Identity Theft Fraud - Don't Park There

Our cars are one of the life bloods of our culture. Yes there has been talk for many years about a massive public transportation system in an effort to conserve energy and provide a more efficient mode of travel. Whether it ever comes to pass is to a large degree irrelevant. We are a car country and we like it that way.

Armed with this knowledge, scammers have introduced another scheme to gain access to our personal information. No doubt by now many of us greet news of this kind with a shrug of the shoulders as we move on to something else. We figure at a certain report the scams repeat themselves. What makes this particular scam stand out? This may be the first threat of it's kind to use paper work from the offline world to lure people into cyberspace; where upon arrival it's theft time.

The testing ground for this scam was Grand Forks South Dakota. People would park their cars and go about their normal business. Upon returning to their vehicles, a number of Grand Fork motorists found a greeting waiting for them. A yellow ticket under the windshield wiper stating: "PARKING VIOLATION. This vehicle is in violation of standard parking regulations."

More than a few drivers were understandably confused. There were no signs in the vicinity indicating anything out of the ordinary. The parking rules appeared to have been followed so what's up?

What's up is scammers were playing a hunch. Put an official looking parking citation on as many cars as possible and then see who takes the bait. In this case motorists are instructed to go online and visit a website that will show a photo of their car and the specific parking violation the motorist is guilty of.

To bait the trap further the website does list a variety of vehicles located in assorted car parks across Grand Forks. However for a driver to view their specific vehicle it will be "necessary" to download a toolbar. As you probably figured out by now once people download the toolbar, you can hear the iron gate close behind them.

The toolbar contains a powerful Trojan virus that brings with it other applications which are all designed to not only take control of your computer (as well as degrade your operating system) but also to spy on you and report back to the scammers. That means not only your computer but your personal information is also at high risk.

Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee tells Shaun Nicholas of, "This is a great example of real-world social engineering, placing fliers on cars informing you of a parking violation as a way to drive users to the web to download and install malware."

It's also a great example of the variety and scope identity theft can assume. No matter how elaborate or ingenious the scheme, it still comes down to stealing what belongs to you so as to exploit this information now or in the future. You can pretty much guess that Grand Forks is only the beginning.

Article written by Daryl Campbell at Identity Theft and Fraud. The parking ticket cyberscam maybe new but unfortunately it is only the tip of the iceberg

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