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E-Mail Scammers Continue to Send Fake FBI Messages

Washington, D.C. December 11, 2008
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Consumers continue to report receiving spam e-mail messages that claim to be sent by top FBI officials. As with previous spam attacks, the latest versions use the names of several high ranking executives within the FBI and even the Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) in an attempt to defraud consumers.

These e-mails are hoaxes and recipients are urged not to respond.

Many of the spam e-mails currently in circulation claim to: be from an “official order” from the FBI’s non-existent Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division or from an alleged FBI unit in Nigeria; confirm an inheritance; or contain a lottery notification. The e-mails inform recipients they have been named the beneficiary of millions of dollars. To claim the large sum, recipients are instructed to furnish their personally identifiable information (PII) and are often threatened with some type of penalty, such as prosecution, if they fail to do so. Specific PII information requested includes, but is not limited to, the recipient’s name, banking information, telephone number, and a copy of their passport.

The spam e-mail allegedly from the IC3 states that the recipient has extorted money and will be given a limited amount of time to refund the money or face prosecution.

The FBI does not send unsolicited e-mails of this nature. FBI executives are briefed on numerous investigations but do not personally contact consumers regarding such matters. In addition, the IC3 does not send threatening letters to consumers demanding payments for Internet crimes.

Consumers should not respond to any unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links associated with such e-mails, as they may contain viruses or malware. It is imperative consumers guard their PII. Providing your PII will compromise your identity.

“Unfortunately these types of scams do not seem to be going away any time soon. They continue to cycle through the Internet using names of different government officials and agencies. Scammers will continue to seek new ways to gain an advantage so they can steal your money or personal information. Just don’t respond,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko, Chief, National Press Office, Washington, D.C.

To receive the latest information about cyber scams, please go to the FBI website and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. If you have received a scam e-mail, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov. For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI’s New E-Scams and Warnings webpage or www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com.

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