Dear readers: Fraud continues to be one of our top inquiries as people struggle to defend themselves. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the array of computer, phone and e-mail based frauds.
One of us was in the process of responding to an e-mail notification and he was ready to hit the send button before realizing that the website/e-mail was nothing more than a wonderfully realistic attempt to commit fraud. If we can be fooled, you can be fooled.
At the bottom of the warning is a list of resources you can use to protect yourself.
Crime in America.Net
06/21/10—The FBI Newark Division released a warning to consumers concerning a new scheme using telecommunications denial-of-service (TDoS) attacks.
The FBI determined fraudsters compromised victim accounts and contacted financial institutions to change the victim profile information (i.e., e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and bank account numbers).
The TDoS attacks used automated dialing programs and multiple accounts to overwhelm victims’ cell phones and land lines with thousands of calls. When victims answered the calls they heard dead air (nothing on the other end), an innocuous recorded message, advertisement, or a telephone sex menu. Calls were typically short in duration but so numerous that victims changed their phone numbers to terminate the attack.
These TDoS attacks were used as a diversion to prevent financial and brokerage institutions from verifying victim account changes and transactions. Fraudsters were afforded adequate time to transfer funds from victim brokerage and financial online accounts.
Protection from TDoSattacks and other types of fraud requires consumers to be vigilant and proactive. In Newark’s Public Service Announcement (PSA), they recommend the following guidelines for consumers to protect themselves:
- 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 were 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. The IC3 complaint database links complaints to assist in referrals to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. The complaint information is also used to identity emerging trends and patterns.
Resources from Crime in America.Net:
http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17-it.htm; Great and short overview of privacy and theft issues
http://www.ftc.gov/freereports ; Get your free annual credit report from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian
Spread them out over the year so you receive one every 4 months
https://www.optoutprescreen.com; Opt Out of Credit Card Offers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
https://www.donotcall.gov/; The Do Not Call Registry
https://www.dmachoice.org: Direct Marketing Mail Preference Service; Have your name and address removed from the phone book and reverse directories. Opt-out of the sale or sharing of your financial information when given the opportunity by your bank, credit card companies, insurance companies, and investment firms.
Good sources for checking out e-mail Hoaxes: