Scam of the Day

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Scam of the day – January 24, 3021 – Chase Quick Pay Phishing Scam

Today’s Scam of the day actually combines two areas of current scams, namely phishing emails and Peer to Peer Payment Service such as Zelle.  Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which download malware or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, are nothing new.   They are a staple of identity thieves and scammers and with good reason because they work. Reproduced below is a copy of a new phishing email presently circulating that appears to come from Chase Bank.

Chase is a popular target for this type of phishing email because it is one of the largest banks in the United States.  Like so many phishing emails, this one attempts to lure you into responding by making you think there is an emergency to which you must respond. As phishing emails go, this one is pretty good.  It looks legitimate and the version appearing in your email comes with a legitimate appearing Chase logo.   As so often is the case with these type of phishing emails, it does not contain your account number in the email nor is it personally addressed to the receiver of the email, but merely uses your email address.  This particular phishing email was provided by a loyal Scamicide reader.

Peer to Peer Payment Payment Services (P2P) such as Zelle, Venmo, ApplePay, PayPal, Square Cash and PopMoney are popular ways to quickly and conveniently send money electronically from your credit card or bank account. These services are used by ninety million Americans. These services also provide easy ways to be scammed and unlike scams targeting your credit cards directly, you may not have as much protection under the law to get your money back if you do get scammed. Zelle which originated in 2017 is operated by a consortium of banks and appears on your mobile banking app. Sending money through Zelle only requires you to enter the recipient’s phone number or email address. In addition to scammers luring their victims to pay for worthless items through P2P services, scammers have also been sending phishing emails and text messages in which they lure their victims into providing their Zelle usernames, passwords and PINs to take over their victims’ bank accounts through their Zelle accounts.  Chase Bank does provide access to Zelle so this phishing email could appear legitimate if you had a Zelle account with Chase.

Here is a copy of the Chase phishing email presently being circulated.

Chase Logo

You  just set up Quick payment to Williams Smith into an account  below***

Checkings ending in: 4309
Payment Amount: $304.28
Payment Method: Quickpay
Payment Date: 1/08/2021
Please approve the payment by clicking  “Approve Payment” or click “Decline Payment”  to stop the payment immediately if you do not recognised the transaction and money will not be debited from your account

Set up your automatic payments on chasecom/cardhelp or on the mobile app.

Chase Logo
©2021 JPMorgan Chase & Co.

TIPS

There are a number of indications that this is not a legitimate email from Chase, but instead is a phishing email. Most notably, the email address from which this phishing email was sent has no relation to Chase.  Most likely it is part of a botnet of infected zombie computers used by scammers to send out such phishing emails.  It is also important to note that although the email contained a legitimate appearing Chase logo, such logos are very easy to counterfeit.  As with all phishing emails, two things can happen if you click on the links provided.  Either you will be sent to a legitimate looking, but phony website where you will be prompted to input personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft or, even worse, merely by clicking on the link, you may download keystroke logging malware that will steal all of your personal information from your computer or smartphone and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.  If you hover your mouse over the links to “Approve Payment,” “Decline Payment” or “chasecom/cardhelp” you would see that if you clicked on those links you would be sent to websites that have nothing to do with Chase.  I have disarmed those links in the above copy of the email for your safety.

If you receive an email like this and think it may possibly be legitimate, merely call the customer service number where you can confirm that it is a scam, but make sure that you dial the telephone number correctly because scammers have been known to buy phone numbers that are just a digit off of the legitimate numbers for financial companies, such as Chase to trap you if you make a mistake in dialing the real number.  Alternatively you can go to http://www.chase.com to check on your account.

Before signing up for any P2P service, you should familiarize yourself with their fraud protection rules. In the fine print of many P2P services, you may find that you have little, if any, protection if you use the account to purchase something that ends up to be a scam. While PayPal offers significant protection from fraudulent transactions, Zelle and Venmo, for example do not offer such protection, which is why these services should never be used for commercial transactions, but only to transfer small amounts of money to people you know. In order to protect your account from being hacked and being taken over by a scammer who could access your credit card or bank account, you should use a PIN or other dual factor authentication whenever your particular service provides for it. In addition if your account is tied to a credit card, you should be able to get the amount fraudulently taken refunded from your credit card company in accordance with federal law and if it is tied to a bank account, you should be able to get the money refunded if you report it immediately pursuant to the Electronic Transfer Act.  However, any delay in reporting the fraud from your bank account could cost you dearly.

