Outline Email purporting to be from Financial Ombudsman Services in the UK claims that, during investigations into corrupt banking
practices, it was discovered that funds previously owed to the recipient have been put on hold because a "Money Laundry Anti-terrorist Drug Clearance" document was not submitted.
This message is a scam. The email is not from Financial Ombudsman Services or any other legitimate entity. There is no such thing as a "Money Laundry Anti-terrorist Drug Clearance". A primary aim of the scammers who send out these messages is to get even more money out of people that have previously been victims of advance fee scams. The scammers also try to fool recipients into providing sensitive personal and financial details via an attached form.
I am Denis E. Bogart of the Financial Ombudsman Services, UK. Apart
from the FSA, (Financial Services Authority) that we work hand in hand
with, we are the only body that regulates negative and corrupt banking
practices within the UK and around the World, with a view to bringing
justice to unsuspecting individuals whom may have become a victim of a
scam or extortion which usually originates in the banking sector and
or security companies.
Over the last three months I have been investigating a major
conspiracy going on within Banks in UK,Security Companies and Group of
people in Africa, that have been extorting alot of money from you and
a number of other clients. A number of officials have been
apprehended, while some in Africa are just being watched as
apprehending them now, would prevent us from getting additional
information as well as picking up other suspects acting in concert
with the already identified ones.In one of our raids in some of the
suspected Banks and Security Companies earlier this week, we
discovered that you had funds that were "on hold", due to:
1. The magnitude and origin of the funds 2. The absence of required
certification to back the legitimacy of the funds.
Now, from our investigations thus far, these funds exist and should
have been released to you upon the presentation of a document known as
the MLATDC (Money Laundry Anti-terrorist Drug Clearance). However,
based on documents recovered from two of the suspects (Names Withheld)
during the raid we are of the impression that the Bank and your
Associates, deliberately mislead you on steps to be taken towards the
safe access of your funds, and in the process came up with fabricated
requisite upfront payments that you were made to believe would
ultimately facilitate access to your funds. These payments were
diverted for their personal use while they kept giving you more false
information to buy time and extort you further. Based on the
information gathered from documents retrieved from the crime scene we
know for a fact that you have made various payments through accounts
and western union money transfers.We will have the interpol to get
them arrested as soon as the investigations a re rounded up. Your
funds have singed
You will find attached a complaints form that you are to fill
accordingly and return to the complaints department via E-mail. Not
all sections are applicable to you, so kindly fill out the portion
with your personal details, details of the bank/ Security Company you
have been dealing with, names of individuals within the bank, specify
the amount of your funds. In the space provided write briefly on what
the payments you made were, the amounts , dates, and how the payments
were made. If there is not enough space, kindly continue on a white
sheet of paper and attach it. Copies of related documents, i.e pay
slips and correspondences with the bank should also be attached. Some
of the payment slips recovered from confiscated computers of some of
the suspects have also been kept as evidence of our on going
investigations. DO NOT DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION TO ANYONE FOR NOW.
Once the complaints department receives this, we can now officially
advise you on how best to proceed towards getting your funds at NO
additional cost.At this point it is also important you cut off from
all the so called bankers,Security company Agents,your Associates in
Africa and or lawyers you are in touch with as they are all acting in
concert.You must also make sure that confidentiality is enforced by
you as alerting any of these fraudsters of our intervention can have a
negative effect on the outcome of our investigations which is still in
Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
This email, which purports to be from the UK's Financial Ombudsman Services, claims that recent investigations have revealed that a substantial sum of money owed to the recipient has not been released due to corrupt banking practices and previous scam attempts. According to the email, Financial Ombudsman Services is intent on bringing justice to victims who have been caught out in previous scams and is taking steps to ensure that these victims receive any funds owing to them.
However, the email is not from the Financial Ombudsman Service and the claim that investigations have uncovered funds owed to the recipient is a lie. The message claims to be from an entity that is attempting to help the victims of advance fee scams. In reality however, the message is itself an advance fee scam designed to steal even more money from victims.
These scam messages are aimed specifically at people who have previously been victims of advance fee scams. Those who comply with the instructions in the scam email and submit the requested information via the attached form will soon be asked to pay various fees supposedly required to procure the release of their funds. In short, despite their past experience, such victims are once again set to fall for an advance fee scam and lose even more of their money.
The first such fee that the scammers are likely to ask for is one that supposedly covers the cost of issuing a "Money Laundry Anti-terrorist Drug Clearance" certificate. The scammers will insist that this certificate must be obtained - and paid for in full - before any money can be released to the victim.
In reality, there is no such thing as a Money Laundry Anti-terrorist Drug Clearance certificate. Fraudsters regularly use the Money Laundry Anti-terrorist Drug Clearance ruse in their scam attempts. Many victims have payed scammers thousands of dollars in upfront fees in the vain hope of getting their clearance certificate, and subsequently receiving the large sum of money originally promised by the scammers.
As well as stealing money in the form of upfront fees, the scammers may also gain enough personal and financial information from their victims to steal their identity or hijack their bank accounts. The form that comes with the scam email asks for sensitive personal and financial information that can then be used for further fraudulent activities.
It may seem quite unlikely that a person that has already fallen for an advance fee scam could become a victim for a second time. Unfortunately, it appears that this is not the case. Some victims, who may have lost thousands of dollars in an initial advance fee scam, become desperate to get at least some of their money back. Desperate enough to grasp at straws and throw logic and common sense to the wind. Therefore, a seemingly official email that appears to come from a legitimate entity such as the Financial Ombudsman Service that promises to help them get their money back may well seem convincing to them.
It should be noted that the Financial Ombudsman Service is a real, and perfectly legitimate, entity in the UK, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with these scam emails. The scammers have simply used the name of the Financial Ombudsman Service and sometimes, logos and other graphics stolen from the service's website, without its permission. The Financial Ombudsman Service has published a warning about similar scams on its website.
If you have previously been the victim of scammers, be wary of any follow-up emails that promise to help you recover your money. These messages may claim to be from law enforcement agencies such as the FBI or Interpol as well as from financial agencies such as the Financial Ombudsman Service or the tax office. If such an agency was really investigating your case, they certainly would not contact you and request personal information via an unsolicited email. Nor would any legitimate agency ever ask you to pay any upfront fees before funds owing to your were returned.
Moreover, any message that claims that you are required to obtain a Money Laundry Anti-terrorist Drug Clearance certificate before funds can be released to you is certain to be a scam. There is no such requirement and claims that there is such a requirement are only made by advance fee scammers. The European Commission has published a warning about such Anti-Terrorist Certificate scams, noting:
The European Commission has learned of several attempts to defraud individuals and companies via e-mails from persons promising to invest large sums of money. We understand that intended victims of the fraud are asked to provide an "Anti-Terrorist Certificate" in order to allow international money transfers to be made. The certificate is said to be a legal requirement established by the European Commission. Victims are told that they must pay up to EUR 50,000 in order to receive this certificate, and failure to pay the fee will result in the funds being blocked.
Please be advised that any such demands should be treated as a hoax. The European Commission does not require such an Anti-Terrorist Certificate nor does it request fees in association with the international transfer of funds.
Advance fee scams are a very common type of fraudulent activity that has been used to steal money and information from the unwary for many a long year. And, email and the Internet have become extremely effective vehicles for such scams. Therefore, it is very important that all Internet users ensure that they are aware of how advance fee scams work so that they can avoid becoming victims.