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News Releases
TT - Student Loan Scams - GRAPHIC - September 17, 2019
TT - Student Loan Scams - GRAPHIC - September 17, 2019
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Student Loan Scams (Photo) - 09/17/19

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

Oregon and Washington college kids are packing up and heading back to class in the next couple weeks. That means more tuition, more books, and more bills. For many folks, the only way to get that education is to take out big loans, either through the federal government or private lenders.

When you get to the point where you have to start paying off those loans, our friends at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have a warning about fraudsters who say they are only too happy to help.

The catch? You either have to pay an upfront fee or a monthly fee. They might claim that your fee will go towards your debt, but if you end up doing business with a scam artist, he will just take your money for himself. He will do nothing at all to help you with your loan – or give you minimal services that you could have gotten for free.

Here are some tips from the FTC on how avoid student loan repayment scams:

  • There is nothing that a company can offer that you cannot do for yourself for free.
  • Avoid any offer that promises quick loan forgiveness, especially if the person contacting you really has no idea as to the specifics of your debt situation. Many scammers will promise to get rid of your debt fast, but in reality, they can’t help you.
  • Never pay an upfront fee. In this situation, the FTC says it is illegal for companies to charge you a fee for a service in advance.
  • Neither a logo nor an official-looking website means that the company is real or trustworthy. Many scammers will use lookalike logos or even use a real Department of Education seal to make their companies look more legitimate.

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

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johndoe41 photo2
johndoe41 photo2
FBI Seeking Individual Who May Have Information Regarding the Identity of a Child Sexual Assault Victim (Photo) - 09/11/19

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the public’s assistance with obtaining identifying information regarding an unknown male who may have critical information pertaining to the identity of a child victim in an ongoing sexual exploitation investigation.  Photographs and an informational poster depicting the unknown individual, known only as John Doe 41, are being disseminated to the public and can be found online at the FBI website at https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/ecap.

The video depicting the unidentified male, John Doe 41, shown with a child, was first noted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in March of 2018; therefore, the video is believed to have been produced around 2016 to 2018.

John Doe 41 is described as an African American male, likely between the ages of 18 and 20 years old.  He appears to be a thin-framed individual with black hair.  Anyone with information to provide should submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov , or call the FBI’s toll-free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).  The public is reminded no charges have been filed in this case and the pictured individual is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

This individual is being sought as part of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) initiatives, both of which represent strategic partnerships between the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  Operation Rescue Me focuses on utilizing clues obtained through in-depth image analysis to identify the child victims depicted in child exploitation material, while ECAP seeks national and international media exposure of unknown adults (referred to as John/Jane Does) who visibly display their faces and/or other distinguishing characteristics in association with child pornography images.

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TT - Cyber Bullies - Graphic - September 10, 2019
TT - Cyber Bullies - Graphic - September 10, 2019
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Cyber Bullies (Photo) - 09/10/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense to keep our kids safe from cyber bullies.

A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control showed that about 15% of high school students say they are bullied online. The bully may pretend to be someone else – such as a new boyfriend or gaming partner – to get the victim to share personal information. The bully may share – or threaten to share – messages that include rumors, lies, sensitive information or photos that are hurtful and embarrassing. Bullies may even threaten or encourage someone to kill themselves.

It is important that parents and kids are working together to keep students safe. The best thing you can do as a parent is to build a relationship with your child where you can both feel comfortable talking about and sharing your child’s online experience.

Let’s start with the parent portion of all this:

  • Do you know or control what apps are on the phones in your home?
  • Are you checking your child’s devices and accounts regularly? Parents should have the passwords to every device and every app or social media platform the student is using.
  • Do you know who your student is talking to by text or email and on social media? What information and photos or videos they are sharing?
  • Have you made clear your expectations about appropriate behavior and privacy?

