Beware of E-Mail and Telephone Phishing Scams...

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Watch for "Verified by Visa" Scam
Identity thieves are constantly looking for ways to make scam emails more plausible, so they are now attempting to add creditability to such emails by including a "Verified by Visa" scheme.

The wording may be something like this: "Your credit card (specified) has been automatically enrolled in the Verified by Visa program. To ensure your card's security, it is important that you protect your card online with a personal password. Please take a moment to activate Verified by Visa now."

According to Bill Moak, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Mississippi, "Verified by Visa is a legitimate service that adds an additional layer of security to online credit card transactions. It is unfortunate that it has begun to appear as a topic of phishing emails."

These scam emails contain links to bogus sites, under the control of the hackers that prompt consumers to enter their credit card information. The messages usually end with a threat that failure to respond may temporarily disable the credit card in question. "Such threats should be a dead giveaway that the emails are scams," Moak continued. "Consumers should always be on guard when sharing their personal information in any way."

Department of Justice Warns of Scam using their Logo

Spammers have incorporated the Justice Department's logo and Web site banner into an ongoing e-mail hoax.

The hoax e-mail claims that the recipients have been mentioned in a complaint filed by an individual named Carl Williams.

"A complaint has been filed against the company you are affiliated to [Company Name] in regards to the domain of business activity," it says. "The complaint was filed by Mr. Carl Williams on 01/20/2008 and has been forwarded to us and the IRS."

The message refers to users listed in an attachment to the e-mail that purports to be a copy of the complaint and contain contact information for Carl Williams.

The hoax e-mail using the Justice Department's logo from its Internet page asks recipients to open the attached files and print them.


This triggers the virus or worm, which then perpetuates the spread of the hoax e-mails.

On its web site, the Department has published a warning about the hoax, warning users not to respond and not to open any of its attachments.

Ford Motor Company warns of email hoax

Ford Motor Company is warning consumers of a recent hoax email circulating that consumers may believe comes from Ford. It is a scam. Currently it may arrive in your e-mail box with an id of: or something similar.

The communication states it is part of the Ford Car International Promotion Program 2008 and announces the recipient has won a brand new Ford SUV.

Addressed from a Mr. Harry Raymond, the email requests numerous personal details from the "winner".

A Ford representative says..."This is not a legitimate Ford promotion and we recommend that people do not respond to this email. It is not our policy or practice to ask members of the public to provide personal details and we strongly advise that anyone who receives this email does not provide any information".

IRS warns of email & Telephone Scam

It's tax return time and the IRS is not the only one after your money.
The IRS is warning taxpayers to beware of several email and telephone scams that use the IRS name as a lure, said William E. Bunson, the IRS Media Relations spokesman in Phoenix.

The scam involves a proposed advanced payment check.

Although the government has not yet enacted an economic stimulus package in which the IRS would provide the advance, these types of scams are all ready cropping up, Bunson said. The goal of the scam is to trick people into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, which the scammer can use to commit theft.

Another form of scam involves a supposed "rebate." In this type of scam the consumer receives a phone call from someone identifying himself or herself as an IRS employee. The caller tells the victim that he is eligible for a sizable rebate for filing his taxes early.

The caller then asks the victim for a bank account number for the direct deposit of the rebate. If the target refuses, he is told he cannot receive the rebate. According to Bunson, the IRS cannot force taxpayers to use direct deposit. Those that opt for direct deposit do so by completing the appropriate section of their tax return, with bank routing information, when they file. The IRS does not gather the information over the phone.

Scammers also use email to bring in their targets. The email notifies the recipient that his or her tax return is being audited. In many cases the salutation in the body address refers to the victim by name, Bunson said.

The email instructs the recipient to click on links to complete forms with personal and account information, which the scammers use to commit identity theft. Bunson said the IRS does not send unsolicited account emails to taxpayers. Those that have received questionable email claiming to come from the IRS can forward it to a mailbox the IRS has established to received such emails:

Nigerian' money scam: What happens when you reply?

Ever wonder what would happen if you responded any variety of the infamous Nigerian money scam? did a special report a few years back -but it's worth reading. E-mails continue to phish in unwary consumers...

Anybody who has ever received the notorious Nigerian Money Scam will probably have asked themselves the same question - what would happen if I replied?

For those of you unfamiliar with this email scam, the basic idea is simple. Somebody purporting to be a Nigerian banker contacts you, offering a chance to earn some serious money. Often his bank will be looking after the considerable fortune of a deceased millionaire - from shipping magnate to former president. He says he needs a foreign bank account through which to launder the money - and in return for sending him your bank details for this purpose, he will give you a share of the spoils.

Of course those who fall for this scam never see these promised millions. Instead their bank accounts are often cleaned out once they have handed over all their details - which include bank account numbers, copies of their passport and drivers license and phone and fax numbers - it is a simple identity theft, dressed up with a tempting lure for the gullible. Read Transcript

Another recent email Hoax: Cell Phones Going Public: NOT!

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