If you have trouble reading this go to
www.CCIDC.org/eNews/scamalert.html  

California Council for Interior Design Certification
The standard for interior designers in the State of California

1605 Grand Avenue, Suite 4 San Marcos, CA 92078
Tel. 760-761-4734  Fax 760-761-4736  
E-mail

 

Scam Alert and High-Tech Crime
Protecting Yourself in the Computer Age

Issued June 6, 2007

Notice to All Certified Interior Designers
It has come to our attention that a certain type of email scam (soliciting the services of interior designers) may be circulating and we want you to beware of it. NEVER send money to a stranger, even if it is in the form of a “refund”.

The following SCAM LETTER was sent to a CID who resides in California.
It is printed exactly as received, replete with grammatical and typographical errors:

    
“Dear,My name is Justin Hill ,am from poland working in state with SABRE an humanatarian organisation here is south carolina.My wife is coming to state by next two weeks which i will like you to work on my house interior decoration becaue she will be putting to bed probably by next week sotherefore i will like to know the cost of your service.I will take care of your flight trip down to south carolina for inspecting the house so i could have the total estimate of everything asap.I want a suprise for my wife and the new incoming baby into the family .Let me know if there is availablity of for this serviseCheers Justin Hill”

After the CID engaged in an email conversation and actually received a retainer check from this person (drawn from the Bank of Maryland - note, the CID did not cash the check), the CID then received an URGENT EMAIL as follows:

  
“From: justin Hill Subject: GET THIS DONE FOR ME BY TOMMORROW ASAP”
“DEAR <CID name removed>, HOW ARE YOU TODAY,THERE IS SOMETHING I LIKE TO PUT TO YOUR NOTICE RIGHT NOW WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT AND CRUCIAL BECAUSE I AHVE AN IMPORTANT MEET TO ATTEND TO IN STAY BY WEDNESDAY ALSO I REALLY WANT TO RUSH TO STATE SO YOU CAN MEET ME AT HOME FOR THE ESTIMATION OF THE PROJECT.MY WIFE ALSO EMAIL ME FROM HOSPITA THAT SHE WILL BE COMING VERY SOON SO I HAVE TO MAKE THING IS A SNAPPY MOVE.SECONDLY,I HAVE A MESSAGE ALSO TODAY FROM MY SECRETARY WHICH I WAS TOLD THAT RETAINER FEE HAS BEEN SENT TO YOU VIA UPS AND WHICH WILL BE DELIEVER TO YOUR DOOR STEP BY TOMMORROW MORNING OR EVENNG, THERE IS A SIGHT PROBLEM BUT I DONT THINK THAT SHOULD BE A PROBLEM .MY SECRETARY HAS MISTAKINGLY SENT $9,500 FOR RETAINER FEES ,THIS MISTAKE HAPPEN DUE TO SOME FUND SHE HAS TO ISSUE OUT TO SOME OTHER PEOPLE THAT ARE ALSO WORKING IN THE SORROUNDING TH HOUSE GARDEN.I WILL IMPLOY YOUTO GET THE CHECK AND DEDUCT YOUR RETAINER FEE WHICH IS $5,000 ANDGET THE REST OF THE FUND SEND TO MY TRAVELLING AGENCY IN NEW YORK THROUGH WESTERN UNION TRASNFER SO MY FLIGHT TICKET AND OTHER TRAVELLING DOCUMENT COULD BE VERIFY IMMIDIATELY .THERE ARE ALOT OF WESTERN UNION OUTLET AROUND WHERE YOU CAN GO THRAIGHT AND GET THE $4,500 SENT TO THE BELOW INFORMATION.HE IS THE TRAVELING AGECY HE HAS BEEN WRITTING ME REGARDING THE FUND PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS DONE SO I CAN GET TO STATE BY WEDNESDAY MORNIGN WITHOUT ANY DELAY michael wolf935 Brighton RD tonawanda, ny 14150”

Luckily, the CID has gone no further with this individual.

We believe this could be a type of desktop forgery scheme
, where the scammer gets your check or gets you to send money through Western Union. If you send a check to a stranger they are more interested in scanning your check into their computer, making a duplicate copy, changing the payee and the amount.  They may make several or several hundred copies and you won’t know anything until you receive a call from your bank or receive your monthly statement.   Encourage your bookkeepers to track all your invoices, whether large or small.

General Tips on Possible Internet Fraud Schemes
(Excerpts from usdoj.gov)

   * Don't Judge by Initial Appearances. It may seem obvious, but consumers need to remember that just because something appears on the Internet - no matter how impressive or professional the Web site looks - doesn't mean it's true.
      
   * Be Careful About Giving Out Valuable Personal Data Online. If you see e-mail messages from someone you don't know that ask you for personal data - such as your Social Security number, credit-card number, or password - don't just send the data without knowing more about who's asking.
      
   * Be Especially Careful About Online Communications With Someone Who Conceals His True Identity. If someone sends you an e-mail in which he refuses to disclose his full identity, or uses an e-mail header that has no useful identifying data (e.g., "W6T7S8@provider.com"), that may be an indication that the person doesn't want to leave any information that could allow you to contact them later.    

  Your Best Protection is Education! Learn about Internet Fraud and High-Tech Crime!

Learn how to display headers of an email message. Headers expose where the message originated, as the From:field is usually forged.  If you are going to report a scam to one of the agencies below, they need to see the headers!
www.spamcop.com/help_with_headers/  

California Office of the Attorney General
http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/general.php

FBI - Internet Fraud www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/internetschemes.htm

Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov/

National Internet Fraud Watch www.fraud.org/

Securities & Exchange Commission www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/cyberfraud.htm

Scam Busters  
www.scambusters.org/

Snopes Verify Email chain letters, spam, fraud and scams www.snopes.com/fraud/fraud.asp

United States Dept. of Justice - Fraud Section www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/

USA.gov on Internet Fraud www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Internet_Fraud.shtml

U.S. Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov
Spam:
www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/tech/spam.shtm
Protecting Personal Information:
www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/infosecurity/index.html
Web scams:
www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/tech/scams.shtm



Have you moved in the last two years?
If you are a CID and have moved or changed your contact information, please notify the CCIDC office by filling in our
Change of Address form.


This announcement was published by the
California Council for Interior Design Certification
“Public Protection Through Examination and Certification"

Subscribe / unsubscribe or view our past issues
http://ccidc.org/cgi-bin/mojo/mojo.cgi?f=list&l=eNews