Back to the Desk main page.

©08 The Media Desk
Permission to reuse for informational purposes
with credit to the Desk, is hereby given.


      This arrived yesterday, and, of course, the Desk thought it would check it out for the good of society.

Is it a legitimate email from the FBI? - in a word "no".
      You can see from the headers attached to the letter that it did not come from the FBI, nor is the return address at the FBI and there is no link to the law enforcement agency included.
      Also of interest is that beyond the rather interesting lead in.... "FBI SEEKING TO WIRETAP INTERNET" the text of the letter has very little to do with the G-men. Except that the mailing address at the end for the mysterious Robert S. Mueller III (who just happens to be the current director, but he is most definitely NOT the Robert Mueller that sent this email) in Washington DC is the real thing, and appears to be lifted directly from the FBI contact page on their website. But the email after it is a known source for scam spam emails and is NOT a .gov email address.
      And you just have to love the line in the note at the end of the letter: "In your best interest, any message and phone number that doesn't come from the above official email address and phone numbers should not be replied to and should be disregarded accordingly for security reasons."

Then what is it? - a 419 (Advance Fee Fraud) Scam Letter. Complete with reference to the Central Bank of Nigeria, which was one of the original institutions used by the scammers. And even the phone number at the end has a phone number in Nigeria behind the 234 country code.
      Besides, to the Desk's knowledge, the FBI has NEVER used the term "informations" in anything they have ever written. (the word 'information' is both singular and plural)

      How about this? We'll just let the FBI's own press release from FOUR YEARS AGO speak for them, and tell you what to do if you get something like this....

Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2004
Washington D.C. FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Nigerian Fraud E-Mails Using FBI Letterhead

Recently, a number of unsolicited letters from Nigeria were sent to various businesses throughout the United States using FBI letterhead and the identities of FBI officials as part of a mass marketing fraud scheme. These letters appear to come from one or more non-existing entities and is entitled "Memo on Debt Payment." The letters advise that a group called the "Debt Settlement Panel" is the approved paying office in Nigeria. The letters encourage individuals to deal exclusively with that office. While most law-abiding citizens will recognize these letters as obvious forgeries, it is important to note that millions of dollars in losses are caused to several individuals by these schemes each year.

These fraud schemes combine the threat of impersonation fraud and identity theft with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter or e-mail offers the recipient the "opportunity" to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author, a self proclaimed government official, is trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria. These fraudulent letters have been received for a number of years through the U.S. Mail and increasingly are received through the Internet. The recipient is encouraged to send information to the author, such as blank letterhead stationary, bank name and account numbers and other identifying information using a facsimile number, e-mail address, and telephone number provided in the letter. Some of these letters have also been received via e-mail through the internet. The scheme relies on convincing a willing victim, who has demonstrated a "propensity for larceny" by responding to the invitation, to send money to the author of the letter in Nigeria in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons.

Payment of taxes, bribes to government officials, and legal fees are often described in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are spirited out of Nigeria. In actuality, the millions of dollars do not exist and the victim eventually loses all funds they provided as a result of this solicitation. Once the victim stops sending money, the perpetrators have been known to use the personal information and checks to impersonate the victim, draining bank accounts and credit card balances until the victim's assets are taken in their entirety. In the past, some victims have been lured to Nigeria or other countries, where they have been imprisoned against their will or assaulted, in addition to losing large sums of money. The Nigerian government has created the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in an effort to curb these and related schemes. One Nigerian subject, Charles Dike, was recently extradited to Los Angeles for his role in a telemarketing scam that he initiated from Vancouver, British Columbia. However, the problem is so pervasive that is difficult for Nigerian law enforcement to arrest, prosecute or extradite all that are involved in these schemes. This problem is exacerbated by the number of Nigerian émigrés who are operating these schemes from other countries such as Canada, The Netherlands, Spain, England, and other African nations.

Tips to Avoid International Mass Marketing Fraud

  • If you receive a letter, e-mail or telephone solicitation from another country asking you to send personal banking information, do not reply in any manner. Provide the information to the FBI as soon as possible.
  • If you know someone who is corresponding in one of these schemes, encourage that person to contact the FBI.
  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as Nigerian, other foreign government officials, or claiming to be the FBI, U.S. Customs or the Internal Revenue Service asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts or asking for advance fees so that you can collect any funds or alleged winnings.
  • Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.
  • Guard your account information carefully.
Individuals receiving these letters or other forms of solicitations are encouraged to report this criminal activity to their local FBI Field Office. The telephone numbers are located in local telephone books and can also be obtained on the Internet by accessing the FBI's official Homepage: Additionally, the information can be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) via the FBI homepage.

