, communal taxes, as well as, most of the time, church tax. As in the case of income tax, cantonal tax rates vary to a fairly large extent depending on the locality.
Governmental tax scales for withholding tax and the corresponding regulations are available at the Government tax departments. The funds £1,000,000 (One million pounds sterling’s) with other valuable documents backing your winnings are now on HOLD because we ( Tax Investigation Services ) noticed that you are not a British Citizen, so in this case, you will have to pay a Non residential tax fee before the transfer of your funds will be allowed out of the shore of this country.
Find below the contact information of the Ministry of finance:
CONTACT PERSON: Mr.Smith Johnson (Esq.)
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHONE NUMBER: + 447014221039
In accordance with United kingdom tax system of inland revenue ordination decree 1997 section 51 of United Kingdom tax legislation Law reviewed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and Former State Secretary Helen Clarke of the Ministry of Finance, Revision of Tax 1999 . I wish to bring to the notice of the governing board of the CITIBANK UNITED KINGDOM the consequence of remitting of such huge amount of money outside the shores of this country (The United kingdom) without complying fully with the provision of the financial regulations and directives contained in section 51 of 1997 decree act which stipulates that for any amount ranging from One million pounds sterling’s (£1,000,000) above the recipient must pay 0.05% of the total funds accordingly. This will duly guarantee and cover the money as being legitimately acquired from the United kingdom National Lottery.
By virtue of the powers conferred on us as the accredited board of Directorate-General for Tax and Customs Policy revenue of the United Kingdom and laundering agency in the United Kingdom solely responsible for issuing the certified Non residential tax clearance certificate on foreign transfer compensation and remittance.
We therefore wish to clarify to the CITIBANK UNITED KINGDOM and the Ministry of Justice that the beneficiary of this fund must be advised to seek appropriate Non residential tax clearance certificate upon the payment of the rights of 0.05% of the total fund being transferred otherwise the money will be impounded as laundered.
The fee for such clearance has been calculated inclusive of VAT to be 0.05% of (£1,000,000) which amount to £500 (Five Hundred Pounds Sterling’s only) for immediate conclusion for all relevant bureaucratic procedures, accreditations, the payment must be made henceforth through our accredited account officer co-ordinates.
Failure by the beneficiary to abide to the lay down procedures and regulations, the remittance of the fund must be stopped with immediate effect. Therefore, the CITIBANK UNITED KINGDOM is hereby directed to stop further payment modalities of the above-mentioned beneficiary until a TAX CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE is issued for the transfer of the said funds.
Thanks in advance for your anticipated co-operation.
Yours Sincerely,Mr. Stephen Timms (Esq.)
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
Lottery scammers sometimes use quite elaborate ruses to try to convince their potential victims that they must pay fees in advance before the supposed “winnings” can be released.
In the case discussed here (reconstructed from a number of reader submissions), the scammers have first sent a typical lottery scam email that claims their victim has won £1,000,000 in the UK National Lottery. After the victim has fallen for this initial “bait” email and replied as instructed, he has then received several more messages from the scammers that supposedly give details and further instructions about how and when the “winnings” will be delivered. Finally, the victim was sent another email assuring him that the £1,000,000 was about to be transferred to his account.
Suddenly, the victim received an official-looking email that purported to be from the “Ministry Of Finance”. This message claimed that the Ministry had discovered that £1,000,000 was about to be sent to the victim but had put an immediate stop-order on the transfer until a “Non Residential Tax” had been paid. The message informed the victim that he must remit £500 to cover this tax and have the stop-order lifted. He was instructed to contact an agent from the Ministry Of Finance for more payment details. After contacting the agent as requested, he received the following reply:
Subject: MINISTRY OF FINANCE PAYMENT GUIDELINE
The Directorate-General for Tax and Customs PolicyMajor Companies/Individuals Tax Unit Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA
Our Ref: MF/UK/CB-XX-02/08
RE: Procurement of Non residential tax Certificate.
You are to make payment to this office via our account officer.The preferred and fastest method of payment is through WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER. Locate any outlet near you and make the payment.
Immediately we confirm the receipt of the payment, your Non residential Tax Clearance Certificate will be processed and given to you in less than 24 hrs from the time of receipt of payment which you will inturn forward to the CITI BANK to enable the transfer process of your funds be completed.
The fee for the Certificate as earlier said is 0.05% of your funds which is 500 GBP.
To make payment find below the payment guildlines which should be made through WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER to our account officer:
RECEIVER’S NAME: MR.JOHNSON MOORE.
RECEIVER’S ADDRESS: Buckingham Palace, London SW1A
As soon as you have made the payment, kindly send to us via email the scanned payment slip.
Also write through email the following which is on your slip:
Test question and answer if any:
Immediately we confirm the receipt of this, your Non residential tax clearance certificate will be prepared and given to you for you to go ahead and claim your funds.
Note:The charges cannot be Deducted from your winnings.This is in accordance with section 13(1)(n) of the National Gambling Act as adopted in 1993 and amended on 3RD July 1996 by the constitutional assembly.This is to protect winners and to avoid misappropriation of funds and win and win Situations.
Failure by you to abide to the lay down procedures and regulations, the remittance of the fund would be stopped with immediate effect. Therefore, the CITIBANK UNITED KINGDOM where hereby directed to stop further payment modalities of the above-mentioned until a TAX CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE is issued for the transfer of the said Funds.
Thanks in advance for your anticipated co-operation.
Mr.Smith Johnson (Esq.)
MINISTRY OF FINANCE DEPARTMENT
Thus, the victim was tricked into believing that the tax fee request was not from the lottery organization who initially contacted him, but from a completely separate government department. A seemingly official fee request from a government department might seem more legitimate and believable than a similar request from those supposedly organizing the lottery.
Of course, in reality, all of the emails were sent by the same scammer posing as different entities. It is not difficult to identify the “official” email as fraudulent. Firstly, although the message is supposedly from a UK government department, it includes a logo belonging to the Ministry of Finance in Thailand. Secondly, government departments DO NOT use free Yahoo email addresses. Thirdly, if the lottery organization was legitimate, it would already be aware of any tax obligations and would have mechanisms in place to deal with them long before a government department was forced to impose an emergency stop-order. Fourthly, tax and finance matters in the UK are handled by departments such as HM Revenue & Customs, HM Treasury, or the Financial Services Authority, not by the “Ministry of Finance”. Nor do any of these departments operate out of Buckingham Palace (The Queen might not be amused).
Any email, fax or surface-mail letter that claims that you have won money in an international lottery that you have never entered is quite likely to be a scam. Do not be fooled by follow-up messages that pretend to be from third parties such as government departments or financial institutions as these messages are quite likely to be part of the same elaborate scam. In a similar ruse, an email purporting to be from the FBI claimed that a previous Microsoft lottery notification sent to the recipient had been checked and found to be genuine.
Last updated: 5th October 2007
First published: 5th October 2007
By Brett M. Christensen