FBI and CIA Emails

Today we present 3 new Snippets:

– FBI and CIA emails are really a very serious worm

– Beware of hurricane flood-damaged used cars

– The most common and the most expensive consumer scams

FBI and CIA emails are really a very serious worm

Many experts are calling the email that looks like it is sent by the FBI or the CIA as the worst computer worm of the year.

Although we first wrote about this worm in March (ScamBusters Issue #116), it is back with a vengeance.

This fake email claims that the FBI (or CIA) has discovered you visiting “illegal” websites and asks you to answer a set of official questions that are supposedly in the attachment.

If you open the attachment, the worm — which is called Sober X (rather than Sober-K in the March version) — can disable your security and firewall programs, open your PC to intruders who can steal your personal information, prevent you from getting to security websites that could help you fix the problems, and blast out similar emails containing the worm to contacts in your address book.

There are many variants of this FBI email, including those that tell you they have logged your IP address.

Only computers running Windows are affected by this worm — Apple and Linux computers are not affected.

Unfortunately, people who do not know about this bogus email will often open the attachment since they feel they are being falsely accused of visiting illegal websites.

Action: If you get an email that looks like it is from the FBI or CIA, do not open the attachment.

For more suggestions about protecting yourself from viruses and worms, click here.

Beware of hurricane flood-damaged used cars

Dishonest dealers are selling damaged used cars that sat submerged for days after this year’s Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Typically, insurance companies buy these cars from their policyholders, declare that they are “totaled,” and then resell them at auction so they can be used for parts in other cars.

However, unscrupulous dealers are buying these cars at the auctions for pennies on the dollar — and then are cleaning them up, re-titling them, and reselling them as regular cars.

There are many problems with these cars — and although they may look fine, they certainly are not. These problems include that the electronic and safety systems are likely damaged — which could be very dangerous, as well as costly.

Carfax estimates that 250,000 to 500,000 cars were damaged from Hurricane Katrina alone.

Action: Beware of deals that sound too good to be true — the cars may well have flood damage. Check the car’s history using the vehicle identification number (VIN) to make sure it wasn’t issued a flood-damaged title. You can do this here.

And, of course, have a reliable mechanic check the car carefully for signs of flood damage.

For more help on protecting yourself from buying a car that is a lemon, visit this page on the auto lemon law.

We’ll also mention again that if you are in the market for a car, the feedback we’ve gotten on Peter Humleker’s ebook has been exceptional. It will help you avoid getting taken by car scams like this one, as well as help you save a lot of money on the purchase and financing of your new or used car. For details, click here.

The most common and the most expensive consumer scams

Can you guess what are the most common and the most expensive consumer scams?

According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), credit scams have the most victims. These include scams that require a fee paid in advance for guaranteed loans or credit cards, as well as credit repair.

According to the National Consumer League, the most expensive common scams are the lottery scams that we’ve written about extensively. The average loss is more than $5,500! For details, visit our page on foreign lotteries.

Time to close. Have a wonderful week.