Identity Theft & Fraud Alerts
updated 02/12/15


02/12/15 - Center For Internet Security - Protecting Against Cyber Crime...get answers to... What is Cybercrime? Who Are the Actors and What Do They Want? How Can You Protect Yourself? Configure Your Computer Securely, Keep Software and Operating Systems Updated, Use Strong Passwords, Be Cautious About Links and Attachments, Protect Your Personal Information,  Review Your Financial Statements Regularly, What to Do If You Are a Victim?... Read the newsletter below...

Center For Internet Security /
Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center
Newsletter February, 2015

Protecting Against Cyber Crime -- pdf

From the Desk of Desk of William F. Pelgrin, Chair


What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime is any violation of federal, state, or local statute, or malicious or suspicious activity, in which a computer, network or device is an integral component of the violation. Examples can include: a malicious cyber-criminal breaking into a computer to steal information (computer intrusion) or to change a website (website defacement); malware being placed on a computer without the owner’s permission; and that malware using that computer’s resources to send spam.

Who Are the Actors and What Do They Want?
Cybercrime actors can generally be classified into several categories: lone hackers, script kiddies, insiders, hacktivists, terrorists, nation-states, and organized cyber-criminal groups. The motivations for committing cybercrime will vary and can include a desire for recognition or promotion of an ideology; theft of money or information for industrial espionage; or the creation of widespread disruption. Cybercrime is big business. Between October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014, for example, U.S. victims lost nearly $180 million through a scam known as the Business Email Compromise. One underground market has more than 14 million U.S. credit cards for sale. The creators of the Crypto Locker ransom ware earned approximately $300,000 profit in its first 100 days.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Cybercrime - whether from malware on a single computer or the recent high-profile hacks against Sony, Target, Home Depot and others - impacts everyone. Below are some key practices you can use to help minimize your risk of being a victim:

Configure Your Computer Securely
Make sure your computer, smartphones, and tablets are safe. Use privacy and security settings in your software, email system and web browsers. New strains of malicious software are appearing all the time, so it is imperative to regularly update your anti-virus software to identify and thwart the newest threats.

Keep Software and Operating Systems Updated

Be sure to install all software updates as soon as they are offered; using the "auto update" setting is the best way to ensure timely updates. Similarly, make sure you keep your operating system and any third-party plug-ins that you use updated.  

Use Strong Passwords

Never use simple or easy-to-guess passwords like “123456” or “p@$$word” or “football.” Cybercriminals use automated programs that will try every word in the dictionary in a few minutes. When creating a password, use at least 10 characters, with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.


Be Cautious About Links and Attachments

Be cautious about all communications you receive including those purported to be from friends and family, and be careful when clicking on links in those messages. When in doubt, delete it.

Protect Your Personal Information

Be aware of financial and sensitive information you give out. Cybercriminals will look at your social networking webpage to find information about you--remember, many of the answers to website and bank security questions can be found online, like the color of your car (remember posting that picture of you standing in front of your car?) and your mother’s maiden name. Use privacy settings to limit who can see the details of your social network pages, and be smart about what you decide to share online.


Review Your Financial Statements Regularly

Cybercriminals find loopholes and your accounts may get hacked through no fault of your own, so review your financial statements regularly. Contact your financial institution immediately if you see any suspicious looking activity. 


What to Do If You Are a Victim?

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, notify your bank, and any other entities with which you have accounts, to inform them that someone may be using your account fraudulently. Contact all three major credit bureaus to request a credit report, and have a fraud alert and a credit freeze placed on your account.


Internet-related crime, like any other crime, should be reported to appropriate authorities at the local, state, or federal levels, depending on the scope of the crime.


The following resources can help with reporting cyber-crime:


Your local police department

Your State Attorney General’s Office -

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center -
Newsletter Source -

The information provided in the Monthly Security Tips Newsletters is intended to increase the security awareness of an organization’s end users and to help them behave in a more secure manner within their work environment.  While some of the tips may relate to maintaining a home computer, the increased awareness is intended to help improve the organization’s overall cyber security posture. This is especially critical if employees access their work network from their home computer. Organizations have permission and are encouraged to brand and redistribute this newsletter in whole for educational, non-commercial purposes

Financial Scams and ID Theft
Click Here to View PDF (752 Kb)

FTC Scam Alerts
FTC Consumer alerts

OnGuard Online

Be Smart Online, Visit Our Website

OnGuard Online dot gov is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with significant input from its many governmental and technology industry partners.



FTC Consumer Protection

Privacy & Identity

"Your personal information is a valuable commodity. It’s not only the key to your financial identity, but also to your online identity. Knowing how to protect your information — and your identity — is a must in the 21st century. Here are some tips to doing it effectively."



DHS Stop Think Connect
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Fake Checks
Everything You Need to Know... and More

This website was created by the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation's oldest nonprofit consumer organization, as a central source of information and advice about fake check scams. NCL created the site in collaboration with the Alliance for Consumer Fraud Awareness, a coalition of consumer and business organizations, government agencies and companies that are committed to fighting fake check scams


Stop Fraud dot gov

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force maintains a wide list of resources and information dedicated to helping find and report suspected cases of financial fraud.


Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.



FDIC Consumer News
...including their quarterly newsletter.

"FDIC Consumer News provides practical guidance on how to become a smarter, safer user of financial services. Each issue offers helpful hints, quick tips, and common-sense strategies to protect and stretch your hard-earned dollars."


Ask the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about:

Money transfers remittances overseas remittance transfers international wire money send money abroad ACH Automated Clearing House (ACH) Automated Clearing House network credit union electronic payments Mortgages housing counseling lender reverse mortgage housing counselor GFE Good Faith Estimate servicer closing settlement broker insurance foreclosure

Other categories: Student loans Auto loans Bank accounts and services Credit reports and scores Prepaid cards Credit cards Debt collection Payday loans Money basics

Especially for Service members Students Older Americans Parents

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and National Cyber Security
Alliance (NCSA) led the development of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
campaign.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides the
Federal Government's leadership for the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign

IRS Releases the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2014;
Identity Theft, Phone Scams Lead List

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud.

The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.  IR-2014-16, Feb. 19, 2014

IRS Suspicious e-Mails and Identity Theft

The Internal Revenue Service has issued several recent consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scamsters trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets.


When identity theft takes place over the Internet, it is called phishing

Phishing / Vishing / Smishing
If you are not sure (exactly) what they mean, click on the link below to find our more.
Opens in a PDF from the Wisconsin Dept of Consumer Protection.
Click here to view the PDF about Phishing / Vishing / Smishing