Press Release

For Immediate Release
June 6, 2008

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

E-Mail Scammers Sending Fake Refund Notifications:
False Messages Claim to be from U.K. Government and IC3

The FBI is asking the public to be aware of e-mail schemes containing various versions of fraudulent refund notifications claiming to be from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the government of the United Kingdom. The e-mails falsely state that refunds are being made available to compensate the recipients for their losses as victims of Internet fraud.

The perpetrators of this fraud use the names of people not associated with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, but give them titles in an attempt to make the e-mails appear official. The perpetrators use IC3’s logo and the former name of IC3, the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), as well as the names of the Bank of England and the Metropolitan Police (U.K.) in the e-mails.

The e-mails promise refunds of thousands of dollars which are to be sent via bank wire transfer from the “bank of England [sic]” once the victim signs a “fund release order.” The e-mails contain warnings that failure to sign the order will place the funds on hold and a penalty will be applied.

As with most spam, the content contains elements which are evidence of fraud such as:

  • Multiple spelling errors
  • Poor grammar
  • Government agency names
  • Signatures of officials and titles to appear authentic
  • Warning for failure to comply.

“E-mail scammers are looking for every opportunity to steal your money and personal information. These criminals are increasingly attempting to do this by falsely claiming to be various government officials. Don’t respond, don’t open the attachments, and don’t send your money or personal information. We are asking people to be aware of this tactic and to report incidents to IC3," said Special Agent Richard Kolko, Washington, DC.

Everyone should consider the following:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited (SPAM) e-mail.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting personal information via e-mail.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site.
  • Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits information

To receive the latest information about cyber scams please go to the FBI website and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. If you have received a scam e-mail please notify IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov. For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI's New E-Scams and Warnings webpage.

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