Scam of the Day

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Scam of the day – January 18, 2021 – Theft From USPS Mailboxes Increasing

Criminals around the country are increasingly stealing mail with checks in them from U.S. Postal Service mailboxes, “washing” the checks with simple nail polish remover to remove the name of the person or company to whom the check was made out and then writing in their own name.  In other instances, the criminals will also change the amount of the check.  In recent years Boston and New Orleans, for example, had large numbers of such mailbox thefts of checks that were then altered and cashed.  Identity theft is a high tech, low tech and no tech crime and while we often tend to focus our attention on high tech identity theft tactics such as spear phishing, no tech tactics such as fishing for mail with a plastic bottle covered in glue that is lowered into blue public mailboxes to capture mail being sent with checks is making a comeback.  In other instances criminals can either steal or buy a USPS mailbox key which are sold on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services for as much as $1,000.  Some criminals, rather than use the “washed” checks themselves are now selling the checks on the Dark Web to other criminals directly. In addition, criminals can also can use the account number of your check to create counterfeit checks to access your checking account.

I have warned you for years about leaving mail with checks or credit card information in your personal mailbox outside of your home with the flag raised to alert your postal carrier that there is mail in your box to be retrieved is a bad idea because it also alerts identity thieves who can easily steal the mail.   However, mailing checks in official U.S. Postal Service blue mailboxes we now know is also problematic.

TIPS

This is an easy crime to avoid.  The best course of action is to pay your bills electronically and avoid the problem altogether.  However, if you cannot do so or prefer to send a paper check by mail, you should use a gel pen that is not easily “washed” to write your checks and you should mail envelopes with checks in them directly from inside the post office.

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 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 free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – January 17, 2022 – Investors Losing Millions to “Pig Butchering Scam”

I have been warning you about romance scams for many years.  More recently I have been warning you for the last few years about the myriad of scams involving cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.  In the last couple of years a new scam combining the romance scam and cryptocurrency scams have surfaced with one victim in Colorado, Steve Belcher losing 1.6 million dollars.

Romance scams generally follow a familiar pattern with the scammers  establishing relationships with people, generally women, online through various legitimate dating websites and social media using fake names, locations and images.  The FBI has issued a warning about a new trend in romance scams in which the scammer tells his victim that he or she has inside knowledge about cryptocurrency investing and directs the victim to a phony website that purports to be a legitimate cryptocurrency trading site.  Not long after “investing” in the cryptocurrencies provided, the victim soon finds that there is no investment and that she or he has lost all of the invested money.  This scam originated in China in 2019 and is called sha zhu pan or pig butchering in English.  The name is derived from the practice of luring in victims, “fattening them up” by convincing them to continually “invest” more money and then stealing all of the money.

The scammers initially contact their victims on dating or social media apps and pretend to develop a close relationship.  After a while the scammer informs the targeted victim that he or she is making a lot of money investing in cryptocurrencies and suggests the victim download and use a cryptocurrency app used by the scammer.  Generally, the victims are lured into investing more and more money by what appears to be both dramatic increases in the value of their account and their ability to withdraw some of their profits.  However, once the victim has been persuaded to invest larger and larger sums of money, the scammers steal the money and the victim is left with nothing.

TIPS

It is 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. Cryptocurrency scams quite often involve complicated language and investment terms that is purposefully unclear in an effort to confuse potential investors from understanding the real facts. 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.

Also, the apps used in the pig butchering scam may appear to be legitimate, but they are not found on official app platforms such as Google Play or the Apple App Store.  Do your homework before investing in cryptocurrencies and only do business with well established cryptocurrency exchanges.  Never invest merely because of the recommendation of someone you may have met online.

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 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, 2022 – Interesting Takeaways from the FTC’s Biennial Report to Congress about the Do Not Call List

The Federal Trade Commission has issued it biennial report to Congress about the National Do Not Call list.  Since it began in 2003, the National Do Not Call list has grown to include  more than 244 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 a particular charity, contact the charity directly to make your contribution.

According to the report the FTC received more than five million Do Not Call complaints in 2021 with most of those complaints dealing with robocalls as contrasted to live telemarketing.  Imposter scams where the scammer poses as a government employee of the IRS, Social Security Administration or some other governmental agency or of a legitimate company with which you do business were the most common complaints.  Other common complaints involved calls related to reducing debt and medical needs and prescriptions.

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.  Last year Congress passed a law intended to reduce robocalls, but the legislation does not by any means stop robocalls entirely.

A scam that uses the Do Not Call list as the basis of the scam starts when you receive an email informing you that your registration in the Do Not Call list is expiring and that you have to register your phone number again. You are then directed to a phony website that gathers information that can be used for purposes of identity theft. The important thing to know is that you never have to reregister your phone number with the Do Not Call list. Once you have registered a number it is permanently on the Do Not Call list until the number is disconnected or you ask for your number to be removed.

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

Here are some helpful tips for combatting robocalls.

Verizon has 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.

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 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 free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – January 15, 2022 – Student Loan Servicing Company Navient Settles Massive Lawsuit

Navient, one of the largest student loan servicing companies in the United States has reached a tentative settlement of lawsuits brought by the Attorneys General of thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia.  According to the terms of the settlement which still requires court approval, Navient agrees to cancel 1.7 billion dollars in delinquent student loan debts and pay 95 million dollars in restitution to 66,000 borrowers who had loans with Navient.

According to the Attorneys General, Navient was guilty of making predatory loans to students who were unlikely to be able to pay back the loans and also put their clients into loan programs that increased the profit for Navient, but were unsuitable for the students as well as failing to inform the students of alternative repayment plans for which the students would be eligible that were more advantageous to the students.

