FBI "Operation Phish Phry" Nets Major Cyber Fraud Take-down

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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. And today nearly 100 people were charged in the U.S. and Egypt as part of Operation Phish Phry, one the largest cyber fraud phishing cases to date.

The FBI reported their two-year Operation Phish Phry investigation uncovered a sophisticated "phishing" operation that fraudulently collected personal information from thousands of victims.

The defendants in Operation Phish Phry targeted U.S. banks and victimized hundreds and possibly thousands of account holders by stealing their financial information and using it to transfer about $1.5 million to bogus accounts they controlled.

More than 50 individuals in California, Nevada, and North Carolina, and nearly 50 Egyptian citizens have been charged with crimes including computer fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identify theft.

The group is accused of conspiring to target American-based financial institutions and victimize an unknown number of account holders by fraudulently using their personal financial information. More

Cyber thieves "phish" for personal information such as usernames, passwords, and financial account details by tricking users into thinking their sensitive information is being given to trusted websites when, in fact, the sites are traps.

New e-mail Scams and Warnings

The FBI is warning the public to be aware of three new fraudulent e-mails that are currently in circulation.

One claims to contain "Intelligence Bulletin No. 267;" another purports to be from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI Counterterrorism Division; and the third claims to contain an FBI intelligence bulletin from the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.

Do not click on any links contained in these or similar e-mails; they are hoaxes and may contain viruses or malicious software. The FBI does not send unsolicited e-mails or email official reports. Consumers should not respond to any unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links, as they may contain viruses or other malicious software.

Click here for examples of the fraudulent e-mails message

Don't Become a Phishing Victim

** Most banks or other companies will not request your personal information via e-mail. If you get an e-mail asking for such information, call the bank--but don't use the phone number contained in the e-mail.

** Use a phishing filter on your computer. Many current web browsers have them built in or offer them as plug-ins.

** Never follow a link to a secure site from an e-mail--always enter the URL manually.

Don't be fooled by the latest scams.

Visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and LooksTooGoodToBeTrue websites for more tips and information.

Find info on various scams by reading several earlier blogs.

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We really need to bite the bullet and designate additional funding for law enforcement agencies to aid them in combating cyber thugs that are becoming more and more sophisticated.

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