Monday, July 5, 2010

Fraudsters use 'FBI' to dupe netizens

Mumbai: With internet users becoming aware about email scams, fraudsters have upped their game and are using ingenious methods to extract money from unsuspecting netizens.

The latest fraud email doing the rounds lists the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the sender. The email offers to refund money you may have lost in an internet fraud in the past. But don’t hit the ‘reply’ button with your personal details. All these emails are fake. To make the emails look authentic, the fraudsters have provided the address of the FBI headquarters at Washington DC along with the investigating department. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) has written to the FBI, asking the agency to look into the matter.

The email is written by one Thomas Green who claims to be an agent with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The email states that six people have been arrested in connection with an email fraud, where they duped recipients into parting with money. A part of the amount, approximately US $ 2.5 lakh, has been recovered and can be refunded to the fraud victims through an ATM card, the email states. The card will be dispatched after the recipient provides personal information to another agent, Fredy Simon, the email adds.

“A month ago, I received a similar email, where the sender said he represented the United Nations and a committee had been created to refund money to victims of a phishing fraud. The email carried the UN logo and pictures of the secretary-general,’’ said technology evangelist Vijay Mukhi. “It’s best to delete such emails,” he added.

“This is a variation of the Nigerian scam,’’ said Pratap Reddy, director of cyber security at Nasscom. “If you haven’t lodged a police complaint, there’s no question of being contacted by an agency. If a complaint has been lodged, then a foreign agency like the FBI will have to go through proper diplomatic channels such as the Interpol. State CID is the nodal agency that would co-ordinate. The FBI will never approach an Indian citizen directly,’’ Reddy added.

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