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Scam of the day – August 21, 2019 – Your Facebook Account Probably Wasn’t Hacked

Today’s Scam of the day is one about which I have written in the past, however it continues to pop up frequently and deserves to be discussed again. Many people are receiving a Facebook post from friends saying their account had been hacked and not to accept friend requests by them. Many people cut and pasted the message and sent it out to all of their friends as the post asked them to do. However, there is no need to panic. The message is a hoax.

If one of your friends actually received a friend request that appeared to come from you, it does not mean that your account was hacked. It does mean however that your account was cloned in the sense that someone has set up a Facebook account or some other social media account in your name or a slight variation of it in order to trick people into trusting messages that they post, to lure them into scams or to trick them into clicking on links containing malware. This is nothing new. Facebook estimates that there are as many as 60 million phony cloned Facebook accounts including hundreds of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook tries to remove the cloned accounts when it becomes aware of them, but they spring up again soon thereafter. If you do find that someone has set up a Facebook account in your name, you should contact Facebook as soon as possible in order for Facebook to take action to cancel the phony cloned account. Here is a link you can use to report such a phony or cloned account.  https://www.facebook.com/help/306643639690823?helpref=uf_permalink

TIPS

As indicated above, if you do receive a friend request from someone who already is a Facebook friend of yours, you should contact the friend to let them know that their Facebook account has been cloned so they can report it to Facebook and get the phony, cloned account taken down. It is also important to remember that there will be times that you are contacted by what appear to be real friends or acquaintances where the truth is that it really is not them contacting you, but someone posing as them. Never click on links in any email or text message unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. Never provide personal information in response to any communication as well until you have confirmed that it is legitimate. As I always warn you, trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

This is probably also a good time to remind you about steps you can take to actually make your Facebook account more impervious to actually being hacked.  The first thing you should do is make sure you have a strong password.  For some advice about choosing a strong password, go to the Search  scams tab in www.scamicide.com and write in “strong password” which will bring up a number of Scams of the day in which I described how to pick a strong password.  You should also enable two factor authentication for your account which will dramatically strengthen the security of your Facebook account. Here is a link with more information about how to install dual factor authentication for your Facebook account. https://m.facebook.com/help/148233965247823?helpref=faq_content  You also may want to review your privacy settings on Facebook to make them less vulnerable to hackers. Here is a link with more information about adjusting your privacy settings on Facebook.  https://m.facebook.com/help/193677450678703?helpref=hc_fnav&refid=69

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Scam of the day – August 20, 2019 – Marine Charity Scammer Sentenced to Prison

What could possibly go wrong with a charity called “Marines and Mickey” that would pay for the cost of Disney vacations for military families as well as cover the travel coasts of people to see family members graduate from marine boot camp in South Carolina and California?  The problem was with the charity’s founder, John Shannon Simpson who scammed donors out of almost a half a million dollars.  Simpson, who presented himself as a retired Marine master sergeant was able to leverage his knowledge of the Marines with his skills as a conman to convince people to give to his charity. The truth is that while Simpson had been in the Marines, he never achieved the rank of master sergeant and was court-martialed for going AWOL.  While he claimed that 100% of donated funds would go to help military families, less than 20% of donations were used for those charitable purposes.  He kept the rest of the rest of the funds.  Ultimately Simpson was charged and convicted of wire fraud.  In July he was sentenced to four years in prison.

TIPS

Phony charities have always proven to be profitable to scammers.  By following a few simple rules, however, you can keep from becoming scammed.  Never provide credit card information over the phone to someone soliciting on behalf of a charity, even if the charity is one that you know is legitimate.  You can never be sure of the true identity of anyone contacting you by phone.  Even if your Caller ID indicates the call is from a legitimate charity, it is simple for a scammer to “spoof” a telephone number and make it appear as if his or her call is legitimate.  Most importantly, before you give to any charity, check out the charity with www.charitynavigator.org where you can learn whether or not the charity itself is a scam. You can also see how much of the money that the charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs.

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 19, 2019 – Phony Microsoft Email About Unusual Activity

The whole idea behind phishing or spear phishing emails is to lure you into clicking on links that may be infected with malware or tricking you into supplying personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  The email reproduced below which appears to come from MIcrosoft is one of the most convincing phishing emails I have ever encountered, but it is a fake.  It looks like a legitimate email from Microsoft alerting you to unusual sign-in activity, which can be an indication that your account has been hacked.  The email address from which it is sent appears legitimate, although skilled hackers can disguise email addresses to make them appear as if they are coming from legitimate email addresses.  The organization of the email is also good.  It looks just like a legitimate notice of unusual activity you might actually receive from Microsoft.  Unless you are particularly skeptical, it is easy to fall for this phishing email.  In the case of this phishing email, if you click on the “Review recent activity” link you will be taken to a phony landing page that appears to be Microsoft, where you are prompted to sign in with your credentials.  Unfortunately, if you do, you will have turned over these credentials to an identity thief who can then use your Microsoft account.

Here is how the phishing email appears:

“Microsoft account team (account-security-noreply@accountprotection.microsoft.com)To:you Details
Microsoft account
Unusual sign-in activity
We detected something unusual about a recent sign-in to the Microsoft account st*****@gmail.com.
Sign-in details
Country/region: United States
IP address: 12.208.27.6
Date: 11/14/2018 2:36 PM (GMT)
Platform: Windows
Browser: Chrome
Please go to your recent activity page to let us know whether or not this was you. If this wasn’t you, we’ll help you secure your account. If this was you, we’ll trust similar activity in the future.
Review recent activity
To opt out or change where you receive security notifications, click here.  (DON’T CLICK ON LINK)
Thanks,
The Microsoft account team”

TIPS

Trust me, you can’t trust anyone is my motto.  If you get an email such as the one above, you should not click on any of the links or provide any information.  If you have concerns and want to follow up in a safe manner, go the following website https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13967/microsoft-account-unusual-sign-in which is part of the real Microsoft website which provides information about what to do in regard to checking to see if there are problems and provides a legitimate link to review the activity of your account.

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 18,2019 – Scam Apps found on the App Store

I have been warning you about the dangers posed by phony apps for more than three years.  Recently numerous sources have been reporting about phony apps turning up in the Apple App Store. While everyone should recognize the risk of downloading apps from unofficial sources, it has generally been believed that you are safe downloading an app from legitimate sources such as the Apple App Store or Google Play where apps are vetted before being made available to the public.  However, it appears that lately there has been an increase in dangerous phony apps appearing in the Apple App Store and Google Play with most of them originating in China. One of the recent phony apps appearing on the App store is a iOS heart rate monitor app that had previously been removed from the App store when the scam was initially recognized.  The app claims to use the fingerprint Touch ID scanner found on some iPhones to measure your pulse.  However what it actually does is use your fingerprint to approve an in-app purchase of $89.  A recent report done by Apps Exposed found more than 500 phony apps on the App Store performing similar scams.  Many of these phony apps raise their app scores with fake five-star reviews.

TIPS

It is still a good idea to limit your downloading of apps to legitimate sources such as the Apple App Store and Google Play to avoid malware infected apps.  However phony apps will get by the vetting process for the Apple App Store and Google Play so you cannot totally trust an app to be legitimate merely because it appears in one of those two places.  Apps Exposed maintains a list of phony apps which you can check here.  https://appsexposed.home.blog     Before downloading any app, read the reviews carefully.  While scammers will write glowing phony reviews about their apps to increase their rating, their reviews are usually cursory and do not provide much information.  In addition, to protect yourself,  make sure that you have installed security software on your phone and that it is updated with the latest security patches.

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 17, 2019 – Progress in the Battle Against Robocalls.

