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Impersonation of the Internet Crime Complaint Center
Cyber actors are scamming victims into providing personal information and downloading malicious files by impersonating the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). In a recent scam, the unknown actors emailed victims requesting the recipients provide additional information in order to be paid restitution. In an attempt to make the emails appear legitimate, the scammers included hyperlinks of news articles which detailed the arrest or apprehension of an internet fraudster. The unknown actors also attached a text document (.txt) to download, complete, and return to the perpetrators. The text file contained malware which was designed to further victimize the recipient.
As of July 2017, the IC3 has received numerous victim complaints regarding the scam. In each case, the perpetrator used the email template below, making only minor changes to the information.
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) In Partnership with: FBI/NW3C/IAI
At least three other versions of the IC3 impersonation scam have been identified. The first involved a fake IC3 social media page, which advertised itself as the FBI Cyber Crime Department (IC3) and requested recipients provide personal information in order to report an internet crime.
The second involved an email which stated the recipient was treated unfairly by various banks and courier companies. The email claimed the recipient's name was found in a financial company's database and that they will be compensated for this unfair treatment. The email template used for this scam is provided below:
Internet Crimes Complaint Center Counter-terrorism Division and Cyber Crime Division ICC Headquarters/18 Court Road Central Ave HOUSTON, Texas USA,
The third example involved an email from the Internet Crime Investigation Center/Cyber Division and provided an address in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The email also included a case reference number in the subject line. The email informed the recipient that their IP address was referred to the IC3 as a possible victim of a federal cyber-crime. The email then requests the recipient to contact the sender via telephone. As of December, 2017, the IC3 had received over 100 complaints regarding this scam. No monetary losses have yet to be reported. A copy of the email is provided below:
Individuals who believe they may be a victim of an online scam (regardless of dollar amount) can file a complaint with the IC3 at www.ic3.gov.
In reporting online scams, be as descriptive as possible in the complaint form by providing:
Although all of this information is not required to submit a complaint, it is helpful for the IC3 to have as much information about the scam as possible, to use in the course of investigating these incidents. Complainants are also encouraged to keep all original documentation, emails, faxes, and logs of fraudulent communications. To view previously released PSAs and scam alerts, visit the IC3 Press Room at www.ic3.gov/media/default.aspx.