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News Releases
FBI Response to the Portland Incident Today - 05/25/18

In critical incidents, the FBI regularly offers additional resources to our local partner agencies. During the SW 6th Avenue/SW Montgomery Street incident earlier today, the FBI offered and provided assistance to the Portland Police Bureau. That support included analytical resources and investigative assistance from agents and officers assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

Portland Police Bureau is the lead agency for this investigation, and any substantive information will be released by PPB.

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TT - Credit Report - May 22, 2018
TT - Credit Report - May 22, 2018
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense with Credit Reports (Photo) - 05/22/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, using your credit report to build a digital defense against ID theft.

Last week, we talked about the toll that ID theft can take on your personal finances. A criminal organization steals your info – whether by data breach or through something as simple as a bogus email phishing attack – and your credit history can take a devastating blow. The fraudsters can open bank accounts, take out loans, or rack up massive credit card debt – all in your good name.

Given the hacks we’ve seen in recent years, there are few people who haven’t had their identity stolen. While you, as an individual, can’t stop those breaches against some of the nation’s biggest retailers and financial institutions, there is something very simple that you CAN do: check your credit history.

There are three main credit reporting agencies in the U.S.: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Together, they have set up a system through which you can request one free credit report each year from each of their agencies. You have the choice of getting all three at once or spreading them out over the course of the year.

To request your free reports, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

Your report will include any names you have used, your addresses, how much you owe your creditors, whether you pay on time, whether you’ve been sued and whether you’ve filed for bankruptcy. Each report collects slightly different information from different sources, so it is important to check all three – whether at the same time or spread out over time.

Why is it important to make sure each of these reports is accurate? This may be your first indicator that someone is committing fraud in your name. In addition, these credit agencies sell this information to creditors, employers, insurance companies and other businesses. The information in this record may make a difference in whether you get a mortgage, new car loan, new credit card, get a job or pass a rental screening.

If you find fraudulent information – or something you dispute as being inaccurate – you need to document your request for review in writing to the credit agency. You should also send a dispute letter to the creditor who reported the item in question.

Also, a warning about look-a-like websites. www.annualcreditreport.com is the ONLY official, free option to receive your report from the three main agencies. Some for-profit sites will offer you a free report or credit monitoring initially, but then they will automatically start charging you down the road. In other cases, fraudsters have set up websites to look legit – but their only purpose is to gather your personally identifiable information, or PII, when you go to request your report.

If you have been victimized by an online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.

 

TT - ID Theft graphic
TT - ID Theft graphic
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against ID Theft (Photo) - 05/15/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against ID theft.

Fraudsters have been trying to steal your identity and personally identifiable information – or PII – for many years. But, the growing number of data breaches at retailers, financial institutions and credit agencies mean that you are more at risk than ever.

Once a criminal organization gets a hold of your name, Social Security number, date of birth, health insurance info, and more – it will likely sell every bit of it on the dark web. Once that happens, the buyer can open credit card or bank accounts, apply for loans, or commit any number of crimes in your name.

You as an average consumer can’t do much about the massive data breaches – but you can take some basic steps to protect your financial future:

  • Watch for phishing attempts – that’s phishing with a “ph”. In this case, a fraudster may send you an email or contact you online. He tries to appear legitimate – perhaps using a logo from a recognized bank or a real-looking website. He offers you money back on a new bank account or a great interest rate on a credit card – if you just supply him with all of your personal info.
  • Another concern – discarding credit card offers or mail with personal info on it in the trash or recycling. Make sure you shred such documents… or better yet, ask to quit receiving credit card and insurance offers all together by going to www.optoutprescreen.com.
  • Watch your credit card and utility bills as well as bank statements for unusual transactions.
  • Enable security functions on your phone and computer – especially if you have passwords stored or apps that link to your financial institutions.
  • Be careful when using a public wifi system and consider using a virtual private network when you can.
  • Never respond to unsolicited requests for your personal info, whether online, by email, by phone or in person.

Next week we will look how your credit report plays into ID theft protection – and how you can make sure you are using it as part of your digital defense.

If you have been victimized by an online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.

TT - Gift Card audio file
TT - Gift Card audio file
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Gift Card Fraud (Photo) - 05/08/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against gift card fraud.

