WHO IS THE TARGETED VICTIM? Telephone users
WHAT IS THE SCAM? In these scams, a caller claims that the victim is delinquent in a payday loan and must repay the loan to avoid legal consequences. Payday loans, also known as paycheck advances, are typically is a short-term unsecured loan to be repaid at the borrower's next pay day. The callers purport to be representatives of the FBI, Federal Legislative Department, various law firms, or other legitimate-sounding agencies. They claim to be collecting debts for Internet check cashing services.
At times, the callers may have accurate information about the victims, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, employer information, bank account numbers, and names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends. The method by which the fraudsters obtained the personal information is unclear, but victims often relay that they had completed online applications for other loans or credit cards before the calls began.
The fraudsters relentlessly call the victim's home, cell phone, and place of employment. They refuse to provide to the victims any details of the alleged payday loans and become abusive when questioned. The callers threaten victims with legal actions, arrests, and in some cases physical violence if they refuse to pay. In many cases, the callers even resort to harassment of the victim's relatives, friends, and employers.
Some fraudsters instruct victims to fax a statement agreeing to pay a certain dollar amount, on a specific date, via prepaid visa card. The statement further declares that the victim would never dispute the debt.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE? These telephone calls are an attempt to obtain payment by instilling fear in victims. Do not follow the instructions of the caller.
If you receive telephone calls such as these, you should:
WHO IS THE TARGETED VICTIM? All consumers, but frequently senior citizens
WHAT IS THE SCAM? Scammers, under the guise of being government officials, are contacting seniors either by phone, e-mail or in some cases in person and questioning if they have health insurance. If the victim answers they do not, the con-artist threatens to put the senior in jail for not complying with alleged new health care policies.
The scammers then offer to sell the victim "ObamaCare" insurance to keep the elderly person out of jail.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE? There is no such policy, nor is there "ObamaCare" coverage. Under the current national health care bill, the requirement to have health insurance doesn't go into effect until 2014. And even then, those who do not have coverage cannot be jailed.
Consumers should not respond to these solicitations.
WHO IS THE TARGETED VICTIM? Computer Users
WHAT IS THE SCAM? Scammers are sending spam with links that purport to direct the user to images, video and other information related to the death of Osama bin Laden. The spam messages sometimes use the name and logo of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The links, however, introduce malware and viruses on the consumer's computer.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE? The New York Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection urges consumers NOT to open unsolicited (spam) e-mails, and NOT to click on links contained within those messages. Even if the sender is familiar, the public should exercise due diligence. Computer owners must ensure they have up-to-date firewall and anti-virus software running on their machines to detect and deflect malicious software.
The Department of State recommends that the public do the following:
WHO IS THE TARGETED VICTIM? Business Recruiting Employees
WHAT IS THE SCAM? Recent FBI analysis reveals that cyber criminals engaging in wire transfer fraud have targeted businesses by responding via e-mail to employment opportunities posted online.
Recently, more than $150,000 was stolen from a U.S. business via unauthorized wire transfers as a result of an e-mail the business received that contained malware. The malware was embedded in an e-mail response to a job posting the business placed on an employment website and allowed the attacker to obtain the online banking credentials of the person who was authorized to conduct financial transactions within the company. The malicious actor changed the account settings to allow the sending of wire transfers, one to the Ukraine and two to domestic accounts. The malware was identified as a Bredolab variant, svrwsc.exe. This malware was connected to the ZeuS/Zbot Trojan, which is commonly used by cyber criminals to defraud U.S. businesses.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE? The FBI and the New York Department of State's Division of Consumer Protection recommends that potential employers remain vigilant in opening the e-mails of prospective employees. Running a virus scan prior to opening any e-mail attachments may provide an added layer of security against this type of attack. It is also recommended that businesses use separate computer systems to conduct financial transactions.
Anyone who believes they have been a target of this type of attack should immediately contact their financial institutions and local FBI office and promptly report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) website at www.ic3.gov. TheIC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. The IC3 also uses complaint information to identify emerging trends and patterns.
WHO IS THE TARGETED VICTIM? Residents
WHAT IS THE SCAM? The caller identifies him/herself as an officer of the court. He/she says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he'll need some information for "verification purposes," such as your birth date, social security number, credit card number, etc.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE? As a rule, court officers never ask for confidential information over the phone; they generally correspond with prospective jurors via mail. Protecting yourself is the key: Never give out personal information when you receive an unsolicited phone call.
WHO IS THE TARGETED VICTIM? Prospective timeshare consumers
WHAT IS THE SCAM? Property owners are being contacted from dishonest companies with legitimate-sounding names, such as International Timeshare Consolidators (ITC). These companies mislead consumers by offering to help to sell their vacation properties. Posing as an agent or broker, the fraudster will produce an appraisal or offer a very generous bid for the timeshare or vacation property. Before the sale is finalized, the consumer will be told that they owe taxes or administrative fees. Once the property owner has provided their financial information, paid the "fees" or other charges, the broker or agent will vanish without a trace.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE? If you are a timeshare owner and someone contacts you offering assistance with the sale of your property, take the following precautions to reduce the risk of falling for a scam:
All consumers can protect themselves from receiving solicitation calls by registering residential landline and personal mobile telephone numbers on the National "Do Not Call" Registry. Consumers may call toll-free at 1-888-382-1222 or sign up online at www.donotcall.gov. Registration is free and permanent.
WHO IS THE TARGETED VICTIM? Prospective fashion models
WHAT IS THE SCAM? There are a number of reoccurring versions of this scam that have recently been reported to consumer protection agencies in the country, including:
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE? Not all modeling agents or schools are bad -- do your homework to make sure your beauty can truly shine. Here are a few quick tips to avoid a model rip-off:
Last Modified: May 24, 2011