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Author Topic: TIPS ON AVOIDING FRAUDULENT CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION SCHEMES:FBI  (Read 1529 times)
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« on: July 14, 2008, 08:06:54 AM »

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TIPS ON AVOIDING FRAUDULENT CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION SCHEMES

07/08/08—Since late May and early June 2008, there have been several natural disasters throughout the country—including tornadoes, wildfires, and floods—that have devastated lives and property. In the wake of these events, which cause emotional distress and great financial loss to numerous victims, individuals across the nation often feel a desire to help, frequently through monetary donations.

Tragic incidents such as 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the recent earthquake in China have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, to include the following:

Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting via e-mail for donations.
Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
To ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the recognized charity or aid organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site.
Attempt to verify the legitimacy of the non-profit status of the organization by using various Internet-based resources, which also may assist in confirming the actual existence of the organization.
Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions: providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
To obtain more information on charitable contribution schemes and other types of online schemes, visit www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com. If you are a victim of an online scheme, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


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PHISHING AND VISHING ATTACKS TARGETING USERS OF EPPICARDS

06/13/08—The IC3 has received reports of phishing attacks targeting users of EPPICards. The EPPICard is similar to a debit card. EPPICards are issued by a state agency for the purpose of receiving child-support payments. The cards are currently used in 15 states.

Individuals have reported receiving e-mail or text messages indicating a problem with their account. They are directed to follow the link provided in the message to update their account or correct the problem. The link actually directs the individuals to a fraudulent web site where their personal information, such as account number and PIN, is compromised.

Individuals have also reported receiving an e-mail message asking them to complete an online survey. At the end of the survey, they are asked for their EPPICard account information to allow funds to be credited to the account in appreciation for completing the survey. Providing this information will allow criminals to compromise the account.

EPPICard providers indicate they are not affiliated with survey web sites and do not solicit personal information via email or text messages.

Please be cautious of unsolicited e-mails. Do not open e-mails from unknown senders because they often contain viruses or other malicious software. Also, avoid clicking links in e-mails received from unknown senders as this is a popular method of directing victims to phishing websites.

If you have received an e-mail similar to this, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


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FRAUDULENT REFUND NOTIFICATION PURPORTEDLY FROM THE IC3

06/06/08—Consumers need to be aware of e-mail schemes containing various versions of fraudulent refund notifications purportedly from the IC3 and the government of the United Kingdom. The e-mails claim the refunds are being made to compensate the recipients for their losses as victims of Internet fraud.

The perpetrators of this fraud use the names of people not associated with the IC3 but give them titles in an attempt to make the e-mails appear official. The perpetrators use the IC3’s logo and the former name of the IC3, the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), as well as the names of the Bank of England and the Metropolitan Police in the e-mails.

The e-mails promise refunds of thousands of dollars which are to be sent via bank wire transfer from the “bank of England” once the victim signs a “fund release order.” The e-mails contain warnings that failure to sign the order will place the funds on hold and a penalty will be applied.

As with most spam, the content contains elements which are evidence of fraud such as: multiple spelling errors, poor grammar, agency names, signatures of officials and titles to appear authentic, and a warning for failure to comply. In some of the e-mails, the names of the officials do not match the signatures.

Consumers always need to be alert when they receive an unsolicited e-mail. Remember: do not open unsolicited e-mail or click on any links embedded in the e-mail, as they may contain a virus or malware.

If you have received an e-mail similar to this, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


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PHISHING RELATED TO ISSUANCE OF ECONOMIC STIMULUS CHECKS
05/08/08—The FBI warns consumers of recently reported spam e-mail purportedly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which is actually an attempt to steal consumer information. The e-mail advises the recipient that direct deposit is the fastest and easiest way to receive their economic stimulus tax rebate. The message contains a hyperlink to a fraudulent form which requests the recipient's personally identifiable information, including bank account information. To convince consumers to reply, the e-mail warns that a failure to complete the form in a timely manner will delay the issuance of the rebate check.

One example of this IRS spam e-mail message is as follows:

"Over 130 million Americans will receive refunds as part of President Bush's program to jumpstart the economy.

Our records indicate that you are qualified to receive the 2008 Economic Stimulus Refund.

The fastest and easiest way to receive your refund is by direct deposit to your checking/savings account.

