Different types of fraud include confidence tricks, lottery fraud and advance-fee fraud (including so-called Nigerian Letters or 419 Fraud), as well as insurance fraud, tax avoidance, offshore investment scams, marriage fraud, pyramid schemes and payment card fraud.

These crimes often have an international dimension and are committed through a variety of media, for instance by the Internet, telephone, fax and post.

Sophisticated social engineering techniques are carried out on the Internet to trick people into revealing personal data, banking details and passwords. One of these techniques is “phishing”, in which fraudsters create fake communications – such as emails, instant messages and pop up windows – that may appear to come from a legitimate source.

INTERPOL's activities

At INTERPOL, we are fighting fraud through several projects which aim to gather information, build up networks between law enforcement bodies and seek possible cooperation with the commercial sector, such as in a current private sector initiative against lottery scams.

Lottery fraud

 Lottery fraud is one of many different types of advance-fee fraud, where the perpetrator attempts to persuade a potential victim to pay fees in advance or relatively small sums of money for a service he or she has never asked for.

In the case of a lottery scam, the money has to be paid for the transfer of a huge lottery win. Very often, names of popular companies or organizations are misused to give the lottery a trustworthy impression. Common media are the Internet, mobile devices and cell phones.

We are currently supporting a private sector initiative to raise awareness of the scams and to aid investigations.


If you have received an unexpected letter about a significant lottery win which has to be transferred from a foreign country to your account:

  • Do not reply to any of these messages;
  • Do not send any money;
  • Do not send or hand over identification documents - not even copies;
  • Never give details of your bank accounts or payment cards;
  • Never open any attachments. 

If you are already in contact with these criminals or have already paid advance fees:

  • Save all received and sent email and text messages;
  • Save all documents of transactions and remittances;
  • Never agree to meet the criminals in person in order to receive a prize - you will not receive any money and you may be putting yourself in danger.
  • Contact your local police immediately and follow their advice.

Don't forget: you cannot win a prize for a lottery in which you have never participated.

18 noviembre 2015

Indian prime minister and INTERPOL Chief discuss cooperation

18 noviembre 2015

Global asset recovery cooperation focus of INTERPOL-StAR conference

06 noviembre 2015

More than 130 detained in global action tackling airline ticket fraud

02 octubre 2015

Identifying fake documents focus of INTERPOL and Frontex workshop

21 septiembre 2015

INTERPOL training in Senegal tackles corruption and financial crimes

06 agosto 2015

Corruption and financial crime focus of INTERPOL training in Botswana

04 agosto 2015

Illegal online gambling in Asia targeted in INTERPOL operation

02 julio 2015

Forensic document examination focus of Balkans INTERPOL training

29 junio 2015

Global action against online air ticket fraudsters sees 130 detained

05 junio 2015

INTERPOL group to field test new ink dating protocols to aid fraud and forgery investigations

02 junio 2015

UK initiative underlines role of due diligence in securing official documents

19 mayo 2015

Reunión de INTERPOL en Bucarest para marcar el rumbo de la seguridad europea

30 enero 2015

Estonia hosts INTERPOL workshop on anti-corruption and financial crimes

28 noviembre 2014

Global action against online fraud in the airline sector nets 118 arrests

16 septiembre 2014

International cooperation against counterfeit currency and travel documents focus of INTERPOL meeting

22 mayo 2014

El examen microscópico de los documentos de seguridad, tema central de una reunión de INTERPOL

30 abril 2014

Desmantelada con la ayuda de INTERPOL una red criminal implicada en una estafa con tarjetas de pago

If you receive an email from someone claiming to represent INTERPOL, requesting personal information or bank account information, you should ignore it and treat it as spam.