FBI warns hackers impersonating federal portal for reporting fraudsters

FBI warns hackers impersonating federal portal for reporting fraudsters
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The FBI says that hackers are sending fake emails impersonating a federal hub for filing internet crime complaints to lure victims into handing over sensitive personal information or open malicious documents. 

The bureau issued an alert Thursday warning of the email scam impersonating the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), saying the center had received “numerous” complaints about the effort as of last July. 

The IC3 is a virtual complaint desk that allows individuals to report online fraud.

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“In a recent scam, the unknown actors emailed victims requesting the recipients provide additional information in order to be paid restitution,” the alert said. “In an attempt to make the emails appear legitimate, the scammers included hyperlinks of news articles which detailed the arrest or apprehension of an internet fraudster.”

“The unknown actors also attached a text document to download, complete, and return to the perpetrators,” the alert continued. “The text file contained malware which was designed to further victimize the recipient.”

The FBI also published a copy of the template used by the scammers to bait would-be victims into handing over their personal data or opening the malware-laden attachment.

The bureau said it has identified at least three other versions of the scam, one of which involved a fake social media page for IC3.

The Department of Homeland Security also issued an advisory on the scam late Thursday.