Holiday Tips

Here are some tips from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:

 
  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) email.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
  • Be cautious of email claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the email with the link to which you are directed and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log directly onto the official web site for the business identified in the email, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited email. If the email appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.
  • If you are asked to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
  • Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information.
  • Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
 

Congratulations IC3!

On November 9th, 2010 the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) logged it’s 2 millionth customer!  This is an amazing number, especially when you consider that not all scams and fraud are even reported.

This is a good thing, since it means that people are reporting the scams, which will give the FBI, National While Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (the agencies that partnered together to form the IC3) more information to try and go after these people and help warn people about these scams.

The IC3 receives, develops, and refers cyber crime complaints to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies. The IC3 gives cyber crime victims a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.

Since its inception, the IC3 has referred 757,016 criminal complaints to law enforcement around the globe. The majority of referrals involved fraud in which the complainant incurred a financial loss. The total reported loss from these referrals is approximately $1.7 billion, with a median reported loss of more than $500 per complaint.*

Happy Birthday IC3

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is celebrating 10 years of crime fighting.

IC3 was established in May 2000 as a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The organization gives victims of cybercrime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. IC3 provides law enforcement and regulatory agencies at all levels a central referral system for complaints involving Internet-related crimes.

“Since its creation in 2000, we have seen the number of complaints coming into IC3 increase year after year. Cybercrime is not going away and, in fact, is only going to continue as criminals become savvier,” said Don Brackman, Director of the NW3C. “We are so proud to be partners with the FBI in operating IC3 to address this growing global issue.”

MALWARE AND WORK-AT-HOME SCAMS

This press realease can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm

FRAUDULENT AUTOMATED CLEARING HOUSE (ACH) TRANSFERS CONNECTED TO MALWARE AND WORK-AT-HOME SCAMS

11/03/09—Within the last several months, the FBI has seen a significant increase in fraud involving the exploitation of valid online banking credentials belonging to small and medium businesses, municipal governments, and school districts. In a typical scenario, the targeted entity receives a “spear phishing” e-mail which either contains an infected attachment, or directs the recipient to an infected website. Once the recipient opens the attachment or visits the website, malware is installed on their computer. The malware contains a key logger which will harvest the recipients business or corporate bank account log-in information. Shortly thereafter, the perpetrator either creates another user account with the stolen log-in information, or directly initiates funds transfers by masquerading as the legitimate user. These transfers have occurred as both traditional wire transfers and as ACH transfers.

Further reporting has shown that the transfers are directed to the bank accounts of willing or unwitting individuals within the United States. Most of these individuals have been recruited via work-at-home advertisements, or have been contacted after placing resumes on well-known job search websites. These persons are often hired to “process payments”, or “transfer funds”. They are told they will receive wire transfers into their bank accounts. Shortly after funds are received, they are directed to immediately forward most of the money overseas via wire transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram.

Customers who use online banking services are advised to contact their financial institution to ensure they are employing all the appropriate security and fraud prevention services their institution offers.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has made information on banking securely online available at http://www.us-cert.gov/reading_room/Banking_Securely_Online07102006.pdf

 Protecting your computer against malicious software is an ongoing activity and, at minimum, all computer systems need to be regularly patched, have up to date anti-virus software, and a personal firewall installed. Further information is available at http://www.us-cert.gov/nav/nt01/

If you have experienced unauthorized funds transfers from your bank accounts, or if you have been recruited via a work-at-home opportunity to receive transfers and forward money overseas, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

For a detailed analysis of this scam please visit http://www.ic3.gov/media/2009/091103-1.aspx

 

Halloween addition of Scam Victims United

Here are some scary facts about fraud and scams . . .

From the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s annual report

http://www.ic3.gov/media/annualreport/2008_IC3Report.pdf

The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $264.6 million with a median dollar loss of $931.00 per complaint. This is up from $239.1 million in total reported losses in 2007.

