01/15/04 04-4

01/15/04 04-4News


January 15, 2004

Subject:           E-Mail Scam Alert

The San Francisco Police Department is alerting the public about an e-mail scam that results in bank account holders or members of computerized payment plans releasing important information via computer to the scam artist, who then has access to the victim’s bank account, credit information, and personal information.

The scam begins with an official-sounding e-mail notice purportedly from the account holder’s financial institution or computer payment plan, such as Pay Pal. The notice explains that the bank has had to “block” the person’s account because of supposed illegal activity, or a service company is moving to “better servers,” and instructs the account holder to log in through what is supposed to be the bank’s or computer services computer link.  The link asks the account holder to provide certain bank information, such as account numbers, credit card numbers date of birth, etc.  Once this information is provided and sent, it arrives at the suspect’s own computer site.  The holder’s account is now compromised and, because of other personal information provided, the threat of identity theft is high.

Although the e-mail messages are written in less than professional language, they look authentic, with the company’s logo, such as that of Citibank or Ebay, displayed with the message.

Members of the public should ascertain whether their financial institution or computerized payment plan has sent such e-mail instructions before providing any information.

For more information, please contact:

Lieutenant Kenwade Lee
Fraud Section