Over the years I have written numerous times about the problems presented by robocalls and with good reason.  Automated robocalls which, for commercial purposes, are illegal, are the number one consumer complaint reported by the public to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at a cost to consumers of billions of dollars each year. The ease by which illegal robocalls may be made by computers accounts for much of the problem.  Americans received more 4.4 billion robocalls last month and while the problem here is bad, robocalls are a worldwide phenomenon with Spain, United Kingdom, Italy and France all receiving more robocalls than the United States.

Earlier this year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted a new rule that allows cell phone carriers to automatically drop robocalls through the use of technology that is able to identify illegal robocalls and block them. This technology is called the SHAKEN/STIR standard. SHAKEN/STIR is an acronym for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information using toKENs and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited.  The rule leaves it up to the mobile phone carriers as whether they will charge their customers for this service although the FCC has encouraged the carriers to provide these services at no cost.  SHAKEN/STIR technology verifies calls with a symbol on your phone indicating that the person calling you is legitimate and  is actually calling you from the number that appears on your screen.  While it doesn’t block robocalls, it does let you know if the call is legitimate so you can decide not to answer shady calls.  The FCC required all phone networks to implement the technology by the end of of 2019, however it appears the phone carriers are going to beat that deadline. Now AT&T and T-Mobile announced that SHAKEN/STIR is available for calls between those two networks.  Previously they had only implemented its use for calls within their own networks.  This is not a cure-all, but it is definitely a big step in the battle against phone fraud.

TIPS

While SHAKEN/STIR is important, it is not the only weapon against robocalls.  As I first reported to you in the May 16th Scam of the day,  Verizon has recently implemented new services to help its customers avoid illegal robocalls.  The new Call Filter service offers spam alerts and new protections from robocalls for its wireless customers.  Customers will receive alerts when a call is most likely a scam.  The new Call Filter service will also automatically block robocalls based of the customer’s preferred risk level.  The Call Filter service is offered in a free version and an enhanced version that among other things will enable customers to create a personal robocall block list.  For more information about the Call Filter Services and how to sign up go to https://www.verizonwireless.com/solutions-and-services/call-filter/

There are a number of other options for preventing robocalls including a number of apps that for free or a small fee will  reduce and in some instances prevent robocalls.
Samsung’s SmartCall informs you if the call you are receiving is from a known robocaller. This feature is available with newer Samsung Galaxy phones. Here is a link to information about SmartCall and instructions as to how to activate this app.
http://www.samsung.com/levant/apps/smart-call/

Google also has a spam blocker that will warn you when you are receiving a robocall and your screen will turn red. Here is a link to information about the app and how to install it.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.dialer&hl=en

AT&T also offers free apps to block robocalls on iPhones and Android phones. Here is a link to information about these apps.
https://www.att.com/features/security-apps.html?partner=LinkShare&siteId=TnL5HPStwNw-yrUS1uDw9WGvN._xt67yew&source=ECay0000000CEL00O

Verizon’s CallerName ID is a free service for iPhones and Android phones that will alert you to suspected robocallers. Here is a link to Verizon’s app.
https://www.verizonwireless.com/solutions-and-services/caller-name-id/

T-Mobile offers a free scam blocker of known robocallers for Android phones which you can activate by merely dialing #662#

Sprint offers a paid service to protect your iPhone or Android phone from robocalls. For more information, use this link
http://explore.t-mobile.com/callprotection

For landlines as well as smartphones there are a number of apps such as Nomorobo, Truecaller, Hiya, RoboKiller and YouMail that offer robocall blocking for free or for small monthly charges. Here is a link to those apps. I have used Nomorobo for years and find it to be tremendously useful

https://www.nomorobo.com/
https://www.truecaller.com/
https://hiya.com/
https://www.robokiller.com/
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.youmail.android.vvm&hl=en_US                                                                                                                                                                        https://www.youmail.com/home/apps

Finally, you can just choose to ignore any calls that come from numbers you do not recognize.   This is a good option.  If they are legitimate calls, they will leave a message and you can call them back.

