Scam of the day – June 3, 2013 – Latest skimmer scam

I have been warning you about the dangers of skimmers since the inception of Scamicide and in my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”  Recently a new wave of skimmer identity theft has been sweeping the country, with police in White Pine, Tennessee among the many places reporting an increase in this criminal activity.  As those familiar with Scamicide or my book know, a skimmer is a small electronic device that fits over any machine used to read credit cards or debit cards, such as ATMs, gas pumps or other similar devices.  Often the skimmer can be hard to recognize.  When you run your card through what you think is a legitimate card reader, your card’s information is provided to an identity thief who can use this information to make you a victim of identity theft, use your credit card to run up purchases in your name or use your debit card to empty your bank account.


Limit your use of ATMs to those of banks with which you are familiar and feel around the card insert to see if there is any indication that the device has been tampered with.  Also shield the key pad from any prying cameras that may be attempting to read your PIN when you insert it.  Also feel the pad itself to make sure that it has not been tampered with by overlaying the pad with a thin cover that electronically steals your PIN.  For more information about skimmers, you may want to get my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”  You can click on the link that shows the book on the right side of this page to go directly to Amazon to get the book at a reduced price.  Also, do not use your debit card for any purchases because the protections that you have if your debit card information is compromised through a skimmer is much less than if you use a credit card.

Scam of the day – March 8, 2013 – Dangerous links

Once again I had to go no farther than my own email box for today’s scam of the day f0r two examples of scams that operate by getting you to click on tainted links.  Never click on links in an email unless you are absolutely positive that they are legitimate.  When they come, as did the emails copies below, it is easy to see that they are just an attempt to get you and me to click on the links using whatever bait they think will work.  However, other times the email may appear to come from a friend of yours.  The problem is that you cannot be sure that your friend’s email account has not been hacked and that it is an identity thief who is sending you the link.  Other times, even if you independently confirm that it actually is your friend who sent you the link, you can’t be sure that the link he or she sent is not one that is tainted and that he or she is unwittingly passing along.  It is always important to confirm that not just the sender, but the link itself is legitimate before clicking on any links.  The problem with clicking on the tainted link is that by clicking on the link, you unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that steals all of the information from your computer and ends up making you a victim of identity theft.

Here are two examples of emails I got today with tainted links.   DO NOT CLICK ON THESE LINKS.

“Couldnt believe this in our area.. Click here to read it.”

“Read this please. Click this link.”

Interestingly enough, the first email came under the heading of “Safety First” while the second came under the heading of “smoking.”


As I have indicated above, do not click on any link in an email until you have verified both the identity of the real sender and the legitimacy of the link itself.  Also make sure that you have a Firewall and good security software installed on your computer and always kept up to date.  It is also important to keep the same kind of security software in place and up to date on your tablet, smartphone and other portable devices where you might download material.  Too many people neglect security software for their portable devices.  For more information, check out my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”

Scam of the day – March 2, 2013 – Blackberry security updates

It isn’t just your computers that need security protection.  Your smart phone and other portable devices very much require security protection.  With more and more of us using our smart phones and other portable devices for financial transactions and to store sensitive personal information, it is critical that you keep your smart phone other portable devices password protected and patched with the latest security patches.  I describe this in great detail in my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”  In fact, I wrote the book in order to inform people about essential information that they need to know to protect themselves in this digital age from identity theft.  Recently Blackberry issued an important security update that everyone who uses a Blackberry, such as myself, should follow.


Here is a link to the information you need to update the security of your Blackberry:;jsessionid=FA0BAB0AA53227E5A060EE1BC7E8FAC9?externalId=KB33425&sliceId=1&cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&noCount=true&ViewedDocsListHelper=com.kanisa.apps.common.BaseViewedDocsListHelperImpl

Scam of the day – January 1, 2013 – Smart phone identity theft risks

One new year’s resolution that everyone should make is to to take the steps necessary to provide greater security on their smart phones and other mobile devices.  As anyone familiar with my recent book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” knows, identity theft is rampant on smart phones and other mobile devices as people who are careful to maintain the security of their computers fail to provide similar security protections on their smart phones and mobile devices despite the fact that many of us do many of our financial transactions on our smart phones and mobile devices and store much sensitive information on our smart phones and mobile devices such that if they are hacked into by an identity thief we are likely to become a victim of identity theft in short order.


Although there are many considerations in purchasing a smart phone, it is important to recognize that the popular Android has probably the least secure operating system and is most popular with identity thieves.  You should also make sure that your smart phone or other mobile device provides for encryption of your data and use this feature to protect your information.  All smart phones and mobile devices come with a host of features, many of which you don’t use.  For security’s sake disable those features that you don’t use to eliminate those features as an avenue for identity thieves.  Use a password to lock your smart phone or mobile device and make sure that the password you use is a good combination of letters, digits and signs.  The word “password” is a lousy password.  Pick one that is easy to remember, but difficult for a hacker to guess, such as “Safety1st!!!.”  The added digit and multiple exclamation points make this a safe password.  Look into remote storage of your smart phone’s information in the Cloud and make sure that you backup your information.  Check with your particular smart phone or mobile device manufacturer to see what security software programs they advise.  There are many free ones that work well.  These may seem like excessive steps to take, but they are not.  These steps will help prevent you from becoming one of the many people who will become a victim of identity theft this year.

Holiday message 2012

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and looking forward to the new year, I will continue to warn you and update you on the latest scams and identity theft schemes.  My recently published book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” is a good source for specific, helpful information that can guide you in proactive steps you can take to protect your identity and recognize potential threats.  The upcoming year will most likely be one with record numbers of identity thefts and is important for all of us to do the best we can to protect ourselves.  I urge you to consider buying this book, which you can do simply by clicking on the icon on the right of this website/blog.  This link will take you to where you can buy the book easily and receive it in short order.  I know this sounds self-serving and it is, however, it is also a very cost-effective  way to protect yourself from the substantial risks presented by identity theft.  I also urge you to keep coming back to on a regular basis, preferably daily to see for free what the latest identity theft and scam threats are and how to avoid them.

Best wishes.

Steve Weisman