FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 2, 2005
CONTACT: Tom Berlinger or Kristen Perezluha (850) 410-7001
FDLE Warns of Hurricane Katrina E-mail Scams
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is warning
citizens to beware of one of the latest e-mail phishing
scams, this one using the Hurricane Katrina tragedy as a
ploy to bilk people out of monetary donations or infect
their computer with a virus.
Phishing scam e-mails are designed to trick the
recipients into disclosing personal information such as
account usernames, passwords, credit card numbers,
social security numbers, and home addresses. Most of
these e-mails look official and as a result, recipients
often respond to them, resulting in financial losses,
identity theft, and other fraudulent activity.
Recent news reports indicate that phishing e-mails
may be circulating which attempt to exploit people’s
concerns for the hurricane victims by asking them to
donate money to what appears, on the surface, to be a
charitable relief fund.
“Similar to what we saw after the tsunami disaster,
bad guys are now using this tragedy to prey on the
sympathy of citizens,” said Bob Breeden, special agent
supervisor for the FDLE Computer Crime Center. “Emails
sent to you requesting a donation should be checked out
thoroughly with the sponsoring organization before
responding. Do not utilize the links contained in an
e-mail requesting donations because the site you are
linked to may appear legitimate when in fact it is not.
I would strongly recommend only using the official Web
site of known disaster assistance organizations to make
an online donation.”
To find a legitimate organization to donate money to,
www.usafreedomcorps.gov. On this site, the public
can find a list of agencies accepting donations for
assistance to those affected by the hurricane.
According to Sophos, an Internet security firm,
another type of spam e-mail circulating is one that
offers breaking news reports but tricks people into
clicking a link that takes them to a bogus Web site. The
site attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in Internet
Explorer and install malicious code, including the Troj/Cgab-A
Trojan horse, on a victim's system.
Internet fraud is just one of many computer crimes,
including cyber stalking, identity theft, child
pornography, viruses and worms. FDLE recognizes the need
for action against computer crime and created the
Florida Computer Crime Center (FC3) in October 1998 to
expand FDLE's initiative to investigate computer related
crime. In addition to investigations, FC3 also offers
training, research and prevention.
Citizens can learn more about computer crimes, common
complaints, viruses, and how to report a computer crime
www.fdle.state.fl.us/FC3. More information on
phishing is available at
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