To avoid having your Zelle account and other accounts from being taken over by hackers, never provide your username, password or PIN in response to any email, text message or phone call unless you have absolutely confirmed that the request for this information is legitimate, which it never is. You can confirm this by contacting your bank or other company by calling them at a telephone number you know is accurate. Even if you get a call that appears to come from your bank or other company with which you do business, your Caller ID can be tricked by spoofing to make the call appear legitimate when it is not.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 23, 2021 – Online Employment Scams

I have been warning you about employment related scams for years and today’s scam represents the most recent incarnation of employment scams.  Searching for a job online has become the norm for many job seekers and there are many legitimate online employment websites such as Indeed.com, Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com, however, merely because an ad for a job appears on a legitimate website does not mean that the job is for real.  It may be just a scam seeking either personal information to make you a victim of identity theft, your money or both.  Although Indeed.com, Career builder.com, Monster.com and other online employment agencies do their best to screen their ads, they can’t come even close to being perfect.

Scammers will often do research on their victims and read their resumes sent in response to a phony ad.  They then contact the victim and offer him or her a job, but tell  the victim that he or she will need to purchase some equipment and pay a fee for training.  A check is sent to the victim to pay for the equipment.  The unwary victim deposits the counterfeit check, gets provisional credit from his or her bank and then following instructions from the scammer, wires the money for the training fee or equipment to the scammer before the check is discovered to be counterfeit which can take weeks.  At this point the funds are taken back by the bank from the victim’s account, but the money wired to the scammer is lost forever.  Recently a Scamicide reader applied for an oficer manager job on Indeed.com and was contacted by scammers who identified themselves as Zelisoft Systems and sent her a check for $6.500 to buy supplies.  Fortunately, the Scamicide reader was far to savvy for the scammers and researched the company and found that it didn’t exist.  The Scamicide reader also recognized that this was a scam because while the scammers had no problem sending the bogus check to her, they never sent her a contract.

In a variation of employment scams we have seen increase during the Coronavirus pandemic, the scammers will actually do face-to-face interviews over Zoom or similar services to make the interview and the ensuing offer of employment appear more legitimate. However, in many of these scams the next step, however, is the counterfeit check scam I described in the preceding paragraph.

TIPS

Never spend money to apply for a job.  Legitimate employers do not require fees.  Google the address, telephone number and name of the company to see if it matches what you have been told.  Don’t send a resume with personal information, such as your Social Security number that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  If an ad appears to be from a company that you know is legitimate, confirm by a telephone call to the real company’s HR department that the ad you are answering is legitimate.  A legitimate company will eventually need your Social Security number, but not early in the process.  Make sure that you have confirmed that the job is legitimate before providing this information.  Additionally, no legitimate employer will ever send you a check for more than what you are owed and ask you to send back the difference.  That is the basis of many scams.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 22, 2021 – Another AOL Phishing Email

Today’s Scam of the day is about a phishing email presently circulating that attempts to lure you into clicking on a link in order to continue using your AOL account.  Millions of people still use AOL.  One reason is that you get greater email privacy when compared to some other email carriers. Due to its popularity, scammers and identity thieves often send out phishing emails that appear to come from AOL, such as the one reproduced below that was sent to me by a Scamicide reader. If you click on the link in the email one of two things can occur and both are bad.  Either you will end up providing personal information to an identity thief or you will, merely by clicking on the link, download dangerous malware such as ransomware on to your phone, computer or other device.  Here is the email presently being circulated.  The link where it reads “Click Here” has been disabled.

Dear AOL User,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Your incoming messages will be placed on hold due to our recent upgrade to our database. Kindly CLICK HERE your mailbox to receive new messages that are pending.                                                                                                      Thanks for using Aol!

Sincerely,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My AOL Team

©2021 AOL!

TIPS

When AOL communicates with its customers about their accounts, they do so by AOL Certified Mail, which will appear as a blue envelope in your inbox and will have an official AOL Mail seal on the border of the email.   No official AOL Mail seal appears in the inbox.  This email also does not refer to you in the salutation, but merely reads “Dear AOL User.”.  Another odd thing that is an indication that this is a scam is that the copyright notice has an exclamation point after the letters AOL.  Whenever you get an email, you cannot be sure who is really sending it.   In the case of this email, the email address of the sender had no relation to AOL and most likely was the email address of someone whose email account was hacked and made a part of a botnet of computers used by cybercriminals to send such communications.  Never click on a link unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate.  If you think the email might be legitimate, the best thing to do is to contact the real company that the email purports to be from at an address or phone number that you know is accurate in order to find out if the communication was legitimate or not.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 21, 2021 – Student Loan Scams on the Rise

