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Desperate Advance Fee Scam Victims Can Be Vulnerable to Follow-Up Scam Attempts

by Brett M. Christensen

Some people who have lost money via advance fee scams can become increasingly desperate. 

Often, against all logic, they will steadfastly refuse to believe that they have been conned and cling forlornly to the vain hope that – somehow – they will still get the riches they were promised and it will all work out in the end. Some victims get caught up in an escalation of commitment trap. That is, the more money they have sent to the scammers the more invested they will be in the scam. Thus, despite every indication that they are being conned, they may continue to send even more money to the criminals.

These people are especially vulnerable to follow-up scam attempts. One ruse that scammers use to target such people is to send out emails that offer to help them finally get hold of the money they were promised in previous scam attempts. The emails pretend to be from law enforcement agencies or other government departments.

The email included below is a typical example of such a scam attempt. The email claims to be from an agent at the ‘Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division’, supposedly a department of the FBI. According to the message, the FBI received a report from the UK’s National Lottery which confirms that the recipient really did win a large lottery prize.

But, claims the email, the recipient was tricked into sending money to scammers to get the win released.

The email advises the recipient to stop sending money to these scammers because the FBI has now stepped in to ensure that he or she will receive the promised win of $7.3 million. And, all the recipient has to do to get the prize is wire a $60 funds release fee to the ‘Central Bank of Nigeria’.

Of course, the hapless recipient is just getting scammed all over again. If he or she sends the $60, further ‘unexpected’ fees will suddenly surface and the victim will be asked to wire funds to cover them. The straw-grasping victim, panicked, and blinded by desperation, may be fooled into sending more and more money to the criminals.

It is certainly hard to understand how victims, after being initially conned, could possibly get caught up in a second round of scamming. But believe me, it does happen. Over the years, I have received a number of emails from relatives and friends of people that are in the process of being scammed in just such a way. Often the concerned relatives or friends have tried everything they can think of to convince the victim that he or she is being scammed to no avail.


Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division
FBI Headquarters In Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
Tel: [removed]I wish to inform you that i got an extension for you. The check will no longer be returned until 8th September 2015. This is to enable you make payment as the initial time farm was too short. Below is my previous email.

We received a report from the National Lottery in the United Kingdom about your Lottery Winnings with them. After some investigation, we discovered you have tried claiming this funds but you got scammed by some individuals in the United Kingdom and Africa. This prompted us to personally get involved as we do not usually get involved in Lottery business. We do not want you getting scammed anymore. Please stop any payments going to Africa or UK as it is usually a scam. This is the reason i made the arrangement below. Payment would only be made to the United States where i have everything legally verified.

Please note that I had an agreement with Central Bank of Nigeria that the check will be returned on Tuesday, 8th September 2015 if payment of $60 from you is not made by then. This means you have until Tuesday, 8th September 2015 to make payment or i would return the check. See my previous email below,

This is to inform you that i have your Check from the United Kingdom due to your Lottery win of $7.3million. The check is here in Island NY. However, I cannot send or give it to you as i promised/signed a document with the National Lottery that you must pay the Funds release fee and mailing of $60 before the check is handed to you. However, i tried having them reduce the fee but could only get it down to $60.

I made them send the check to an agent of theirs here in USA first as a sign of good faith. I have verified the check from the issuing bank and it is legitimate and valid. Since they trusted me and sent the check, I will not disappoint them. I will keep to my end of the agreement which is to ensure you send the $60 to them first before i send an agent to deliver the check to you in person.

Your check will be sent once i receive confirmation that you have sent the fee. Congratulations

You are to send the payment by western union or moneygram to the National Lottery agent here in Island NY,

Receiver..Hedi Vlacich
Receiver Address…Island NY 10303, USA
Question: purpose
Answer: check

Send me the western union or moneygram receipt when done.

Please note that the check cannot be cashed by anyone except you. You are to deposit it to your bank account. It would need fourteen (14) workings day to clear into your account. It cannot be cashed over the counter

Your’s Sincerely,

James B Comey
FBI Director

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,