PlayStation scam makes FBI warning list

Warnings have been posted online about auction site phishing scams, particularly the PlayStation scam, according to the FBI.

Sony PlayStation users are being warned by the FBI about scams targeting them and other online consumers.

The Sony PlayStation fraud involves an unsolicited email, according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.

In the missive, a target is informed that an ad for their "Sony PlayStation 3 Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3 80 GB" has been posted at an online auction site and they're given a "confirmation number" for the posting. Apparently, the scammers are hoping the recipient of the message will try to cancel the ad -- either because they don't want to sell their PlayStation system or they don't have such a system to sell -- and use the attempted cancellation to pry sensitive information from the victim or to infect their computer with malware.

Warnings have been posted online to beware of auction site phishing email scams in general and the PlayStation scam specifically, the IC3 said.

PlayStation owners are no strangers to scams, especially since hackers compromised the PlayStation Network earlier this year.

Another prominent swindle currently targeting online consumers involves mortgage seekers and mortgage holders.

That scam involves a letter purportedly from a California law firm soliciting persons to join a legal action against mortgage companies in the state, explained an IC3 alert released Friday. To participate in the "Mass Joinder Litigation," consumers were asked to pay a nonrefundable upfront fee ranging from $2000 to $5000.

"The law firm made a wide variety of claims and sales pitches and offered legal and litigation services, with the goal of taking money from the victim," the IC3 noted.

The letter claims to be from a law firm called Kramer & Kaslow. While that firm is a real one and it is involved in such a lawsuit, the firm disavows any connection to the letter that's been making the online rounds for months. In a statement issued to homeowner advocate Martin Andelman, Philip Kramer declared: "The mailer was NOT approved by me. I did NOT authorize the mailer. I would NOT have authorized the mailer if I had been asked in advance."

Kramer went on to claim that another law firm was behind the scam letter. "I'm not opposed to representing a large number of clients in my mass joinder cases," he explained. "In fact, that is the idea of delivering economy of scale to clients and being able to properly litigate against banks."

"However," he continued, "I am opposed to careless and aggressive marketing campaigns, and I never was asked, nor did I approve, that law firm to market under my name, and/or to pose as my law firm when speaking with prospective clients."

In its scam alert, the IC3 explained that lawyers seeking plaintiffs to join a class for a class action lawsuit do not seek up front commissions from their class clients. Class action lawyers are typically paid on a contingency basis, whereby they receive a portion of whatever money their clients are awarded.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

This story, "PlayStation scam makes FBI warning list" was originally published by PCWorld.

What’s wrong? The new clean desk test
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies