England just scraped to a hard fought win against a physical and enthusiastic Argentina side in their opening match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign in New Zealand. But while sports fans the world over get excited about how their country is performing in the initial pool group matches, some folk have other motives for clapping their hands with joy over the current wave of interest in Rugby Union: cyber-criminals are raking in the money with a whole host of Rugby World Cup 2011 scams.

Nick Johnston, a senior software engineer with Symantec, has warned that advance fee fraud scammers, also known as 419 fraudsters after the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code which deals with the crime in question, are ramping up their attack on Rugby World Cup fans with a new scam currently doing the rounds. This particular fraud starts with an email, which appears to be distributed on an entirely scattergun principle rather than any type of targeted spear phishing campaign, that informs the recipient he or she has won $2.5 million in a Rugby World Cup 2011 lottery. The target then has to pay a fee in advance of the non-existent money being released. Obviously the money never turns up, and enquiries are often met with ever increasingly unlikely excuses and demands for more money. Only the most greedy are really vulnerable to this kind of scam, but once duped into making a payment it can be very hard to get off the hook and more money is often handed over in the vague hope that a big payday is getting ever closer. As usual the advice has to be that if someone says you have won anything in a lottery or competition you have not entered then, logic dictates, it is a scam and you should simply walk away.

The fact that this new email has surfaced during the week that the Rugby World Cup 2011 tournament kicks off should come as no real surprise to anyone. Certainly not to those rugby fans who read the postings at the Rugby Refs forum which were warning of a credible email phishing threat in the form of generic sweepstake winning emails circulating that purported to come from the offices of the sport's governing body, the sport's organising body, the International Rugby Board (IRB) a good month ago. Rugby Refs posted a warning from the IRB itself to all secretaries and chief executive officers of Unions and Regional Associations within the membership of the IRB which stated that "those targeted by the scam are informed via email by people purporting to be from the IRB that they are the lucky winners of a sweepstake to commemorate Rugby World Cup 2011" and went on to advise that it viewed the matter as being serious and explained it was bringing the matter "to the attention of all member Unions so that the global Rugby family can be vigilant and avoid being duped".

Yet further warnings have also been posted by the good folk over at Hoax Slayer where it has evidence of similar scams doing the rounds, such as this one which purports to be on behalf of the IRC:

The 2011 Rugby World Cup will be the seventh Rugby World Cup, a quadrennial international rugby union competition inaugurated in 1987. The tournament is one of the largest international sporting competitions in the world.

As excitement is starting to build up for the World Cup 2011, We to inform you that you have won prize money of One Million United States Dollars $1,000,000.00) for the 2011 Rugby World Cup Lottery promotion edition which is organized by the sport's governing body, the International Rugby Board (IRB)

International Rugby Board (IRB)collects all the email addresses of people that are active online, among the millions that subscribed to Hotmail and MSN we only select ten people every four years as our winners through electronic balloting System without the winner applying or purchasing ticket, we Congratulate you for being among of the lucky selected winners around the world.


You are to contact your Claims Agent with immediate effect to facilitate the protocol of your winning prize before the expiring date of Claim. Winners shall be paid in accordance with his/her settlement Centre. Prize must be claimed not later than 15 days from date of Draw Notification after the Draw date in which Prize was won. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited. These are your identification numbers:

Winning No: VCard/877/798/2011 Email Ref No: VCard/699/33/2011

To begin your claims please contact our licensed and accredited agent assigned to you. [VERIFICATION DEPARTMENT MANAGER] Name: xxxxx xxxxx Email : [email]xxxxx@xxxxx.com[/email] Phone: xxx xxxx xxxxxx

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

I reckon the scammers actually deserve to do better out of the Rugby World Cup 2011 tournament than England after that truly dull and dire exhibition of unmotivated play by the English team today. Just saying...

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At least they won after playing like a bunch of turkeys. Wales played well and still lost against SA. :(

Do you reckon daft people deserve to get scammed? It's Darwinian, but abject stupidity should not be rewarded. Although these scammers are scum, they're just cleaning up the gene pool.

Why can't this be stop. I've been victim to that kind of scam, it was the time that i am very new to computer. So i thought that time that i am very lucky.

My mum doesn't use computers but she can still spot a scam, mainly because the emails are often about a subject that she has no interest in what so ever.

People who fall for scams such as the one above and use the excuse "i'm new to computers" or "i like rugby" but have never signed up to any rugby competitions are daft as Ken (Ken can be anything you want him to be ;) ) but it's a mistake people make and will more than likely learn from . . . if not then your a complete tool