Taking Back the ID

Impersonating the good guys

Susan West was perplexed when she received an email from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) notifying her that she was eligible for restitution after internet fraudsters had ripped her off. She didn’t remember that she’d been a victim. But she followed the directions to claim the restitution by clicking on an attachment, downloading a form that she filled out with her personally identifiable information (PII) and emailing it to the “IC3.” Of course, when she downloaded the file, malicious malware infected her computer and stole everything on it. And the fraudsters also owned her PII. West became a potential identity theft victim because she fell for the new internet crime center impersonation scam.

Internet crime center impersonation scam

Although the preceding case is fictional, it represents victims’ experiences. On Feb. 1, the FBI posted an announcement about this scam on its website. The fraudsters, who use a template in this IC3 impersonation scam, have adapted it in three other known versions. More versions will emerge.

In the first adapted version, fraudsters masquerade as the IC3 and use a fake social media page to direct victims to give up PII in reporting an internet-related crime.


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