Category: ‘Facebook / Social Networking Scams’

Super Bowl Scams

January 16, 2012 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

We’re number one!  Every year we hear that cry from fans of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl and every year many of those fans are scammed by conmen offering phony tickets and travel packages.

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Merely because the advertisements for Super Bowl tickets and travel packages may appear in media that you trust does not mean that the advertisement is legitimate.  Ads are generally not vetted by newspapers, radio stations, television stations, magazines and websites for legitimacy.  Check with the Better Business Bureau, your local Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission about any offers you may be considering for tickets and travel.

What is Malware?

January 16, 2012 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Malware is the term for malicious software that you unwittingly download on your computer when you click on links in emails from scammers or fall prey to phishing and download the program from a phony website to which you were lured in the belief that it was a legitimate website.

One of the most common and dangerous types of malware is the keystroke logging program which is often referred to as a Trojan horse.  Once this malware is installed on your computer, the scammer is able to access all of the information on your computer and can provide the scammer with access to your bank accounts, credit cards, brokerage accounts or any other information that is contained on your computer.

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Never click on links unless you are absolutely sure it is legitimate.  Also make sure you have an operating firewall on your computer and your computer security software is up to date.

What is Vishing?

January 16, 2012 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Vishing is a scam that takes advantage of Voice over Internet Protocol technology that permits you to make telephone calls through your computer instead of through a regular phone line.  When you use your computer to make a telephone call, your voice is converted into a digital signal that is transmitted over the Internet and then is converted to a regular telephone signal when it reaches the regular telephone you are calling.

Vishing occurs when a recorded phone message is sent by computers using Voice over Internet Protocol technology.  Often the message appears to be from your bank or credit card company informing you that the security of your account has been compromised and that you must provide confirming personal information to keep your account active.

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You will never receive a prerecorded message concerning the security of your account.  If you have any questions about your account’s security, call your bank or credit card company directly at a telephone number you know to be accurate.

What is Phishing?

January 16, 2012 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Phishing occurs when an identity thief lures you through a phony email that purports to be from a bank, another legitimate company or even the IRS or other governmental agency to a phony website that looks like the website of that legitimate company, but actually is just a con to entice you into providing personal financial information.    Often phishing scams prey upon our fears by telling us that our accounts have been compromised and that if we do not provide verifying information, our accounts will be closed.

Clicking through to the phony websites also carries the risk of unwittingly downloading malware such as keystroke logging programs that once installed on your computer provide the scammer with all of the information found about you on your computer. This information can be used to make you a victim of identity theft or even to empty your bank accounts if you use your computer for online banking.

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Never click on a link to a website unless you are totally sure that it is legitimate.  Trust me you can’t trust anyone.  Even if you receive an email from someone you trust, it may not be from them at all, but rather from someone who has hijacked their email or even if it is from them, they may have, in turn, fallen prey to a scam artist and may be passing along dangerous malware without even knowing it.

Install antiphishing software on your computer to warn you before going to a website that may be tainted.  A good, free antiphishing software can be found at www.toolbar.netcraft.com.

What is a Credit Score / Credit Report?

January 16, 2012 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Your credit report is one of the most important documents in your financial life.  The information in your credit report as maintained by the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian is used to calculate your credit score.  This is used by financial institutions to evaluate your credit worthiness and can affect your ability to get a credit card, mortgage loan or a car loan.  It also can affect the rate that you will be charged on such loans.  Your credit score is also used in many states by companies in making employment hiring decisions.  When you are the victim of identity theft, the effect on your credit score can be devastating.  It is a complicated, frustrating and time consuming task to correct your credit report after you have been the victim of identity theft.

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Make sure that your credit report and your credit score are accurate.  Get a free copy from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once a year by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.