Whether it's via new media like social networks or "old school" technology like your home phone, don't let your guard down. The FBI recently has issued warning about two scams that are surfacing.
Denial of service phone attacks
The FBI has issued a warning about a new phone scam which uses telephone denial-of-services (d.o.s.) attacks to overwhelm victims' cell phones and land lines with thousands of calls. This diversionary tactic ties up service to give criminals time to empty out the victim's bank or brokerage accounts. Prior to the phone attack, the criminal would have obtained the victim's bank account numbers and password, either via malware that the victim has inadvertently downloaded or via information the victim gave out on the phone or in response to e-mail phishing. The subsequent DOS attack serves both as a distraction, and also prevents a victim from calling to make account changes to protect their accounts.
Social networking scam: your friend is stranded
Scammers send notices to your Facebook or Twitter contact list posing as you and telling your contacts that you are stranded after a robbery (or some similar calamity) and that you need help quickly. Of course, the requested help is urgent and would be in the form of cash. To avoid being taken in by such a scam, be alert and aware and simply verify any pleas for help before acting on them. And if you think your account has been hacked and that false messages are being sent to your contacts, post a note on your page alerting your friends and family that your account may be compromised and to ignore any such messages.
To protect yourself from these and other scams, the FBI suggests:
- Implement security measures for all financial accounts by placing fraud alerts with the major credit bureaus if you believe they were targeted by a TDoS attack or other forms of fraud
- Use strong passwords for all financial accounts and change them regularly
- Obtain and review your annual credit report for fraudulent activity
- If you are a target of a TDoS attack, immediately contact your financial institutions, notify your telephone provider, and promptly report it to the IC3 website at: www.IC3.gov
- FBI - Common Fraud Schemes
- FBI - New e-scams and warnings
- FBI details most difficult Internet scams
- Census and survey scams
- 2010 - Recent Scams - as reported by the NY Consumer Protection Bureau
- Tips to avoid e-mail phishing
- 10 tips for social networking safety
- Common scams and scam resources
- On Guard Online
- How to reduce the risk of online fraud
- Stay Safe Online