Press Release

For Immediate Release
November 30, 2009

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Cyber Scammers Target Holiday Shoppers

This holiday season the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reminding the public to be on guard against cyber criminals who continue to aggressively create new ways to steal money and personal information. Scammers use many techniques to deceive potential victims including fraudulent auction sales, reshipping merchandise purchased with a stolen credit card, and sale of fraudulent or stolen gift cards through auction sites at a discounted price.

In fraudulent auction scams, 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 wary of unfamiliar websites or individuals offering reduced or free shipping to customers. In many instances, a fraudulent seller will provide shipping labels to their customers without first paying the delivery company. Packages shipped with these labels are intercepted and identified as fraudulent.

Purchasing gift cards from auction sites or classified ads can be risky. 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.

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.

  • 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.

  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if the e-mail is genuine.

To receive the latest information about cyber scams, please go to www.fbi.gov and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. If you have received a scam e-mail, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov. For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI’s New E-Scams and Warnings webpage at http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm.

 

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