Mother’s Day is less than a week away – so if you haven’t bought that special someone a present yet, a gift card may seem like an easy option. But easy doesn’t always mean safe.

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $2.5 billion on gift cards for mom this year. Over the course of an entire year, we are likely to spend tens of billions of dollars on these got-to-have-it-at-the-last-minute-gifts. But with volume comes opportunity for fraudsters.

Here are some of the more popular ways a scam artist can turn your gift into garbage:

The fraudster steals the numbers off cards sitting on a rack in your local store. He scratches the number off the back to get the PIN and then covers it up again with easy-to-buy replacement stickers. Once he has the number and the PIN, he puts that info into a computer program that pings the retailer’s site, waiting for you to load cash onto the card. Once you do, the scammer is notified and can spend, transfer or sell the card’s value before you ever leave the store.

Fraudsters will also pose on a resale or auction site as a seller. You find an item you want to buy such as a new video game system – usually at a discount. The seller asks you to pay with gift cards. As soon as you send the number and PIN, the money is gone. Not surprisingly, the item you thought you bought never existed.

In a twist on this, the seller has a stolen gift card and needs to launder the funds. He posts an item for sale – you pay for it with a credit card or cash. He uses the stolen gift card to buy the item and have it shipped directly to you. Guess whose name and address are listed if investigators come calling?

Finally – there’s the re-seller scam. You are either trying to sell a gift card you don’t want or buy one at a discount. You exchange numbers and payment. If you are buying the gift card, you may find out that the fraudster drained it as the transaction processed, leaving you with a zero balance. On the flip side, if he is buying a card from you – he gets the number and PIN and then stops payment on the cash coming your way.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • When buying in-store, don’t pick cards right off the rack. Look for ones that are sealed in packaging or stored securely behind the counter. Also check the scratch-off area on the back to look for any evidence of tampering.
  • If possible, only buy cards online directly from the store or restaurant.
  • If buying from a secondary gift card market website, check reviews and only buy from or sell to reputable dealers. 
  • Check the gift card balance before andafter purchasing the card to verify the correct balance on the card. 
  • The re-seller of a gift card is responsible for ensuring the correct balance is on the gift card, not the merchant whose name is listed. If you are scammed, some merchants in some situations will replace the funds. Ask, but don’t expect, for help.
  • When selling a gift card through an online marketplace, do not provide the buyer with the card’s PIN until the transaction is complete. 
  • When purchasing gift cards online, be leery of auction sites selling gift cards at a discount or in bulk. 

If you have been victimized by this online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to also report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.govor call your local FBI office.

TT - Counterfeit drug slide
TT - Counterfeit drug slide
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Prescription Drug Fraud (Photo) - 05/01/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against prescription drug fraud.

For many families, the cost of buying needed prescription drugs can be a huge burden to bear. And, whether you are desperate to lower your expenses or just looking to save a few bucks, online pharmacies can look attractive.

Many such pharmacies operate legally and can offer big savings to senior citizens, chronically ill people and others. But, our friends at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warn that there are many rogue outfits out there that will end up hurting you more than they help. These pharmacies or websites will claim to sell prescription meds at deeply discounted prices, and they sometimes won’t even require a prescription. Often they display a Canadian flag to appear legitimate, but many times they are operating out of third countries with no ties to the U.S. or Canada.

These counterfeit prescription drugs may be contaminated or contain the wrong ingredients or no active ingredient at all. They also could have the right active ingredient but with the wrong dosage.

Tips for Avoiding Counterfeit Prescription Drugs: 

  • Don’t buy from pharmacies that do not require a valid prescription.
  • Don’t buy if the pharmacy doesn’t have a U.S. state-licensed pharmacist available to answer questions.
  • Check to see if the pharmacy itself is licensed in your state. In Oregon, you can check through the Oregon Board of Pharmacy (at https://obop.oregon.gov/LicenseeLookup/).
  • Be wary of the businesses that do not use a legitimate street address in the U.S. Check to make sure that address doesn’t belong to a re-shipper or package facility.
  • Consult your pharmacist or physician if your prescription drug looks suspicious.
  • Alert your pharmacist and physician immediately if your medication causes adverse side effects or if your condition does not improve.
  • Be aware that product promotions, special cost reductions and other “special deals” may be associated with counterfeit products.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, you can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.