Saturday, May 8, 2010

The FBI [Wants] Found Your Stolen Money!

I've gotten some very creative phishing scam emails in the past - but this one ...these guys are creative!

Basically it purports to be from the FBI Director (Robert Mueller) telling you that there was in investigation of some sort into some stolen money via a Nigerian scam and that there is a settlement that will be paid to you.

I thought I'd take a minute to analyze this's still got some subtle issues that make it obvious that it wasn't written by anyone official, or with English as their primary language.

First, let's see how the letterhead looks...

Anti-Terrorist and Monitory Crimes Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J. Edgar. Hoover Building, Washington D.C


That's certainly interesting, and official-looking!  Why would anyone second-guess an email coming to them straight from the FBI at the J. Edgar Hoover building?!  Oh but look at some of the punctuation ... "J. Edgar. Hoover Building..."  Did you notice the period after Edgar?  Why would that be there, unless you just don't understand the original address...  Next, the "ATTN: BENEFICIARY" is in all CAPS, why?

Let's look further, at the opening text-

"This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an Investigated with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you are having an illegal transaction with Impostors claiming to be Prof. Charles C. Soludo of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr Frank Nweke,Sanusi Bello none officials of Oceanic Bank, none officials of Zenith Bank and some impostors claiming to be the Federal Bureau Of Investigation agents. During our Investigation, it came to our notice that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment. 

So therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in the total amount of $800,000.00 USD which will be deposited into an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw funds anywhere of the world. You now have the lawful right to claim your funds which have been deposited into the ATM CARD."


Whoa!  Did you find the subtle issues I highlighted above the first time you read through?  This text is tricky indeed because it first tells you that someone is scamming you as "impostors" and then proceeds to tell you that the reason you haven't gotten your $800,000 is that you "haven't fulfilled your financial obligation"... which is interesting - starts to sound like they want money from you, doesn't it?  Why would the FBI write with such obvious grammatical errors?  And furthermore, who says "it came to our notice" anyway?

Let's read on, it's starting to get juicy.  For those that have fallen for this obvious scam, the interest has been peaked, and now they're going to set the hook and get you to part with your money in exchange for that $800,000.00 ...but how?  Check out this opening sentence!

Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been involved in this transaction, you are now to be rest assured that this transaction is legitimate and completely risk-free as it is our duty to Protect and Serve citizens of the United States Of America. All you have to do is immediately contact the ATM CARD CENTER via E-mail for instructions on how to procure your Approval Slip which contains details on how to receive and activate your ATM CARD for immediate use to withdraw funds being paid to you. We have confirmed that the amount required to procure the Approval Slip will cost you a total of $200 USD which will be paid directly to the ATM CARD CENTER agent via Western Union Money Transfer / MoneyGram Money Transfer. Below, you shall find contact details of the Agent whom will process your transaction: 

TELEPHONE NUMBER : +234-803-624-0664

Immediately contact Mr. Paul Smith of the ATM Card Centre with the following information: 
Full Name:
Zip Code:
Direct Phone Number:
Current Occupation:
Annual Income:

Notice a few things here... First off look at how they re-assure you that the transaction is legitimate and risk-free ..."trust us, we're the FBI"... oh - really?  Next they set the cost at $200 to get your $800k in this "legitimate and risk-free" transaction.

Let's look at a new element I've been seeing lately ...these scam-monkeys are asking for your current occupation and annual income!  Interesting ...think about why they would want that to scam you...

One last part to look at...

Once you have sent the required information to Mr. Paul Smith he will contact you with instructions on how to make the payment of $200 USD for the Approval Slip after which he will proceed towards delivery of the ATM CARD without any further delay. You have hereby been authorized/guaranteed by the Federal Bureau Of Investigation to commence towards completing this transaction, as there shall be NO delay once payment for the Approval Slip has been made to the authorized agent. 

Once you have completed payment of $200 to the agent in charge of this transaction, immediately contact me back so as to ensure your ATM CARD gets to you rapidly. 

FBI Director 

Robert Mueller.


So, once you've given them your personal details (sucker!), then Paul Smith will contact you and tell you how to give them your hard-earned money too.  Of course, Paul Smith is not on the hook for completing the rest of the transaction... Mr. Robert Mueller, the FBI Director is... say what?!  Of course you need to send the payment by Western Union, as it's not able to be tracked once you send them your cash... awesome.

I say we all send Mr. Paul Smith an email ... let's tell him (using any of the fake email accounts y'all have out there) how much we appreciate the constant amusement he provides us.

I would love for the FBI to get to know the real Paul Smith ...but I suspect that won't be happening anytime soon.

Don't be stupid ... please don't even for one half-second fall for these idiotic scams.



Unknown said...

One point you missed: "that you are having an illegal transaction with Impostors", if I am having an illegal transaction, why isn't the FBI coming after me???? :) Even better, why is the FBI trying to facilitate an illegal transaction??? It is kinda like saying, " We have found you to be illegally dealing drugs, but, since your customers are refusing to pay you, we will help you collect from them."
Of course, what this tells us is that there are enough people out there that do not think things through, that these scammers do not need to resort to a refined method.

Alex said...

I'm sure the FBI takes it seriously when someone fraudulently claims to be them, so did you file a complaint about this email? It'd be better to put these clowns behind bars rather than just complain about them on the internet.