The Secretary of State is not emailing you

February 06, 2018

Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana and the Federal Trade Commission are warning consumers about a new twist on an old scam.

          There are many scammers who pretend to be government officials – from the IRS, Social Security Administration, and even the FTC. The latest twist is an email from – supposedly – the Secretary of State. In the email, someone pretending to be Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says you’re owed a payment from an investigation conducted by the FBI and CIA. The email goes on to say that you will receive an ATM card with $1.85 million on it – and the email even gives you the PIN code. But, to get the ATM card, you have to send $320 and your personal information.

          Except you don’t have to send either the money or personal information because it’s not the Secretary of State emailing and no one owes you $1.85 million dollars. No government agency will ever ask you to pay a fee to collect funds owed to you.

          BBB and the FTC offer tips on what you can do the next time you get an email or call from someone claiming to be from the government:

  • Don’t believe everything you see or hear. Scammers are great at mimicking official seals, fonts, and other details. Just because a website or email looks official does not mean it is. Even Caller ID can be faked.


  • Don’t be pressured to act immediately. Scammers typically try to make you think something is scarce or available for a limited time. They want to push you into action before you have time to think or to discuss it with a family member, friend, or financial advisor.  It’s never a good idea to make an important decision quickly.


  • Never share your personal information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door. This includes banking and credit card information, your birth date, and Social Security or insurance numbers.


  • Use secure, traceable transactions when making payments for goods, services, taxes, and debts. Do not pay by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment method.


  • Report the scam at and to


            Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana is a private non-profit organization. BBB strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.


          Please contact Better Business Bureau at 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB “Scoop” eNewsletter by visiting and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.


          BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.