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Media Releases

Warning Regarding Current Fraud Schemes Ongoing in the FSM

April 10, 2007

Residents of the Federated States of Micronesia have recently reported two fraud schemes circulating in the FSM. One email message claims to originate from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (with a purported email address of refunds@irs.gov) and announces that “you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $63.80.” It provides a hyperlink to a “tax refund request” form that solicits your U.S. Social Security Number and details (including card number, expiration date and ATM card PIN) regarding your Visa/MasterCard account “where you want the refund to be made.” It attempts to mask its intent with the assurance—“See our Privacy Notice regarding our request for your personal information,” a hyperlink then takes viewers to another screen containing information easily copied from the real IRS website.

The second fraudulent message, allegedly sent by a “(Senior U.S [sic] Immigration Lawyer]” states that “The U. S Bureau of Citizenships and immigration services [sic] has certified that you will be at the U.S. Embassy in your home country . . . on . . . [purported date and time].” The alleged purpose of reporting to the Embassy is to submit “nonimmigrant visa applications forms” to facilitate visa issuance to attend “the RAD World Conference Against Racism and Discrimination.” The first week of this conference is supposed to be held in North Anderson, Kentucky, USA, with the second week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The message goes on to instruct recipients to make a “500$ [sic] refundable security deposit to the same hotel in Dubai where you made your reservations as soon as possible.”

The U. S. Embassy wishes to warn all individuals who receive such emails that these are not legitimate messages from the United States Government. It is easy to falsify a “From:” address on outgoing emails. The users of the americanconsular@mail.com and kate892@hotmail.com email addresses are not employees of the U. S. Government acting in any official capacity. Close examination of these solicitations reveals a number of clues pointing to their fraudulent nature. There are a number of grammatical errors in the RAD conference correspondence. American attorneys are not referred to as “barristers.” FSM citizens do not require visas to enter the United States. U.S. Embassies do not issue visas for other countries.  The U.S. Department of State does not use hotmail.com or mail.com email addresses to conduct official business. It would never direct responses to be sent such an address for any reason whatsoever.

Individuals receiving such messages should ignore and take no action in response to them.