Heads up, folks: There’s a new government official scam on the rise, and this one involves imposters pretending to be the Secretary of State. Yes, you read that correctly.
Scam artists pretending to be Secretary Tillerson are now sending emails to people as part of their latest plot to get people’s money and personal information, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In this phony email, the scam artist posing as Secretary Tillerson says you’re owed a payment, which he knows all about due to an investigation by the FBI and CIA. It gets even crazier: The email then says you’ll receive an ATM card with $1.85 million on it, but in order to get this card, you have to send in $320 and some ultra-personal info about yourself.
“Except you don’t have to send either the money or the information,” the FTC says in response. “Because it’s not the Secretary of State emailing, nobody owes you $1.85 million dollars (just guessing), and no government agency will ever tell you to pay a fee to collect funds owed to you.”
If you receive an email like this, the FTC is urging you not to give money or any information back to the sender, but to instead report the message to the FTC and then spread the word about the scam to people you know. The FTC also wants people to keep in mind that anytime you get a call or email from someone claiming to be a government official that if they say you won a prize or money or you might go to jail — and you can win said prize or money or get out of said jail if you send money right away — it’s a scam.
Good to know — and to always keep in mind!