SCAM ALERT: No, The Secretary of State Is Not Emailing You
The email claims that you'll get an ATM card worth $1.85 million—money that is supposedly owed to you
There are many scammers who pretend to be government officials from agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration, law enforcement, and even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
According to the FTC, the latest twist in this pervasive series of scams is an email that is supposedly coming from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Are you really owed $1.85 million?
In the email, someone pretending to be Secretary Tillerson says that you're owed a payment—which he knows about because of an investigation conducted by the FBI and CIA. The email goes on to say that you'll get an ATM card with $1.85 million on it—and it even gives you the PIN code required to access the money. Before the ATM card can be sent to you, however, the email states that you must send in $320 and other personal information.
THIS IS A SCAM. The email is not actually from the Secretary of State and nobody owes you $1.85 million dollars. DO NOT send in any money or other information.
It's important for consumers to remember that no government agency will ever ask you to pay a fee to collect funds that are owed to you.
Red Flags of a Scam
Here's what you can do the next time you get an email or call from someone claiming to be from the government. Ask yourself these two questions:
1) Did they say you've won a prize, owe money, or might go to jail?
2) 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," there's a good chance it's a scam. Don't ever send money or give out sensitive personal information to anyone unless you know for certain who you are talking to. If a company or utility is involved, contact them at a number you KNOW to be correct.
Report All Suspected Scams
If you believe that you've been contacted by a scammer, report it immediately to the FTC and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office (or your state's Attorney General).