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News Releases
TT - Travel Scams graphic - August 14, 2018
TT - Travel Scams graphic - August 14, 2018
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Travel Scams (August 14) (Photo) - 08/14/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against travel scams.

It is that travel-filled time of year again folks. Whether you are behind the curveball and trying to squeeze in some last minute summer vacations or completely on top of it and already planning for fall and winter trips, everyone is always on the lookout for a good deal at a great price. However, scam artists know this and will try to take advantage of it as much as they can.

If you are like me, you are constantly getting calls and emails from people telling you that you are the “lucky winner” of an all-expense paid for vacation. Although the offer is tempting, don’t fall for it! How often do you hear of people actually getting their entire trip paid for by a random stranger? Not that often, because it is yet another scam with expensive strings attached. So before you book that discounted hotel room or flight reservation, be sure to keep these travel tips from our friends at the Federal Trade Commission in mind:

  • Just say no to the robocalls. If you answer your phone to another automated message, just hang up and ignore it. Most robocalls are illegal. If you get one of these unwanted calls, report it to FTC.
  • Be vigilant to unexpected emails and text messages. Similar to the automated calls, many scam artists will send you fake deals through both email and text. Remember, if the offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Ignore and delete the messages.
  • Research a company before booking with them. If you do decide to use an agency that offers cheaper deals, be sure to do your research. Look up reviews and ratings to see if other customers were satisfied with the services that they received.
  • Know the cancellation policy. Before booking, take time to ask about the company’s refund policies for flight reservations, car rentals, and hotel bookings. Get these policies in writing.
  • Pay with credit card. If you have gone through all of these steps and feel good about booking with the company, use your credit card to pay. This will give you more protection than paying with cash, check, or a debit card. If you end up not getting what you paid for, this will enable you to dispute the charges with your credit card company.   

If you have been victimized by an online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.

TT - Messaging Frauds - August 8, 2018
TT - Messaging Frauds - August 8, 2018
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Instant Messaging Frauds (August 7) (Photo) - 08/08/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against instant messaging platform frauds.

Not surprisingly, tens of millions of people in the United States have social media accounts, and that fact alone has revolutionized the way that people communicate with each other. Instead of paying extra to make an overseas phone call, you can converse with your friends and family anywhere in the world with the click of a button. However, this ease of access also provides scam artists with a world of potential victims at their fingertips.

Let me share a personal example.

A few days ago I was on an instant messaging platform that allows users to communicate with their friends over the internet. I noticed that I had received a message that looked as though it came from a friend of mine. The message included a video link and read: “Hey I saw this video. Isn’t this you?” I was suspicious, so I didn’t click on the link. The next day he contacted me outside of the app and said that fraudsters had hacked his account and not to click on any of the links that were sent because they contained a computer virus.

With these scams, you will usually receive a message that appears to be from a friend or family member. The fraudsters are hoping that you will trust the message if it comes from someone you think you know. Oftentimes, they also attach a link to the message and encourage you to click on that link. Like in the case of my friend, if you click on the link you will get a virus on your computer that allows the hacker access to your private information. This can perpetuate the scam by making your contacts vulnerable to scam solicitations.

In other cases, the scammer will send you a message claiming that you have qualified for “free money”. Nothing is ever truly free, of course, and you find out that you have to pay a fee for “processing and delivery” before you receive the supposed cash.

Another form of this scam could coerce you into sending personal information. The con will ask you to fill out some sort of form that requires personal information such as your address and social security number.

The best way to spot and avoid these scams is to avoid clicking on any links that you receive from friends or family until you contact the sender outside of app to verify that he was the one who really sent the message. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of a particular account, report it to the company that runs that particular instant messaging platform.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, you can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.

TT - Email Loan Fraud - slide - July 31, 2018
TT - Email Loan Fraud - slide - July 31, 2018
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Email Loan Frauds (Photo) - 07/31/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against email loan frauds.

Fraudsters have been trying to find ways to steal money for as long as people have been using money. Not surprisingly, every day these scam artists are testing new methods to separate you from your hard-earned cash. This year alone the Better Business Bureau has seen a large number of scam reports involving fake loan email messages.

Here’s how it works: You are perusing through your email inbox and notice that you have received an unexpected email stating that you have pre-qualified for a loan or been approved for a loan. All of the information regarding the loan – including the final payback amount—are included in the email. Many of these messages will include an attached file that appears to be an official document approved by several government agencies. However, you will come to find out that there is a tiny little requirement before you can receive your loan – an “upfront” fee of $150. If you pay this, you are likely to lose your 150 bucks and never get the loan itself.