Please follow the link and fill out the form and submit before May 10th, 2008 to ensure that your refund will be processed as soon as possible.

Submitting your form on May 10th, 2008 or later means that your refund will be delayed due to the volume of requests we anticipate for the Economic Stimulus Refund.

To access Economic Stimulus refund, please click here."

Consumers are advised that the IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications via e-mail. In addition, the IRS does not request detailed personal information via e-mail or ask taxpayers for the PIN numbers, passwords, or similar secret access information for their credit card, bank, or other financial accounts.

Please be cautious of unsolicited e-mails. It is recommended not to open e-mails from unknown senders because they often contain viruses or other malicious software. It is also recommended to avoid clicking links in e-mails received from unknown senders as this is a popular method of directing victims to phishing websites.

If you have received an e-mail similar to this, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.



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FRAUDULENT GRAND JURY SUMMONS CONTAINING MALWARE
04/17/08—The IC3 warns consumers of recently reported spam e-mail containing a fraudulent subpoena notifying recipients they are commanded to appear and testify before a Grand Jury. The e-mail attempts to appear authentic by containing a court case number, federal code, name and address of a California federal court, court room number, issuing officers’ names, and a court seal. Recipients are directed to click the link provided in the e-mail in order to download and print associated information for their records. If the recipient clicks the link, malicious code is downloaded onto their computer.

The e-mail also contains language threatening recipients with contempt of court charges if they fail to appear. Recipients are also told the subpoena will remain in effect until the court grants a release. As with most spam, the content contains multiple spelling errors.

If you receive this type of notification and are unsure of its authenticity, you should contact the issuing court for validation.

Be aware; if you receive an unsolicited e-mail, especially from an unknown sender, it is recommended you do not open it. If you do open the e-mail, do not click any embedded links, as they may contain a virus or malware.

If you have received an e-mail similar to this, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


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STORM WORM VIRUS
02/11/08—With the Valentine's Day holiday approaching, be on the lookout for spam e-mails spreading the Storm Worm malicious software (malware). The e-mail directs the recipient to click on a link to retrieve the electronic greeting card (e-card). Once the user clicks on the link, malware is downloaded to the Internet-connected device and causes it to become infected and part of the Storm Worm botnet. A botnet is a network of compromised machines under the control of a single user. Botnets are typically set up to facilitate criminal activity such as spam e-mail, identity theft, denial of service attacks, and spreading malware to other machines on the Internet.

The Storm Worm virus has capitalized on various holidays in the last year by sending millions of e-mails advertising an e-card link within the text of the spam e-mail. Valentine's Day has been identified as the next target.

Be wary of any e-mail received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited e-mail and do not click on any links provided.

If you have received this, or a similar e-mail, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


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FBI IDENTIFIES RECURRING FRAUDULENT E-MAIL SCAM
02/01/08—The FBI has recently developed information indicating cyber criminals are attempting to once again send fraudulent e-mails to unsuspecting recipients stating that someone has filed a complaint against them or their company with the Department of Justice or another organization such as the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, or the Better Business Bureau.

Information obtained during the FBI investigation has been provided to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS has taken steps to alert their public and private sector partners with the release of a Critical Infrastructure Information Notice (CIIN).

The e-mails are intended to appear as legitimate messages from the above departments, and they address the recipients by name, and other personal information may be contained within the e-mail. Consistent with previous efforts, the scam will likely be an effort to secure Personally Identifiable Information. The nature of these types of scams is to create a sense of urgency for the recipient to provide a response through clicking on a hyperlink, opening an attachment, or initiating a telephone call.

It is believed this e-mail refers to a complaint that is in the form of an attachment, which actually contains virus software designed to steal passwords from the recipient. The virus is wrapped in a screensaver file wherein most anti-virus programs are unable to detect its malicious intent. Once downloaded, the virus is designed to monitor username and password logins, and record the activity, as well as other password-type information, entered on the compromised machine.

Be wary of any e-mail received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited e-mail and do not click on any links provided. If you have received a scam e-mail please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


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VISHING ATTACKS INCREASE
01/17/08—Are you one of many who have received an e-mail, text message, or telephone call, supposedly from your credit card/debit card company directing you to contact a telephone number to re-activate your card due to a security issue? The IC3 has received multiple reports of different variations of this scheme known as "vishing". These attacks against US financial institutions and consumers continue to rise at an alarming rate.

