Is this scam? What do you think?
Thread poster: Giovany Rodríguez Monsalve

Giovany Rodríguez Monsalve
Local time: 23:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 5, 2008

Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well.


Dear all, five minutes ago I received the following (extremely rare) message:


Hello (my personal e-mail)

Your IP address has been logged on more than 20 illegal Websites.
This does not necessary means that You browsed all of this illegal content.
Theres possibility someone else has access to your PC, physically or someone else gained remote access to your PC machine.
As a matter of that, we kindly ask You to answer all our questions regarding this case in reasonable amount of time.
List of all our questions is available for download at (www)
If you do not answer these questions until 10.07.2008 we will start investigation and make final decision on our own. In that case, You'll get the charge in writing soon after.
Please note that browsing illegal content online is serious violation of laws in many countries.
We expect your cooperation and prompt response.

Paul Allison
Central Intelligence Agency -CIA-
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW , Room 3220
Washington , DC 20535
Phone: (202) 324-30000
Case ID: 528-84223"

I really don't know what is it about, have you ever seen this message before? Please, let me know what you think.

I'm kind of scared.

PD: I haven't done anything else than read the message and mark it as spam.


[Editado a las 2008-07-05 04:02]

[Editado a las 2008-07-05 04:03]

[Editado a las 2008-07-05 15:22]


Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:42
Dutch to English
+ ...
Scam Jul 5, 2008

What charge?

If you were really browsing illegal websites (for example kiddie porn), they'd come and arrest you not charge you and they would not be pre-warning you.

The CIA does not have jurisdiction in Colombia as far as I am aware. The English used is not too good either.

Bin it and forget it or write to the CIA and see what they have to say (not to the address given in the message you received).

[Edited at 2008-07-05 04:10]


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:42
English to German
+ ...
Good one! Jul 5, 2008

Dear Giovany,

Simply send a support ticket to the ProZ-staff.

The URL-suffix .ba stands for Bosnia-Herzegovina, BTW.

Have a good laugh and please have a nice day!



The support ticket should be sent if the email was sent via your ProZ-profile page


"CIA Email
Email scams

The United State’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is warning computer users to delete any unsolicited email purportedly coming from its public affairs office.

The CIA said the message is fake and the agency never sends unsolicited email to the public.

Do not open the attachment contained in the email because it may contain a malicious virus that could damage your computer or mail itself to people in your email address book. Check out the CIA website at

Similar emails with the W32/sober virus purportedly come from the FBI and the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the German Federal police service.

The virus may:

Attempt to harvest email addresses from a configurable list of file extensions
Utilize its own SMTP engine to send itself to the harvested email addresses
Other common characteristics of W32/sober virus variants include:

Modify the system registry to prevent Windows XP's built-in firewall from starting
Modify the HOSTS file to prevent the computer from accessing certain security and commercial web sites
Attempt to terminate a number of running processes, some of which are security related
Open a backdoor on the system that allows the attacker to communicate remotely with the system via IRC. This may allow the attacker to upload and execute arbitrary code on the infected machine.

WA ScamNet advises computer uses to never open unsolicited email attachments and to keep their anti-virus protection up-to-date."

[Edited at 2008-07-05 04:40]


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Clearly scam! Jul 5, 2008

Yes, as Nicole says: have a good laugh and forget about it.

Honestly, should a police force be investigating you, why should they tell you BEFORE they arrest you?? Does not make sense. Either they come to your door and arrest you, or at least you receive a letter from your Home Office, or something! icon_wink.gif


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Only pay attention to this crap if they know your name! Jul 5, 2008

The rule of gold for these things:

- Never pay any attention to any emails that, no matter how catchy they are (like this with the CIA investigating you hear hear!!) if they don't have your name. They have your email address, but nothing else, so.... scam!!


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:42
English to German
+ ...
Never post your e-mail address in a public forum Jul 5, 2008

Hi Giovany,
Posting your e-mail address in a public forum is an invitation to send you more of this stuff - scammers and the like use 'crawlers' to grab such information for their address databases.

Best regards,


elenaluke (X)
Local time: 05:42
Clearly scam indeed Jul 5, 2008


Just to add a little a grammatical proof.

"You" with the capital letter is a common error of Eastern Europen learners, and it's done twice in the e-mail. (It's normally capitalised in their native languages).

