CPSO warns residents of three scams; cyber criminals using more technology

CPSO warns residents of three scams; cyber criminals using more technology
Source: MGN Online

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office described some newly reported scams as "a new twist to an old scam."

They said cyber criminals are using everything from IP addresses, exact locations and even webcams to ultimately get users to pay money.

"Technology has evolved to the point that allows you to take those old scams and manipulate them into new ones and send them out there in mass form," said Sheriff's Office Commander of criminal investigations Mike Byrnes.

Byrnes said there have been a number of scams operating in the area that are either Internet based or telephone based, involving different levels of law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

He said one scam involves a mass email claiming to be from the FBI advising the user they've been scammed and have been approved to receive approximately $800,000.

"I mean, that's just wrong," said Sulphur resident Sandy Moody. "Some people will believe this stuff, and that's just not right."

Another email purports to be from the U.S. Immigration and Enforcement Cyber Crimes Center that claims the user's computer has been associated with illegal online activity and requires them to pay a fine.

Byrne said this scam is connected to a virus that can automatically download to the victim's computer once a file or an attachment is loaded. He even said it can access the victim's webcam and take their picture, something computer repair shops say happens all too often.

"These days, it's very easy to trick people into opening attachments;" said Victor Wukovits with Bayou Technologies in Lake Charles. "Social engineering is used to make a convincing looking email that are usually sent from somebody's name you recognize. Then, when you open it, your computer's infected."

Some residents say they know better.

"That's why when I get these emails or text messages on my phone about stuff like this, I don't respond to it," said Lake Charles resident Ledricka Simien.

Here are some tips from the Sheriff's Office on how to avoid becoming a victim of a scam:

• Resist the pressure to make an immediate decision. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.

• Verify the information before sending any money.

• Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail. Keep in mind that wiring money is like giving cash — once you send it, you cannot get it back.

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