Earlier this month, the California Secretary of State warned of yet another phishing scam. Criminals typically phish by associating themselves with legitimate businesses. Their goal is to obtain personal information that can be used to steal your identity.
This particular scam mentions the California Victims of Corporate Fraud Compensation Fund, a real fund that is administered by the Secretary of State. See Does The Victims Of Corporate Fraud Compensation Fund Deny Due Process? and A Bad Bill Becomes Law When There Is More Interest In Enacting A Fix Than Fixing the Problem. According to the Secretary of State's warning, the scam tends to have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Quotes a specific amount of money to be awarded;
- Contains a "reference code" or "payments code";
- Requests a reply to an email address that does not end in a governmental email extension. The California Secretary of State’s email addresses end in "@sos.ca.gov"; and
- Provides a contact person’s name and reference programs or departments that do not exist in California government, such as International Scammed Victims Compensation, Internet Fraud Compensation Fund, or Foreign Scam Payment Operations Department.
The Federal Trade Commission provides these additional tips on dealing with phishing scams.