Information Technology News
FBI: Beware of Fraud Email Messages
Last updated: June 11, 2008
Note: This story may not be current. It is part of the IT News Archive, and exists as a historical document.
The FBI is asking the public to be aware of email schemes containing various versions of fraudulent refund notifications claiming to be from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the government of the United Kingdom.
The emails falsely state that refunds are being made available to compensate the recipients for their losses as victims of Internet fraud.
In order to make these fake email messages appear official, the perpetrators use the names of people not associated with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, giving them official-sounding titles. Additionally, the perpetrators use IC3’s logo and the former name of IC3, the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), as well as the names of the Bank of England and the Metropolitan Police (U.K.) in the emails.
The messages promise refunds of thousands of dollars, which are to be sent via bank wire transfer from the “bank of England [sic]” once the victim signs a “fund release order.” The emails contain warnings that failure to sign the order will place the funds on hold and a penalty will be applied.
How to Spot a Fraud MessageAs with most spam, the messages contain elements that are evidence of fraud such as:
- Multiple spelling errors
- Poor grammar
- Government agency names
- Signatures of officials and titles in order to appear authentic
- Warning for failure to comply
Protect YourselfTo protect yourself from this and other email schemes, consider the following:
- Don’t respond to unsolicited (SPAM) email.
- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting personal information via email.
- Don’t click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
- Be cautious of email claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
- Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the organization's website rather than following an alleged link to the site.
- Don’t provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits information.
For More InformationTo find out about the dangers of fraudulent email and how to protect yourself, read these articles from UH Information Technology:
If you need information or assistance, please contact the IT Support Center at 713.743.1411, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.