`Fraud Department' e-mail likely is bugged

SCAM WATCH

Your Money

November 18, 2007

Think twice before you open bogus e-mail from an all-too-helpful "Fraud Department" claiming to be associated with the Federal Trade Commission.

The e-mail is laced with links and attachments that download a virus that could grab passwords and account numbers from your computer. It commonly refers to complaints filed against the recipient and includes a phony sender's address from frauddep@ftc.gov. Despite an image of the FTC seal, alert consumers will spot grammatical errors, misspellings and incorrect syntax. Recipients should not click on any links or open attachments. Forward the e-mail to spam@uce.gov and then delete it.

Green card lottery swindle

Don't gamble when it comes to the State Department's annual Diversity Visa lottery, the Federal Trade Commission warns.

Beware of businesses that, for a fee, promise to win you a place in the lottery, which every year distributes visa applications to 50,000 immigrants who want to live in the U.S. permanently. Entries can be submitted to www.dvlottery.state.gov for the 2009 lottery through Dec. 2.

To avoid getting swindled, the FTC advises:

There is no charge to enter the lottery. Your chances of getting picked won't be any greater if you pay someone to fill out the application for you.

Submit only one entry or risk be disqualified. Husband and wife can both enter, but only one will be selected.

Don't mail personal documents such a passports, birth certificates and drivers' licenses.

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