Archive 14


Telephone Scam Offering Virus Removal Services To Gain Remote Access To Victims' Computers

There have been several complaints from victims who have reported a telephone scam in which the caller pretends to be an employee of a major online company, which develops, manufactures, and supports software along with other products and services.

Victims reported that a caller claimed their computers were infected with viruses. The caller advised the victims they were sending the viruses to others via the Internet, and instructed victims to go to websites such as hxxp://, hxxp://, hxxp://, and hxxp://

When the victims navigated to one of the websites, they were further instructed to click on live support or live connect for assistance in removing the viruses.

Some victims were instructed to download a program once they were on the hxxp:// website. After the victim clicked on the link or downloaded the program, the caller gained control of the victim's computer.

Victims watched as the caller explored personal files, pointing out files that were infected. Some victims reportedly believe the caller copied their files and obtained their personal information. In some cases, the caller tried to sell the victims' software.

Many victims reported loud background noise during the call, indicating a possible boiler room-type operation. Some victims reported the scam to the online software company. The company has an alert on their website warning consumers about this matter.


Potassium Iodide Price Gouging

In the wake of the recent disasters in Japan and the widespread fear of how radiation may impact health, there has been a surge of complaints related to price gouging of potassium iodide supplements.

Potassium iodide is a salt of stable iodine that is an important chemical needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. Potassium iodide is normally absorbed through daily nutrition.

Incapable of distinguishing iodine types, the thyroid readily absorbs both radioactive and stable iodine. Potassium iodide works by filling the thyroid with stable iodine so it cannot absorb any more iodine, including radioactive iodine, for 24 hours.

A variety of websites sell potassium iodide online, with the majority of the websites being vitamin retailers. Other websites are specifically dedicated to nuclear disaster preparation.

Prices are generally under $10 for a bottle of pills or a vial of liquid potassium iodide. However, some prices are in the $20-$50 range, and a few sellers on an on-line marketplace are now selling tablets in the $200-$300 range.

Quantities and strength of the tablets or liquid vary, so not all prices are equivalent.

Potassium iodide can be found in prescription and over-the-counter formats. Although it is available over the counter, users should consult with a physician regarding dosage amounts and any potential drug interactions or side effects'  


Romance Scammers Claiming Affiliation With The IC3

The IC3 has received several complaints regarding a romance scam originating via a dating website. Generally, in romance scams, the scammer claims to be out of the country for a business trip and in need of money.

The scammer asks potential victims to wire funds for various reasons including paying for a hotel, returning to the states, or paying for a lawyer.

Recently, the scammers have added a layer of supposed law enforcement involvement in an attempt to convince the victim the scam is legitimate.

In one such IC3 complaint, the "investigator" says he is using his private e-mail because the IC3 database is under maintenance. To convince the victim to wire the requested funds, he claims to be assigned to the case and assures the victim that the subject has been "interrogated and investigated" and that he is a safe, "legit business man."

Other complainants reported having difficulty cancelling their membership to the particular dating site, which reportedly offers a "3-day free membership" for their service.

The membership is reportedly "automatically" renewed after the three days unless cancelled. Complainants reported that the website renewed their membership and charged their credit card over $59 despite the complainant's attempts to cancel the membership.

Some complainants said the company did not answer their calls, e-mails, or voice mail messages, while others claimed the company admitted the "error" and offered them free service, but refused to refund the charges.  


Fraudulent Charitable Contribution Schemes

Recently several natural disasters, including tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, have devastated lives and property. In the wake of these events that have caused emotional distress and great monetary loss to numerous victims, individuals around the world often feel a desire to help these victims, frequently through monetary donations.

These disasters attract individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions supposedly for a charitable organization or a good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, you should follow 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

If you believe you have been a victim of a charity related scheme, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud by telephone at (866) 720-5721, or by fax at (225) 334-4707, or by e-mail at

You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at

1 National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) was originally established by the Department of Justice to investigate, prosecute, and deter fraud in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Its mission has expanded to include suspected fraud from any natural or man-made disaster.

More than 20 federal agencies, including the FBI, participate in the NCDF, allowing it to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information related to relief fraud.



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