Monthly Archives: May 2007

Another new IRS e-mail scam warning

A new e-mail scam purporting to be from the IRS is going around the internet again. The information below is a news bulletin released by the IRS today to warn consumers.

The Internal Revenue Service today alerted taxpayers to the latest versions of an e-mail scam intended to fool people into believing they are under investigation by the agency’s Criminal Investigation division.

The e-mail purporting to be from IRS Criminal Investigation falsely states that the person is under a criminal probe for submitting a false tax return to the California Franchise Tax Board. The e-mail seeks to entice people to click on a link or open an attachment to learn more information about the complaint against them.

The IRS warned people that the e-mail link and attachment is a Trojan Horse that can take over the person’s computer hard drive and allow someone to have remote access to the computer.

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Nationwide pet food lawsuit

A nationwide class action lawsuit (a complete copy of the press release is here in PDF – 24 kb) has been filed against pet food companies and retailers for misleading consumers regarding the contents of pet food. The lawsuit, filed in Florida, alleges that “premium” pet food marketed and sold as “complete and balanced” has historically contained such items as euthanized dogs and cats, restaurant grease, hair, hooves, diseased animals and other inedible garbage.

The class action lawsuit was filed against Mars Inc., Proctor and Gamble Co., Colgate Palmolive Co., Del Monte Foods Co. and Nestle U.S.A. Inc. The suit also names Nutro Products, Inc., Menu Foods, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp, Publix Supermarkets Inc., and Winn Dixie Stores Inc. as manufacturers and marketers of their own brand of pet food, and retailers PETCO Animal Supplies Inc,. Pet Supermarket Inc. and Petsmart Inc. as defendants.

The lawsuit, filed by a cat and dog owner from Michigan and two cat and dog owners from Florida maintains that these companies have spent $300 million a year making false and misleading marketing statements regarding the contents of their pet food.

The lawsuit maintains that the defendants market their pet food products as choice cuts of prime beef, chunks of chicken, fish, fresh wholesome vegetables and whole grains to make consumers buy them. The plaintiffs contend that the food is actually made from “inedible” slaughterhouse waste products of the human food chain such as spines, heads, tails, hooves, hair and blood.

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Feds endanger more personal data

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued an advisory regarding a hard drive containing personal and financial information of 100,000 current and former employees (including Air Marshalls) that appears to have been lost or stolen….they’re not sure yet. It was found missing from a “controlled area” at the TSA Headquarters Office of Human Capital on May 3, 2007.

The TSA, part of Homeland Security, is the Federal agency responsible for screening all passengers and luggage at all U.S. airports. Due to security issues, they called in the Secret Service and the FBI to investigate.

A letter from Administrator Kip Hawley to Employees, notes that the hard drive contains names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, payroll information, financial allotments, bank account and routing information records of people employed by the agency from January 2002 until August 2005.

The letter states that at this time it is unclear whether the device is still within headquarters or was stolen.

A public statement issued by the TSA notes that “measures are in place to alert TSA if someone attempts to use the hard drive. To date, there is still no evidence to indicate employee data have been compromised.”

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Strawberry Quick Methamphetamine Danger

Streets in some cities are being inundated with a new form of candy flavored methamphetamine — an illegal but popular drug among the teen population — dubbed “strawberry quick” because it’s made with packets of powdered strawberry and other flavored drink mix added during the cooking process in an effort to make it taste better and to entice new users to try it.

Drug dealers have stooped to new lows coaxing children, teenagers and first time users with sugar-coated methamphetamine and other addicting drugs in an effort to get them hooked. Other flavors reportedly being used include blueberry, orange and chocolate. Sometimes it’s in the form of real candy such as lollipops or mixed with liquid.

So far its affected California, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida and Minnesota.

Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive stimulant drug (a schedule II stimulant, meaning it has a high potential for abuse) that activates certain systems in the brain and is harmful to the central nervous system. It can be injected, snorted, smoked or ingested orally.

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