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 16, 2019 – New FTC Website With Do Not Call and Robocall Data

Since it began in 2003, the National Do Not Call list has grown to include  more than 235 million phone numbers.  When you register your phone number with the Do Not Call list it becomes illegal for telemarketers to contact you by phone.  The Do Not Call list does not apply to charities so you still may be contacted by charities even if you have registered for the Do Not Call list. However, when you receive a call from someone purporting to be representing a charity, you can never be sure who is really calling so you should never give your credit card number to someone who calls you allegedly from a charity. If you are interested in donating to a particular charity, contact the charity directly to make your contribution.

If you are registered for the Do Not Call list and you do receive a call from a telemarketer, you can be confident that the call is a scam because no legitimate telemarketer would call you if you are enrolled in the Do Not Call list. It is also important to note that while telemarketing is not in and of itself illegal, telemarketing through robocalls is always illegal.   Registering for the Do Not Call list will not stop robocalls. Illegal automated robocalls continue to be a major source of complaint for many people with the most common subjects of illegal robocalls being debt reduction, vacation and timeshares and warranty plans.

The FTC has now created an interactive public web page that provides a wealth of information about the Do Not Call Registry and robocalls.  Included in the information on the new web page are the types of calls prompting the most complaints.  Presently the most complained of calls relate to phony debt reduction schemes.  Here is the link to the new web page.  https://public.tableau.com/profile/federal.trade.commission?utm_source=govdelivery#!/vizhome/DoNotCallComplaints/Maps

TIPS

Registering for the do not call list is easy and free.  Merely go to www.donotcall.gov to register your phone number.

There are a number of other options for preventing robocalls including a number of apps that for free or a small fee will  reduce and in some instances prevent robocalls.
Samsung’s SmartCall informs you if the call you are receiving is from a known robocaller. This feature is available with newer Samsung Galaxy phones. Here is a link to information about SmartCall and instructions as to how to activate this app.
http://www.samsung.com/levant/apps/smart-call/

Google also has a spam blocker that will warn you when you are receiving a robocall and your screen will turn red. Here is a link to information about the app and how to install it.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.dialer&hl=en

AT&T also offers free apps to block robocalls on iPhones and Android phones. Here is a link to information about these apps.
https://www.att.com/features/security-apps.html?partner=LinkShare&siteId=TnL5HPStwNw-yrUS1uDw9WGvN._xt67yew&source=ECay0000000CEL00O

Verizon’s CallerName ID is a free service for iPhones and Android phones that will alert you to suspected robocallers. Here is a link to Verizon’s app.
https://www.verizonwireless.com/solutions-and-services/caller-name-id/

T-Mobile offers a free scam blocker of known robocallers for Android phones which you can activate by merely dialing #662#

Sprint offers a paid service to protect your iPhone or Android phone from robocalls. For more information, use this link
http://explore.t-mobile.com/callprotection

For landlines as well as smartphones there are a number of apps such as Nomorobo, Truecaller, Hiya, RoboKiller and YouMail that offer robocall blocking for free or for small monthly charges. Here is a link to those apps. I have used Nomorobo for years and find it to be tremendously useful

https://www.nomorobo.com/
https://www.truecaller.com/
https://hiya.com/
https://www.robokiller.com/
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.youmail.android.vvm&hl=en_US

https://www.youmail.com/home/apps

Finally, you can just choose to ignore any calls that come from numbers you do not recognize.   This is a good option.  If they are legitimate calls, they will leave a message and you can call them back.

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 15, 2019 – LinkedIn Phishing and Job Scams

