In the latest of what seem to be an increasing number of Internet scams using official government logos, the FBI is warning computer users about fake e-mails purporting to be from the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center and the British government.
The new scam claims to involve a reimbursement of funds lost from Internet fraud.
The fake notice informs recipients, "The approved committees have approved the sum of $35,000.00 (Thirty five thousand dollars) for your scam compensations the bank of England [sic] will be contacting you soon to remit the approved amount to your account."
The scam notice indicates that failure to comply will place the funds on hold and a penalty will be applied to the recipient's bank account.
The purported notice from the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center follows scam e-mails last month as the Internal Revenue Service began sending out economic stimulus checks to eligible recipients. In that hoax, fraudsters sent out fake e-mails notifying individuals that direct deposit is the fastest and easiest way to receive their tax rebate check from the IRS.
The FBI urges Internet users to delete suspicious e-mails and spam and to contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.
"These criminals are increasingly attempting to do this by falsely claiming to be various government officials," said FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko in Washington. "Don't respond, don't open the attachments, and don't send your money or personal information. We are asking people to be aware of this tactic and to report incidents to IC3."
In a report on Internet crimes earlier this year, the FBI estimated that in 2007 individuals lost $240 million to Internet crimes.
In recent Internet fraud cases, offenders have used phishing or spoof e-mails that look as if they are coming from a U.S. government e-mail address with a .gov extension.
In February, fraudsters used e-mails that looked as if they came from the Justice Department to try and obtain individuals' personal information. More than 20,000 Internet users received the hoax e-mails.
In October 2006, Internet users received hoax e-mails claiming to come from FBI Director Robert Mueller.