Post Content

Undersecretary Barbara AnthonyPosted by:
Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

 

 

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.”

Written By:


Jayda Leder-Luis is the Communications Coordinator at the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.

Recent Posts

Purchasing a USED car? Here’s what the Lemon Law means for you. posted on Feb 13

Purchasing a USED car? Here’s what the Lemon Law means for you.

President’s Day is this Monday, and many consumers may be looking to purchase or lease new and used cars. This two part series on car purchasing and leasing will provide tips on how you can get the right car and be protected under the Lemon   …Continue Reading Purchasing a USED car? Here’s what the Lemon Law means for you.

Purchasing or leasing a NEW car? Here’s what the Lemon Law means for you. posted on Feb 12

Purchasing or leasing a NEW car? Here’s what the Lemon Law means for you.

With President’s Day fast approaching, many consumers are looking to purchase or lease new and used cars. This two part series on car purchasing and leasing will provide tips on how you can get the right car and be protected under the Lemon Law. Before you   …Continue Reading Purchasing or leasing a NEW car? Here’s what the Lemon Law means for you.

Survey Says: Lemon Law Compliance on the Rise posted on Dec 29

The Massachusetts Lemon Laws provide legal relief to consumers who are sold a new, used, or leased vehicle that has a significant defect to its safety or use. Under these laws, car dealerships are required to place a bright yellow Lemon Law sticker on each   …Continue Reading Survey Says: Lemon Law Compliance on the Rise