APWG Lends Expertise to IRS Offline Phishing
Global Counter-eCrime Group Expands Real-Time Public Education Utilities to Cover ‘Offline’ eCrime
July 26, 2010 05:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The Anti-phishing Working Group (APWG) has
contributed its expertise in online fraud to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the creation of a new consumer
fax education initiative to assist victims of ‘offline phishing’ and launched its new APWG Fax Back Phishing
Education Program this month.
The collaborative effort comes as a response to a growing public threat by offline phishers who conduct various
scams via fax. While traditional phishing occurs exclusively online (e.g., phishing websites), offline phishing involves
sending emails with attachments - or direct faxes to individuals or businesses. Recipients are warned to complete the
fake documents and fax them back or be subject to some fictitious penalty.
The average losses of offline phishing scams ranges from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars – losses that
victims don’t realize they have sustained until long after the crime is complete. The APWG’s Fax Back Phishing
Education Program provides telecommunications companies and Fax over Internet Protocol (FoIP) hosting firms
with educational instruments to educate consumers the moment they are scammed.
The IRS’s Online Fraud Detection and Prevention (OFDP) group, under the Office of Privacy Information
Protection & Data Security, began tracking and disabling offline phishing incidents in early 2009 and turned to the
APWG in 2010 to help with the development of a response utility to advise consumers who’ve fallen victim to offline
APWG worked with OFDP to create a fax coversheet available on the APWG’s education resources site that
carriers can download and use to notify any victim of offline phishing. The fax coversheet also provides a link to
other APWG resources, which will al