Illegal "Phishing" (Addressing Crime)
- I just received a message in my office email, considered to be illegal "phishing". That's when someone sends you a message, asking you to confirm your bank account or other sensitive financial information. If you are a member of one of the city's police or community listserv discussion groups, I am sending you information on what to do if this happens to you. Don't sit back and do nothing. When people send this kind of information to you, this is the first of a series of crimes, related to identity theft.Below are simple crime-fighting steps you can take to help law enforcement deal with fraudulent "phishers," according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Read the instructions below and do your part to help "Take a Bite Out of Crime."Thank You,Yvonne SmithCommunity OutreachMetropolitan Police DepartmentPolicing for Prevention Unit300 Indiana Avenue, NW #5126Washington, DC 20001202.576.8871 office202.727.0711 faxyvonne.smith@... emailwww.mpdc.dc.gov websiteDC Police Listserv Groups: http://mpdc.dc.gov/info/districts/city/ss_listserv_1104.shtmSTEPS TO ADDRESS ILLEGAL SPAMMERS AND PHISHERS1) Forward the message to: spam@...2) Also forward the message to your local Internet Administrator if you receive the message on office email. Yahoo users also have a button called, "Report Spam" they can use.3) Other instructions are highlighted below.The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.
How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘Phishing’ Scam
Internet scammers casting about for people’s financial information have a new way to lure unsuspecting victims: They go “phishing.”
Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), phishers send an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you deal with – for example, your Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. The message usually says that you need to “update” or “validate” your account information. It might threaten some dire consequence if you don’t respond. The message directs you to a Web site that looks just like a legitimate organization’s site, but it isn’t. The purpose of the bogus site? To trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
The FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
- If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company’s correct Web address. In any case, don’t cut and paste the link in the message.
- Don’t email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization’s Web site, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure”). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or
track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus
software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting
such unwanted files. Anti-virus software scans incoming communications
for troublesome files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes
current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the
damage; and that updates automatically.
A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It’s especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. Finally, your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer free software “patches” to close holes in the system that hackers or phishers could exploit.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Report suspicious activity to the FTC. If you get spam that is phishing for information, forward it to spam@.... If you believe you’ve been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft. Visit www.ftc.gov/spam to learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Chief Ramsey on "Live at Five" Wednesday Evening
The Chief discusses crime issues and takes phone calls from 5-6 pm on March 23, during his monthly appearance on WOL 1450-AM.