Virus-containing Email Hoaxes: What to Do

Email Hoaxes That Contain Viruses

A recent (February 2005) example of an email that appears to be serious and genuine but is actually just a means to get you to open and free a computer virus or worm is this email that appears to come from the US FBI, accusing you of visiting "illegal websites":

Dear Sir/Madam,

we have logged your IP-address on more than 40 illegal Websites.

Important: Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
M. John Stellford

Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI-
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2130
Washington, DC 20535
(202) 324-3000

What to do:

First, DON'T panic.  The FBI does not send out emails to inform people that they are being investigated; even if you were a filthy pervert. 

Just delete the email and DO NOT open any attachments! The attachment contains a worm (virus) called Sober-K. Here is a statement from the FBI:

FBI statement, February 22, 2005:


E-mails purporting to come from FBI are phony

Washington, D.C. - The FBI today warned the public to avoid falling victim to an on-going mass e-mail scheme wherein computer users receive unsolicited e-mails purportedly sent by the FBI. These scam e-mails tell the recipients that their Internet use has been monitored by the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center and that they have accessed illegal web sites. The e-mails then direct recipients to open an attachment and answer questions. The attachments contain a computer virus.

These e-mails did not come from the FBI. Recipients of this or similar solicitations should know that the FBI does not engage in the practice of sending unsolicited e-mails to the public in this manner.

Opening e-mail attachments from an unknown sender is a risky and dangerous endeavor as such attachments frequently contain viruses that can infect the recipient's computer. The FBI strongly encourages computer users not to open such attachments.

The FBI takes this matter seriously and is investigating. Users receiving e-mails of this nature are encouraged to report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center via

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!




For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.