Of those complaints reporting a dollar loss, the highest median losses were found among check fraud ($3,000), confidence fraud ($2,000), Nigerian (west African, 419, Advance Fee) letter fraud ($1,650).

The Consumer Federation of America released the results of a survey in May 2009 which relates directly to information we at Scam Victims United work to educate people about. They found that fifty-nine percent of the respondents incorrectly believe that when you deposit a check or money order, your bank confirms that it is good before allowing you to withdraw the money. The number goes up to 70 percent among young adults age 18-24, and 71 percent of people with incomes under $25,000 and who did not complete high school. More than 40 percent of those surveyed do not know that they are liable if the checks or money orders they deposit or cash are counterfeit. Fifty-two percent age 18-24 and half of Hispanics incorrectly said the person who gave you the check must pay the bank back. This is precisely the type of information that we at Scam Victims United work to educate people about.

Shawn Mosch

Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through

http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Support Scam Victims United by shopping at http://shopittous.blogspot.com/

Spammers Misusing Name of U.S. Attorney General Holder

This press release can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm

SPAMMERS CONTINUE TO ABUSE THE NAMES OF TOP GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVES BY MISUSING THE NAME OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL

10/27/09—As with previous spam attacks, which have included the names of high-ranking FBI executives and names of various government agencies, a new version misuses the name of the United States Attorney General, Eric Holder.

The current spam alleges that the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were informed the e-mail recipient is allegedly involved in money laundering and terrorist-related activities. To avoid legal prosecution, the recipient must obtain a certificate from the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman at a cost of $370. The spam provides the name of the EFCC Chairman and an e-mail address from which the recipient can obtain the required certificate.

DO NOT RESPOND. THESE E-MAILS ARE A HOAX.

Government agencies do not send unsolicited e-mails of this nature. The FBI, Department of Justice, and other United States government executives are briefed on numerous investigations, but do not personally contact consumers regarding such matters. In addition, United States government agencies use the legal process to contact individuals. These agencies do not send threatening letters/e-mails to consumers demanding payments for Internet crimes.

Consumers should not respond to any unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links associated with such e-mails, as they may contain viruses or malware.

It is imperative consumers guard their Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Providing your PII will compromise your identity!

If you have been a victim of Internet crime, please file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.

Reporting Scams

“How do I report that I have been a victim of an online scam?” is a question I hear on a regular basis, either on our message board, through emails or left as comments on other sites. There are plenty of places that you can report that you have been a victim of an online scam. The main place that I would recommend would be the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which is a combined effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).   As you can see, you get the resources of three larger agencies all from one place, and to me, that much better than reporting with multiple agencies individually.   To file a complaint with the IC3, go to http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

The following information is right from the IC3 site Frequently Asked Questions section . . .

Q: How are complaints resolved?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) thoroughly reviews and evaluates each complaint so that we may refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agency. Every complaint that is referred is sent to one or more law enforcement or regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the matter. Once we refer a complaint to the appropriate agency, it may then be assigned to an investigator. We, therefore, ask that you provide a telephone number in the event an investigator needs to contact you for additional information.

IC3 cannot guarantee that your complaint will beinvestigated.

Why can’t they guarantee that your complaint will be investigated? It all comes down to jurisdiction . . . who has the power and authority to address this sort of crime in the location that the crime was committed. Now, you might say that the crime was committed in what ever city or state that you live in, but since this person did not come to your home and take the money from you that is not true. They were sitting in front of a computer in another country and through the information sent to you over the internet they defrauded you. Being that the crime took place over the internet, with the place of origin being the foreign country where the scammer is, it would be the law enforcement and government in that country that would have to address this crime. (why other countries do little to nothing is an issue for another time)

 Now, I am not in ANY way discouraging anyone from filing a complaint . .. quite the opposite!  I feel that it is VERY important for every victim of a scam to report it. This will bring more attention to the growing problem and history shows us that when enough people feel that something is a problem they will try to do something to change it. So if you area victim of a scam please report it. http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

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http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch