Identity Theft

FBI Warns of New ‘Wire Transfer’ Scheme

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wire transferCriminals are always looking for new ways to rip off consumers when it comes to identity theft, and that trend continued in June as well, with two new scams being reported nationwide.

A number of businesses and individuals nationwide have recently received calls from people claiming to be workers in tech support for wire transfer companies, according to a report from the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a task force comprising elements of the FBI, National White Collar Crime Center and Bureau of Justice Assistance.

During these calls, potential victims are asked to go to a website that allows the person on the other to remotely access their computers, then log into their wire transfer accounts, then turn off their monitors. When they do so, funds are taken out of their accounts and transferred to others, and some victims have reported that the caller downloaded something onto the PC itself.

Meanwhile, another type of crime involves websites that post people’s old mugshots from past arrests, including those for juveniles whose records have since been sealed and should not be public, the report said. In some cases, the information posted on these sites, of which there are about 20, was simply incorrect.

Those people who said they contacted the sites trying to get the data removed were often told they could only do so by providing copies of their driver’s licenses, court records or other personally identifying information which could in turn put them at risk for identity theft. Others were told they had to pay a fee, but once this happened, their mugshots then appeared on the other, associated websites. Further, those who threatened lawsuits against the sites were told that even more damaging information on them would be posted.

Finally, a number of people have noted they’ve been receiving instant messages on Skype and other platforms that will infect their computers with a new piece of malware called Liftoh, the report said. Most people receive these messages in Spanish, with shortened URLs directing consumers to download sites. So far, Symantec estimates the links have been clicked more than 170,000 times.

The best way for consumers to avoid any type of identity theft scams is to be cautious of any suspicious attempts to contact them by any means, even from people claiming to be affiliated with major companies or organizations. In nearly all cases, no one from these groups would ever call someone unsolicited and ask them to reveal sensitive or personal data.

Image: iStockphoto

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