Holiday Season Cyber Scammers Target Victims
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is alerting people this holiday season that cyber criminals continue to aggressively seek ways to steal money and personal information, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
Scammers are using several techniques to fool potential victims including sending unsolicited e-mails that contain attachments such as electronic greeting cards containing malware (malicious software), setting up spoofing websites that look like legitimate commercial sites, and unleashing phishing and vishing attacks where individuals receive e-mails asking for personal data.
â€œThese cyber scammers will do whatever they can to steal your money and personal information this holiday season and are trying many different ways to commit these crimes. The best way to protect yourself is to report these scams to law enforcement or the Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3,” said Shawn Henry, Assistant Director, FBI Cyber Division, Washington, DC.
In the greeting card scam, the cards, which are also referred to as e-cards or postcards, are being sent via spam. Like many other Internet fraud schemes, the criminals 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 the e-card. Upon clicking the link, the recipient is unknowingly taken to a malicious webpage.
Spoofing scams are when criminals create a false or shadow copy of a real website or e-mail in a way that misleads the recipient. All network traffic between the victim’s browser and the shadow page are sent through the spoofer’s machin e. This allows the spoofer to acquire personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and account numbers.
Even though the e-mail looks like the real thing, complete with authentic logos and working web links, it’s a fak e. The website where you’re told to enter your account information is also fak e. In some instances, really slick spoofers direct you to the genuine website, then pop up a window over the site that captures your personal information. The information entered does not go to the legitimate site, but rather to the spoofer’s account. The information you entered will most likely be sold to criminals, who’ll use it to ruin your credit and drain your account.
In phishing and vishing attacks, individuals report receiving e-mails or text messages indicating a problem with their account. They are directed to follow the link provided in the message to update their account or correct the problem. The link actually directs the individuals to a fraudulent website that looks legitimate where their personal information, such as account number and PIN, is compromised.
Other reported scams have included victims receiving an e-mail message asking them to complete an online survey. At the end of the survey, they are asked for their personal account information to allow funds to be credited to the account in appreciation for completing the survey. Providing this information will allow criminals to compromise the account.
Here are some tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
* Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
* 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.
* Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
* Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link that you are actually directed to.
* Log on to the official website, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail.
* Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if the e-mail is genuine.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.