End of FBI press release.

(yes the number one was at the end of the title)
Email addresses disabled, Nigerian phone number deleted.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 10:28 AM

Return-Path: donepay1@a(deleted)
From: "FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION" donepay1@a(deleted)
Reply-To: robertmue@l(deleted)
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 14:28:02 -0400



We believe this notification meets you in a very good present state of mind and health. We the Federal bureau of investigation (FBI) Washington, DC in conjunction with some other relevant Investigation Agencies here in the United states of America have recently been informed through our Global intelligence monitoring network that you presently have a transaction going on with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as regards to your over-due contract payment which was fully endorsed in your favor accordingly.It might interest you to know that we have taken out time in screening through this project as stipulated on our protocol of operation and have finally confirmed that your contract payment is 100% genuine and hitch free from all facet and of which you have the lawful right to claim your fund without any further delay.Having said all this, we will further advise that you go ahead in dealing with the Central Bank office accordingly as we will be monitoring all their services with you as well as your correspondence at all level.

In addendum, also be informed that we recently had a meeting with the  Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in the person of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Mr. Andy Anders on along with some of the top officials of the Ministry regarding your case and they made us to understand that your file has been held in abase depending on when you personally come for the claim. They also told us that the only problem they are facing right now is that some unscrupulous element are using this project as an avenue to scam innocent people off their hard earned money by impersonating the Executive Governor and the Central Bank office.We were also made to understand that a lady with name Mrs. Joan C. Bailey from OHIO has already contacted them and also presented to them all the necessary documentations evidencing your claim purported to have been signed personally by you prior to the release of your contract fund valued at about US$4,000,000.00 (Four million united states dollars), but the Central Bank office did the wise thing by insisting on hearing from you personally before they go ahead on wiring your fund to the Bank informations which was forwarded to them by the above named Lady so that was the main reason why they contacted us so as to assist them in making the investigations.

They further informed us that we should warn our dear citizens who must have been informed of the contract payment which was awarded to them from the Central Bank of Nigeria, to be very careful prior to this irregularities so that they don't fall victim to this ugly circumstance. And should in case you are already dealing with anybody or office claiming to be from the  Central Bankof Nigeria, you are further advised to STOP further contact with them in your best interest and then contact immediately the real office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) only with the below informations accordingly:

OFFICE ADDRESS:  Central Bank of Nigeria,
       Central Business District,
       Cadastral Zone, Abuja,
       Federal Capital Territory,

Tel:+234 (deleted) 430

Email: paymentoffice_cbn@o(deleted)


In your best interest, any message and phone number that doesn't come from the above official email address and phone numbers should not be replied to and should be disregarded accordingly for security reasons. Meanwhile, we will advise that you contact the Central Bank office immediately with the above email address and request that they attend to your payment file as directed so as to enable you receive your contract fund accordingly.Ensure you follow all their procedure as may be required by them as that will further help hasten up the whole procedures as regards to the transfer of your fund to you as designated. Also have in mind that the Central Bank of Nigeria equally have their own protocol of operation as stipulated on their banking terms, so delay could be very dangerous. Once again, we will advise that you contact them with the above email address and make sure you forward to them all the necessary informations which they may require from you prior to  the release of your fund to you accordingly.

All modalities has already been worked out even before you were contacted and note that we will be monitoring all your dealings with them as you proceed so you don't have anything to worry about. All we require from you henceforth is an update so as to enable us be on track with you and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Without wasting much time, will want you to contact them immediately with the above email address so as to enable them attend to your case accordingly without any further delay as time is already running out.Should in case you need any more informations in regards to this notification,feel free to get back to us so that we can brief you more as we are here to guide you during and after this project has been completely perfected and you have received your contract fund as stated.Thank you very much for your anticipated co-operation in advance as we earnestly await your urgent response to this matter.

Best Regards,

Robert S. Mueller III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, D.C.
20535-0001, USA

end 419 scam letter

For more information on the SCAM with other resource links see: The Media Desk Urban Legend and SCAM page, 419 section.

Also: 419 Coalition website

Back to the Desk main page at: