Consumer Alert: National Cyber Security Month

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September 29, 2006 LITTLE ROCK October is National Cyber Security Month, and in recognition, the Attorney General issued this consumer alert to update Arkansans about the latest twists on Internet scams. Arkansans continue to be bombarded with fraudulent job offers sent by e-mail. Almost all of them involve scam artists targeting job seekers who place their resumes online. The consumers are told they will be hired to help process funds for the company and are sent counterfeit checks to cash. Eventually, the job seekers will be asked to wire their own money out of the country, money they will never see again. In a new and especially brazen version of this scam, a Lawrence County woman was sent an offer that gave her instructions to create the bogus checks on her home computer.Another Internet scam with never-ending new twists is the long-running Nigerian scam. Urgent requests come via e-mail for assistance in bringing money out of a foreign country and to the United States by people who claim to be wealthy but needing help. The latest version tries to capitalize on the recent anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A so-called former Louisiana resident sends a plea from the Middle East, claiming to need help processing relief funds owed him by the government. Do not fall for this. The suggestion that you wire any money anywhere, even if its pitched to you as not really being your money, is a losing proposition.Phishing scams also continue to spread, with a variety of company logos or trademarks used as disguises for scams in the hopes that e-mail recipients will follow a link that could lead to having their identity stolen. More companies with Arkansas customers, including Comcast and the Arkansas Federal Credit Union, have had their logos used by scammers in recent versions. No legitimate company will ever send you an unsolicited e-mail asking for your personal information.Regardless of the seeming urgency of an unsolicited e-mail, never respond until you take the time to think through the situation, Beebe said. Scam artists hope youll react to a threat, pressure, or a seemingly lucky opportunity immediately without considering that it may be a scam. Avoiding the temptation to act quickly can help keep your computer and your identity secure.For further information on other consumer matters, contact the Public Protection Division of the Attorney Generals Office at Suite 1100, 323 Center Street, Little Rock, AR 72201. The office can be reached by calling 682-2341 (Little Rock) or 1-800-482-8982. Spanish-speaking consumers can also call (501) 683-3130. TDD service is available for the hearing impaired at 682-6073.