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FBI Arrest Warning Advance Fee Scam

Outline
Threatening email claiming to be from FBI director Robert S. Mueller and the "Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division" warns the recipient that he will be arrested and jailed if a payment is not sent via a Western Union money transfer immediately.



Brief Analysis
The email is, of course, not really from the FBI and the arrest threats are nonsense. These types of scam email are often designed to extract even more money from people who have previously fallen victim to advance fee scams. Any recipients who are scared into actually sending money will continue to receive further requests for fees and personal information along with increasing threats for non compliance.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





Last updated: July 24, 2012
First published: July 24, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example

Subject: FINAL WARNING: YOU WILL BE ARRESTED AND JAILED IF YOU FAIL TO READ THE ATTACHED E-MAIL AND COMPLY

Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division

FBI Headquarters In Washington, D.C.

Federal Bureau Of Investigation

J. Edgar Hoover Building

935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Attention: Beneficiary

This is the final warning you are going to receive from me, do you get me? I hope you understand how many times this message has been sent to you.

We would also send a letter to the company/agency that you are working for so that they could get you fired until we are through with our investigations because a suspect is not supposed to be working for the government or any private organization.

Your ID which we have in our database have been sent to all the crimes agencies in America for them to inset you in their website as an internet fraudsters and to warn people from having any deals with you. This would have been solved all this while if you had gotten the CERTIFICATE ENDORSED AND STAMPED as you were instructed in the e-mail below. This is the federal bureau of investigation (FBI) am writing in response to the e-mail you sent to us and am using this medium to inform you that there is no more time left to waste because you have been given a mandate. As stated earlier to have the document endorsed, signed and stamped without failure and you must adhere to this directives to avoid you blaming yourself at last when we must have arrested and jailed you for life and all your properties will be seized and bank account will be confiscated too.

You failed to comply with our directives/instruction and that was the reason why we didn't hear from you, as our director has already been notified about you get the process completed yesterday and right now the WARRANT OF ARREST has been signed against you and it will be carried out in the next 48hours as strictly signed by the FBI director. We have investigated and found out that you didn't have any idea when the fraudulent deal was committed with your information's/identity and right now your ID is placed on our website as a wanted person, I believe you know that it will be a shame to you and your entire family because after then it will be announce in all the local channels that you are wanted by the FBI.

As a good Christian and a Honest man, I decided to see how i could be of help to you because i would not be happy to see you end up in jail and all your properties confiscated all because your information's was used to carry out a fraudulent transactions, i called the EFCC and they directed me to a private attorney who can help you get the process done and he stated that he will endorse and stamp the document at the sum of $98 usd only and i believe this process is cheaper for you.

You need to do every possible thing today and tomorrow to get this process done because our director has called to inform me that the warrant of arrest has been signed against you and once it has been approved, then the arrest will be carried out, and from our investigations we learnt that you were the person that forwarded your identity to one impostor/fraudsters in Nigeria when he had a deal with you about the transfer of some illegal funds into your bank account which is valued at the sum of $10,500,000.00 only.

I pleaded on your behalf so that this agency could give you till 7/30/2012 so that you could get this process done because i learnt that several e-mails has been sent to you without getting a response from you. Bear it in mind that this is the only way that i can be able to help you at this moment or you would have to face the law and its consequences once it had befallen on you. You would make the payment through western union money transfer with the below details.

NAME: DURU VINCE

ADDRESS: LAGOS, NIGERIA

TEXT QUESTION: BETTER

ANSWER: BEST

AMOUNT: $98

Senders Full Name:

Sender Full Address:

Direct Phone Number:

MTCN:

Send the payment details to me as stated above and make sure that you didn't hesitate making the payment down to the agency by today so that they could have the certificate endorsed, signed and stamped immediately without any further delay. After all this process has been carried out, then we would have to proceed to the bank for the transfer of your compensation funds which is valued at the sum of $10.500,000.00 usd which was supposed to have been transferred to you all this while.

Note: All the crimes agencies have been contacted on this regards and we shall trace and arrest you if you disregard this instructions. You are given a grace today to make the payment for the document after which your failure to do that will attract a maximum arrest and finally you will be appearing in court for act of terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking charges, so be warned not to try anything funny because you are been watched.

Expecting your anticipated- Co-operation.

Yours in service,

Robert S. Mueller

FBI DIRECTOR




Detailed Analysis
This rather threatening scam message claims to come directly from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller himself. The message warns that unless the recipient wires a fee that he supposedly owes within 48 hours, he will be arrested and jailed on various charges including terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking. The message claims that the FBI has contacted the recipient many times to ask for payment, but because he has failed to comply, an arrest warrant has now been issued against him. But, claims the email, so long as the recipient pays up within the specified time frame, he will no longer "attract a maximum arrest " and will even receive a "compensation fund" of more than 10 million dollars that he was supposedly owed previously.

The message is so transparently a scam that it is almost laughable. Of course, it hardly needs to be said that the message is not really from Robert S. Mueller or anyone else at the FBI and that the arrest threats are utterly bogus. If that alone was not enough to identify it as bogus, then one would think that the weird grammar and strange ideas in the message would set alarm bells ringing.

Unfortunately, however, there are people who do fall for scams just like this. At heart, the scam described here is just a convoluted version of a typical advance fee scam. With such scams, victims are enticed into sending money and personal information in the sadly mistaken belief that by doing so they will receive a large sum of money from a lottery win, inheritance or international business deal. But, this version takes it a little further by apparently targeting victims of previous advance fee scams.

Often, people caught up in advance fee scams will continue to send money to criminals until they run out of money or the criminals cut off contact and disappear with their ill gotten gains. This message attempts to extract even more money out of previous victims by way of its arrest threats and what might appear for victims to be a final chance to get the large payout they were promised in the first place. And perhaps a few recipients, so panicked by the threats of arrest and incarceration, will go ahead and send money even if they have not been victims previously.

As per usual with such scam attempts, the criminals will send out very large numbers of identical emails in the hope of reaching at least a few people who will fall for the ruse and actually send money. It only takes a handful of believers to make the scam reap dividends for the criminals. Scam attempts similar to the one described here are quite common, and are obviously worthwhile exercises for online criminals.

There are, quite frankly, a lot of very naive Internet users out there who are potentially vulnerable to such scam attempts. You can help curtail the activities of these criminals by ensuring that your friends and family know about common types of cyber crimes such as advance fee scams, lottery scams, phishing scams and money laundering scams.



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References

Advance Fee Scam - 'You Are on the FBI Wanted Persons List'
Nigerian Scams - 419 Scam Information
Email Lottery Scams - International Lottery Scam Information
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information
Payment Transfer Job Scam Emails - Laundering Scams



Last updated: July 24, 2012
First published: July 24, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer