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News Releases
TT - Vacation Rentals - GRAPHIC - May 21, 2019
TT - Vacation Rentals - GRAPHIC - May 21, 2019
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Vacation Rental Scams (Photo) - 05/21/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against vacation scams. 

The kids are almost out of school, and the weather is warming up… definitely a good time to start planning your next escape out of town. It seems like it has never been easier to find the perfect space in the perfect place to take your family. Want to rent a condo for a few nights in the big city? A cottage in the woods? Or a bungalow by the beach? There are tons of options for every kind of possible vacation, and you can find them all with a few quick clicks on the keyboard. 

Our friends at the Federal Trade Commission, though, have some advice to help make sure that your quest for rest and relaxation doesn’t lead you to a rental scam. 

Here’s how it can work: you find a great house or apartment listed for rent on the internet. The photos look great, and the rates are somewhere between very low and reasonable. You make contact with the person you think is the owner, book a date and pre-pay some or all of your fee. In some cases, a fraudster may have just lifted the info and pictures from a real listing and re-posted them elsewhere. He changes the contact info so you come to him, not the owner, and now he’s making money. 

In other cases, the fraudster posts a phantom listing… the rental doesn’t really exist. He promises all kinds of amenities, and you think you’ve just snagged a great option at a low price. All he has to do is get you to pay up before you figure things out. 

Here’s how to protect yourself: 

  • Be wary if the owner asks you to pay by wire transfer. This is like sending cash – you likely will never get your money back if there’s a problem. Use a credit card. 

  • Watch out if the owner says he is overseas and wants you to send a deposit to a foreign bank. If you are traveling overseas, again, your best bet is to use a credit card. 

  • Consider only using a reputable travel website to book your stay. Look for sites that use secure payment portals and/or those that don’t release the payment to the owner until you’ve checked in. 

  • Use mapping apps – like Google maps or similar – to confirm that the property really exists. 

Remember - if you have been victimized by an online scam, you can report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office. 

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FBI Profiles Oregon Fugitive as Part of National Police Week Remembrance Events: Reward of up to $10,000 Still Available - 05/16/19

The FBI has chosen eight cases - including one from Oregon - to highlight during the national Police Week events honoring those officers killed and injured in the line of duty. The Oregon case focuses on fugitive David Anthony Durham who is wanted in connection with the 2011 attempted murder of a Lincoln City Police officer.

On Thursday, May 16th, the FBI highlighted the Durham case on its website (www.fbi.gov) and will showcase Durham across its national social media platforms including www.Facebook.com/FBI and @FBIMostWanted on Twitter.

Background Information 

At approximately 11:00 p.m. on January 23, 2011, a Lincoln City Police officer pulled over an SUV for a traffic violation. During the traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Durham, shot the officer multiple times and critically wounded him. Durham then fled the area. A police chase ensued, and Durham exchanged gunfire with officers before abandoning his vehicle in Waldport, Oregon. Durham disappeared, and there have been no confirmed sightings since. 

"This was a well-known, outstanding, veteran police officer who was ambushed during a traffic stop,” said Lincoln City Police Chief Jerry Palmer of the injured officer. “He will never be the same.” Palmer stressed that it remains a priority of the department to find Durham.

Local authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Durham in Lincoln County on January 27, 2011, charging him with dozens of counts - including four counts of attempted aggravated murder. The FBI obtained a federal arrest warrant on January 29, 2011, charging Durham with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (a federal fugitive warrant.) Since that time, the FBI has assisted the Lincoln City in the fugtive hunt - providing resources, following up on potential leads and assisting with publicity efforts. 

Durham is known to possess survival skills. He was wearing full green camouflage at the time of his disappearance, as well as tan or dark boots, and a dark-colored beret. In the past, he has expressed a desire to travel or is believed to have traveled to California, the Caribbean, and Thailand. 

The FBI continues to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the location and arrest of Durham. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, by submitting a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov or calling the nearest FBI office.

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Attached Media Files: Durham Wanted Poster
TT - Chinese Embassy Scam - GRAPHIC - May 14, 2019
TT - Chinese Embassy Scam - GRAPHIC - May 14, 2019
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against the Chinese Embassy Scam (Photo) - 05/14/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against the Chinese Embassy Scam. 

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) has received reports from hundreds of victims in what’s called the Chinese Embassy Scam. In just a 15-month period, victims reported a total loss of $40 million or an average loss of $164,000 each. 

There are several different variations of this scheme… but, typically, it involves the victim receiving a message by phone, text or chat application from someone claiming to be from a Chinese embassy or consulate or Chinese business. The fraudster may claim that the victim’s passport, Social Security card or credit card was found with a suspicious person or in a suspicious package overseas. 

