We've all received an e-mail from someone who has escaped Nigeria only to leave behind a fortune in the millions. All they need is for


A New Twist on the Nigerian Banking Email Scam

We've all received an e-mail from someone who has escaped Nigeria only to leave behind a fortune in the millions. All they need is for you to send them $5,000 and they'll arrange for you to go get it, and hold it for them, later getting a big cut off the top. But then came the news stories of people hoodwinked by the promise of easy money and losing everything. Not to be intimidated by a couple of 48 hours investigations, the scammers are now sending out e-mails purportedly from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III saying the transaction proposed has been reviewed by the FBI and found legit.

The local FBI field office just sent out a press release warning people that just because an awkwardly worded e-mail about money just waiting for you in Nigeria says it's from the FBI, that doesn't mean it really is. Of course, the press release came by e-mail... from the FBI... what if it's an e-mail scam to scam me out of all that free money?

Full release after the jump.

Have you received a suspicious e-mail from FBI Director Robert Mueller or the Seattle FBI office? If so, it is a fake. The FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) have increasingly received reports of fraudulent schemes misrepresenting FBI agents, officials, and/or FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III. In one recent example, purportedly from Director Mueller and the Seattle FBI, the subject line reads, “NOTICE OF YOUR FUND APPROVAL”, and continues in poorly written English to explain that the FBI is aware that the recipient has an ongoing transaction with a financial institution in Nigeria and that the FBI has screened the transaction and found it to be legal. It then urges the recipient to contact an individual at an international telephone number for further instructions and details. The message is signed by Robert S. Mueller, III with the invitation to call him personally with any additional questions.

The fraudulent e-mails give the appearance of legitimacy due to usage of pictures of the FBI seal, letterhead, and banners. Some of the e-mail scams have been lottery endorsements and inheritance notifications purportedly from domestic and overseas FBI offices, while others have been threat and extortion e-mails and online auction scams.

The FBI does not send out e-mails soliciting personal information from citizens.

Please be cautious of any unsolicited e-mail referencing the FBI, Director Mueller, or any other FBI official or office.

If you have received a scam e-mail please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at http://www.ic3.gov/. For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI’s New E-Scams and Warnings webpage at www.fbi.gov.

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