DS Alerts American Cos. of Fraudsters Purporting to be US Ambassadors … Can’t Read ‘Em

Posted: 1:45 am EDT
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We understand that the Overseas Security Advisory Council functions as the liaison for cooperation and information sharing between  Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the U.S. private sector abroad.  But in cases like online scams where there are no borders, why can’t Diplomatic Security and the Consular Bureau team up to release a public alert for these scams and not just an alert for American companies overseas? This is not confined to Africa, anymore. See previous posts:

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Here’s one “ambassador spam” received by one of our readers:

“This is Mrs Gayleatha B.Brown the Former United States Ambassador to Republic of Benin, I came down here in Cotonou Benin Republic for an ECOWAS meeting and I was searching for some files that I left in this office before I left and found out that you have not received your fund, and I asked the present ambassador Mr James Knight what happened that you have not receive your fund and he said that you refused to pay the required fee for the delivery of your ATM CARD.

I’m contacting you this morning because the director of the ATM CARD center here in Benin Republic said that they will divert your ATM CARD to the Government Treasury just because that you cannot pay for the service fee of your ATM CARD which is $95.00 only according to them.

But I told them to wait until I hear from you today so that I will know the reason why you rejected such amount of money $2.5m which will change your life just because of $95.00.

I want your urgent response as soon as you receive this email and explain to me the reason why you have abandon your ATM CARD because of $95.00. But if you don’t need it then I can change your name to another person so that this Government will not claim this money but I know that you will love to have it.

Please my dear I want to help you to receive this fund because it was a big shock to me that you have not receive your ATM CARD and withdraw your money since 2 years now and I’m very sorry for that and you will receive your fund before the end of this meeting which will take us 4 days and I will be here to monitor it until you receive your fund.

This is where you should send the fee today and don’t fail to do that as I have said.

Receiver Name==== FRANKL IBGU
Country =======Benin Republic
City ============= Cotonou
Text Question ===== Urgent
Answer ============ Today
Amount ======== $95.00
Sender Name ====
Mtcn ====
I will wait to hear from you today with the mtcn number.”

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Gayleatha Beatrice Brown was a United States foreign service officer who served as ambassador to Benin and Burkina Faso. She passed away at the JFK Medical Center, Edison, N.J. on April 19, 2013.

James A. Knight is the current U.S. Ambassador to Chad. He previously served as ambassador to Benin from 2009 to 2012.

The State Department’s travel.state.gov has a page on international financial scams but the site does not include any alert on fraudsters using the American ambassadors names in their scams.

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U.S. Embassy Malta: Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley Does Not Want Your Money (Fraud Alert)

Posted: 12:19 am EDT
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On April 9, we blogged about the U.S. Embassy in Beirut issuing a fraud alert on scammers impersonating Ambassador David Hale and the American Embassy in Lebanon (see  U.S. Embassy Beirut: Ambassador Hale Does Not Want Your Money (Fraud Alert). On April 22, the U.S. Embassy in Valletta, Malta issued a similar alert to the Maltese public on scammers impersonating Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley.

 

Internet scam artists have tried to impersonate U.S. Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley and the U.S. Embassy in an attempt to get Maltese 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 “Gina Abercrombie.”  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 or United Nations Ambassador of Peace. In similar scams, victims were then requested to send money to an office in London. Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley 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 Abercrombie-Winstanley 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: http://ask.un.org/faq/14597

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U.S. Embassy Beirut: Ambassador Hale Does Not Want Your Money (Fraud Alert)

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

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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.

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