IC3 Releases Information on New Scams

Scams involve U.S. military, the FBI and greeting cards. 

by / July 17, 2007

Today, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership organization of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, released new information on popular scams circling the Internet.

An Increase in Internet Schemes Purportedly From the FBI

The IC3 has increasingly received intelligence of fraudulent schemes misrepresenting the FBI and/or 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, letter head, and/or banners. The types of schemes utilizing the Director's name and/or FBI are lottery endorsements and inheritance notifications.

Other fraudulent schemes representing the FBI claim to be from domestic as well as International offices. The schemes cover a range from threat and extortion e-mails, Web site 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.

Spam Involving the U.S. Military

The FBI continues to receive reports of spam e-mail which claim to be from an official of the U.S. military sent on behalf of American soldiers stationed overseas. The scam e-mails vary in content; however, the general theme of each is to request personal information and/or funds from the individual receiving the e-mail.

Be wary of any e-mail received from an unknown sender which either requests personal information of the recipient or solicits the submission of money for any reason. It is suggested that e-mails from unknown senders not be opened by the recipient because they often carry viruses or other malicious software within the e-mail.

Greeting Card Scam

The FBI continues to receive reports of Internet fraud related to electronic greeting cards containing malware (malicious software). The cards, which are also referred to as e-cards or postcards, are being sent via spam. Like many other Internet fraud schemes, the perpetrators use social engineering tactics to entice the victim, claiming the card is from a family member or friend. Although there have been variations in the spam message and attached malware, generally the spam directs the recipient to click the link provided in the e-mail to view their e-card. Upon clicking the link, the recipient is unknowingly taken to a malicious Web page.