Here are some tips to avoid email phishing scams:

  • If someone you don’t know unexpectedly contacts you with an amazing deal, be cautious. It is probably too good to be true.
  • Never click on or download attachments from an unknown source. Scam artists will often camouflage malware in these attachments, and if you click on them, they will have access to your computer and your personal information. If you do choose to click on the link, hover over it first to see what the real destination is.
  • If you receive a request to “verify that your account information is correct in order to send the loan proceeds”… watch out. You should never provide account information or other sensitive personal information to a solicitor.
  • Look for some dead giveaway signs. If there is no personal information in the email, such as your name, than it could be a mass email that the scammer sent out. Additionally, look for spelling errors or typos.

If you have been victimized by this online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to also report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.


Two Oregon Fugitives Located in Mississippi -- One in Custody and One Deceased - 07/26/18

On Wednesday, July 25th, 2018, the FBI Jackson Violent Crimes Task Force arrested Victoria Michelle Cravitz, a fugitive since October 2000, in the Chatham community in Washington County, Mississippi.

Leon Henry Shaw, her common-law husband/partner, is confirmed deceased.

Victoria Cravitz, who was living under the name Jennifer Larsen, took Shaw to a hospital for medical care for an illness. Shaw died of natural causes at the hospital and questions about his true identity arose when generating a death certificate. Concerned citizens contacted the FBI.

Shaw and Cravitz were wanted for their alleged involvement in the sexual molestation of several children between the ages of six and seventeen in Klamath Falls, Oregon, beginning in approximately December of 1989 and continuing until approximately February of 1999.  On January 7, 2000, a Circuit Court Judge in Klamath County, Oregon, issued arrest warrants for Shaw and Cravitz. Shaw faced two counts of sodomy, four counts of sex abuse, five counts of rape, six counts of felon in possession of a firearm, and obstructing governmental administration charges. Cravitz's charges include three counts of rape in the first degree and one count of sodomy in the first degree.  On October 12, 2000, a federal judge in Medford, Oregon, issued unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (fugitive) warrants for both Shaw and Cravitz.

“This case is an excellent example of our determination to see justice done regardless of time limits,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The FBI's commitment to bringing justice to crime victims will never waver.”

"This is a great example of how the FBI coordinates between field offices across the United States to ensure that there is no escape from the law," said Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. "We appreciate the citizens in Washington County that helped bring some finality to this horrific crime."

Klamath County District Attorney Eve Costello said "Our County intends to prosecute Ms. Cravitz to the full extent of the law. Her and her husband's abuse of multiple children have create long term negative ramifications for many individuals. The allegations involve the kidnap, rape and torture of a number of young girls since before 2000 when the case first came to light to DHS. DHS was able to intervene, but Ms. Cravitz and Mr. Shaw took off out of county. We are glad to see their whereabouts determined and plan to seek justice for the victims."  

Cravitz had her initial appearance before a federal magistrate in the Southern District of Mississippi today and will be extradited back to Oregon to face Federal and State charges. 

A federal charge is only an accusation of a crime, and all defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.


The updated wanted posters can be found here:



FBI 110th
FBI 110th
FBI Portland Celebrates the FBI's 110th Birthday (Photo) - 07/26/18

On July 26, 2018, the FBI celebrates 110 years of public service. In honor of this milestone, we reflect on our history and look forward to the future of the organization. At FBI Portland, Headquarters and across all field offices, we are highlighting the FBI’s history and recognizing the people and work of the FBI.

Much has changed since the FBI was established, but many critical attributes remain the same. The Bureau now operates in a digital world where crime not only crosses state lines, but also international borders – in the blink of an eye. Our best traditions have not changed, however – our rigorous adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law, and the guiding principles in our motto of “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity.”

The Portland Division has been open since the earliest years of the FBI. In August 1920, it was named one of nine divisional headquarters, and its special agent in charge, F.A. Watt, was placed in administrative charge of a number of other field offices in the Northwest. Except for a short period between 1930 and 1932 when the office was relocated to Seattle, the Portland Division has been in continuous service since the Bureau's earliest years.

"The Portland Division has a fascinating history of great case work which demonstrates our dedication to the citizens of the great state of Oregon," said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "We will continue to do the work the American people expect of us – protecting our country and our citizens from terrorism, espionage, cyber-attacks, and major criminal threats with that same dedication and commitment."

The FBI was established on July 26, 1908, by Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte as the Bureau of Investigation with just 34 special agents, and was officially renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935. The FBI has grown to nearly 37,000 employees, including more than 13,500 special agents and over 22,800 professional staff employees in 56 field offices, more than 400 resident agencies, and 90 legal attaché offices and sub-offices worldwide.