I have written many times over the last ten years about student loan scams because scammers have successfully targeted college students and their parents for a variety of scams related to these extensive loans.  In October of 2017 the Federal Trade Commission, working with the Attorneys General of eleven states, launched what it cleverly calls, Operation Game of Loans to jointly target these various student loan scams.   Some scammers promise dramatic reductions of debt of 50% or more in return for upfront fees of between $500 and $2,500.  Often these scam companies have names that make it appear that they are endorsed by the federal government in order to trick people into trusting them.  Another student loan scam involves promises related to consolidating student loans.  Often the scammers represent that they are associated with the U.S. Department of Education although the Department of Education does not associate with private lenders in regard to student loan consolidation.  These scammers also charge significant fees for their student loan consolidation services when the truth is that there is no fee for legitimate student loan consolidation.  It is also important to remember that consolidating your student loans does not lower your interest or monthly payment.  Instead, after loan consolidation the student’s monthly payment is equal to a weighted average of the interest rates on the student’s current loans.

The federal government suspended all payments and collectons on federal student loas and interest on these loans were eliminated during this time.  The suspension was to end on December 31, 2020, but has been extended until January 31, 2021.  President Biden has indicated that he wants Congress to extend the payment pause as well as forigve ten thousand dollars of student debt for all student borrowers who have federal education loans.  Meanwhile scammers are contacting students and their parents by phone, text message and emails posing as federal education officials asking for personal informaiton in order to apply for loan forgiveness.  This is just a ploy to obtain personal information that will be used for purposes of identity theft.  The truth is that if such legislation is passed to provide for forgiveness of loans it will be automatic and you will not have to apply for it.  Neither will any federal agency be contacting you by email, text message or phone to offer assistance in loan forgiveness.

TIPS

The old adage still is true.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.  Many of these student loan debt relief scammers promise quick loan forgiveness, which is unrealistic.  In addition, you should never pay any upfront fees for student loan debt relief assistance.  Those fees are illegal and are a sure indication that you are being scammed.  Also, remember my motto, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”  Don’t trust scammers merely because they use names that sound like they are affiliated with the government.

For information you can trust about federal student loan repayment option, go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans .  There you can learn about loan deferments, forbearance, repayment and loan forgiveness programs and there is never an application fee.  If you owe private student loans, contact your loan servicer directly.  You can also look into student loan refinancing rather than consolidating the loans.  Refinancing student loans can result in a lower interest rate.  For more information about student loans go to https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans  Here is a link to a calculator that can help you determine whether you will save more by consolidating or refinancing student loans.https://www.makelemonade.co/calculators/student-loan-consolidation-refinancing-calculator/

Here also is a link to an FTC video that explains student loan scams and what you can do to protect yourself.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TjSI4Q6ztQ

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 20, 2021 – New Netflix Smishing Scam

For a long time I have warned you that the popularity of Netflix makes it a preferred subject for phishing emails and phishing text messages, which are referred to as smishing.  Smishing is the name given to text messages that lure you into clicking on links or providing personal information in response to a text message from what appears to be a trusted source, such as a company with which you do business.

With the social isolation that has become the hallmark of the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us, myself included, have been watching a lot of Netflix programming and this has increased the motivation of scammers to set up many phony Netflix websites to which they lure people through emails and text messages to go to under the guise of a variety of  phony reasons, such as needing to update your information or confirm information.  Of course, the real purpose of these phony Netflix websites and the phishing emails and text messages sent to you is to lure you into going to these phony Netflix websites to trick you into providing your credit card information.

Recently the Better Business Bureau reported about consumers receiving a text message that read “Due to the pandemic, Netflix is offering you a free year of service to help you stay at home.  Click the link to sign up.”  People clicking on the link were directed to a counterfeit Netflix website where they were asked to supply personal information and a credit card or debit card number. A red flag as to this being a scam is the request for credit card or debit card information if you are supposed to be signing up for a “free” year of Netflix.  Anyone providing the information soon becomes a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

As I always say, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”  You can never be truly sure when you receive an email seeking personal information such as your credit card number whether or not the email is a scam.  The risk of clicking on a link or providing the requested information is just too high. Instead, if you think that the email might be legitimate, you should contact the company at a telephone number that you know is legitimate and find out whether or not the email or text message was a scam.

