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Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle

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Amos 08 May 07 - 10:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 May 07 - 11:57 PM
Richard Bridge 09 May 07 - 03:16 AM
JohnInKansas 10 May 07 - 01:22 AM
Naemanson 10 May 07 - 04:49 AM
Naemanson 10 May 07 - 04:51 AM
Sandra in Sydney 10 May 07 - 05:47 AM
kendall 10 May 07 - 08:09 AM
Naemanson 12 May 07 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Eduard 13 May 07 - 08:19 AM
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Subject: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: Amos
Date: 08 May 07 - 10:01 PM

From a large high-tech corpporation in San Diego, relayed by an employee, the following mailing was distirbuted to employees:

>
>A XXX Company employee recently received an extortion email demanding
>money. It appears that the email is a variant of the Nigerian fraud
>emails with which most of us are familiar. The reported details of
>the scam can be found beginning below.
>
>If you receive this type of email, or have any questions about it,
>please contact Ms. A..B.C, or your HR rep. or me
>immediately.
>
>                                                        New Fraud
>
>The FBI is investigating an current e-mail extortion scam that
>threatens recipients with death if they fail to pay tens of
>thousands of dollars to a would-be killer. The e-mails, which so far
>have been sent to U.S. corporate executives, physicians, university
>deans and others, claim the sender has been contracted to kill the
>recipient, but for a payment of $30,000 to $50,000 will not carry
>out the job. Although there are many Internet scams aimed at
>convincing people to part with their money, this apparently is the
>first one to threaten targets with violence.
>
>The threats, sent through accounts on Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and
>perhaps others, order the target to wire a large initial sum of
>$20,000 to $40,000 to an overseas account. The perpetrator or
>perpetrators then might ask for another payment, claiming they never
>received payment or that the account was shut down by authorities
>before the cash could be withdrawn. Victims who express doubt about
>the extortionist's claims have received even more threatening
>messages containing personal information as "proof" of their
>capabilities and intent.
>
>The FBI has received a total of 115 complaints regarding this scam
>since December 2006, when the first wave of threatening e-mails
>appeared. Two other waves have followed, each about a month to six
>weeks after the previous wave. Traces of the extortion e-mails
>indicate they are coming from overseas, although it is unclear which
>countries are involved.
>
>In many cases, the personal information required to target certain
>individuals can be found quite easily on the Internet. Corporate and
>university Web sites, for example, often list top officials by name,
>along with the positions they hold -- and some contain direct e-mail
>addresses. Clinics also often provide listings of their physicians,
>complete with their backgrounds and photographs. Moreover, on
>company Web sites, the leadership structure often is laid out, with
>CEOs and other top-tier executives -- the wealthier potential
>victims -- listed first. A minute or two on the Web site, then,
>allows the extortionists to determine who would make the most
>attractive target.
>
>The scammers also could be purchasing personal information from
>third parties engaged in the practice of "phishing," gaining
>personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers
>online by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an e-mail or on a
>fraudulent Web site. Phishing also can be used to gain e-mail
>account information not easily obtained from a Web site, though in
>many cases the target's e-mail address can be accurately guessed
>based on his or her name and the e-mail address protocol used by the
>company.
>
>This latest e-mail scam is a new twist on virtual kidnapping, in
>which the perpetrators do not physically abduct anyone but instead
>use cell phones to convince the target's family that a kidnapping
>has occurred and demand immediate "ransom" payments. The scam also
>is similar to extortion activity targeting Hispanic businesses along
>the U.S.-Mexican border. In those cases, targets receive phone calls
>threatening them or their families if money is not paid.
>
>Most scams circulating on the Internet involve attempts to convince
>the e-mail recipient to transfer money into a bank account set up by
>the scammer. These usually involve a plea for help and the promise
>of an eventual reward. Because these scams are attempts to defraud,
>the U.S. government gets involved in investigating them. This latest
>scam, however, has upped the ante considerably, making it a national
>security issue -- regardless of whether the threats are real.
>
>It is unclear how many targets, if any, have been taken in by this
>scam and complied with the threats. Judging from virtual kidnapping
>attempts, as well as the history of scam letters, faxes and e-mails
>from Nigeria -- the most common of the plea-for-help scams -- a
>small percentage of targets will be taken in, making the effort of
>sending these threats worthwhile. People who believe the threat
>likely obey the extortionist's instructions not to report it to
>authorities. They might even make the payment if they rationalize
>that the amount demanded does not warrant taking the risk. Other
>targets might wait to see whether other threats follow before taking
>concrete action.
>
>The Nigerian-based e-mail scams have been going on for years now;
>apparently, there is no easy way to stop such Internet abuse except
>to warn the public.
>
>END




A grim turn to the hopes on world-wide communication once offered by the new internet. But it helps to be aware of such things, just in case you run across one.

Regards,

Amos


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 May 07 - 11:57 PM

They could make a killing threatening to abduct American teenagers, based upon all of the intimate personal details to be found on places like MySpace. I guess they haven't thought of that yet.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 May 07 - 03:16 AM

They might get offered money to take them away....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 May 07 - 01:22 AM

Apparent Source?

(Posted 25 APR 2007) The magazine is a generally respected one, I think(?).

Threats of this kind aren't particularly new, as reported at Gates death threat details emerge, way back in 1997.

Threats of this kind have been reported sporadically for many years. It's difficult to know whether there's been an increase lately, since most people faced with a credible threat of this kind will turn it over to "the authorities" who generally will suppress public release until the case is closed - which often can take several years.

A flurry of such messages being reported could suggest copycat messages that aren't being taken as "fully credible" by those threatened, or it could indicate the threats are being sent to people who don't have highly organized professional security support on staff like major corp execs generally do.

Although many of the experts are of the opinion that organized crime is behind a very large percentage of the scams now on the web, a well organized criminal organization isn't going to hire a hit man who'll try to negotiate with the victim - and/or will eliminate any such hit man for "non-performance" quickly and quietly.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:49 AM

Spam death threats? How could anyone take that seriously?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:51 AM

How about junk mail death threats:

Dear Occupant,

I am going to kill you and your (young)(teenage)(son)(daughter)(puppy) if you do not mail me $300,000 immediately.

Killer


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 10 May 07 - 05:47 AM

Tut, tut, Brett, you're not taking this threat seriously!

sandra


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: kendall
Date: 10 May 07 - 08:09 AM

Barnham was right.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 May 07 - 08:50 AM

Actually, Kendall, I think his time scale was off but he probably didn't know about nanoseconds.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Internet Abuse: A New Angle
From: GUEST,Eduard
Date: 13 May 07 - 08:19 AM

I remember an odd threat a few years ago on a famous beach in Brazil

Two young thuugs were approaching people and threatening to kill them, if they did not give them all their belongings (including the swim suits they were wearing) They pointed to a friend pointing a gun at them in a near-by sand dune.


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