Scam of the day – April 14, 2017 – Easter scams

With Easter approaching on Sunday, this is a good time to warn people about Easter scams.  Whatever is of interest to the public is of interest to scammers who are always looking to turn the public’s interest in anything into a scam.  One of the Easter related scams about which the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyberawareness System involves phony shipping notifications from the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx or any other delivery company that are merely attempts to trick people into providing personal information that can be used to make the person a victim of identity theft.  Another common Easter scam is electronic greeting cards which download malware such as keystroke logging malware used to make you a victim of identity theft or ransomware used to encrypt your data and destroy it if you do not pay a ransom.

TIPS

You do not have to provide sensitive personal information in order to receive a package delivered by the U.S. Postal Service or a private carrier. If you receive such a notice about a delivery you were not expecting, you can check with the U.S. Postal Service, or the private carrier at a telephone number that you know is accurate in order to determine if the original communication to you was a scam.

Electronic greeting cards are tremendously easy to use and can be particularly helpful if you are late remembering to send a card on a particular occasion, however, you should never click on a link in a notification that you have received an electronic greeting card unless you have confirmed that the person you know actually sent you the card. Never click on links in electronic greeting cards from “an admirer” or any other term designating someone without a name.

Scam of the day – February 10, 2017 – Valentine’s day scams

Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching.  Valentine’s day is a very important day to many people including scammers and identity thieves who always manage to find an opportunity in whatever is going on to scam you out of your money.  There are many Valentine’s day scams, but the most prevalent are phony florists, online dating scams, phony Valentine’s day electronic greeting cards and delivery scams.

Scammers set up phony florist websites or send you an email purporting to be from a local florist with a great deal you merely have to click on in order to save a great deal of money on flowers.

Online dating scams are plentiful with most revolving around scammers quickly professing true love for you and then asking for money.

Electronic greeting cards are a great way to send a Valentine’s day card at the last minute when you forgot to get one ahead of time, but phony electronic greeting cards can be filled with malware and if you click on the link to open the card, you will infect your computer or other electronic device with malware that will steal your personal information and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

A common delivery scam operating on Valentine’s day involves a delivery of a gift basket of wine and flowers to you, however the person delivering the gift basket requests a small payment, generally five dollars or less, as a delivery fee because alcohol is being delivered.  The person delivering the basket will only accept a credit card as payment.  When you turn over your credit card, the scammer then takes down the information and runs up charges on your credit card.

TIPS

Never trust an online florist or other retailer until you have checked them out to make sure that they are valid.  Otherwise, you might be turning over your credit card information to a scammer.  It is also important to remember, as I constantly warn you, that you can never be confident when you receive an email, particularly one with a link in it or an attachment to download, if the person sending you the email is who they claim to be.  Clicking on links sent by scammers can download keystroke logging malware on to your computer or other electronic device that will, in turn, enable the identity thief to steal personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.  Always confirm the legitimacy of an email or text message before clicking on links contained in the message.

As for online dating scams, of course you should be wary of anyone who immediately indicates he or she is in love with you and then asks for money.  Some other telltale signs of an online romance scam include wanting to communicate with you right away on an email account outside of the dating site, claiming to be working abroad, asking for your address and poor grammar which is often a sign of a foreign romance scammer.  Many romance scams originate in Eastern Europe.

Never trust an online greeting card, particularly if it does not indicate from whom it is being sent.  Be very wary of a card sent by “an admirer.”  Even if you recognize the name, confirm that it was really sent from that person before you click on the link and open the card.

In regard to the delivery scam, there is no special delivery charge for alcohol so if someone requires a payment for such a delivery and on top of that won’t accept cash, merely decline the gift.