Police warn of Internet scam
by John Richmeier
Date: February 09, 2004
Source: The Leavenworth Times
Local residents are asked to be on their guard against fraudulent e-mail and other scams being perpetrated over the Internet.
Leavenworth police Lt. Pat Kitchens said over the last month his department has been contacted by a number of people concerned about e-mail they have received.
He said people should be cautious of any e-mail that asks questions about personal information.
"That is a growing and continuous way for people to engage in identify theft," he said.
Kitchens said "no legitimate corporation will send an unsolicited e-mail and ask for personal information."
He warned that some e-mail used in scams may seem "very, very realistic and sound very, very important."
For example, one e-mail that has been showing up purports to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The message reports that the FDIC has been advised by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to suspend deposit insurance on an account belonging to the recipient of the e-mail.
The insurance is being denied "due to suspected violations for the Patriot Act (a law passed to help combat terrorism)," the e-mail says.
The recipient is asked to verify information through a Web site. The e-mail says failing to verify the information will result in a termination of the account and all records of the account history being sent to the FBI.
A local bank received this e-mail and reported it to Police Cpl. Joseph Dressler. He tried to visit the Web site cited in the e-mail but it had already been shut down.
He contacted a regional investigator for the FDIC and was told the e-mail had been traced to Poland. An electronic crimes unit was trying to locate those who were responsible, according to Dressler's report.
The same fraudulent "FDIC" message also was sent to a Leavenworth woman as well as other e-mail that caused her concern.
One e-mail purported to be from her bank and indicated her account had been blocked because it "may have been compromised by outside parties."
The woman was asked to verify her identity by visiting a Web site.
The woman apparently contacted her bank and was told not to respond to the e-mail.
Kitchens said there are other ways the Internet can be used for scams.
A Leavenworth man reported to police last month about a scam played on his son who'd tried to sell a pickup truck over the Internet.
The seller was contacted through e-mail by a man who said he lived in Paris, France. The man indicated he wanted to purchase the truck for his brother who lives in Nigeria.
The seller was sent a check for more than what he was asking for the truck. The buyer asked that the extra money be sent to his brother in Nigeria.
The check was cashed and the extra money was wired as had been agreed. The check was later returned as "no good," according to the police report.
The Leavenworth man was told his son could be held responsible for the money from the cashed check.
Kitchens said people who have something up for sell should be immediately suspicious anytime they are asked to make side arrangements. The involvement of foreign countries in such a deal can be another red flag.
"I always tell them, 'If you're not sure then don't do it,'" he said.
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