Skip Tags

Popular Tags

Decorative icon

The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | post

The FBI warns about new identity theft scams

by Steve Schwartz on

Every month it seems there scammers find new ways for identity theft. The FBI is warning about a couple new ones, and also of a new way to steal money from Mac users.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) constantly is on the lookout for identity theft and sends out warnings to the public whenever it sees fraudsters at work.

The newest scam involves phone calls to unsuspecting businesses that have wire transfer accounts. The scammers have apparently obtained a list of wire transfer customers. The scammers claim to be from a wire transfer company's tech support staff. In some cases the scammer is able to "spoof" the call so that the wire transfer company's name is displayed on the caller ID.

The scammers instruct the victims to log onto a particular website to run an application which allows the "tech support worker" to remotely access the victim's computer. Once this remote access is established, the victims are instructed to open their wire transfer program and log-in to their accounts, so the tech support staffer can update the system and troubleshoot an apparent problem.

The victims were then told to turn off their monitors, to avoid interference with the update. Of course, what the scammers then do is send wire transfer to themselves through NetSpend accounts.

Several victims told the IC3 that when they saw transfers being made the scammers told them they were only "dummy" transfer to test the new system and no money was actually changing hands. You can guess the rest.

The FBI warned of another scam currently being seen that results in kind of identity theft and shows just how ingenious fraudsters can be.

The scammer goes into a store selling gift cards. He or she lifts a number of the cards from the display and surreptitiously records the card numbers and the access codes to check balances. The scammer then returns the cards to the display and begins checking the balances. When the scammer sees the card has been loaded and activated, the scammer wipes the balance usually transferring it to a debit card or buying merchandise that can be quickly sold.

Much of the internet fraud and identity theft has been aimed at users of computer running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Mac users running the Apple operating system have thought themselves somewhat immune. No longer.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center reports a new "ransomewear" scam directly specifically at OS X Mac users. The ransomware is pushed to victims' computers when they browse common websites, specifically when they query popular search terms. Once the download is completed, suddenly the victims' computer displays a pop-up warning that appears to be from the FBI - the warning displays a seemingly official link using "" within the URL. The victim goes there and numerous iframes (browser windows) are displayed that requires the victims to close each iframe. The cyber criminals anticipate that victims will pay a requested ransom before realizing all the iframes need to be closed.

The FBI warns victims not to follow the ransomware instructions.