CONSUMER ALERT!

Consumer Protection Division
(208) 334-2424 or
Toll-free at (800) 432-3545

Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: February 22, 2005

Newest E–mail Scam Hits Close to Home for Idaho Representative

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Representative Steve Smylie are warning Idahoans about a new e–mail scam. The e–mail tells recipients they have inherited money from the late Governor Robert Smylie's estate and requests that the recipient contact the sender.

"The outrageous nature of this scam demonstrates that these perpetrators will go to virtually any length to rip off potential victims," Attorney General Wasden said. "Do not be misled by the fact that you recognize a name or that some parts of an e–mail scam are factually correct."

Representative Smylie, Governor Smylie's son, reports that some recipients of these e–mails have contacted him to inquire about their contents. Representative Smylie advises that much of the historical information about his father cited in the e–mail is accurate, lending an air of credibility to the scam.

That is where the credibility stops -- the Washington law firm that allegedly authored the e–mail does not exist and the address for the law firm is actually a Seattle donut shop. Furthermore, the e–mails appear to be sent through a foreign e–mail provider. The United States Secret Service states on its website that disbursement of money from wills is one of the most common forms of fraudulent proposals.

"The statements concerning special bequests from Governor Smylie's estate are patently untrue," Representative Smylie said. "It is upsetting that my father's name and his service to the State of Idaho have been used by thieves as a smokescreen to perpetuate this fraud. Clearly, the perpetrators are willing to do some homework to make their dirty work appear legitimate and have no qualms about sullying the memory of departed loved ones to further their deception."

Wasden said persons who received this e–mail or similar e–mails, should delete them. Individuals who have responded and sent money, should contact the U.S. Secret Service, the lead agency fighting this fraud. Victims can call the Secret Service at (202) 406–5572, or write to: US Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 950 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20001. Victims may also call the Secret Service's Boise office at (208) 334–1403. E–mail complaints can be sent to the Secret Service.

-End-

MAY 2008 NOTE TO READERS: The Secret Service no longer accepts e–mails at the above address. Instead, the Secret Service encourages consumers who have suffered a financial loss to contact the local Secret Service office.

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