LinkedIn is a popular social media website used by business professionals to network with other professionals.  According to LinkedIn, it has more than 500 million users.  LinkedIn is used by these people to get ideas, explore opportunities and even to list job postings.  Anything with 500 million members is attractive to scam artists so it is not surprising that scammers attempt to use LinkedIn as a basis for many scams and identity theft schemes.  A recent report from KnowBe4 a security training company found that 56% of the most common phishing and spear phishing emails purport to come from LinkedIn.  Using phony phishing and spear phishing emails that appear to come from popular social media companies have increased 75% already this year.  These phishing and spear phishing emails lure you into trusting them and into either supplying them with personal information that is used to make you a victim of identity theft or entice you into clicking on a malware infected link that may infect your computer, phone or other device with various strains of malware such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware that can lead to identity theft.  The most common themes in LinkedIn phishing emails involve password reset emails and phony log-in alerts.  Other scams connected to LinkedIn  involve phony job listings. Security software company Symantec  issued a warning about an increase of LinkedIn job scams.   Symantec identified a common pattern found in many of these phony job listings on  LinkedIn.  The pattern includes fake accounts set up by the scammers posing as recruiters for nonexistent businesses.  They also often use photographs of women that they obtain from websites that provide images or copied from other online sources.  To make the ads seem more legitimate, they will  copy the exact wording of real advertisements appearing elsewhere.   What makes this scam particularly dangerous is that real recruiters use LinkedIn to contact prospective job recruits.  While some of the older job scams would ask for money from their victims to pay for credit checks or other administrative costs, the newer scams seem primarily to be done with a goal of gaining information, such as email addresses and other information about the people targeted and the companies where they work in order to facilitate directed spear phishing used to lure employees to unwittingly download malware into their companies’ computers.

TIPS

There are a number of indications that phishing emails that purport to be from LinkedIn are bogus. Often the email address from which it is sent has nothing to do with LinkedIn, but most likely was from a hacked email account that is a part of a botnet of computers controlled remotely by the scammer.  In addition, they also often use the generic greeting “Dear LinkedIn User,” unlike the real LInkedIn which would specifically direct the email to you by your name. Another indication of phishing emails is often poor grammar.   English is often not the primary language of many scammers based around the world and it shows in their grammar.

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 webpage 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 will download keystroke logging malware that will steal all of your personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.  If you receive an email that asks for personal information or instructs you to click on a link and you think it may possibly be legitimate, merely call the company at a telephone number you know is accurate where you can confirm that it is a scam and 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 companies to trap you if you make a mistake in dialing the real number.

Although LinkedIn and other websites that carry job postings try to identify and either prevent or remove phony ads from appearing on their websites, you cannot depend on these companies to fully protect you.  Certainly a little skepticism helps when you see a job posting for a job that sounds too good to be true.  Ads that ask for you to pay upfront costs for any reason should be considered to be a scam.

To check on the legitimacy of photographs in these ads you can do a reverse image search using Google or websites such as tineye.com.  You can also check to see if the wording of the advertisement has been used elsewhere by merely copying a substantial amount of the text into your search engine and see what comes up.  Finally, research the company itself to determine if it is a legitimate company.  You can’t be too careful before providing someone with personal information.

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 14, 2019 – Combined Gift Card and Counterfeit Check Scam

Today’s Scam of the day was prompted by a Scamicide reader who unfortunately lost more than a thousand dollars to a scam that combined a common gift card scam with a counterfeit check scam.  The Scamicide reader who unselfishly contacted me to alert others to this scam, went on to the website Rover.com which is a legitimate website where pet owners can find dog boarding, house sitting, dog walking and other pet related services.  The Scamicide reader was contacted by the scammer posing as a dog owner who claimed he was moving to the area where the Scamicide reader lived and he needed someone to perform errands related to the dog he would be bringing with him when he moved.    The scammer sent a check for $2,000 to the Scamicide reader to cover the costs and also the fees for the Scamicide reader.  He next asked if the Scamicide reader would purchase some Amazon gift cards and provide him with the card numbers.  The scammer said he needed the Amazon gift cards to buy fish and fish tanks.  Of course the check sent to the Scamicide reader was counterfeit and bounced, leaving the Scamicide reader losing his own money he used to buy the gift cards.

One reason that gift cards are favored by scammers is that they are easy to obtain at many stores and all that the scammer needs in order to access the funds deposited into the card is the sixteen digit code on the back of the card which can be given to the scammer over the phone. In this particular scam, there would be no reason the scammer couldn’t purchase his own gift cards.

