We’ve seen our share of scam emails and heard more than a few phone scams in our Office, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen a scam that ratchets up the fear to the level of one received through our Office email this past weekend.
An email from “Investigations Department” with the subject line “Email from FBI” included a PDF attachment (Download FBI letter 6.11) with the seal “FBI Headquarters” on the letterhead demanding a “clearance certificate” and $350. While the scam is old, the tone of one portion is new. Check out this paragraph:
WARNING: Failure to provide the above requirement in the next 24 hours, legal action will be taken immediately by arresting and detaining you as soon as international court of justice issues a warrant of arrest, if you are found guilty, you will be jailed as terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering is a serious problem in our community today and the world at large. The F.B.I. will not stop at any length in tracking down and prosecuting any criminal who indulges in this criminal act. Nobody is above the law and the law is not a respecter of anybody. We presume you are law abiding citizen whom would not want to have scuffles with the authority, in an outside of the United States.
Clearly, the tortured grammar of this paragraph (which is indicative of the confusing nature of the entire letter) should fire off a number of red flags. But for unsuspecting recipients, seeing an email from the FBI and the threat of being jailed and being tracked down by the FBI can create some anxiety.
Despite the warning in the letter, “our authority is irrevocable so don’t dare dispute our instruction, just act as instructed,” our advice is to, indeed, dispute the letter. Contact the Federal Trade Commission and report the scam. If you are ever unsure about an email or phone call you receive, track down contact information for the entity yourself, and call and find out if the entity contacted you. Chances are, if we called the FBI we’d find out pretty quickly they were not getting ready to throw us in jail, and they certainly aren’t looking for $350 to process a “clearance certificate.”
If you have a Ticketmaster account, here’s what you should know about those “free” ticket vouchers posted on Jun 22
You may have been hearing about “free” ticket vouchers in your Ticketmaster account and, like many consumers, assumed this was just another scam. It’s not. Here’s the deal: In 2003, a class action lawsuit, Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster, was filed alleging that Ticketmaster failed to …Continue Reading If you have a Ticketmaster account, here’s what you should know about those “free” ticket vouchers
Using Credit vs. Debit Cards posted on Jun 20
For many consumers, plastic is the preferred currency when making a purchase. But how does a consumer know if he/she should use a credit card or a debit card? What is the difference between a credit card and a debit card? Credit cards use …Continue Reading Using Credit vs. Debit Cards
Summer Series: Nail Salons posted on Jun 14
The arrival of warm weather means it’s time to trade your heavy shoes for some summer sandals. And for many consumers, the start of “flip-flop” season also means a trip to the nail salon. Manicurists, along with cosmetologists and aestheticians, and the salons where …Continue Reading Summer Series: Nail Salons