CONSUMER ALERT!

Consumer Protection Division
(208) 334-2424 or
Toll-free at (800) 432-3545

Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: June 20, 2003

Wasden Warns Idahoans Regarding Latest E-mail Scam

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden warned Idahoans about an e–mail message with the subject "Best Buy Order Fraud Alert." "This is a fraudulent attempt to gain access to personal financial information," Wasden said.

The e–mail falsely claims that a national retailer, Best Buy, has received an on-line order using the recipient's personal credit card information. The e–mail states, "in our effort to deter fraudulent transactions, we need your help in providing us with correct information. Your prompt response is needed to avoid any unauthorized charges to your credit card."

Best Buy did not send this e–mail. According to the Best Buy website, "Best Buy is working with appropriate authorities to quickly contain and resolve the situation." The information about an unauthorized charge is false. Best Buy became aware of this hoax Wednesday, June 18, 2003, and is working with authorities to quickly resolve the situation.

A few giveaways to this particular scam are that:

The message did not issue from an "@bestbuy.com" address.

The link embedded in the message does not take the user to a "special Fraud Department page" on Best Buy's site, but to a page hosted under a completely different domain name (such as digitalgamma.com or your-instant-credit-reporter.org).

There is no such organization as the "National Credit Bureau."

This message is similar to the e–mails sent out at least since the summer of 2002 to PayPal and eBay customers purportedly requiring the customers to provide their credit card and bank account numbers to restore their accounts to fully operational status.

"Identity thieves frequently pose as representatives of a trusted company," Attorney General Wasden said. "A consumer should never give a credit card, social security number, or other highly personal information to anyone who contacts the consumer, whether the request comes by phone or e–mail. Rather than take a chance by responding to the e–mail, a consumer should forward the suspicious e–mail directly to the business or entity which purportedly sent it."

If you think you have replied to this or another fraudulent email, contact your bank and/or credit card companies immediately. Also visit the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft website or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) to file a complaint.

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