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Norfolk FBI Warns Against Cyber Fraud

FBI Norfolk December 17, 2010
  • Community Outreach Specialist Vanessa Torres (757) 455-0100

The Norfolk Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would like to warn against cyber fraud during the holiday season and warns consumers to be mindful about the various types of scams involving e-mails and online shopping.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partner of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, reported that complaints about cyber fraud are increasing. In 2009, complaints involved losses totaling $559.7 million, as compared to $264.6 million in 2008.

This holiday season, the FBI reminds shoppers that cyber criminals aggressively create new ways to steal money and personal information. Scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims, including conducting fraudulent auction sales, reshipping merchandise purchased with stolen credit cards, and selling fraudulent or stolen gift cards through auction sites at discounted prices.

To avoid being a victim, the Norfolk FBI recommends that you:

  1. Be wary of unsolicited e-mail (spam) and do not respond to it or click on links within it.
  2. Be cautious of e-mails from unknown senders containing pictures or other attachments. The files may contain viruses.
  3. Only open attachments from known senders and scan the attachments with anti-virus software before opening.
  4. Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information. Identity thieves may try to gain personal information by sending e-mails indicating problems with financial accounts.
  5. Ensure the link in the e-mail leads you to a legitimate site.
  6. Log directly onto a store's website identified in the e-mail instead of linking to it from an unsolicited e-mail.
  7. Verify any requests for personal information by calling the business or financial institution using the phone numbers listed on a billing statement instead of the one listed in an e-mail.
  8. Contact the actual business that sent the e-mail to verify authenticity of information.
  9. Be wary if asked to act quickly. Scammers often create a false sense of urgency.

If you have been a victim of an online scam or any other cyber crime, you can report it to the IC3 at www.IC3.gov. The IC3 complaint database links complaints for potential referral to law enforcement for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identify emerging trends and patterns to alert the public to new criminal schemes.