"Attention, this is the final warning you are going to receive from me do you get me?"
And so begins another long-winded, grammatically challenged attempt by tenacious Nigerian cybercriminals to trick Americans into wiring payments to a vaguely official businessman in the country's capital, Lagos. As opposed to the traditional Nigerian email scam, or 419 scam, this one doesn't offer victims a substantial sum of money, but instead promises protection from the long arm of the law.
Spotted by the watchdog website Cyber Warzone, this particular scam, made to look as if it comes from the FBI's Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes division, informs you that the FBI will close your bank accounts, arrest you within 72 hours and book you on charges of terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking.
The subject line of the email reads: "FBI OFFICIAL NOTICE /// FBI OFFICE GET BACK TO US IMMEDIATELY IF YOU DONT WANT US TO ARREST YOU AND JAIL FOR YOUR OWN GOOD."
Sounds frightening, right? The message, which is seven paragraphs long and riddled with poor grammar, is even signed by the official-looking "Robert Mueller II" (the current director of the FBI is Robert Mueller III). So it must be real, right?
But don’t lose hope. This so-called impending legal action can be stopped, the scammers say — all you have to do is send $98 via Western Union to Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), care of Chi Jacob. Once Jacob receives your money, he will sign and endorse an official certificate that will miraculously put a halt to the FBI's investigation, the email obtained by Cyber Warzone said.
As a reward for your prompt response, the email even promises to send you $10,500,000, "which was suppose [sp] to have been transferred to you all this while."
If you receive this, or any unsolicited email, especially one with blatant spelling and grammar mistakes that asks for money, ignore it. Never hand over any personally identifiable information via email, not matter how legitimate the offer sounds.
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