Yesterday, our Treasurer, Matt Pohsweg, received an email request apparently from me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to wire over $8,0000 to a California bank. Fortunately he was properly suspicious and quickly found the e-mail to be bogus.
( A Google search of the bank's routing # showed the bank branch to be in Minneapolis.) This was a case of “e-mail spoofing” where the listed sender's address is misleading. For more information on this, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_spoofing. In this case, an Internet Fraud case was filed with the FBI and an internal investigation was started by the bank to which the money was supposed to be wired.
The e-mail addresses of our officers appear on our website along with their names and other information; a search of the internet can disclose considerable information. As a result, it's possible for anyone to fabricate a genuine-sounding message from a region officer or anyone you know. This could take the form of a request for money, either for a region expense or registration at an event, a request for financial details (such as names and passwords) of on-line accounts, and/or for information about your car or other possessions, and the like. Be especially suspicious of things that must be done in a hurry and/or contain obvious grammatical errors.
A deception may be obvious. In following up, do not click on 'reply' as this just sends e-mail to the spoofer. Instead, send a new message to the address listed on our website or personal email address, if available. When reading an e-mail from someone you know, it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. The Internet is open to the whole world: anything that you or anyone else post should be considered in the public domain. [Be aware that some websites are secure and protect/encode all information: different browsers indicate this in different ways; a secure web address should be preceded by 'https://' (as opposed to 'http://' without the 's').]
We take your security very seriously: our officers will never make financial or personal information requests via email. Be very wary of anyone who does. AR-PCA financial matters are handled at our monthly Board meetings and personal information requests by personal contact. Thank you.