The fraudster tells the victims they are under investigation and, in order to assist Chinese law enforcement, they must speak to an investigator. 

In another variation of the scam, victims receive messages from people claiming to work for Chinese credit card companies. The victims are told they have overdue balances and must work with Chinese law enforcement to address the outstanding payment. 

Either way, the victims end up getting connected with "investigators," who advise victims they must wire funds to resolve the issue. The money almost always is sent to accounts located in China or Hong Kong. The fraudsters may also tell the victims that they can pay by via credit card or virtual currency… or encourage them to take out loans if they don’t have the cash. If the victims do not cooperate, the scam artists threaten them with deportation, loss of assets, and/or jail. 

The fraudsters appear to be targeting victims who have names of Asian descent. 

Here’s how to protect yourself: 

  • If you receive a call from a number that appears to be from the Chinese embassy or a Chinese credit card company or business, find a publicly available number and call back yourself. Confirm the details of the situation and any requests. 

  • Be cautious if you are asked to keep a situation or matter secret. This is a red flag. 

  • Know that the Chinese government itself has said that it will not contact you by phone for personal information, parcel pick-up, bank account information or to answer questions from Chinese law enforcement officers.. 

Remember - if you have been victimized by an online scam, you can report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office. 

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Man on the run for 23 years turns himself in to Oregon City Police - 05/11/19

Update: Silsbee's captured poster can be found at https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/cac/wayne-arthur-silsbee

***

Wayne Arthur Silsbee, age 62, walked into the Oregon City Police Department and turned himself in on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 4:30pm. He was wanted for his alleged involvement in multiple incidents of sexual assault involving several female victims who were between the ages of eight and ten at the time of the offenses.   

The alleged assaults occurred between September of 1995 and April of 1996, in Clackamas County, Oregon. Silsbee was acquainted with each of the minor victims, having either babysat for them or taken them to various events. Silsbee faces charges of first degree sodomy, first degree sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a minor, and first degree unlawful sexual penetration in a local arrest warrant obtained in Clackamas County, Oregon, on July 24, 1996. The FBI obtained a federal arrest warrant charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution that was issued on September 19, 1996, in the United States District Court, District of Oregon, Portland, Oregon. 

Silsbee's first appearance will be on Monday, May 13, 2019 at 3:00pm. Authorities are asking for anyone who has had any contact with Silsbee over the last 23 years to call the Oregon City tip line: 503-496-1616. Detectives believe he most recently lived in Nebraska. Silsbee also has had ties to Springfield, Missouri; the San Francisco Bay area of California; Colorado; Arizona; and northwestern Washington State.

The Fugitive Felon Act, used to obtain an unlawful flight to avoid prosecution warrant, allows the use of federal resources to support the location and apprehension of fugitives from state justice. Federal authorities will likely dismiss the federal fugitive charge when state prosecution on the underlying substantive charges proceeds.

 

TT - Change of Address - GRAPHIC - May 7, 2019
TT - Change of Address - GRAPHIC - May 7, 2019
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Mail Change Fraud (Photo) - 05/07/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against mail change fraud. 

When you are moving, there are a thousand and one things you have to get done. Packing, cleaning, and signing paperwork to get out of the old place and into the new place. Getting your mailing address changed just may not rise to the top of the list of must-do’s. When you do finally get around to making the change, don’t let speed and exhaustion push you into making a bad choice.  

A simple online search of how to change your mailing address can bring up a lengthy list of options with some vendors offering you special deals, mover-only coupons and more. Costs vary greatly and can start at about $20 and run up to $40 or more. Here’s the catch, though. These companies are charging you big bucks to do what you could do for yourself for just $1.05 through the U.S. Postal Service online or for free at your neighborhood post office. This scenario is not a scam, but not necessarily a smart financial choice. 

Our next scenario IS a scam. We’ve had reports that fraudsters are targeting some folks – even when they aren’t moving. We’ve had some complaints where a fraudster managed to file a change address request for the victim. You can imagine the troubles that you might face if your bank statements, credit card bills, insurance documents and more ended up in someone else’s hands.  

Another twist on this scheme – you answer an ad for a work-at-home job helping people file these change-of-address requests. Sounds great – until you find out that you are doing the dirty work for scammers who are taking advantage of other victims… and you probably are not going to get paid yourself. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep yourself safe: 

  • Go directly to www.usps.com/move or your local post office to submit a change of address request – whether it is just a temporary one or a permanent one. Remember – the Postal Service will charge you $1.05 on a debit or credit card. This is actually a good thing – this allows U.S.P.S. to verify your identity against your address used for your bank account. 