Netflix will never ask in an email or text message for any of your personal information so anytime you get an email or text message purportedly from Netflix asking for your credit card number, Social Security number or any other personal information, it is a scam.  Here is a link to Netflix’s security page for information about staying secure in regard to your Netflix account. https://help.netflix.com/en/node/13243

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 19, 2021 – Important New Protection Against Income Tax Identity Theft

Income tax identity theft, by which identity thieves file phony income tax returns with counterfeit W-2s using the Social Security number and name of their victim is still a major problem for the IRS and taxpayers costing us all billions of dollars each year.  However, when someone has stolen your Social Security number and filed an income tax return using your name, the problem becomes particularly personal.  When you are a victim of income tax identity theft it can take many months to straighten out the matter with the IRS and receive your income tax refund.  The IRS recently announced that it will not be accepting 2020 federal income tax returns until February 12th which is weeks later than usual.  Taxpayers should, however, be thinking of filing their income tax returns as soon as possible because the best way to prevent becoming a victim of income tax identity theft is to file your income tax return before an identity theif does in your name.

Last week the IRS announced an expansion of its Identity Protection PIN Op-In Program that provides individual taxpayers with a six-digit code that is required to be included on the individual’s income tax return.  This will protect someone whose Social Security number had been compromised from becoming a victim of identity theft because the identity thief will not know the six-digit code.

TIPS

In addition to protecting the privacy of your Social Security number, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim of income tax identity theft is to file your income tax return as early as possible.  A criminal can successfully make you a victim of income tax identity theft only if he or she files an income tax return using your Social Security number before you file your legitimate income tax return.  Therefore the earlier you file your income tax return, the more likely you are to avoid becoming a victim of this crime.

The IRS started the Identity Theft Protection PIN program almost ten years ago, but it was only available to people who were already victims of identity theft and to people living in a few specific states chosen by the IRS to test the program.  Now anyone can and should obtain an Identity Theft Protection PIN.  The PIN is only valid for a single year and must be applied for anew each year.  In order to obtain an Identity Theft Protection PIN for this year’s income tax return you should go to http://www.IRS.gov/IPPIN and use the Get an IP PIN tool.  The process will require you to verify your identity.  Victims of income tax identity theft who have filed an identity theft affidavit with the IRS automatically receive an IP PIN by regular mail from the IRS.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 18, 2021 – New Delivery Scam

Online purchases which already were sizable have grown tremendously during the Coronavirus pandemic so it is not surprising that scammers are attempting to use that fact to create scams.  I have reported to you about delivery scams for years.  Today’s version of a delivery scam involves a phishing email such as the one reproduced below which are sent in large numbers to people with the hope and expectation that people expecting a delivery will fall for the scam.  The email indicates that an additional small payment is necessary in order to receive your package. If you click on the link provided, you are directed to an official looking payment page where you are prompted to enter personal information including your credit or debit card number.  Unfortunately, anyone doing so will have provided their credit or debit card information to a scammer who will charge the credit or debit card much more than the small amount indicated in the email.

Phishing e-mails that look like messages from a postal service asking the recipient to pay extra for parcel delivery

TIPS

There are many indications that this is a scam.  These emails have been coming from email addresses that have no relation to the delivery services from which the email purports to be sent.  Instead, the email address is often that of an unfortunate person whose email has been hijacked and made part of a botnet of computers used by scammers to send out such emails.  Also the mass produced scam email is addressed to “Dear Customer” rather than using your name.

Never click on links in emails or text messages unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate.  Otherwise you run to great a risk of downloading malware or providing information used to make you a victim of identity theft.  If you are inclined to think that the email may be legitimate, rather than click on the link and provide the requested information, you should call the real delivery service at a telephone number you know is accurate to find out the truth.  Real delivery services will provide you with a tracking number that you can use to check on the status of legitimate deliveries.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 17, 2021 – “Brushing” Continues to be a Problem

It was just last August that I first told you about “brushing” after many people in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom reported receiving unordered packages of seeds sent from China.  A wide variety of conspiracy theories quickly sufaced to explain what was happening, but the truth was that it was an example of a scam called “brushing.”   Brushing is the name for using false orders for products to boost the prominence of an online vendor.  Vendors will pay brushers to make large orders of their product and ship them to strangers to make the sales appear to be legitimate.  The brushers will follow up these purchases by posting glowing reviews of the vendor’s product.  This combination of increased sales volume and positive reviews will, in turn, result in the increased prominence of the vendor in online marketplaces and result in increased sales.  Brushing is illegal in the United States and China, however, it is quite commonly used by Chinese companies.   Now we are seeing a resurgence of this scam with people receiving a wide variety of inexpensive products that they never ordered.

