Archive for the ‘Internet hoaxes’ Category

FBI warns of Internet vehicle sales scams

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

The FBI is warning that Internet vehicle sales scams are increasingly invoking the names of U.S. armed services branches to swindle unsuspecting consumers.
More and more Internet vehicle sales are a variety on the excess funds/wire transfer ruse that persuades someone to buy or sell products and wire money to a third party.
Sellers of non-existent vehicles are presenting themselves as members of the service who have to sell a vehicle quickly because they are being sent overseas.
Here’s the FBI press release describing how the swindles work.

Computer worm revisits Facebook users

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Members of Facebook and other social networking systems are seeing a recurrence of a computer worm that started showing up in December. It appears as a message from a friend and has a clickable link.
For advice on how to avoid it, read this.

Blog battles computer bugs

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Consumers Union, the non-profit group that publishes Consumer Reports magazine, has launched, a new blog that meant to limit computer viruses, spyware and other “badware” that might infect computers or e-mail.
It allows visitors to post comments about problems they’re having or provide feedback to those having problems. Looks like it’s kind of a “Neighborhood Watch” program aimed at short-circuiting cyberspace viruses.

No, you didn’t win the Postcode Lottery

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

A reader sends along this bogus e-mail that’s been making the rounds. He fears with the economy in the dumper, desperate people will be tempted to respond to this message, which appears to be one of those scams designed to capture personal financial info:

National Postcode Lottery
Attn: Winner
We bring to your notice the winning letter from Nationale Postcode Lottery
{United Kingdom Promotion Company} held on the 12th of October, 2008 through
Internet ballot System among 10,000 Microsoft users.
Subsequently, your email address attached to ticket number won
contract sum of 800,000.00 Pounds ,winning number 100364,ref number 00786.We
request you to pay serious attention to this notification by contacting the
claims department with claim information and procedures of claim.
Mr. Williams Brown
Congratulations once again from our members of staff and thank you for being
part of our promotional program.
Yours Sincerely,
Mrs. Stefian Smith
National Postcode Lottery


No, you probably wouldn’t get e-mail from FBI

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

A spam e-mail claiming to be from FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole is currently being circulated indicating that the recipient is the beneficiary of a large sum of money, which they will be permitted to access once fees are paid and personal banking information is provided. The appearance of the e-mail leads the reader to believe that it is from FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole.
This e-mail is a hoax, the FBI says. Do not respond.
It’s the latest in a series of scam e-mails given the appearance of legitimacy through the use of pictures of FBI officials, seals, letterheads, and/or banners.
These frauds claim to be from domestic as well as international FBI offices. The typical types of schemes utilizing the names of FBI officials and/or the FBI are lottery endorsements and inheritance notifications, but can cover a range of scams from threats and malicious computer program attachments (malware) to online auction scams.
Consumers should be wary of any unsolicited e-mail referencing the FBI, Director Mueller, Deputy Director Pistole, or any other FBI official claiming that the FBI is endorsing any type of Internet activity.
The FBI urges consumers to guard their personal information and account information carefully, and never give any personal, credit, or banking information in response to unsolicited e-mails.
If you received a suspicious e-mail, file a complaint at

Court pulls plug on spam ring

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission says a U.S. court has shut down a vast international spammer ring that has flooded e-mail boxes with ads for prescription drugs from India as well as “male enhancement” products.
More details may be found here.

More fraudulent financial e-mails

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has logged many reports of a fraudulent e-mail circulating that invokes the FDIC name.
The subject line of the e-mail states: “Funds wired into your account are stolen.” The e-mail tells recipients that the proceeds of identity theft crimes have been wire-transferred into their bank account. The e-mail then directs recipients to open and review an attached copy of their bank account statement. The attached file is actually an unknown executable file.
The FDIC says recipients should consider the executable file as a malicious attempt to collect personal or confidential information, some of which may be used to gain unauthorized access to online banking services or to steal a consumer’s identity.
The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers. It says financial institutions and consumers should NOT open the executable file attached to the fraudulent e-mail.

Campaign videos, headlines could hold viruses

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Videos that appear to be from the McCain and Obama campaigns might be seeded with malware programs designed to infect your computer, according to an advisory from Webroot, a computer security firm.
The company also warns against clicking on headlines that direct computer users to bogus blogs that hold computer viruses that are meant to persuade the computer user to buy illegimate security software that puts their personal and financial data even more at risk.

Online security Web site gets upgrade

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission has upgraded and redesigned its cyber security Web site.
It has tips, games and other info related to online security.
Check it out here.

Bogus CNN e-mails now take MSNBC name

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Those CNN Breaking News scam e-mails that will embed a Trojan virus on your computer if you open them, now apparently have transformed to MSNBC Breaking News alerts.
The folks at F-Secure have the latest low-down here.

About those CNN e-mail alerts …

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

A lot of people have received e-mails in recent weeks with the subject of “CNN Custom Alerts” or “CNN Breaking News.”
Wonder what it’s all about? It’s all about an embedded computer Trojan virus for those who ended up downloading files to see what the news was all about.
Our friends at F-Secure Labs will give you the lowdown here.

Ignore FBI-Facebook message

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

The FBI is warning that e-mailed messages implying that the federal bureau is going to start profiling facebook users are bogus and just a method scammers are using to infect computers with viruses.
If you get a message with subject matter mentioning FBI and Facebook, just delete it.
I received one of them in my quarantined e-mail this morning before the FBI issued its alert.
More details are here.

Phony KeyBank money orders circulating

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Counterfeit money orders issued in the name of KeyBank are being used nationwide as part of an up-front fee that’s part of a variety of Internet scams.
Details are here.

Latest phony financial e-mails from phishers

Monday, May 12th, 2008

In the last couple of days, bogus e-mails invoking the names of various financial institutions have been circulating in an effort to extract personal financial information from customers.
The messages aren’t necessarily specifically targeted at customers of the financial organizations, but are meant to saturate the Web with bogus messages in hopes that some legitimate customers will respond with their personal data.
In all cases, the financial firms do not gather such personal data through e-mail.
If you receive messages from the following financial institutions with the following subject headings, just delete them:
Comerica — “Your account need attention.”
Bank of America — “Restore your account has been blocked.”
RBS — “Reactivate your Digital Banking.”
PayPal — “Security Notice — We have limited access to your PayPal account.”

Another e-mail scam targets credit union

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Monroe County Community Credit Union is the target of another scam attempting to gather customer credit card numbers. This one uses a combination of e-mail and telephone verification.

It starts out with this e-mail message:

“From: Monroe County Community Credit Union []
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008 7:03 AM
Subject: MCCCU – Account Suspended!

You have one new message at Monroe County Community Credit Union.


From: Customer Service
Date: 15/02/2008
Subject: Official service renewal notification.

To listen the message please call us free at: 1-734-274-2043

Monroe County Community Credit Union,
715 North Telegraph Road,
Monroe, MI 48162.

Copyright C 2008, Monroe County Community Credit Union. All rights reserved.”

When you call the phone number in the message, it is a robotic pre-recorded announcement that says your account has been suspended due to fraudulent activity. To reactivate the account, it requests that you punch in your 16-digit credit card number, expiration date and PIN number. Each number entered is reconfirmed by a robotic voice. After all the numbers are entered — no matter what numbers are entered — the message asks you to wait while the account is confirmed. After an appropriate “processing” pause, the voice says your account has been reactivated and thanks you. Although the quality of the phone recording leaves something to be desired, it follows a verification pattern that is common for many legitimate financial institutions.

MCCCU also has been the target of an earlier e-mail scam that takes recipients to a counterfeit Web site.

You can read about that scam by clicking here.