  • If you use a search engine to find out how to change your address, watch for webpages that are designed to look like the Postal Service – and may even use the Postal Service logo. Read everything before clicking through to start entering your info. Make sure to confirm the price the company says it will charge. 

  • If you choose to use a third party provider, know that you will end up paying a big bill for the privilege, and it is often difficult to get your money back if you make a mistake. 

  • If you want to avoid all of the above, you can always notify your important contacts individually.  

Remember - if you have been victimized by an online scam, can report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office. 

FBI Director's Community Leadership Award Winner (Oregon) - Bags of Love
FBI Director's Community Leadership Award Winner (Oregon) - Bags of Love
FBI Honors Oregon Nonprofit with National Award  (Photo) - 05/03/19

On Friday, May 3, 2019, FBI Director Christopher Wray presented Bags of Love with the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for its service to children of Oregon. Receiving the award on behalf of Bags of Love was Becky Stenzel, founder of the Eugene-based nonprofit. This organization focuses much of its work on children living in crisis due to neglect, abuse, poverty, or homelessness. 

Bags of Love delivered approximately 2,200 bags in 2018 and is on track to surpass that number in 2019. Volunteers donate more than 13,000 hours a year to this amazing effort. Each bag is thoughtfully filled with a handmade quilt; gender and age-appropriate necessities including one or two outfits, a jacket or coat, socks and underwear; and school supplies. Each child also receives a stuffed animal, toiletries and books, and toys or games. Often, the items in these “bags of love” are the only possession these children can call their own.

“We are truly honored to be receiving the Director’s Community Leadership Award from the FBI. This award is such a wonderful acknowledgement of not just the work being done at Bags of Love, but also a recognition of our dedicated staff and volunteers and the community who supports us. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the FBI to further assist children and teens who are at risk or in crisis,” said Becky Stenzel, Executive Director of Bags of Love. 

Special Agent in Charge of the Portland Field Office, Renn Cannon, states: “It is an honor for the FBI to partner with Bags of Love over the course of many years. On a regular basis, we are passing their donations to human trafficking survivors, kids affected by child sex abuse and child sex tourism cases, victims of international parental kidnapping, and more. These bags allow the donors and volunteers to give a child dignity while giving law enforcement officers a chance to build trust with those most impacted by trauma.” 

The FBI established the DCLA in 1990 to publicly acknowledge the achievements of those working to make a difference in their communities through the promotion of education and the prevention of crime and violence. Each year 56 recipients from across the country are chosen to receive this prestigious award.

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Graphic
Graphic
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Social Security Fraud (Photo) - 04/30/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against Social Security fraud.

Anybody can get those annoying robo-calls on their phones at home and work – including FBI employees. Scammers are definitely equal opportunity fraudsters! Like many of you, I have always received my fair share of calls, but recently I had a week where the calls just wouldn’t stop. Most came from a set of almost identical numbers.

When I picked up, the recorded voice told me that someone was using my Social Security number to commit fraud. The scammer then used a bit of social engineering to try to get me to act without thinking. The voice tried to frighten me by telling me that Social Security officials were shutting down my card, and I would lose all my benefits. If I would just press a certain number on the keypad, I would be connected to someone who could help me resolve the issue.

There are plenty of different kinds of fraud schemes involving Social Security. In some cases, the scammer may tell you that he can help you get more benefits or resolve some previously unknown problem. In another variation, the person contacting you may say your Social Security file is missing some information, and he just needs to update the file to ensure you don’t lose out on anything. Regardless of the scheme, the fraudster is trying to get personal information out of you. With your number and other personal details you provide, he can potentially take out loans, get credit cards or try to access a tax return that is coming to you. 

Our friends at the Social Security Administration have some helpful tips on keeping yourself safe:

  • Know that Social Security employees will never threaten to reduce your benefits or promise an increase in benefits if you give them personal information. 
  • Never give personal information over the phone or by email, particularly if the request comes from an unsolicited caller or in an unsolicited message.
  • If you receive one of these calls, simply hang up. Do not engage the caller.
  • If you have questions or concerns about your Social Security benefits, go to the official website at www.ssa.gov and look up legitimate contact information. Remember – scammers can spoof numbers so they may look real. The only way to know for sure is if you originate the call.
  • Finally, if you feel as though you have been caught in a Social Security scam, report it to https://oig.ssa.gov/

This is just one of many such phone and email scams out there. Remember - if you have been victimized by an online scam, can also report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.

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Note to media:  There is an audio file attached to this press release that is a voicemail recording of this scam. 

Attached Media Files: Audio , Scam Social Security Voicemail , Graphic