Sunday, July 4, 2010

Evaluate Appeals for Help from Friends Traveling Abroad with Caution

The Internet Crime Complaint Center continues to receive reports of individuals’ e-mail or social networking accounts being compromised and used in a social engineering scam to swindle consumers out of thousands of dollars.

Here’s how it works: Hackers infiltrate your social networking page, claim to be you, and write your contacts/friends. They portray themselves as “victims” who were robbed while traveling abroad and state they need money immediately because they don’t have a passport, money, credit cards, or cell phone and are stranded.

Some claim they only have a few days to pay their hotel bill and promise to reimburse costs upon their return home. Recipients may be tempted to respond to these appeals because they appear to be from a friend and there’s a sense of urgency to help.

If you receive a similar notice and aren’t sure if it is a scam, you should always verify the information before sending any money. If you have been a victim of this type of scam or any other cyber crime, report it to the IC3 website at www.IC3.gov.

The IC3’s database links complaints for potential referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identity emerging trends and patterns.

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