An e-mail that was widely distributed to customers of Chase
bank has been determined to be a fraud and the Oroville Police
and Chase bank are warning the public about it.
Lt. Frank Belser of the Oroville Police Department said,
"Cyber/Internet crimes of this magnitude are growing everyday.
It is very important the public pays close attention to
documents such as this one."
See sidebar for an example of an e-mail sent by a fraudster
pretending to be from Chase Bank.
Belser said such e-mail scams will usually be written using
poor English grammar and word association. "These types of
scams are typically from foreign country hackers. Also, this
type of crime allows the hackers to gain access to your bank
accounts and personal information. Please do not fall prey to
these, they can be costly," Belser added.
Even though there is not a Chase Bank in Oroville, Belser
wants to warn the public about this scam because this it a
typical crime using the Internet and is becoming increasingly
widespread. "This will give the public some idea of what to
watch out for. If you receive an e-mail from someone you don't
know, delete it and do not open it. Just opening an e-mail
from someone you don't know, places you at risk of
someone getting access to your personal records on your
computer," Belser said.
There are programs available, such as anti-virus,
anti-SPAM, or firewall protection that function to keep
"hackers" out. "You can get software that sets up zones of
trust and barriers to keep destructive forces away from your
property," Belser said.
The Butte County District Attorney's Economic Crime
Investigator Jos Van Hout specializes in fraud investigations.
He agrees with Belser that prevention is the key to protecting
yourself against these crimes.
"It is best not to even open e-mails when you don't know
who sent them," Van Hout said.
If you do open an e-mail and your computer starts to act
strangely like slowing down, it might be because there is a
virus or some other kind of program sent by a hacker that is
attacking your computer.
"One thing you can do if this happens is to power-down your
computer by either shutting it down or unplugging it," Van
Also, if you receive a fraudulent e-mail claiming you have
been chosen to receive a lot of money from some foreign
source, do not respond, Van Hout said.
"You should delete them. If people reply to these emails,
their e-mail addresses could be sold on 'guaranteed to
respond' lists," Van Hout said.
These lists are also known as a "suckers list." And, it is
very important to not ever open any attachments and never
click on any links inside of the fraudulent e-mail because
then you are vulnerable to software that could take personal
information off your computer automatically.
Van Hout also wants to warn the public about people sending
fake checks after using Craig's List, which is a online
bulletin board where people buy and sell items. "Some use a
ruse to get you to send them a check, cashier's check, or a
money order. They first send you a fake check pretending to
want to buy the items you have listed on the website, and then
they ask you to send them money for shipping or some other
reason. It's a scam. They are trying to get you to send them
money. They are not interested in purchasing the items," Van
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey and Van Hout
will be presenting a special Identity Theft and Fraud
symposium on economic crimes that is free and open to the
public. They will discuss ways to protect yourself from
identity theft, fake checking manufacturing, credit card
fraud, Internet fraud, telemarketing fraud, Lottery frauds,
and other kinds of frauds. This symposium is on May 24 from 2
p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gold Country Casino, 4020 Olive Highway
"Currently, economic-type crimes are increasing to
uncontrollable levels ... This symposium will inform attendees
about the latest fraud schemes and their implications along
with ways to combat these types of crimes. The symposium will
also talk about Internet safety for kids using myspace.com as
well as other topics," the D.A.'s Web site said.
The Identity Theft and Fraud symposium is a free community
service from the District Attorney's Office and the County of
Butte Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit. The only
requirement is to register in advance. See the D.A.'s Web site
to register at: www.buttecounty.net/da
"Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn about these
devastating crimes and how to protect yourself," says the
D.A.'s web site.
Lt. Belser, Van Hout, and the District Attorney Mike Ramsey
want to raise the public's awareness on how to recognize these
many frauds and remind people that "education and training
equals awareness and prevention."