Posted: 12:15 pm EDT
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The U.S. Embassy in Beirut released a fraud alert on April 9 alerting Lebanese of scammers impersonating Ambassador David Hale and the American Embassy in Lebanon:
Internet scam artists have tried to impersonate American Ambassador David Hale and the American Embassy in an attempt to get Lebanese people to send them money. Don’t believe them!
In several of these attempts, these criminals have contacted people via social media with an invitation to connect to “David Hale.” When they have, they received a message saying that, for a certain sum of money, they could be named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations. Victims were then requested to send money to an office in London. Ambassador Hale does not make UN appointments and would not solicit funds from people. In other attempts, the perpetrators have sent unsolicited emails for fees to process immigrant visa documents and work permits.
Correspondence purporting to be from Ambassador Hale requesting any payment of funds or personal information is false.
We caution against providing any personal or financial information to unsolicited emails or social media contact.
If you would like more information about how the UN does appoint its Goodwill Ambassadors, please see the UN website: ask.un.org/faq/14597
— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) April 8, 2015
This appears to be a new variation to the “419 scams.” This is not the first time Internet scammers have impersonated an American ambassador. Starting around 2011, scammers have impersonated Terence. P. McCulley, who was previously the U.S. ambassador to Mali and Nigeria and currently chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in the Ivory Coast. A variation of his name, Terence P. McCauley has also been floating around the net. And when it became widely known that this is a scam, the scammers up the ante by offering compensation to scam victims. (see Yo! The scammers are current with the news, now use the name of new US Ambassador to Abuja, Terence P. McCulley for bait).
Click here for the FBI Common Fraud Schemes page.