Scam of the Day

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Scam of the day – August 13, 2020 – Impostor Scams Evolving

Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers.  While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the IRS or the Social Security Administration.  The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards.   Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.

Now, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this scam is evolving, particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic to the scammers calling and posing as a company, such as Amazon from whom you may have ordered merchandise online.  In the common variation of this scam now occurring, the scammer informs you that your credit card has been charged a large amount for a purchase that apparently you did not make.  They then provide a telephone number for customer service if you wish to dispute the phony order.  When you call the customer service number you are asked to confirm your username, password and credit card information.  Anyone providing this information to a scammer will soon find themselves a victim of identity theft as their credit card will be used by the scammer in short order.

TIPS

As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not.  Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Never provide personal information to anyone who calls you unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is legitimate.  In the case of this kind of impostor scam, you can’t trust the customer service number that they give you.  Instead, if you think that the call might possibly be legitimate, you should hang up on the caller and contact the real company, such as Amazon either by phone or by email.  You can get the proper contact information from the website of the company or a copy of any bill you may have from the company.  You also can check your credit card records and if you find fraudulent charges, you can dispute them immediately.

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 12, 2020 – Increase in Sophisticated Virtual Kidnapping Scams

I have been warning you about phony kidnapping scams, also known as virtual kidnapping, for seven years.  The scam starts with a telephone call informing the person answering the phone that a child or other relative has been kidnapped and if the person receiving the call does not respond by wiring money right away, the relative will be killed.  As with so many scams, we are often our own worst enemy and this scam is no exception.  In many instances, the scammers gather personal information about the intended scam victims from information that the intended victims or members of their families post on social media.  Information harvested from social media may indicate that someone is traveling on vacation making it easier to make the phony kidnapping appear legitimate.  Armed with  personal information gathered from social media, a scammer can describe the supposed kidnapped victim or provide personal information that would make it appear that indeed they actually do have the person in their custody.  Sometimes the phony kidnappers manipulate your Caller ID through  a technique called “spoofing” to make it appear that the call is coming from the supposedly kidnapped family member’s cell phone.

Many of the fake kidnapping scams, according to the FBI. are originating with calls from Mexican prisons, where in most instances the calls are being made by prisoners who have bribed guards to supply them with cell phones.

Virtual kidnappings are a worldwide problem.  Recently in Australia, there has been a significant increase in the number of virtual kidnappings particularly targeting Chinese college students studying in Australia.  In one variation of the virtual kidnapping scam as it is being done in Australia, the scam starts with a robocall that purports to inform the person receiving the call that a package needs to be delivered to them.  If the victim continues with the call, he or she speaks with someone who talks to them in Mandarin, asks for personal information and promises to call back.  However, the follow-up call, which purports to be from the Chinese government informs the person receiving the call that the package contains illegal contraband and threatens the scam victim with deportation or imprisonment.  By “spoofing” the call, the scammers can make the call appear on Caller ID as if the call is originating from the Chinese embassy.  The targeted scam victim is then told that in order to avoid these problems, they must immediately check into a hotel, turn off their phone and not communicate with anyone.  In some instances, the victim is told to send a photo or video of them in the hotel.  Meanwhile, the scammers then contact the parents of the student, telling them that their son or daughter has been kidnapped and they provide the photo or video as evidence of the fact that this is a real kidnapping.  A ransom demand follows and ransoms have been paid of as much as 2 million Australian dollars to the scammers.

TIPS

Always be skeptical if you receive such a call.  Never wire money to anyone for anything unless you are totally convinced that what you are doing is legitimate because unlike paying for something with a credit card, once your wired funds have been sent, they are impossible to get back.  Talk to the alleged kidnapper as long as possible, thereby giving someone else with you the time to call  or text the alleged kidnap victim on his or her smartphone.   If the purported kidnapping victim is a young child, call the school to confirm that he or she is safe.   You also could ask the kidnapper to describe your relative as well as provide information, such as his or her birth date, which could be found on a driver’s license, however, it is important to remember that much of this kind of information may be available through social media or elsewhere on the Internet. It also can be helpful for the family to have a code word to use to immediately recognize that this is a scam. If the kidnapper can’t provide the code word, it is clear that it is a scam.

Many of these kidnapping scams are originating in Mexico so be particularly skeptical if you receive the telephone call from Mexico which has many area codes which can be found by clicking on this link.  http://dialcode.org/North_America/Mexico/  Other hotspots for this scam have been in Taiwan and Cuba.

In regard to this particular version of the virtual kidnapping scam, it is important to remember that no Chinese authorities will contact students and demand money to be paid.

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 11, 2020 – Shimmers Causing Credit Card Problems

Skimmers are small electronic devices that are easily installed by an identity thief on gas pumps,  ATMs and other card reading devices. The skimmer steals all of the information from the magnetic strip credit card or debit card used which then permits the identity thief to use that information to access the victim’s bank account when the skimmer is used on a debit card.  If a credit card is used, the identity thief can use the stolen information to access the victim’s credit card account.  Each skimmer can hold information on as many as 2,400 cards. In order to combat this fraud industry issued credit card rules that required new EMV smart chip credit card equipment be installed by retailers to process these cards by October 1, 2015 in order for the retailer to avoid liability.   Wider implementation of the use of EMV chip cards at retail stores has resulted in a dramatic reduction in data breaches and credit card fraud at retailers using this equipment.   The deadline for the installation of EMV chip card readers at gas pumps was originally scheduled for October 1, 2017.  The deadline was later extended to October 1, 2020 and around the country there has been an increase in the use of skimmers installed by criminals at gas pumps. The EMV chip cards are more secure because the chip issues a new one-time authorization number each time that the card is used so that stealing the number used in a particular transaction is of no value to an identity thief.

But beginning in 2018 and continuing now with increased frequency we have a new problem that is affecting EMV chip cards. Shimmers are thin devices that can be inserted into the slot where an EMV chip card is inserted and can take the credit card number from the chip and use that information to make a duplicate non-chip credit card that can be used at magnetic swipe credit card processing readers. This flaw in the chip only occurs if the particular credit card issuer fails to use an integrated circuit card verification value (iCVV), not be confused with the CVV number that appears on all credit cards. The iCVV prevents the information on the chip from being stolen and used to create counterfeit magnetic stripe credit cards. Unfortunately, some banks issuing credit cards are failing to properly implement the iCVV chip card technology.

TIPS
We as consumers are always better off using our chip credit cards rather than magnetic stripe credit cards whenever possible. As for places that do not use chip card technology, always look for signs of tampering on any machine you use to swipe your credit card or debit card.  If the card inserting mechanism appears loose or in any other way tampered, don’t use it.   Debit cards, when compromised through a skimmer put the customers at risk of having the bank accounts tied to their cards entirely emptied if the theft is not promptly reported and even if the victim reports the theft immediately, the victims lose access to their bank accounts while the matter is investigated by the bank.   Debit cards should not be used for purchases at gas pumps or for other retail purchases because the legal liability laws related to stolen debit card information are not as protective to consumers as the laws relating to fraudulent credit card use.  In any event, you should regularly monitor your credit card statements and bank statements in order to detect and report identity theft as soon as possible.

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 10, 2020 – New Sophisticated Netflix Phishing 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.  Smishing scams are increasing in frequency.  Earlier this year I told you about a smishing text message that appeared to come from Netflix that lured people into clicking on a link that took them to a phony, but legitimate appearing Netflix page that asked for your Netflix username, password and credit card number.  If you supplied this information, you became a victim of identity theft.

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.

Just recently, however, some sophisticated scammers have started sending out phishing emails purportedly from Netflix Support that  have been able to bypass many email spam filters and has proven to be quite convincing in luring unsuspecting victims into providing their credit card numbers.  “Notice of Verification Failure” appears in the subject line of the email and you are informed in the email that there is a problem with your billing and that you need to confirm your information within 24 hours in order to prevent your account from being terminated.  One particular element of the scam that makes it appear legitimate is the use of a fully functioning CAPTCHA page used by many legitimate websites to screen out robots.  In this case once the victim has correctly filled in the CAPTCHA information, he or she is taken to a legitimate appearing, but phony Netflix website that will attempt to get you to provide your login credentials, billing address information and, most importantly, your credit card information.

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.  In this particular scam, a strong indication that this is a scam is that the URL of the page you are taken to is not Netflix.com, but rather axxisgeo.com which has nothing to do with Netflix.

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 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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 9, 2020 – Coronavirus Cryptocurrency Scam

Although cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, may seem to be new. I have been writing in Scamicide.com about cryptocurrency scams for more than five years. Cryptocurrencies are legitimate, but scammers are increasingly taking advantage of the public’s fascination with cryptocurrencies to take old forms of scams and update them with a cryptocurrency twist.   In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, scammers are sending immense numbers of emails to people that appear to come from one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchanges are websites where you can buy, sell or exchange cryptocurrencies for other digital currency or traditional currency like US dollars or Euros.  In these emails the targeted victim of the scam is told that due to some issue related to the Coronavirus, there is a problem with their account at the particular cryptocurrency exchange.  The scammer then attempts to lure the targeted victim into clicking on a link in the email that supposedly will take them to their account with the exchange, however, the website it takes the victim to is a fake version of the real cryptocurrency exchange’s website and lures the targeted victim into providing their user name and password which then enables the scammer to empty the victim’s account.

