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Just How Stupid Does He Think We Are?

I recently received the following e-mail (parts of contact info redacted by me) that should read as an obvious fraud to any educated American:

Subject: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
From: “ROBERT S. MUELLER, III” <efcc.investigationdesk@googlemail.com>
Date: Fri, April 30, 2010 10:02 am
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Priority: Normal
Options:
Attn: Beneficiary,

Compliments of the day, I Wish to inform you that your Payment has been
released and you will need to contact the payment Officer Mr. [Redacted]
Williams with the informations as stated below.

CONTACT INFORMATION
NAME: Mr. [Redacted] Williams
EMAIL: williams[Redacted]@yahoo.cn
Telephone: +2348138[Six Digits Redacted] - Originally 13 digit phone number

Do contact Mr. [Redacted] Williams of the ATM PAYMENT CENTER with your details:

FULL NAME:
HOME ADDRESS:
TELL:
CELL:
CURRENT OCCUPATION:
BANK NAME:
AGE:

Also please be informed that all neccesary Documents has been put in
place all you will have to do is to make sure you can be able to afford
110 USD for the Delivery of your Funds which is to be sent to you via an
ATM SWIFT CARD using FedEx International Courier Service.

we do await your response so we can move on with our Investigation and
make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.

Thanks and hope to read from you soon..

Regards,

ROBERT S. MUELLER, III
DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

While I think this fraud should be obvious to all, let me point out a few of the more telling signs that this must be fake:

  1. The subject line isn’t the subject of the e-mail, but rather the agency of the sender. A native English speaker like Director Mueller would not make that mistake.
  2. The “to:” field is to undisclosed recipients. This case is NOT about me or you personally.
  3. Most telling for me, and should be for you is that the so-called payment officer represented as an official of the FBI has a commercial e-mail based in China. An actual FBI employee would have a work address ending in fbi.gov. Although some agencies have used .com and .org addresses, no US government employee would have a work address with the .cn prefix. That is for China.
  4. Another bit screaming SCAM!!! is the phone number. The number of digits indicates an international number and the 234 indicates a number in Nigeria. Aside from Nigeria’s reputation for e-mail scams, the combination of a China based e-mail combined with a Nigerian phone number reinforces the idea that Mr. Williams is not an payment officer for the FBI.
  5. The e-mail, purporting to come from the head of the FBI, is written in broken English.
  6. You’re being asked to pay money for an official investigation. Law enforcement in the United States is not on a fee for service basis.

I chose to redact some of the information in this e-mail in part for fear that someone stumbling across this entry might have decided to take a chance. Scams nearly as transparent have taken people in. And they’ve been going on for awhile, according to the FBI.

If you get an e-mail like this one, do what I did. Report it as spam to your ISP. Or take to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.

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