Home Honolulu Press Releases 2012 Honolulu FBI Warns Against Work-from-Home Scams

Honolulu FBI Warns Against Work-from-Home Scams

FBI Honolulu March 13, 2012
  • Special Agent Tom Simon (808) 566-4300

Robert Allan Jones, acting special agent in charge of the Honolulu Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned the public about “work-from-home” scams advertised on the Internet that ultimately seek to defraud money from job-seekers and their banks.

The Honolulu FBI has seen a recent uptick in complaints regarding this type of scam in which a job-seeker responds to an unsolicited e-mail or Internet posting seeking employees to work from home. After a brief job screening period, the worker receives a check and is ordered to negotiate the check in their bank account, keep a portion, and wire transfer the remainder of the money to accounts controlled by the defrauders. The worker is unaware that the check is actually a counterfeit. The defrauders hope to receive the wire transfer from the worker before the worker is notified by their bank that they have deposited a worthless check in their account.

In January 2012, a Kauai woman answered a Craigslist advertisement seeking work-from-home employees for a fake oil company using the name DSL Oil. Shortly thereafter, she was mailed a counterfeit Chevron check for $3,958 and told to deposit the check into her personal bank account, keep $200 and wire transfer the balance to her new employer. The woman recognized that something was wrong and refused to send the wire transfer.

Photo of the counterfeit check used in a work-from-home scheme.
Counterfeit check used in scam

In an unusual twist, the woman then received a fraudulent e-mail claiming to be from the Honolulu office of the FBI and threatening her with criminal prosecution for her refusal to wire the money. The defrauders used the name and included a photograph of an actual Honolulu FBI special agent to create the illusion of credibility. The FBI has previously warned the public against scams where names and photos of U.S. government officials are used in attempts to add credibility to financial frauds. The Kauai woman contacted the real FBI in Honolulu who confirmed that the e-mail was a fake.

The following is the text of the e-mail:

——- Forwarded Message ——-
From: Tom Simon <tom.fbiagent@yahoo.com>
To: “
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 11:42 PM
Subject: Hello Mrs ______________..Am Tom FBI agent..Reply back to my email.

Hello Mrs ____,

Good morning and how was your nite?..

I am inspector Tom Simon FBI agent in Hawaii..We got a report from Mr Benny Mcsmith the
Head of Personnel Management Resource for Online Staffs for DSL OIL COMPANY reported
you and gave us all your details including your home address that you are with the company
payment that was issued to you from Chevron and was also delivered to you via USPS we have
also have the tracking number details and you confirmed you received and deposited it from the
emails you sent to Mr Benny because he forwarded all email between both of you and that is
what we going to use against you and charged you to court and i guess you know the result of
that?.We have also contacted Chevron and was informed that the check have already been
cashed by you because the money have been deducted from chevron bank account..Mr Benny
also forwarded your last email you saying that your never saw any check that your husband tore
the check.This sounds very suspcious..

____ i am using this oppurtunity to tell you to get intouch with Mr Benny and settle things
with him otherwise we will be at your door step to get you and your husband arrested and you
both will be going to jail for holding what does not belongs to you.I have gotten intouch with Mr
Benny telling him that you will get intouch with him and let him know the rest amount
remaining and send it to where ever he wants his money sent to and i will help you out talking to
him and you will make agreement with him when to get the rest money sent to him after sending
the left over money with you..Giving you 24hrs to get intouch with Mr Benny and let him know
how much you have spent from is money and get the rest it sent to him then agreement letter will
be written on when to pay the rest..Hope to read back from you


The FBI believes that many of these scams originate from the African nation of Nigeria even though U.S. and European cities are used for the initial wire transfers.

E-mail solicitations that appear to be fraudulent should be deleted by recipients and e-mail attachments should not be opened. Cases in which a substantial financial loss has been suffered should be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Control Center at www.ic3.gov for possible further investigation.

More information about “Work-from-Home” Scams.