LooksTooGoodToBeTrue: A New Resource To Fight Cyber-Cretins
Editorial Director, CUSTOMER INTER@CTION Solutions
Here's some nice evidence of our tax dollars at real work, a phenomenon that's been a bit hard to spot lately. This week, the FBI launched a new Web site created to help consumers avoid being targeted by phishers, spammers, spimmers, spitters, spoofers, hackers and other assorted cyber-cretins.
LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com introduces itself with some words of wisdom. "An interesting point about fraud is that it is a crime in which you decide on whether to participate. Hanging up the phone or not responding to shady mailings or e-mails makes it difficult for the scammer to commit fraud. But con artists are very persuasive, using all types of excuses, explanations and offers to lead you – and your money - away from common sense."
The site breaks the cyber crime information down to several sub-groups: identity fraud, financial fraud, auction fraud, sweepstakes/lottery fraud, and counterfeit payments fraud. If you check the news section of the site, there's a new category: hurricane fraud, which is fairly self-explanatory.
In the fine tradition of the Cosmo Sex Quizzes, LooksToGoodToBeTrue has a series of online tests, so you can determine what your "fleecing factor" is…how smart you are about protecting your computer and your identity. If you answer questions such as, "Are you looking for ways to improve your financial status via the Internet?" with a "Yes," chances are that a desperate Nigerian oil millionaire is looking for you.
The site includes explanations of the most common (and some uncommon) schemes, true-life victim stories and a very comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions. It also provides links to a multitude of sources, including the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a source of which I was unaware. (It's apparently a partnership between the FBI and something called the "National White Collar Crime Center".
Interestingly enough, the site also provides a link to Snopes.com, the popular "urban myth busting" Web site, another useful tool for helping Internet users separate fact from fiction, albeit from a more pop-culture angle.
Educate yourself and spend a moment on LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com. With a little luck, by this time next year, the purveyors of phishing schemes will be picking up litter by the roadside in bright orange jumpsuits.
Tracey Schelmetic is editorial director for CUSTOMER INTER@CTION Solutions. For more articles by Tracey Schelmetic, please visit the archives.
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