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Advance Fee Scam - 'You Are on the FBI Wanted Persons List'

Outline
Message purporting to be from FBI deputy director Timothy P. Murphy, claims that the FBI has gathered information that indicates that the recipient has been involved with many illegal and fraudulent activities and will soon be arrested if he or she does not reply to clear his or her name.



Brief Analysis
The message is not from the FBI and the recipient will not be arrested if he or she does not reply. The message is an advance fee scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to cybercriminals.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 16th January 2012
First published: 16th January 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Reply-to: tm.specialunits@gmail.com

Subj: You are on the FBI wanted persons list. Reply now to clear your name..


MONETARY CRIME DIVISION AND ANTI-TERRORIST.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 2053, USA.

ATTENTION:

Acting as a Federal Commission, our job is to protect the interest of citizens, whether a citizen of the United States or not. Now the reason why we are contacting you is because your Name and other personal details were found in the custody of a long wanted internet fraudster and they also pointed you out as their business partner.

The Cyber Crime Division of the FBI gathered information from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) of how some people have lost outrageous sums of money to these impostors. You are required to response immediately and know what you are required to do so as to stop your name from been on the web list and if you refuse to comply with this, we will now include your name and picture on our official website and you will join the other wanted persons. Go through this link carefully.

http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_by_the_fbi

You have involved yourself in so many illegal activities such as illegal transaction, from illegal lottery winnings, to illegal bank transfers, diplomatic consignment and so many others and you have brought a lot of charges upon yourself knowingly and unknowingly. But I want you to know that ignorance is not an excuse in the law.

If you do not do anything fast to remedy this situation, you will be arrested wherever you are and you will go to jail. I am not trying to scare you but I am telling you the position of things and the law will never be compromised.

To response to the email is your choice, but you have been warned.

Timothy P. Murphy
Executive Deputy Director.
Federal Bureau of Investigation.




Detailed Analysis
According to this email, which claims to come direct from FBI Deputy Director, Timothy P. Murphy, FBI investigations have revealed that the recipient has been involved in many different illegal activities and is set to be arrested if he or she does not act immediately to clear his or her name. The message claims that the recipient's name was discovered in the possession of a well known Internet fraudster and identified as his business partner. It warns that the recipient must respond quickly or risk going to jail.

But, of course, the email is not really from the FBI. Nor is the hapless recipient about to be arrested. It hardly needs to be said that the story outlined in the email is nothing short of absurd. If the FBI were considering arresting you, they certainly would not send you a weirdly worded email warning you of their impending action. Nor would the Deputy Director of the FBI be ever likely to use a free Gmail account for any FBI communications.

In fact, the email is an advance fee scam. Those who fall for the ruse and reply will soon be asked to pay various upfront fees, ostensibly to cover legal costs, fines or administration costs. The scammers will claim that these fees must be paid in advance to avoid arrest and imprisonment. They may also ask the victim to supply a large amount of personal and financial information that may later be used to steal his or her identity. Requests for further fees will continue until the victim finally realizes what is happening or runs out of money. And, after they have taken everything they can from their victim, the scammers will disappear into cyberspace, never to be heard of again.

This style of advance fee scam is apparently aimed, at least partly, at people who have fallen for such scams in the past. A previous victim of such a scam might be more inclined to believe that their name and details had really been discovered by the FBI in the possession of a known fraudster.

This scam and many others like it may seem very transparent to many Internet users. However, scammers continue to use such tactics for one simple reason. They work! People all around the world continue to fall victim to advance fee scams every day.

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References
FBI Fraud Alert Lottery Scam
Nigerian Scams - 419 Scam Information

Last updated: 16th January 2012
First published: 16th January 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer