04 December, 2010


This holiday season shopers are reminded that cyber criminals
continue to aggressively create new ways to steal money and personal
information. Scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims
including fraudulent auction sales, reshipping merchandise purchased
with a stolen credit card, and selling fraudulent or stolen gift cards
through auction sites at a discounted price.
Fraudulent Classified Ads or Auction Sales
Internet criminals post classified ads or auctions for products they
do not have. If you receive an auction product from a merchant or retail
store, rather than directly from the auction seller, the item may have been
purchased with someone else’s stolen credit card number. Contact the
merchant to verify the account used to pay for the item actually belongs
to you.
Be cautious and don’t provide financial information directly to the
seller. Fraudulent sellers will use this information to purchase items for
their scheme from the provided financial account. Always use a legitimate
payment service to protect purchases.
Diligently check each seller’s rating and feedback along with their number of sales
and the dates on which feedback was posted. Be wary of a seller with 100 percent positive
feedback, if they have a low total number of feedback postings and all feedback was posted
around the same date and time.

Gift Card Scam
Be careful about purchasing gift cards from auction sites or through classified ads.
If you need a gift card, it is safest to purchase it directly from the merchant or another
authorized retail store. If the gift card merchant discovers the card you received from
another source or auction was initially obtained fraudulently, the merchant will deactivate
the gift card number and it will not be honored for purchases.
Phishing and Smishing Schemes
Be leery of e-mails or text messages you receive indicating a problem or question
regarding your financial accounts. In this scam, you are directed to follow a link or call
the number provided in the message to update your account or correct the problem.
The link actually directs the individuals to a fraudulent website or message that appears
legitimate where any personal information you provide, such as account number and
PIN, will be stolen.
Another scam involves victims receiving an e-mail message directing the recipient to
a spoofed website. A spoofed website is a fake site or copy of a real website and misleads
the recipient into providing personal information, which is routed to the scammer’s

„„ 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. Virus scan the attachments if possible.
„„ Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for
personal information.
„„ Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link you are actually
directed to and determine if they actually match and will lead you
to a legitimate site.
„„ Log on directly to the official website for the business identified
in the e-mail, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail.
If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer,
or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or
official correspondence from the business will provide the proper
contact information.
„„ Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify
if the e-mail is genuine.

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