Archive 6


Fraudulent Email Claiming to be from the FBI

Fraudulent e-mails containing the subject line "New DHS Report" have been circulating since August 15, 2009. The e-mails claim to be from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI Counterterrorism Division.

The e-mail text contains information about "New Usama Bin Ladin Speech Directed to the People of Europe," and has an attachment titled "audio.exe." The attachment is purportedly an audio speech from Bin Ladin; however, it actually contains malicious software intended to steal information from the recipient's system.

A fraudulent e-mail message claiming to contain a confidential FBI report titled "New Patterns in Al-Qaeda Financing" has been circulating since August 15, 2009. The e-mail has the subject line "Intelligence Bulletin No. 267," and contains an attachment titled "bulletin.exe." This message, or similar messages, may contain files that are harmful to the recipient’s system and may try to steal user credentials.

A fraudulent e-mail, initially appearing around June 16, 2009, claims to contain a confidential FBI report from the FBI "Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate." The subject line of the email is "RE: Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate," and contains an attachment "reports.exe". This message and similar messages may contain a file related to the "W32.Waledac" Trojan software, which is designed to steal user authentication credentials or send spam messages.


The FBI does not send unsolicited e-mails or e-mail official reports. Consumers should not respond to any unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links, as they may contain viruses or malware.


Social Networking Scams

The Internet Crime Complaint Centre [IC3] has recently released a report covering how scammers hijack accounts on social networking sites and spread malicious software by using various techniques.


One technique involves the use of spam to promote phishing sites, claiming there has been a violation of the terms of agreement or some other type of issue which needs to be resolved. Other spam entices users to download an application or view a video. Some spam appears to be sent from users' "friends", giving the perception of being legitimate. Once the user responds to the phishing site, downloads the application, or clicks on the video link, their computer, telephone or other digital device becomes infected.

Some of the malicious software installed gives the scammers access to your profile and personal information. These programs will automatically send messages to your "friends" list, instructing them to download the new application too.

Infected users are often unknowingly spreading additional malware by having infected Web sites posted on their Webpage without their knowledge. Friends are then more likely to click on these sites since they appear to be supported by their contacts.

How to Avoid the Social Networking Scams:

• Adjust Web site privacy settings. Some networking sites have provided useful options to assist in adjusting these settings to help protect your identity

• Be selective of your friends. Once selected, your "friends" can access any information marked as "viewable by all friends"

• Disable options and then open them one by one such as texting and photo sharing capabilities. Users should consider how they want to use the social networking site. If it is only to keep in touch with people then perhaps it would be better to turn off the extra options which will not be used

• Be careful what you click on. Just because someone posts a link or video to their "wall" does not mean it is safe

Each social networking site may have different procedures on how to handle a hijacked or infected account; therefore, you may want to reference their help or FAQ page for instructions.


Virus Protection Scams

There is an increasing incidence of 'scareware' surfacing on the Internet. You may have been browsing on Internet sites when you received a pop-up window warning that your computer has an infection or a warning flashing that offers a free scan to see if your computer is infected. You may even receive the equivalent of a 'blue screen of death' which advises your computer has crashed.

These are virus protection scams that may offer to sell you software to remove the infection, or scam your computer and remove it for you. The costs vary but generally fall in the range of $30 -50.

However the scam arises if you purchase the software as it doesn't work. When you download it, you may even receive malicious software as part of the download. This software may try to steal personal information and passwords, or it may install 'ransomware' that makes some of your data unavailable until you pay a fee to receive the unlock code.
It has been reported that there are over 16, 000 varieties of these scareware programs who are trying to extract your money or personal information.

You may receive this scareware in various ways that can include a message offering what appears as a legitimate update for software on your computer [such as a Flash player], by clicking on fake links in emails, Google ads or hijacked web pages.

The end result is the same however – you receive a warning with the option of a download. To complicate the problem, even if you suspect it is a fake message, trying to escape can be difficult. If you close the warning window, you may activate another one, or worse, you may not be able to close the browser window or use your back button!

To prevent finding yourself in this situation:

• Ensure you have quality internet security software that is updated regularly

• Ensure you schedule regular scans of your computer, and if you think you have been infected, run a full-system scan

• Don't click on pop-ups that claim your computer is infected, or accept offers to scan your computer to check it for viruses. Don't click on the 'no' option in the pop-up box – use the 'X' in the top right corner, or if it doesn't work, right click on the program icon in the taskbar and choose close. Failing that, simultaneously press Control-Alt-Delete keys that will bring up the Windows Task Manager and then select the browser and choose 'end task'.


Ponzi Schemes

The recession is causing a sharp rise in the number of Ponzi schemes. This is due mainly to low interest rates for investors causing them to look elsewhere for better returns, and also workers losing their jobs and receiving a payoff from their employer and then looking to invest that money.

In a Ponzi scheme, potential investors are attracted by promises of very large returns or dividends over a very short period of time, due either to skill of the investor, or the secret nature of the investment.

And according to the Better Business Bureau, there are at least 23,000 of them being promoted online in YouTube videos!

The returns are repaid, at least for a time, out of new investors’ principal, not from profits. This can continue as long as new investors line up with cash, and old investors don’t try to withdraw too much of their money at once.

A few people invest in the scheme, then as news of the offer spreads, more investors are drawn in. Usually there is no actual investment involved, contrary to your understanding, just money being shipped in from new investors to pay the earlier ones.

The scam will continue for as long as payments are regularly made to 'earlier investors' to provide credibility. Those fortunate few are known as 'songbirds' since they sing the praises of the scam to others.

The goal of the scheme is to keep investors from knowing they are being cheated for as long as possible, so more investors can be lured in.

The scheme can only continue for as long as new gullible investors can be found.

Red Flags of Investment Scams

  • It offers high rewards with little or no risk, or 'safe' or 'risk free', or 'guaranteed results'

  • You are advised to take up the offer immediately or you will lose the opportunity

  • You have been selected from a small group for a 'private' offer

  • There are few, if any details of the person or company making the offer

  • The offer arrives via unsolicited email [spam] and promises huge results with no risk. Remember brokers and traders aren't going to give away good tips for free

  • An offer to share 'inside' information along with pressure to invest before you can do any research


Return to Scam Alerts