The secretary of state’s name is being used in an email scam, the FTC warns.
The job of a diplomat is to reach out to people and to build consensus among many for one common goal. But the secretary of state isn’t reaching out to you with a few million dollars he found.
That’s the scam going around right now, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which issued a warning to be wary of anyone purporting to be Secretary Rex Tillerson offering an ATM card with access to millions of dollars.
As part of the scam, citizens are getting emails pretending to be from Tillerson, who says the FBI and CIA discovered $1.85 million during an investigation and that money rightly belongs to the email recipient. The fake Tillerson goes on to say the money has been deposited in an account and the recipient can receive an ATM card to access the account right after they send $320 and a host of personal information.
“Except you don’t have to send either the money or the information. Because it’s not the secretary of state emailing, nobody owes you $1.85 million (just guessing), and no government agency will ever tell you to pay a fee to collect funds owed to you,” wrote Kati Daffan, FTC assistant director for the Division of Marketing Practices.
Daffan offered a two-question litmus test for consumers to determine whether an offer is really a scam:
- Did they say you’ve won a prize, owe money or might go to jail?
- Did they say that you can get the prize—or get out of trouble—if you pay them money right away?
“If the answer to these is ‘yes,’ that’s going to be a scam,” Daffan said. “You don’t need to send money. You don’t need to give up your information by phone or email. You don’t need to worry.”
However, Daffan did suggest taking action by reaching out to the FTC to report the scammers and help protect other potential victims.
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