FinCEN Reminds the Public to be Wary of Fraudulent
Correspondence and Phone Calls
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reminds the public to be alert to
ongoing financial scams that attempt to solicit funds from unsuspecting victims.
FinCEN has been receiving calls and reports of financial scam attempts conducted via
telephone. In this scam the caller represents himself/herself as an employee of FinCEN and
asks for the victim by name, either at the victim’s home or work number. The caller will identify
an outstanding debt; this debt may be actual or bogus. The caller will provide the victim with
the victim’s account, Social Security or other similar number and demand that immediate
payment be made. The caller’s knowledge of the victim’s name, telephone number, account
description and personal information serve to legitimize the caller.
FinCEN also has become aware of another financial scam conducted via e-mail and
telephone in which an individual claiming to be a representative of the U.S. Department of the
Treasury or FinCEN informs the victim that he/she has received a large Treasury Department
grant. To obtain the grant, the victim is instructed to provide bank account information and
make some type of initial payment or donation.
Recipients of these calls, letters, or e-mails should not respond to such messages, and should
not send money or provide any personal or confidential information. Those who believe that
they are or have been a victim of a financial scam, should report this information to local,
State, or Federal law enforcement authorities.
FinCEN does not send unsolicited requests and does not seek personal or financial
information from members of the public. FinCEN does not have authority to freeze assets or
block funds transfers. In addition, fraudulent correspondence may purport to be from an
overseas office of FinCEN. FinCEN does not have any offices outside of the United States.
For additional information on scams, please see the following:
Alert – Recent Reports of Fraudulent 314(a) E-mails
FinCEN Reminds Public to be Aware of Financial Scams
FinCEN Issues a Warning Notice Against Fraudulent Stop Order Scams
Treasury Warns Public About E-Mail Scams
Resources for Victims
Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Web site
OCC Consumer Advisories
U.S. Treasurer’s Financial Literacy Initiatives
Fraud Community: Better Business Bureau warns of Facebook Spam
Addicted to Facebook status updates? Spammers are taking advantage of Facebook users’ desire to stay connected by sending fake alerts for “activity you may have missed on Facebook.” Just don’t click the link!
How the Scam Works
You receive an email that appears to come from a Facebook user’s personal email address alerting you to activity you missed on the social media site. In the below case, the email appears to come from Macie’s AOL email address. The sender may or may not be an actual Facebook friend.
The scammers do an excellent job of replicating Facebook’s colors, logo and language. However, hovering over the link will reveal that the real destination is a third party website … not Facebook.com
Some recipients noted that the emails link to websites selling prescription drugs, meaning they are annoying spam rather than a scam. However, always be cautious about clicking on links in fake emails because the destination website may download malware to scan for banking and other sensitive information on your computer.
For More Information
See Facebook’s scam webpage for more information about the site’s most common frauds. And check BBB’s scam directory for other scams in your area.
Courtesy of the Better Business Bureau
Karen Sylvester AAP, NCP
Compliance & Fraud Manager
Fiserv: Risk Office Trend Watch
Recently some card issuers and financial institutions across the industry have experienced an increase in attempts by unknown fraudsters to break the card verification value/card verification code (CVV/CVC) on compromised cards, and thereby to commit card fraud, including ATM fraud. This attempt to commit fraud is commonly known as a “brute force attack”. To execute these crimes, email is often used to transport phishing scams and malicious software (maleware) to obtain personal information including personal identification numbers (PINs) and to take over legitimate merchant accounts to test the compromised cards. You can help to reduce the likelihood of this type of fraudulent activity succeeding by being alert for email that (1) contains unfamiliar or suspicious links or attachments, (2) is unsolicited and/or from an unknown sender, (3) is sent multiple times from different senders, or (4) contains poor grammar or in incorrectly spelled words. If you receive an email that contains any of these elements or any combination of these elements, you should delete it immediately. Do not open it, click on the links or open any attachment. You should not attempt to reply to the email or forward it to anyone.
Identity Theft Information
Be Alert and Protect What is Yours
- Destroy receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before you throw them away.
- At home, place your personal information in a secure place away from prying eyes.
- Make sure your mailbox is secure.
- Install virus detection software on your computer and do not open emails from unknown sources.
- Ensure PINs and Passwords is a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters. Recommendation is at least 10 digit characters. Refrain from using common known passwords such as birthdays, anniversaries, or names of your children. Change passwords periodically.
- Never reveal your personal information to anyone over the phone, through the mail or over the internet. Know who you are doing business with.
- Activate your browser’s padlock icon when conducting business online.
- Monitor all your financial accounts especially if you conduct transactions online.
- Review your credit report to ensure it is accurate.
- When using ATM, protect your PIN usage by blocking the screen with your body and be sure no one is standing close to you when you enter your information.