Got this e-mail today from the FBI (yeh, right.)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Anti-Terrorist And Monitory Crime Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J.Edgar.Hoover Building Washington Dc
This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have
thoroughly Investigated with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network
System that you are having an illegal Transaction with Impostors claiming to be
Prof. Charles C. Soludo of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Mr
Frank Nweke, Dr. Philip Mogan, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks,
Barr. Derrick Smith, kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule,Larry
Christopher, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen, Dr. Philip Mogan, Paul Adim, Puppy Scammers are impostors claiming to be the Federal Bureau Of Investigation. During our Investigation, we noticed that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial Obligation given to you in
respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment.
Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf and
they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment in
total USD$11,000.000.00 in an ATM CARD which you can use to withdraw money from any ATM MACHINE CENTER anywhere in the world with a maximum of $4000 to $5000 United States Dollars daily. You now have the lawful right to claim your fund in an ATM CARD.
Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this transaction, you
have to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free it is our duty to protect the
American Citizens. All I want you to do is to contact the ATM CARD CENTER via
email for their requirements to proceed and procure your Approval Slip on your
behalf which will cost you $110.00 only and note that your Approval Slip which
contains details of the agent who will process your transaction.
NAME: Mr. Kelvin Williams
Do contact Mr Mr. Kelvin Williams of the ATM PAYMENT CENTER with your details:
So your files would be updated after which he will send the payment
information’s which you’ll use in making payment of $110.00 via Western Union
Money Transfer or Money Gram Transfer for the procurement of your Approval Slip
after which the delivery of your ATM CARD will be effected to your designated
home address without any further delay.We order you get back to this office
after you have contacted the ATM SWIFT CARD CENTER and 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.
ROBERT S. MUELLER, III
DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535
Note: Do disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to
be in possession of your ATM CARD, you are hereby advice only to be in contact
with Mr. Kelvin Williams of the ATM CARD CENTER who is the rightful person to
deal with in regards to your ATM CARD PAYMENT and forward any emails you get
from impostors to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation.
Bad grammar, bad word choices, gives you away every time, scammers!
Imagine – you’re heading home from a wonderful vacation, and out of the blue, you are arrested, accused of shoplifting, and threatened with jail until you cough up several thousand dollars. And it is happening repeatedly!
By Jonathan Head
BBC News, Bangkok
Bangkok’s showcase new international airport is no stranger to controversy.
Built between 2002 and 2006, under the governments of then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the opening date was repeatedly delayed.
It has been dogged by allegations of corruption, as well as criticism of the design and poor quality of construction.
Then, at the end of last year, the airport was shut down for a week after being occupied by anti-government protesters.
Now new allegations have been made that a number of passengers are being detained every month in the duty free area on suspicion of shoplifting, and then held by the police until they pay large sums of money to buy their freedom.
That is what happened to Stephen Ingram and Xi Lin, two IT experts from Cambridge, as they were about to board their flight to London on the night of 25 April this year.
They had been browsing in the duty free shop at the airport, and were later approached by security guards, who twice asked to search their bags.
Mr Ingram and Ms Xi were told they had to pay £8,000
They were told a wallet had gone missing, and that Ms Lin had been seen on a security camera taking it out of the shop.
The company that owns the duty free shop, King Power, has since put the CCTV video on its website, which does appear to show her putting something in her bag. However the security guards found no wallet on either of them.
Despite that, they were both taken from the departure gate, back through immigration, and held in an airport police office. That is when their ordeal started to become frightening.
“We were questioned in separate rooms,” Mr Ingram said. “We felt really intimidated. They went through our bags and demanded that we tell them where the wallet was.”
The two were then put in what Mr Ingram describes as a “hot, humid, smelly cell with graffiti and blood on the walls”.
Mr Ingram managed to phone a Foreign Office helpline he found in a travel guide, and was told someone in the Bangkok embassy would try to help them.
The next morning the two were given an interpreter, a Sri Lankan national called Tony, who works part-time for the police.
They were taken by Tony to meet the local police commander – but, says Mr Ingram, for three hours all they discussed was how much money they would have to pay to get out.
Mr Ingram and Ms Xi were taken to meet the local police commander
They were told the charge was very serious. If they did not pay, they would be transferred to the infamous Bangkok Hilton prison, and would have to wait two months for their case to be processed.
Mr Ingram says they wanted £8,000 ( about $13,000) – for that the police would try to get him back to the UK in time for his mother’s funeral on 28 April.
But he could not arrange to get that much money transferred in time.
Tony then took Ms Lin to an ATM machine and told her to withdraw as much as she could from her own account – £600. He then withdrew the equivalent of £3,400 from his own account.
According to Mr Ingram this was then handed over to the police, and they were both forced to sign a number of papers.
Later they were allowed to move to a squalid hotel within the airport perimeter, but their passports were held and they were warned not to leave or try to contact a lawyer or their embassy.
“I will be watching you,” Tony told them, adding that they would have to stay there until the £8,000 was transferred into Tony’s account.
On the Monday they managed to sneak out and get a taxi to Bangkok, and met an official at the British Embassy.
She gave the name of a Thai lawyer, and, says Mr Ingram, told them they were being subjected to a classic Thai scam called the “zig-zag”.
Their lawyer urged them to expose Tony – but also warned them that if they fought the case it could take months, and they risked a long prison sentence.
