Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

In honor of National Internet Safety Month, we are taking a moment to discuss some of the worst email scams we’ve seen recently. Some have poor spelling and grammar and others are just too good to be true, but they are all scams. Remember, when you receive one of these emails the best thing to do is delete it. Don’t open the attachments or click on any links. And please, whatever you do, don’t give out your personal information or wire money.

Wire Money to Nigeria or You’ll Be Arrested
This morning I received a very threatening email from the FBI Director. If I don’t wire $90 to Nigeria I won’t receive my compensation funds valued at the sum of $10,500,000 and I will be arrested for money laundering and drug trafficking charges. Finally, I was warned not to try anything funny because I’m being watched.

Good: Used the real FBI Director’s name and it is spelled correctly
Bad: The FBI Director is using an AOL email account
Ugly: The FBI Director is going to arrest me if I don’t wire money to Nigeria

Arrest Warrant for Non-Paid Loan
Yesterday, King5’s Jesse Jones warned consumers about a fake arrest warrant hitting inboxes. If you call the number on the warrant for more details, the scammers ask for your social security number, address and bank account information.

Good: Includes United States District Court logo and a case number
Bad: Real warrants say “Warrant for Arrest” not “Arrest Warrant”
Ugly: Many misspellings, including Cheque, Froad and Judje

How to Go From Zero to $863 a Day!
I received an interesting business proposal last week from . . . well I’m not sure. I’d have to watch their video. But, they are offering me the chance to earn $863 day doing . . . well I’m not sure what I would be doing. I’d have to watch the video. Chances are if you click on the link to their video you could download any number of viruses and spyware that could put your personal information at risk.

Good: Who doesn’t want to earn more money?
Bad: This unique offer is meant for me, and only me, I’m not to share it with my aunt or my kids or my third cousin’s babysitter, yet it is addressed to “Friend”
Ugly: They don’t tell you who the company is or what you need to do to earn the money

These are some of the worst emails we’ve seen, but others are much better at pretending to be legitimate business from a company you are familiar with. If you're unsure whether a message is genuine, call the company using the number from a past statement or the phone book. To visit the website, type the address if you know it or use your own bookmark rather than clicking a link.

What are some of the worst email scams you’ve received? Were they good, bad or ugly?


Recent Posts

Blogroll & Consumer News

Product Recalls