The most effective scams are the ones that capitalize on real things that apply to you. There was a proliferation of scams during the past year related to the Coronavirus pandemic which is one reason why there is a separate section of Scamicide.com that provides you with a comprehensive account of the many scams related to the Coronavirus pandemic and how to avoid them. Similarly many people are familiar with the REAL ID, which is a new version of your driver’s license mandated by federal law. The REAL ID Act established new security requirements for driver’s licenses and identification cards with which all states must comply and which will eventually be needed by you if you wish to board an airplane or enter certain federal facilities although you can still do so if you have a passport. The original date by which you had to get a REAL ID was set at October 1, 2021, however due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the deadline has been postponed until May 3, 2023. This is both good news and bad news. It is good news because it gives you more time to get your REAL ID, but it is also bad news because it gives scammers more time to contact you posing as governmental officials seeking your personal information under the guise of helping you apply for your REAL ID when their real purpose is to harvest your personal information and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.
The scam is turning up in many forms. such as emails, text messages and phone calls in which you are urged to either provide sensitive personal information or click on links taking you to websites that appear to be official where you will either unwittingly have downloaded malware such as ransomware by clicking on the link or, again, be prompted to provide personal information used to make you a victim of identity theft.
No states are initiating contact with people by emails, text messages or phone calls asking for personal information to apply for your REAL ID. An important thing to remember is that whenever you get a phone call, text message or email, you can never be sure you is really contacting you even if the email address, phone number or Caller ID indicates that the communication is legitimate. This is why you should never provide personal information or click on a link in an email or text message unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. Sometimes, you may be able to pick up on obvious (or not so obvious) mistakes in the communications such as in recent text messages to residents of Illinois that purported to be from the Department of Motor Vehicles. This is a mistake because Illinois does not have a Department of Motor Vehicles. The name of its agency dealing with these matters is the Department of Driver Services. In any event, if you receive a communication pertaining to the REAL ID, your best choice is to contact your state agency that deals with them at an email address you know is legitimate. Here is a link to a listing of the websites for all of the state agencies that deal with REAL IDs. https://www.dhs.gov/real-id
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address where it states “Sign up for this blog.”