Fraudulent E-Mail Schemes Warning From the Treasury Department

Recently, many Americans have received a series of fraudulent e-mails which direct recipients to websites where they are asked to verify sensitive personal information. The e-mails claim that the individual’s personal information is necessary to assist in the fight against terrorism or for some other purpose supposedly required by law. These e-mails are purportedly sent from several government agencies or include content related to government agencies including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation and others. The websites to which the email recipients are directed are often very similar to, if not actual clones of official government sites.

The fraudulent e-mails are part of a scam known as “phishing.” Phishing is the fraudulent scheme of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be a legitimate company. The email attempts to con the user into surrendering private information that could later be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a web-site where they are asked to update personal information, such as name, account and credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers and other information. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information.

As part of the Treasury Department’s efforts to fight identity theft, we want to assure Americans that federal financial agencies do not communicate with consumers by e-mail requesting important personal information such as your name, account numbers, date of birth, social security number.

Consumers can protect themselves from this latest identity theft scam by following these useful tips, which were developed by the Federal Trade Commission:

  • If you get an email that warns you, with little or no notice, that an account of yours will be shut down unless you reconfirm your billing information, do not reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the company cited in the email using a telephone number or Web site address you know to be genuine.
  • Avoid emailing personal and financial information. Before submitting financial information through a Web site, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar. It signals that your information is secure during transmission.
  • Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
  • Report suspicious activity to the FTC. Send the actual spam to uce@ftc.gov. If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft Web site (www.ftc.gov/idtheft) to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from identity theft.

The Treasury and federal financial regulators are working hard to combat identity theft including the use of new tools in legislation recently signed by President Bush. But all consumers must take reasonable precautions in the use of their personal financial information in order to help prevent themselves from becoming victims of identity thieves.

You may like these other stories...

IRS must take oath on Lerner emails: judgeMackenzie Weinger of Politico reported on Thursday that a federal judge ordered the IRS to explain under oath how it lost emails connected to Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official at the...
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday morning that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break for businesses.The measure, HR 4718, which was crafted by Representative Pat...
The Republican-led House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill this week that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break. But don’t expect President Obama to sign it.The Obama administration said...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.