Saturday, January 22, 2011

US Mission Nigeria: Yo! The scammers are current with the news, now uses the name of new US Ambassador to Abuja, Terence P. McCulley for bait

According to the US Mission in Nigeria, the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the U.S. Consulate in Lagos together receive over 4000 inquiries each year from Americans who have encountered internet scams.

The FBI has included the Nigerian Letter or 419 Fraud in its list of Common Fraud Schemes.  The U.S. Department of State had even issued a Guide to International Financial Scams which contains not only descriptions of common scams, but also sample e-mails and letters sent by perpetrators of each. Download it here.

Many of the latest scams involve people who claim to be U.S. citizens who are in Nigeria and in distress. Frequent stories involve robberies, fires, car accidents or delays at the airport by the authorities. But it looks like the scammers are updated on current news and are continuously refining their "trade."

A DiploPundit reader has forwarded us the email below containing the name of purported sender as the new US Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley. 

Perhaps, it is time for the State Department to issue an updated version of their 2007 scam guide to include the email reproduced in full below as well as similar ones posted here and here.

Another version here posted by  Aus Scambaiters includes the sender's complete IP address and email header. This scam version purports to provide "compensation" to the victims of original email scam.  Obviously, this belongs to the self-propagating variety and we may see other versions in the future.  

We note that the scammer could not even be bothered to complete the cut and paste of " I was the senior desk officer for Zai re (now Democratic Republic of th."  The Democratic Republic of th? Right! And what planet is that?

Dear Sir:

My name is Terence Patrick McCulley, the new United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The United States Senate had confirmed my nomination on August 5 2010 after being nominated for this position by U.S. President Barack Obama on June 28, 2010. My credentials as the new Ambassador appointed were presented to His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria, on November 2, 2010. I am a career member of the senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor whose diplomatic career has been spent mostly in Africa or working on African issues. I served most recently as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, DenmarK. Prior to this, I was the U.S. Ambassador to Mali, and I have served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Tunisia, Senegal and Togo. Other overseas postings include Niger, South Africa, India and Chad.  In Washington, I was the senior desk officer for Zai re (now Democratic Republic of th

However, following the resolution of the meeting held with His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday with some members of the Federal House of Senate, an agreement was reached that the sum of $500,000.00 USD must be paid out to you in the form of a compensation for all the years you have wasted in waiting for your funds to be released. Hence, the $500,000.00 USD compensation fund has been instructed to be paid out to you in the form of a CERTIFIED INTERNATIONAL BANK DRAFT drawn on Standard Chartered Bank. The said BANK DRAFT will be packaged inside a U.S Embassy Official Envelope to be sent to you via Postal Mail at no cost to your mailing address. And the time frame for delivery is 72 hours, which is 3 days since it would be sent via a Postal Mail Service.

Meanwhile, a "Custom Clearance Certificate" must be obtained from the Nigerian Customs Authourity at a fee of $100.00 USD for a full clearance certification on the BANK DRAFT. Hence, the $100.00 dollar fee must be paid within 24 hours upon your receipt of this notification via western union or MoneyGram, so that all neccessary arrangement can be made ahead of time.

The fee should me sent directly to the "Embassy Protocol Officer" with the below information:

Recipient's Name: JELILI OLADEJO
Destination: Lagos - Nigeria
Test question: Present Year
Test answer: 2011
Amount: $100.00 dollars

Please take note that the "Custom Clearance Certificate" and the BANK DRAFT will be packaged together inside the U.S Embassy Official Envelope for immediate despatch to your mailing address. Hence, you are advised to comply as requested to enable me discharge my official duty accordingly.


Respectfully yours,

Terence P. McCulley
US Ambassador to Nigeria

We do not need the FBI to tell us this is a scam. 1) No American diplomat would be caught dead with a written mess like this; 2) Uncle Sam has a bleeding red budget, ask the US Treasury; no spare $500K hanging around for giveaways; 3) Destination: Lagos - Nigeria.

If you received a similar letter or email, contact your local U.S. Secret Service Office.For further guidance, please check on the U.S. Secret Service and Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud (4-1-9) Resources

Related items:
US Government Websites• Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) - Internet Crime Schemes
• The "Nigerian" Scam: Costly Compassion
• Federal Bureau of Investigation - Common Fraud Schemes

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