TIPS

Gift card scams are easy to spot.   Payments for products, services, IRS payments or even to help that needy grandchild in a foreign country who has gotten into some trouble are never legitimately done through gift cards so anytime that someone requires payment in this fashion for anything, you can be sure it is a scam. Be wary whenever you are asked to wire funds or send gift cards because this is a common theme in many scams because it is difficult to trace and impossible to stop. Legitimate companies do not use gift cards as payments.

Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on provisional credit which is given after a few days, but which will be rescinded once a check bounces and never accept a check for more than what is owed with the intention to send back the rest. That is always a scam.

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 13, 2019 – Scammers Settle FTC Student Debt Relief Scam Charges

It was just a little over a month ago, in the July 4, 2019 Scam of the day that I told you about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settling its claims with Tuan Duong  who swindled  his victims out of more than eleven million dollars through his California based company by falsely promising to reduce or even eliminate student loan payments.  He also charged illegal upfront fees for his purported debt relief services.  Under the terms of the settlement, Duong, a repeat offender, is banned from participating in debt relief services and must pay the FTC $11,000,215.25  More than forty-two million Americans have student loans with an outstanding balance of more than 1.4 trillion dollars so it is no surprise that scammers are focusing their attention on these students and former students through scams that falsely promise to provide debt relief. Now the FTC has announced that it has settled with two other defendants involved in the scam with Duong.  One of the defendants, Brenda Avitia-Pena has been order to pay 11 million dollars as a condition of the settlement.  Ms. Avitia-Pena perpetrated her student loan scams through her company, Impetus Enterprise, Inc.

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.

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.  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/

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 www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – August 12, 2019 – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Scam

It has been more than a year since I first warned you about scams related to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but after receiving an email from a Scamicide reader telling me his story about almost becoming a victim of this particular scam, I decided that it was a good time to remind you all about this scam.  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a well-known, legitimate charity founded by Microsoft creator Bill Gates and his wife. It does not give random grants to people, however since 2015 a scam based on that premise has been victimizing people. Sometimes potential victims of this scam are targeted through emails.  Other times, such as in the case of the Scamicide reader it was through a Facebook message.  Below is a copy of an email that has been used to perpetrate this scam.. As with many similar scams, when someone responds to the email they are told that they need to pay a fee in order to receive their prize. One recent victim paid $11,000 to the scammers before she realized that it was a scam.  The Scamicide reader was told that through the scam he was told he had to pay a delivery charge of approximately $625.

“DONATION
When Tuesday, 06 February 2018
04:30 AM to 05:30 AM
(GMT) Greenwich Mean Time – Dublin / Edinburgh / Lisbon / London
WhereWrite to my private email **********************@gmail.com
Message Welcome to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), also known as the Gates Foundation, is a private foundation founded by me, I, Bill Gates and my wife Melinda Gates have decided to donate $1,400,000.00 to randomly selected individuals worldwide from the funds we Mapped out to help people and you are among the lucky individual, i saw your profile on Microsoft email owners list and i picked you, Kindly get back to me at your earliest convenience, so I know your email address is valid. Thanks Bill Gates”

TIPS

Lottery and sweepstakes scams continue to snare people because too many of us get blinded by our own greed to remember that while it is difficult to win any lottery, it is impossible to win one that you have never entered.  Further, no legitimate lottery ever will ask you to pay anything to claim your prize.  While income taxes are owed on lottery winnings, those taxes are either deducted from your prize before you receive your prize as with state sponsored lotteries or you receive the entire prize and are responsible on your own for paying the income taxes on your winnings.  No legitimate lottery or sweepstakes ever collects income tax payments from lottery winners.

Another telltale indication that this is a scam is the poor grammar used in the email, which often is an indication that the scam is originating in a country where English is not the primary language.
The real Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a page on their website where they warn you about the various scams linked to their foundation. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/media-center/press-releases/2012/11/reporting-email-scams  It should be noted that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does not give grants to individuals, does not give grants that have not been applied for and do not charge any fees.

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