Now some points for students to consider:

  • Being kind to others online will help to keep you safe. Do not share anything that could hurt or embarrass anyone. You never know what someone will forward.
  • Keep your passwords and PINs a secret from other kids. Even friends could give your password away or use it in ways you don’t want.
  • Set your privacy settings to the highest levels on your devices and social media accounts. Only share your thoughts and photos with friends – not friends of friends or complete strangers.
  • Keep your parents in the loop. Tell them what you’re doing online and who you’re doing it with. Let them friend or follow you. Listen to what they have to say about what is and isn’t okay to do.

We are lucky that in our state we have a really effective program to help kids dealing with cyber bullying and other threats. It’s called Safe Oregon, and it is a program that brings law enforcement and school officials together to help kids. You can report cyber bullying to Safe Oregon online at https://www.safeoregon.com/ There’s also information on that website about other ways you can report concerns by calling, texting or emailing. Choose the option that works best for you.

Parents - if you have younger kids at home, start the discussions early about appropriate online behavior and the damage that they can do to themselves and others if they make poor choices. The FBI has a cyber citizenship program called Safe Online Surfing – or SOS – to teach kids in third through eighth grade about safe and responsible internet use. The interactive, game-based program emphasizes the importance of cyber safety topics such as password security, smart surfing habits, and the safeguarding of personal information. This free program can be used by families at home or by teachers in schools. For more information about the SOS program, go to https://sos.fbi.gov

Thanks for joining us for this Tech Tuesday segment. Next week we will talk about student loan scams.

#StopSextortion poster - Spanish
#StopSextortion poster - Spanish
#StopSextortion Campaign - Educating Oregon Students, Parents & Educators (Photo) - 09/04/19

Oregon students are back in class now, and many of them are carrying cell phones in their pockets. Laptops, tablets, and gaming systems are in the daily mix, too. Each of these platforms represent a growing and pervasive influence in the lives of our children. Much of the time, these devices serve an important purpose. Sometimes, though, they become a virtual gateway for real-life consequences.

With the start of the school year, the FBI is launching its #StopSextortion education campaign to help families and schools understand more about the growing problem of sextortion and how to protect young students from these predators. Oregon educators are welcome to request a packet of campaign materials, including posters and other resources. Those requests can be made to the Oregon FBI at media.portland@fbi.gov

What is Sextortion?

The FBI is seeing more and more cases involving sextortion, particularly of young kids... sometimes as young as seven or eight years old. The extortionist finds children and teens on social media, through gaming apps, or through other online platforms. He will either find victims who respond to attention from an adult, or he will pretend to be another child. Either way he will groom the victim, using flattery or gifts. Those gifts could be real or something as simple as virtual tokens or extra progress in a game.

Eventually, he convinces the child to send a naked photo—and one is all it takes. If the child tries to pull away, the extortionist will threaten the victim with exposure, telling the child that he will send the photo to friends and family or post online. Over time, the extortionist continues to threaten while escalating demands, which can include the production of more explicit photos. He may even command that the child perform sex acts alone or with siblings and friends.

For too many parents, the thought is that it can’t happen to my child, and it can’t happen here. Unfortunately, it can on both counts.

What can parents do to protect their children?

Often children and teens are so concerned that they will get in trouble or lose their devices, that they are reluctant to come forward. It’s up to you— the parent—to develop that open, honest line of communication. Start with some short conversations, and ask:

  • When you are online, has anyone you don’t know ever tried to contact you?
  • What would you do if they did?
  • Why do you think someone would want to talk to a kid online?
  • Why do you think adults sometimes pretend to be kids online?
  • Has anyone you know ever sent a picture of themselves that got passed around school?
  • What do you think can happen if you send a photo to anyone—even a friend?
  • What if that picture were embarrassing?

Finally, consider using what you’ve just learned to start the conversation. “Hey, I heard this story on the news today about kids getting pressured to send pictures and videos of themselves to people online. Have you heard anything like that before?”

What to do if sextortion has already taken place:

If your child discloses that he or she is the victim of sextortion, report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at https://tips.fbi.gov.

If you are a victim and not ready to talk to the FBI yet, go to a trusted adult. Tell that adult that you are being victimized online and need help. Remember - you are not the one in trouble. Criminals will try to make you feel unsure, scared or embarrassed. Your willingness to talk to a trusted adult, though, may just be the key to keeping this predator from hurting someone else.