TIPS

The good news is that while “brushing” is a scam, it does not directly threaten you.  The bad news is that this incident emphasizes the fact that you cannot truly trust online reviews and sales figures when determining whether you wish to purchase a particular product.  People who have contacted Amazon and other online retailers are generally told that they can either keep the products, get rid of them or donate them to a charity.  The primary takeaway, however, is that you don’t have to be concerned that you have become a victim of identity theft or some other scam if you receive an unordered item.  In order to make sure that someone has not used your credit card to order the item, you should always confirm with the seller that your credit card was not used.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 16, 2021 – J.P. Morgan Hacker Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison

Earlier this week, Andrei Tyurin, a Russian hacker was sentenced in federal court to twelve years in prison on charges of  wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit computer hacking.  The charges stemmed from a number of large data breaches done by Tyurin including, most notably the 2014 data breach of JP Morgan Chase customers in which Tyurin obtained the names, phone numbers and email addresses of 83 million of JP Morgan Chase’s customers.  Turin’s cohorts then used this information to contact these people to tout penny stocks in a classic pump and dump scam.  Penny stocks are low-priced, thinly traded stocks that are often used as the tool for scammers to take advantage of unwary investors.  Because they are so thinly traded, scammers are able to manipulate the prices so that they temporarily are able to artificially inflate the price of the stock and then sell shares the scammers had purchased at the stocks’ true low values thereby achieving a huge profit.  Scammers manipulate the stock market through telephone calls, emails, chat rooms, social media and news releases touting the stock as a great investment.  Often they purport to have inside information about a huge increase in the value of the stock that is about to occur.  Sometimes, the victims of this communications barrage receive emails that appear to have inside information indicating the stock is about to sharply rise.  These communications lure unsuspecting investors into buying the stock and thereby for a short period raise the value of the stock.  The scammers then sell their stock at the manipulated high price.   When the truth becomes known, the value of the stock shares plummet and the investors are left with tremendous losses.  This scam is called “pump and dump.”

TIPS

Investing is always risky and investing in penny stocks is particularly risky.  Any investment is only as good as the information upon which the investment is made.  Never make an investment without reliable information gleaned from legitimate, reliable sources.   Always be skeptical of purported insider information which is not only unreliable, but also can be illegal to trade upon.

Before investing with anyone, you should investigate the person offering to sell you the investment with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Central Registration Depository.  This will tell you if the broker is licensed and if there have been disciplinary procedures against him or her.  You can also check with your own state’s securities regulation office for similar information.  Many investment advisers will not be required to register with the SEC, but are required to register with your individual state’s securities regulators.   You can find your state’s agency by going to the website of the North American Securities Administrators Association. https://www.nasaa.org/investor-education/how-to-check-your-broker-or-investment-adviser/ Many investment advisers will not be required to register with the SEC, but are required to register with your individual state securities regulators.  You should also check with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for information about the particular  investment adviser. https://www.finra.org/investors/protect-your-money/ask-and-check

It is also important to remember that you should never  invest in something that you do not completely understand.  This was a mistake that many of Bernie Madoff’s victims made.You also may want to check out the SEC’s investor education website at www.investor.gov.  Scammers can be very convincing and it may sound like there is a great opportunity for someone to make some money, but you must be careful that the person making money is not the scam artist taking yours. Additionally, investing with someone merely because you trust them because you have heard them on the radio or television is dangerous.  Having the same person advise the investment and control the investment is a common thread among Ponzi schemers because it enables them to falsify documents to make the investment look profitable. Generally, for additional security it is desirable to have a separate broker-dealer act as custodian for investments chosen by an investment adviser.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – January 15, 2021 – Small Business Coronavirus Loan Scam

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reporting about a new Coronavirus related scam that is targeting the owners of small businesses who are receiving an email that purports to come from the “Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Relief.”  The email informs the business owner that their business is approved for a loan of as much as $250,000.  All that the small business owner needs to do to receive the loan is provide some personal information including the birth date and Social Security number of the small business owner.

Of course the email is a scam and anyone responding to the email by providing their personal informaiton will soon find that they have become a victim of identity theft.

Impostor scams in which the scammer poses as a government agency such as the IRS, the Social Security Administration or the Small Business Administration (SBA) are the basis of many scams in which they either lure you into clicking on links in infected emails and text messages that may download dangerous malware such as ransomware or alternatively require you to provide personal information that is used to make you a victim of identity theft

TIPS

As I often warn you, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”  Whenever you receive an email, phone call or text message, you can never be sure who is actually contacting you so you should never click on a link or provide personal informaiton unless you have absolutely verified that the communication is legitimate.

In regard to this particular scam, the SBA is not contacting anyone telling them that they are automatically eligibile for a loan for which they never applied.  If you are a small business owner seeking a loan, the best place to look for information you can trust is the website of the Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov where you can find all the information you need about legitimate Coronavirus relief programs.

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 has been 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 sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

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