Scam of the day – January 1, 2017 – Phony FTC complaint phishing email

The Federal Trade Commmission ( FTC) does a pretty good job of protecting consumers from fraud.  Unfortunately the latest fraud about which the FTC recently issued a warning involves an email that appears to come from the FTC, but is actually the work of an identity thief.  This scam has been appearing periodically for about three years and is having a new resurgence. The phony email contains a good copy of the FTC’s logo and looks quite official.  It is not.

Here is a copy of one version of this email.

“This notification has been automatically sent to you because we have received a consumer complaint, claiming that your company is violating the CCPA (Consumer Credit Protection Act).
According to our policy, we have initiated a formal investigation before taking legal action. You can download the document containing the complaint and the plaintiff contact information, from…” followed by a link.

If you receive such an email, do not click on the link.  The email is phony and if you click on the link, you will only end up downloading a keystroke logging malware program that will steal the information from your computer including your Social Security number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers and passwords and end up making you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

When you receive an email you can never be sure of who sent it.  Sometimes you can immediately tell that the email address of the sender is not a legitimate email address for the company or person that it purports to be, however, other times a legitimate email account may have been hacked into and used to send the phishing email.  Never click on a link or download an attachment in an email unless you are absolutely positive that it is legitimate and the only way to do that is to confirm that the email is legitimate such as by calling on the telephone the person who sent it to you to confirm that it is indeed legitimate.  In the case of this email, your should be immediately skeptical because the email is not directed to you personally and does not contain your name anywhere.  If you have even the slightest thought that the email might be legitimate, contact the FTC at its dedicated line to deal with these kind of scams 877-382-4537 and you can confirm that it is a scam.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

Scam of the day – April 27, 2013 – Do Not Call list scam

The federal Do Not Call Registry was created in 2003 and permits people to register their landline or cell phone number on a list of telephone numbers that telemarketers are not permitted to call.  For many of us who have found telemarketing calls to be a great nuisance, this was a great development although there are a few things to keep in mind.  Although legitimate telemarketers by and large honor the list, phony telemarketers may still call you.  If you receive a call from a telemarketer after registering your telephone number, you should therefore be particularly skeptical of the caller and hang up immediately.    The Do Not Call Registry also does not ban calls to you on behalf of political candidates, who may be seeking contributions or from charities seeking donations.  In either case, it is dangerous to respond to a solicitation on behalf of a candidate or a charity on the phone because you can never be sure that the person on the other end of the line is who they say they are.  If you are inclined to contribute either to a candidate or a charity that calls you, I suggest that you hang up and send your contribution to an address for the candidate or charity that you know is accurate and legitimate.  Recently a new Do Not Call Registry scam has been going on around the country by which you receive a call from someone who tells you that he is with the Federal Trade Commission, the federal agency that sponsors the Do Not Call list.  You are told that you need to either confirm information to remain on the list or that you need to renew your registration.  Both of these claims are false.  You do not need to confirm information or renew your registration in order to remain on the Do Not Call List.  Do not give any information to anyone who says this to you because the information can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Phone calls from scammers and identity thieves can be very convincing.  You can never be sure when you receive a phone call as to the true identity as to the person on the other end of the line.  Even if you have caller ID, the criminals can “spoof” the phone number and their identity so it appears that they are legitimate.  You can’t trust your caller ID.  Never give personal information to anyone who calls you on the phone unless you are absolutely sure that the call is legitimate.  The better course of action is to call the company or agency they purport to be at a number that you know is correct so you can confirm if the call is legitimate.