The FBI Salt Lake City Field Office has issued an important warning about email schemes that request money or personal information.
The agency has heard from a number of Utahns who say they are receiving these types of emails. For example, the FBI office in Vernal averages three to four calls a week from area residents.
Many of the emails appear to be sent by government agencies, including the FBI. One claims an investigation found the recipient is a victim of fraud and requests their personal information. Other emails state the recipients are subjects of criminal investigations or that they have won lottery jackpots. People are asked to send money, usually about $300, either to collect their winnings or to get themselves out of legal troubles.
Although the FBI has issued similar warnings in the past, special agents want to remind residents the FBI does not send these types of unsolicited emails.
"Hit delete," says acting special agent in charge Ken Porter. "Don't get fooled into sending money or giving away your personal information."
Supervisory special agent Petra Butler-Castleberry says people tend to send and receive more emails during the holidays and reminds everyone to be aware of scams.
"We may be more willing to let our guard down during this time of year because we are in the holiday spirit. Unfortunately, you should never let your guard down," says Butler-Castleberry, who supervises the agencies cyber division.
People who receive these emails should be aware that clicking on any links provided in them may download viruses or malware.
The FBI Salt Lake City Field Office urges consumers to utilize IC3.gov, http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx, a Web site that posts information about internet scams and warnings.
Consumers can file internet crime complaints at IC3.gov. There is more information about cyber crimes at fbi.gov http://www.fbi.gov/cyberinvest/escams.htm.