Follow the FBI on Facebook, Twitter (@FBI), and using the hashtag, #FBI110, for more information. Follow FBI Portland on Twitter (@FBIPortland) for local news and events.


Attached Media Files: FBI 110th
TT - BEC & Real Estate Fraud - slide
TT - BEC & Real Estate Fraud - slide
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Real Estate Fraud (Photo) - 07/24/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI's Tech Tuesday segment. This week: Building a Digital Defense against a new kind of Business Email Compromise – or BEC – fraud … this time involving real estate transactions.

In the age of all things digital and automatic, transferring money has become that much easier. Open an app and give a couple of taps, and just about anyone can move money easily and efficiently.

But with this technology and a little bit of access, the bad guys can create big problems. Many companies are finding that their employees are falling prey to social engineering tactics and/or the fraudsters are just able to hack into their systems. In a “Business Email Compromise” – or BEC – scheme, the fraudster uses a compromised email account to insert himself into a transaction where two parties are exchanging funds to pay for a product or service. By doing so, he gets the money re-routed into his own account. A report just out from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov), shows that in just the last two years, almost 20,000 Americans have lost more than $1.6 BILLION dollars in BEC scams. 

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center’s new report also warns that BEC fraudsters are targeting real estate transactions more and more. In fact, between 2015 and 2017, scams targeting the real estate sector have jumped 1100% with losses going up almost 2200%.

This is how it works: the bad guys monitor emails involved in a real estate transaction, and he sends the buyer change of payment instruction at just the right time (often from check to wire transfer). The buyer then wires the money to the fraudulent account, and the bad guy immediate cashes out the funds. Lawyers, real estate agents, and title companies are all at risk for the kind of social engineering and hacking.

So is there a way to stay out of the victim category? Of course! Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Avoid responding to free web-based emails, accounts that look a little funny to you, or users who are completely unfamiliar. Don’t click on links. Responding to suspicious emails and clicking on suspicious links could make you vulnerable.
  • Be careful about posting information about your company’s executives online. This includes out-of-office replies or posts to social media. Train your folks about social engineering and how to protect themselves.
  • Confirm a financial transfer with a phone call, if possible. Use the old phone number you have stored, not the one that might be provided in the suspicious email. If you can’t authenticate the transfer via phone, have some other secondary verification system set up outside of email.
  • Be wary of unexpected phone calls from people who say they are trying to verify personal information to complete your deal. Don’t give out or confirm information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and the like unless you are positive you know who is on the other end.

Even one little extra step can save you or your company thousands in losses and legal fees.

If you have been victimized by a Business Email Compromise scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.

TT - Online Auction Fraud slide
TT - Online Auction Fraud slide
FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Online Auction Fraud (Photo) - 07/17/18

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against online auction frauds.

We are now fully into summer. With vacations already planned and paid for, many are short on the cash needed to buy those odds and ends for around the house. Instead of paying top dollar at the store, many are turning to online auctions as a way to save money. Such auctions are a great option – if you know how to use them safely.

Most auction sites have rules for both the buyer and the seller. Take time to familiarize yourself to the auction site and all its policies before you bid on anything. Pay special attention to details about payment information, privacy policies, and insurance. Also, before using, make sure that the sites where you register, sign in and bid are secure. Chances are that if the site URL starts with “https,” the page is secure. However, to be safe, try to pay with a credit card that comes with fraud protection. Additionally, take your time to research what other people have to say about the website. Look for reviews or complaints that indicate that a buyer either got a faulty product or never received what they bid on.

These scam artists have been doing it for a while and know exactly what to say and do to steal your money. Here are some warning signs:

  • The seller only has a generic photo of the item. You cannot be sure that the seller actually has the item if there isn't a current picture.
  • A “brand name” product is marked down or on sale for a price much lower than normal. This product could be counterfeit.
  • If you see words such as “used”, “old”, or “vintage”, the item may not be in the best condition.
  • Do not use the “Friends and Family” money transfer method to pay for items, as buyers are not eligible for fraud protection through this method.
  • Do not pay for items using gift cards. These requests almost always indicate a scam since the “seller” can cash out the cards immediately and the auction site has no way to verify that payment.  
  • The seller insists on communicating or paying outside of the auction site’s payment system. The seller might insinuate that the system is too slow and that he needs the money right away to send you your product. No matter what story he tells you, don’t send money outside the established payment system!
  • You get an email stating that you need to verify your account or reply to confirm your purchase of a product. If this happens, go to the auction site itself to log in. There you will be able to see if the site really sent you an email. If so, you can respond there and avoid clicking on any potentially compromising links.

If you have been victimized by an online overpayment scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.