TIPS

Obviously if you do not have an account with the particular cryptocurrency exchange that appears to be sending you the phishing email, you can safely ignore the email.  If you do have an account with the particular cryptocurrency exchange, there are still a number of red flags to alert you to the particular email being a scam.  Often, the email address of the sender will not have any relation to the email address of the real cryptocurrency exchange and will, in fact, be the email address of a victim of a bot net whose computer was hacked and is used to send out phishing emails and other scams.  Another red flag is if the email does not refer to you by name or provide your account number.  However, even if the email looks entirely legitimate, you can never be sure whenever you get an email if it is legitimate or not and so it is always prudent to refrain from clicking on any links or providing any personal information in response to an email unless you have absolutely confirmed that it is legitimate.  In this case, the best course of action would be to not respond directly to the email, but rather contact the cryptocurrency exchange independently to confirm whether or not the email was a scam.

Finally, and most importantly, it is critical to use dual factor authentication for cryptocurrency exchange accounts so that even if someone were to manage to obtain your user name and password, he or she would not be able to access your account.  Dual factor authentication is important to use whenever you can, but it is particularly important to use to secure cryptocurrency accounts to prevent an identity thief from stealing your account.

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 8, 2020 – Jury Duty Scam Revisited

I have been warning you about the jury duty scam for eight years, but it continues to snare many unwary victims. Generally, the scam starts with a telephone call that you receive purportedly from a law enforcement officer informing you that you have failed to appear for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.  You are told, however, that you can avoid arrest and greater fines by purchasing gift cards and then sending photographs of the gift cards to the phony law enforcement officer to prove that they have been purchased.  You are then told that you should then mail the gift cards to the local Clerk of Court’s office.   Of course the call is a scam even though your caller ID may indicate that the call is from local law enforcement. An FBI warning two years ago about this type of scam noted that often the scammers will use a technique called “spoofing” to make the call appear on your Caller ID as if it is coming from a legitimate law enforcement agency or court.   The scammer is able to get all of the information he or she needs to tap into the gift cards through the photos sent by your phone.  Telling you to mail the now worthless gift cards to the local Clerk of Court’s office is done merely to make the request seem legitimate.  It is also important to remember that even if you have missed jury duty, you will never be called by legitimate court officers and shaken down for a payment.  It is also important to remember that no government agency accepts gift cards as payments so any time you are asked by a purported law enforcement officer, IRS agent or any other government agency employee to pay through a gift card, you can be sure it is a scam.

In another variation of the jury duty scam, when you respond that you have not missed jury duty, you are asked to provide your Social Security number for verification of your identity.  In this case, the scammer is seeking your Social Security number to make you a victim of identity theft.

A new variation of the scam involves the scammers calling your parents or other relatives posing as law enforcement officials seeking to find you in regard to your missed jury duty.  Often the scammers use the name of real local police officers whose names they easily are able to obtain online.  Some people are more apt to trust the initial call to their relative when they are told that law enforcement is looking for them.  In other instances, using a search engine to look up the name of the police officer who purportedly called you or your relative may make the call seem legitimate when you find that the name is that of an actual local officer although it is merely a scammer using the real officer’s name.

TIPS

Initial contacts from courts regarding jury duty are always in writing through the mail although some systems will permit you to receive future notices through email.  Under no circumstances will you receive telephone calls or text messages indicating that you have failed to report for jury duty.  No court will demand payment over the phone for failing to appear for jury duty and they will not ask for your Social Security number.  If you do receive such a call and you think that there is even the possibility that you might have forgotten to report for jury duty, merely call the local clerk of courts in order to  get accurate information. Of course anyone calling you and telling you that you can pay your fine to them over the phone  is a scammer.

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 7, 2020 – New Chase Phishing Email

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.

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

 

Unauthorized access detected
We need your help securing you account to prevent any unauthorized access. For your safety, there may be some limitations on your account if the information isn’t correct. We take our users security too seriously
Verify your Identity
Contact Us

 

TIPS

There are a number of indications that this is not a legitimate email from Chase, but instead is a phishing email. Legitimate companies would refer to your specific account number in the email. In addition, 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. 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 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.

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 6, 2020 – FTC Sues Company Selling Phony Coronavirus Treatments

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread both in the United States and worldwide with many people rightfully concerned about contracting the disease.  I have been warning you about coronavirus related scams since February.   In particular I have reported on the efforts of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop scammers from preying on the fears of people by selling them worthless or even harmful phony cures and treatments.  Recently, the FTC filed a complaint against Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical, Inc. a California company falsely claiming that its $23,000 treatment plan would effectively cure the Coronavirus within two to four days.  It is important to remember that the World Health Organization has stated that there are ” no known effective therapeutics” available to prevent or treat the coronavirus.