After five days the money was transferred to Tony’s account, and they were allowed to leave.
Mr Ingram had missed his mother’s funeral, but at least they were given a court document stating that there was insufficient evidence against them, and no charge.
“It was a harrowing, stressful experience,” he said.
The couple say they now want to take legal action to recover their money.
The BBC has spoken to Tony and the regional police commander, Colonel Teeradej Phanuphan.
They both say Tony was merely helping the couple with translation, and raising bail to keep them out of prison.
Tony says about half the £8,000 was for bail, while the rest were “fees” for the bail, for his work, and for a lawyer he says he consulted on their behalf.
In theory, he says, they could try to get the bail portion refunded.
Colonel Teeradej says he will investigate any possible irregularities in their treatment. But he said any arrangement between the couple and Tony was a private affair, which did not involve the police.
Letters of complaint to the papers here in Thailand make it clear that passengers are regularly detained at the airport for alleged shoplifting, and then made to pay middlemen to win their freedom.
The Danish Embassy says one of its nationals was recently subjected to a very similar scam, and earlier this month an Irish scientist managed to flee Thailand with her husband and one year-old son after being arrested at the airport and accused of stealing an eyeliner worth around £17.
Tony told the BBC that so far this year he has “helped” about 150 foreigners in trouble with the police. He says sometimes he does it for no charge.
The British Embassy has also warned passengers at Bangkok Airport to take care not to move items around in the duty free shopping area before paying for them, as this could result in arrest and imprisonment.
I’ve noticed a random few times recently that frequent commenters have double comments. When one showed up today with the same added line of a previous one, different commenter, something like “forgot to say – great post!” it made me look a little closer. Like someone who comments says they like your post, what’s to check, right? But when it shows up, exact same working, it’s time to check.
First time, Daggero, second time, exact same comment but “great post” added – only it’s some cell phone salesman, if you follow the blue hypertext on the name. Today it was 1001 Nights, but the copy-cat was selling acai berries.
If you get these duplicate comments showing up, no matter how flattering, check them out. It’s likely some scammer, trying to get you to their site to sell you something.
Every now and then, one of my readers writes to me. Most of the time, it is on an issue, and behind the blog we have a great conversation. (I learn so much from you, my readers.)
Occasionally, I will get one that makes the little hairs on the back of my neck rise up. I wish I had saved the one I got that started “Hello! My name is Heather (last name) and I live in (small-town) Iowa, and I would like your permission to share your (wonderful) blog with my friends.”
She went on to tell me a little about herself. I don’t know why – there was something about the letter that made me uncomfortable, and I have learned to trust those feelings.
I wrote to her and told her she was welcome to share my site, that anyone could visit, they were welcome. I didn’t share any personal details in return.
Her next e-mail coming back told me a whole lot about her life, and . . . it didn’t ring true. I don’t know why. When your instincts are telling you something is not right, you just MUST listen.
At the end, she asked who I really was, and where I was from and more oh-now-that-we’re-such-good-friends kinds of questions. Bingo. It felt like the whole thing had been set up to ask me that very question. I wrote back, as I always do, that I blog as Intlxpatr for a reason, and that I protect my anonymity.
Funny. I never heard from “her” again. I don’t believe a word she said, including I don’t know that I was corresponding with a woman, much less a woman named Heather.
Why on earth would anyone target me?
My friends, there are crazy people out there, people who think differently from you and me. No matter how good someone sounds, no matter how trustworthy, this is a virtual world, not a real world, and if you gut tells you to beware – then listen. Listen to that gut feeling, listen to the hairs on the back of your neck, and listen to that uneasiness . . . something is not right.
Given enough time, most scams and cons just can’t keep up the deception.
I once worked for an organization which would give emergency loans. I was pretty good, and pretty fast at putting a loan together, and verifying that the loan was needed. One day, a man came in with a serious problem, and with him was his boss, verifying his need. He had all the right papers, too. I made the loan.
Not two months later his boss came in to me with a hangdog look and said “I have to tell you about (so-and-so).”
He had been dealing drugs and had serious problems. His boss had vouched for him. The guy was clean cut and articulate and knew how to present himself. He had all the right papers – and both his boss and I were totally fooled. The boss brought the guy in to apologize to me – he was on his way to jail and he would never repay the loan; I had to write it off. The con-man looked at me and apologized sincerely, and gave me one piece of really really great advice:
“The reason they call us con-men is because we are really good at what we do. We make you believe us.”
Con-men fail in many other areas of their lives – anything that requires consistency and a long term commitment. They can’t perform under scrutiny over time – it’s mostly wires and mirrors and smoke, and it all falls apart when it is examined too closely.
Con-men also create drama that make you feel YOU have to commit now. They have deadlines, and terrible consequences. When you feel that happening in your life, take a deep breath. Slow things down. When you feel unduly rushed, when someone is pushing you for a quick decision on a major issue – that is the time to SLOW WAY DOWN, to examine closely, to give a situation some time. There are con-men and con-women in every culture.
“Heather” – or whoever “she” really was – has agendas you and I can’t begin to imagine. She/He may need money (they often do!) or your connections. He or she may just like messing with people’s lives.
Listen to your instincts, and take your time. Take a deep breath, relax – YOU set your own timeline. Ask around, ask if anyone you know has had experience with a similar approach, especially on the internet. Protect yourself. Protect yourself. Protect yourself.