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Feds asking for public’s help to track down cyber scammers

(Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Law enforcement agencies and consumer advocates have been busy warning people about cyber scammers, now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing.  The FBI is trying to track down scammers all over the globe, but, they can’t do it alone.

For now, there are two main types of scams FBI agents in Utah are seeing a lot of.  One, they’re seeing lots of fake coupons or text promoting deals that are, generally, too good to be true.

“Generally, those ads and websites are designed to trick you to give up your personal information.  They want to you fill out a survey before you can take advantage of that ‘deal,’” according to Supervisory Special Agent Jeffrey Collins.

The other involves phishing scams that convince people that their boss or their friend needs them to purchase a lot of gift cards.  The victims are asked to take a picture of those card numbers, and all of that money then goes to the fraudsters.

What to the feds need to stop this?  Information.  As much information as they can possibly get.  So, they’re asking everyone who may have been affected by scammers to contact them.

Collins says, “They may have only lost $100, but they have the email address of the person who sent that.  Well, maybe that person has defrauded hundreds of people.”

Investigators say many victims believe they don’t have any significant information, but, they’d be surprised.

“The types of crimes that are happening, who is sending those emails, who is posting those advertisements, where their money went… all that information is helpful to us in trying to piece together who is doing it.”

Collins says finding arresting scammers sometimes takes a long time, especially if they’re based overseas.  However, he says these criminals are not as untouchable as they believe.

“I’ve traveled all over the world, going after criminals with foreign law enforcement.  We catch people,” Collins says.