According to FTC Chairman Joe Simons, “There is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus.  What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.”

Selling phony medical cures, according to the FTC, is nothing new for Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical, Inc. which the FTC says also has sold a variety of bogus dietary supplements intended to treat cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other serious health conditions with some of their treatments costing as much as $100,000.

TIPS

As for healthcare products in general, you should be skeptical about companies that promise miraculous cures to illnesses and medical conditions.  The world is full of snake oil salesmen.  You should also be wary of any healthcare product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements. The best course of action is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular product or program before you buy it.  As for the Coronavirus specifically, the best places to get reliable information are  the World Health Organization https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus and the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html  You also can find trustworthy Coronavirus treatment information at the website of the FDA. https://www.fda.gov/patients/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-resources-patients

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 5, 2020 – American Express Phishing Email

Today’s Scam of the day is about a phishing email that purports to be from American Express. The graphics, grammar and overall appearance of the email is not very convincing. In addition, it does not even carry the American Express logo, which is a simple thing to counterfeit.   As always, the purpose of a phishing email is to lure you into clicking on links contained within the email or providing personal information. If you click on the links, you end up downloading malware and if you provide the requested information, it ends up being used to make you a victim of identity theft. This particular email indicates that unauthorized activity was detected on your American Express card and that you must review your account activity by clicking on a link in the email.  Don’t do it!  If you do you will provide your account information to an identity thief.  The phishing email is reproduced below.   One sign that this is a scam is that the email salutation is “Dear Customer” instead of using your name.  Other indications that this is a scam are that the email does not indicate your account number and finally, the email address from which it was sent is not an email address of American Express, but most likely that of someone whose email address was hacked and made a part of a botnet. Here is the phishing email.

 

Dear Customer

There’s been activity in your American Express Online account that seems unusual compared to your normal account activities on.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

For your records, the confirmation number is 0hPsCfpq0Q7q.
For your protection your account is automatically locked until verify your account.
Click Here to Review Online Activity

TIPS

Never click on links or download attachments in emails or text messages unless you have absolutely confirmed that they are legitimate. If you receive an email such as this and you have the slightest thought that it might be legitimate, you should call the 800 number on the back of your credit card to confirm that this is a scam. Finally, be careful if you do make the call to your credit card company because in some instances, enterprising scammers will purchase phone numbers that are only a digit off from those of legitimate credit card companies or banks in an effort to snare people who may mistakenly misdial the number when trying to contact their credit card company or bank.

I have disarmed the link in the original phishing email, but if you hovered your mouse over “Click Here to Review Online Activity” in the actual phishing email, you would see that the link would not take you to an American Express related website.

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 click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 4, 2020 – Census Scams

The United States Census Bureau is conducting a national census as it is required by law to do every ten years.  The Census is very important and is required by the Constitution.  Census data is used to determine the numbers of members for each state in the House of Representatives which also affects the Electoral College.  The Census Bureau will be contacting Americans in a variety of ways including phone calls, letters and even Census Bureau workers who will come to your home.  As a part of the census, you will be asked for much personal information, which makes the census a perfect vehicle for identity thieves to pose as census workers in an effort to lure you into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  A key thing to remember is that the real Census Bureau will never ask you for your Social Security number, bank account numbers or credit card numbers.  Anyone posing as a census worker who asks for that information is an identity thief.  Earlier this year in Dallas, Robert Cooper was tricked into providing his Medicare number when completing an official-appearing census form he received in the mail.  The real Census Bureau may ask if you have health insurance, but it will never ask for your Medicare card number or health insurance account number.

TIPS

Last March the real United States Census Bureau began sending official letters to everyone regarding the census.  You could respond either online, by phone or through the mail.  Obviously it is important to make sure that you are providing your information to the United States Census Bureau and not an identity thief.  The United States Census Bureau suggests that people go to their website for information about how to confirm when you are contacted by mail, phone or in person whether you are being contacted by a legitimate representative of the United States Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/surveyhelp/verify-a-survey.html  however, personally, I don’t think their advice is up to the task and their advice also requires too much effort.  The better way to deal with providing your census information is to provide your information online directly to the census bureau through its website of http://www.census.gov.

People who have not yet filled in a census form started being contacted by phone by census workers a few days ago.  Unfortunately, whenever you are contacted by phone you can never be sure who is really contacting you.  By using a technique called “spoofing” a scammer can make his or her call appear on your Caller ID as if the call is coming from the census bureau when it is actually coming from a scammer.  I still believe that the safest way to complete the census form is online.  The deadline for completing the census form is October 31st, but I urge you to complete it now if you have not done so already.

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.

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