Try to relax and report phishing scam to your provider!


cmwilliams (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:42
French to English
+ ...
suspected spam link published in forum?? Jul 5, 2008

I don't think it's a good idea to publish the suspected link in this forum as someone may accidentally click on it. Would it be possible to remove it, or at least disable the link?


PB Trans

Local time: 05:42
French to English
+ ...
worm Jul 6, 2008

It's a trick to lure people into opening the attached .ZIP file so that the worm can spread to their PC.

Notice how "Steven Allison" from the CIA has been replaced with "Paul Allison".

More info here:


Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:42
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
The dead giveaway Jul 6, 2008

Yes it's very obviously a fake. Even before I started to wonder whether the CIA actually sends emails like this, I would have seen, for example, the following examples of bad English as proof that the author was a non-English speaker:

This does not necessary means that You browsed...

Theres possibility someone else has access to....

... in reasonable amount of time.

If you do not answer these questions until 10.07.2008 we will ...

As Nicole pointed out, the ".ba" at the end of the URL is also a dead giveaway that it's not from America.

So, as everybody else also wrote: don't worry, and don't reply.



Graham Poole  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:42
Member (2008)
Russian to English
It's a dangerous world! Jul 6, 2008

Giovany -- As someone with a professional interest in email spam and scams, I totally endorse all my colleagues' astute comments above.

These types of messages are--at best, and most benignly--an attempt to harvest or to verify the validity of email addresses, which are then sold in database form. Which simply means more spam to come!

Somewhat more menacingly, they are "phishing" -- trying to fish information out of you, generally with the purpose of cleaning out your bank or other account. They do this by either asking you to reply to the email and provide your account details, or by taking you to a phoney or hacked website where you will give away your username & password all by yourself. Among these, the most common are:

--Your Paypal/Ebay/Moneybookers/bank account, etc. has been frozen due to suspicious activity on the account.
--A message from Paypal/EBay stating that X dollars have been transferred from your account to XXX. If you wish to dispute this transaction, please click here...
--You have won an email lottery!!
--I need advice on how to invest X million dollars in your country, and will give you 10% for your assistance.
--I am a lawyer/an accountant/a bank official/an orphan/a widow/a serviceman in Iraq/etc., etc. who has a secret stash of X million dollars that I urgently need your help to transfer out of the country.
--I am looking for someone in your country to process payments for my company, and offer you 10% of each amount that you transfer to us.
--The Internal Revenue Service owes you money; the fastest way is by wire transfer; please provide your bank information.
--Your bank will credit your account $100 if you click here to take part in this 5-minute survey.

Cute emails from female lonely-hearts, usually Russian, are also quite common, and in a category of their own. They are often accompanied by a fairly attractive photograph, and invite the recipient to exchange information. The sender is allegedly coming soon to your country and would like to meet you. After you have swallowed the bait, however, you will find that that your sweetheart needs some money to complete the voyage, e.g. a last-minute delay, desperately need $300 to solve visa problem, please send!

Last, there are all sorts of viruses, worms and malicious software programs (malware) for the unwary to download by clicking on a link in an email message. Probably most people know the effect of these, but they can be destructive (destroying your files & the files on any other hapless computer that you pass the virus to) or will follow your keystrokes to learn names, passwords, social security numbers, etc. so that, again, they can relieve you of your money, or they will turn your computer into a "zombie" or "bot" (short for "robot") that will be used by the spammers to send out more spam messages. The clickable links here can be highly interesting ("President Dead! See video here...!), or ominous (along the lines of "You have been found engaging in unlawful activities... click here to get yourself out of this mess"), or apparently harmless ("Someone has sent you an e-greetings card! Click here...". The varieties are endless.

It's dangerous out there! And unfortunately there's big money to be made in this garbage. The scammers play on human curiosity, love interest, fear, and greed. The name of the email sender that you see at the top of the message is often forged. If it's not forged, they are short-lived email accounts opened in Yahoo or Googlemail, etc. The clickable links, too, are often spoofed, so that if you hover your cursor over a clickable link that appears to be genuine, (e.g. "", you may see at the bottom of the browser that the link goes somewhere completely different.

The earlier advice was best. Do not click, do not respond, ignore it, delete it, forget it, and have a nice day!


Giovany Rodríguez Monsalve
Local time: 23:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thank you! Jul 7, 2008

Good morning,

I just wanted to thank you for all your comments and support. I hope this kind of forums help us to avoid scammers.

Have a good week!



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