Vishing operates like phishing by persuading consumers to divulge their Personally Identifiable Information (PII), claiming their account was suspended, deactivated, or terminated. Recipients are directed to contact their bank via a telephone number provided in the e-mail or by an automated recording. Upon calling the telephone number, the recipient is greeted with "Welcome to the bank of ……" and then requested to enter their card number in order to resolve a pending security issue.

For authenticity, some fraudulent e-mails claim the bank would never contact customers to obtain their PII by any means, including e-mail, mail, or instant messenger. These e-mails further warn recipients not to provide sensitive information when requested in an e-mail and not to click on embedded links, claiming they could contain "malicious software aimed at capturing login credentials."

Please beware—spam e-mails may actually contain malicious code (malware) which can harm your computer. Do not open any unsolicited e-mail and do not click on any links provided.

A new version recently reported involves the sending of text messages to cell phones claiming the recipient's on-line bank account has expired. The message instructs the recipient to renew their on-line bank account by using the link provided.

Due to rapidly evolving criminal methodologies, it is impossible to include every scenario. Therefore, be cognizant and protect your PII. Beware of e-mails, telephone calls, or text messages requesting your PII.

If you have a question concerning your account or credit/debit card, you should contact your bank using a telephone number obtained independently, such as from your statement, a telephone book, or other independent means.

If you have received this, or a similar hoax, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.



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AN INCREASE IN INTERNET SCHEMES CLAIMING TO BE FROM THE FBI
01/04/08—We have increasingly received reports of fraudulent schemes misrepresenting FBI agents, officials, and/or FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III. The fraudulent e-mails give the appearance of legitimacy due to the usage of pictures of the FBI Director, seal, letterhead, and/or banners. The e-mails may also claim to come from our domestic or overseas offices.

The types of schemes utilizing the names of FBI agents, officials, or the Director’s name are typically lottery endorsements and inheritance notifications. However, other fraudulent schemes include threat and extortion e-mails, website monitoring containing malicious computer program attachments (malware), and online auction scams.

The social engineering technique of utilizing the FBI’s name is to intimidate and convince the recipient the e-mail is legitimate.

The FBI does not send out emails soliciting information from citizens.

Please be cautious of any unsolicited e-mail referencing the FBI, FBI Director Mueller, or any other FBI official endorsing any type of Internet activity.

If you have experienced this situation please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.


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NEW TWIST CONCERNING THREAT AND EXTORTION E-MAILS
01/09/07—There is a new twist to the IC3 alert posted on December 7, 2006 regarding e-mails claiming that the sender has been paid to kill the recipient and will cancel the contract on the recipient's life if that person pays a large sum of money. Now e-mails are surfacing that claim to be from the FBI in London. These e-mails note the following information:

An individual was recently arrested for the murders of several United States and United Kingdom citizens in relation to this matter.
The recipient's information was found on the subject identifying the recipient as the next victim.
The recipient is requested to contact the FBI in London to assist with the investigation.
It is not uncommon for an Internet fraud scheme to have the same overall intent but be transmitted containing variations in the e-mail content, e.g., different names, e-mail addresses, and/or agencies reportedly involved. See our related top story on the hitman scam.

Please note, providing any personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail can compromise your identity and open you to identity theft.

If you have experienced this situation please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

Due to the threat of violence inherent in these extortion e-mails, if you receive an e-mail that contains personally identifiable information that might differentiate your e-mail from the general e-mail spam campaign, we encourage you to contact the police.


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E-MAILS CONTAINING THREATS AND EXTORTION
12/07/06—We have recently received information concerning spam e-mails threatening to assassinate the recipient unless the individual pays several thousand dollars to the sender of the e-mail.

The subject claims to have been following the victim for some time and was supposedly hired to kill the victim by a friend of the victim. The subject threatens to carry out the assassination if the victim goes to the police and requests the victim to respond quickly and provide their telephone number.

Warning! Providing any personal information can compromise your identify and open you to identity theft.

If you have experienced this situation, please notify your local, state, or federal law enforcement agency immediately. Also, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

 
 
 
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LouiseVargas
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2008, 11:38:18 PM »

Hi Blonde,

Wow! Thanks so much for the valuable information.

Louise
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Hope is everything. I see angels everywhere.
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