The FBI’s Internet Complaint Center recently warned consumers about an increase in the number of complaints related to unsolicited emails directing consumers to fake “customer service” websites–a scam known as “spoofing.”
Jana Monroe, the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, said the emails, which trick consumers into giving out personal information, have contributed to an increase in identity theft, credit card fraud and other internet fraud.
“Spoofing,” or “phishing,” frauds attempt to make consumers believe they are receiving email from an official or trusted source, or that they are securely connected to a trusted website. The scams are generally used to convince consumers to provide confidential personal or financial information that allows scammers to commit fraud and identity theft.
In email spoofing, spam distributors send emails that appear to have originated from a trusted source in an effort to convince the consumer to open the email and respond to the requests in the email.
The FBI provided a number of tips for consumers to protect themselves against such scams. Consumers should use the company’s official website to update information, report fraudulent or suspicious email to the internet service provider, contact the company directly if there is any doubt concerning the legitimacy of a message and use only the official website address.