More information:

Students, parents and educators can find more tools and information on the FBI's website at https://www.fbi.gov/stopsextortion.

###

TT - Think Before You Post - GRAPHIC - September 3, 2019
TT - Think Before You Post - GRAPHIC - September 3, 2019
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense with #ThinkBeforeYouPost (Photo) - 09/03/19

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against hoax threats with the #ThinkBeforeYouPost campaign. 

Your kids are headed back to school, and many of them are carrying a phone in their pocket when they do. That device – along with the laptops, tablets and gaming systems so many have – can become an integral part of who they are. Some students are so used to sharing every thought online that sometimes they forget that what they do in the virtual world can have real-world consequences. 

Imagine a student with a grievance. Maybe she’s mad at a classmate. Maybe he didn’t study for a test and thinks that causing a disruption at the school will get him out of taking it. It can be easy to say things you don’t really mean – or post things that you don’t really intend to follow through on. 

This kind of online behavior can and does happen all the time – but in the aftermath of mass casualty attacks, we often see an increase in hoax threats made to schools or other public places. The FBI takes these threats very seriously whether they come in the form of text messages, social media posts or emails. Law enforcement – whether the FBI or our local and state partners – will respond to each threat to determine which are real and which are hoaxes.   

The FBI’s #ThinkBeforeYouPost campaign is designed to help schools and parents educate students before they make a poor choice that could impact them for years to come. Please share with your kids and those in your community that making a threat is a federal crime. Those who post or send these threats can receive up to five years in federal prison, or they can face state or local charges.  

In addition to the individual consequences a person may face, these threats have a serious impact on our community. They divert law enforcement resources from investigating other crimes, and they cost taxpayers a lot of money. For those targeted in a threat – the emotional distress can be severe.  

So remember: 

  • Don’t ever post or send any hoax threats online. 

  • If you are the target of an online threat, call your local law enforcement immediately. 

  • If you see a threat of violence posted online, contact local law enforcement or your local FBI office. You can also submit information online to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov 

  • Don’t share or forward a threat until law enforcement has a chance to investigate – this can spread misinformation and cause panic. 

Remember – a hoax threat is no joke. #ThinkBeforeYouPost. 

###

For media:

#ThinkBeforeYouPost resources: 

Story and case examples: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/hoax-threats-awareness-100518 

PSA: https://www.fbi.gov/video-repository/think-before-you-post-psa.mp4/view 

 

TT - USMS Impersonation Scams - GRAPHIC - August 27, 2019
TT - USMS Impersonation Scams - GRAPHIC - August 27, 2019
Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Federal Agent Impersonation Scams (Photo) - 08/27/19

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

Our partners at the U.S. Marshals Service are reporting a significant rise in the number of calls they are getting from concerned Oregonians upset about a new round of an old fraud. These people are reporting that they recently received an automated, threatening call – allegedly from the Marshals or other federal agents. The automated call states that the victim is going to be arrested based on a warrant issued by the IRS. That warrant is purportedly a result of the victim’s low credit score.

The call goes on to say that the person can avoid arrest by paying a fine, and the recording will direct the victim how to make contact with someone who can help. Usually, the fraudster will ask for payment using a prepaid debit card or gift card. Once the victim obtains the card, the fraudster will have the person send the number and PIN electronically or read the information over the phone. The funds can be moved off the card and into the scam artist’s hands before he’s even off the phone with the victim. 

Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials or federal judges, and courthouse addresses. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are really calling from the court or a government agency. 

Things to remember: 

  • Neither U.S. Marshals nor other federal agents will ever ask for credit or debit card numbers, gift card numbers, or bank routing numbers. They also won’t ask you to make wire transfers.
  • Don’t divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
  • Report scam phone calls to your local FBI office or submit information online at https://tips.fbi.gov
  • Authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office in the U.S. District Court in your area to verify that the arrest warrant is valid like the caller stated.

For more information on cyber crimes, be sure to visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov