Fraudulent Charity Scams
In recent times there have been several natural disasters around the world including plane crashes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, and floods — that have devastated lives and property.
When people hear about these types of events that can cause emotional distress and great financial loss to numerous victims, individuals across the world often feel a desire to help, frequently by donating money. These tragic events have prompted some people with criminal intent to solicit contributions supposedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause. They are trying to capitalize on people's generosity to others during times of crisis.
You may receive an email directly asking for donations, or the email may be directing you [by getting you to click on a link in the email] to a fraudulent website set up to take the money.
Don't be fooled - the websites can look very professional, and may even copy a genuine charitable website. It is important therefore, before making a donation of any kind, to follow some guidelines, that include:
Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail
Be skeptical of people representing themselves as officials soliciting through e-mail for donations
* Do not click on links contained within spam 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 as providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft
Work at Home Scams
It is important to be vigilant when seeking employment online. There are many scams targeting people who want to work from home. The work at home scams cover a variety of opportunities that can include jobs requiring you to "process payments", "reship products", or "transfer funds".
These job scams involve you receiving and cashing fraudulent checks, transferring illegally obtained funds for the criminals, or receiving stolen merchandise and shipping it to the criminals.
Another common job scam is the "mystery shopper", which usually involves you receiving a fraudulent check with instructions to cash the check and then wire the funds so you can test the company's services. You are advised that you will be compensated with a percentage of the check or the merchandise.
Work-at-home schemes attract innocent people who then can become part of criminal schemes without realizing they are engaging in illegal behavior.
A further aspect to consider is that these job scams often provide criminals with the opportunity to commit identity theft when you provide your personal information, sometimes even bank account information, to your potential "employer". The criminal/employer can then use your information to open credit cards, post on-line auctions, register websites, etc., in your name so they can commit additional crimes.
Phishing Attacks Targeting EPPICard Users
We have received reports of phishing attacks on users of EPPICards. The EPPICard is similar to a debit card and is issued by a state agency for the purpose of receiving child-support payments. EPPICards are currently used in 15 states.
Some people have reported receiving e-mail messages indicating a problem with their account. They are directed to follow the link provided in the message so they can update their account or correct the problem. The link is fake and actually directs you to a fraudulent web site where your personal information is stolen.
We have also been advised that some people have received an e-mail message asking them to complete an online survey. When they complete the survey, they are asked for their EPPICard account information to allow funds to be transferred to their account as an appreciation for completing the survey. Providing this information will allow criminals to fraudulently use your identity and financial details.
EPPICard providers have indicated that they are not affiliated in any way with survey web sites and do not solicit personal information via email or text messages.
Remember, do not open e-mails from unknown senders because they often contain viruses or other malicious software [malware], or click on links in e-mails received from unknown senders as this is a very popular way of directing you to phishing websites.
Threat and Extortion Scams
There is a new variation on threatening emails. The traditional emails claim that the sender has been paid to kill you; however, they will cancel their contract on your life if you pay them a large amount of money.
The new variation of email claims to be from the FBI in London. In the email there is an explanation that a person has been arrested recently for the murders of three people of United Kingdom and USA citizenship. When the suspect was searched, information was found on him that indicated that you were to be the next victim.
You are then asked to contact the FBI in London via a link in the email to assist with the investigation. If you reply to the email you will be asked to provide proof of identification before any further information is provided to you about how your name is involved, and the future risks to you.
The link of course is fake and doesn't take you to the FBI in London, and the goal is to commit identity theft by stealing your personal details.
Identity theft can be accomplished through many variations of storyline, names or agencies involved.
Providing your personal details in reply to an unsolicited email is very risky and can leave you open to identity theft.
There is also a more serious threat currently being targeted at ethnic business owners, mostly of Asian origin using the telephone to deliver threats of violence. The telephone calls appear to originate from foreign countries and the caller appears to possess a reasonable amount of open source information about the victim by using Internet searches. As a result, the victims may believe the caller has personal knowledge about them.
The victims are requested to provide money to
prevent the violence happening .
.There have not been any reported incidents of violence actually carried out to date.
If you have received emails of this nature that contain threats or that contain personal details about you, contact the police and file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.
Sports Investing Scheme
The sports investing scams usually work by victims purchasing prediction software or they may join a betting syndicate and sometimes it also includes a subscription to a tipping service.
Despite being called an investment scheme, they are a gambling scam and are also know as sports trading, sports betting, sports arbitrage, sports tipping and sports wagering.
The scam is marketed on the basis that the software uses methods to capitalise on different odds offered by different bookies with the final analysis providing a risk-free way to becoming wealthy.
The salespeople show graphs that suggest amazing returns for little work and no risk. It all sounds too good to be true – and it is!
Some of the victims have complained that:
If you receive unsolicited offers [spam] to join these get-rich investment systems, just delete them. The only people who get rich from these systems are the scammers.
Common sense will tell you that if these systems worked as advertised, the newspapers would be full of success stories and people would be leaving their jobs on a large scale to become rich - the easy and risk-free way!
Also the owners of the software probably wouldn’t be selling it either – they would just be using it to make themselves and their friends richer and richer!