As often is the situation in civil settlement such as this, Navient denies any liability, which I find ironic because by entering into the settlement, Navient, in effect says, that they did not do anything wrong and they promise not to do it again.

TIPS

The settlement only applies to borrowers who live in Washington D.C. and the states of the Atttorneys General who brought the case.  Upon approval of the settlement by the federal court, affected borrowers will be notified by Navient.  For more information about the settlement you can go to this website set up specifically to deal with the settlement. https://navientagsettlement.com/Home/portalid/0

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 free 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 14, 2022 – Gift Card Scams Increase Dramatically

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently reported that in the first nine months of 2021, consumers lost 148 million dollars to scams in which gift cards were used as the payment method.  This amount was more than in all of 2020.  Scammers are big fans of gift cards because they are easy to purchase, easy to send to the scammer and impossible to trace to the scammer.  It is not even necessary for the scammer to be in possession of the actual gift card to use it.  Sending the gift card numbers or taking a picture on your phone and transmitting it to the scammer is sufficient for the scammer to use the gift card to buy things that can then be sold and converted into cash.

In many instances the scams involved scammers posing as large companies or government agencies such as the IRS demanding payments.  It is important to remember that no legitimate company and no government agencies asks for or accepts gift cards as a payment method so anytime you are asked for a payment by gift card, you can be confident it is a scam.

In an interesting development, the FTC noted that Target gift cards were the most popular choice for scammers with scammers asking specifically for Target gift cards in twice as many instances as the next most popular gift card and even when the gift card requested by the scammers was not a Target gift card, the scammers asked their victims to purchase the particular gift cards at a Target store.

TIPS

Although it is impossible to stop payment on a gift card or trace the user after the scammer has used it, if you recognize immediately that you have provided a gift card to a scammer, you can report it to the issuer to cancel the card.  Here is contact information for some popular gift cards.

Amazon

Google Play

iTunes

  • Call Apple Support right away at 1 (800) 275-2273. Say “gift card” to connect with a live representative.
  • Ask if the money is still on the iTunes card. If so, Apple can put a freeze on it. You might be able to get your money back from them.
  • Keep the iTunes card itself and your receipt for the iTunes card.
  • Learn about iTunes gift card scams and how to report them.

Target

  • Call Target GiftCard Services at 1 (800) 544-2943

MoneyPak

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 free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – January 13, 2022 – Scammers Exploit Interest in the New Spiderman Movie

While attendance at movie theaters generally continues to be dramatically reduced from pre-pandemic levels,  in-theater attendance at the new “Spiderman: No Way Home” movie is breaking box office records around the world.  Unlike  Marvel studio’s” Black Widow” which was released simultaneously both in theaters and online last summer after having its release postponed repeatedly due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the new Spiderman movie is presently only available in theaters  However, there are many people who either don’t want to go to a theater due to the pandemic or merely prefer to watch movies conveniently at home and scammers are taking advantage of this situation by setting up sites that purport to provide you with a streaming version of the movie, but end up either taking your money or harming your computer.

Just prior to the previous scheduled release dates of a number of popular movies during the last couple of years including Black Widow, John Wick 3, Joker and Avengers Endgame scammers set up phony streaming services offering to show the movie for free, but in fact just scammed their victims out of their money.

In some of the scams an online search for websites promising to provide the movie for free will take you to sites  that appear to provide the movie, but a few moments after the movie starts, it stops and a pop up appears requiring you to set up an account.  The pop up says that the account is free and that all you need to do is provide your email address and a password.  Once you do this, you are then instructed to provide a credit card number and the CVC security code on the back of the card merely to verify that you are located in a country where the website is licensed to distribute the movie.   Unfortunately, the website does not provide “Spiderman: No Way Home.”  The few minutes of what you initially see of the movie is just scenes taken from the readily available trailers for the movie.  So not only do people falling for this scam not get to see the movie, they end up providing their credit card information to the scammers in addition to providing a password, which, in too many instances, is the same password the scam victim uses for other online services such as online banking.

In an unusual twist on the scams tied to the new Spiderman movie, ReasonLabs, a cybersecurity company discovered a scam whereby people attempting to download the movie end up actually downloading a crypto-mining tool used to mine Monero, a cryptocurrency.  Unfortunately, this tool will slow down your computer and otherwise negatively affect your computer’s use as well as increase your electric bill as it requires much electrical power for mining.

TIPS

The first and foremost tip is not to do use illegal streaming services.  They are illegal and what they are doing is also unethical.  Don’t trust search engine searches to provide you with legitimate websites for streaming services.  A prominent position in a Google or other search engine search only means that the websites appearing high were adept at understanding the algorithms used to position websites.  Never provide a credit card as a means of verification.  It is only a means of payment and as for the justification in this particular scam that the credit card was needed to verify that you are located in a country where the website is licensed to distribute the movie, pirated versions are not licensed anywhere.   Finally, as always, you should have unique passwords for all of your online accounts so that in the event that a password on one of your accounts is hacked or otherwise compromised, all of your accounts will not be in jeopardy.

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 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 free 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 insert your email address where it states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – January 12, 2022 – Winter Weather Brings Upswing in Utility Scams

With the return of cold weather throughout much of the United States there has been a dramatic increase in telephone scams involving scammers posing as utility company customer service representatives demanding payments and threatening to turn off electrical power if a payment is not made immediately.  Scams involving utility bills for electric, water, oil or gas services have long been popular with scammers. These scams have multiple variations.

In one common utility scam, potential victims receive telephone calls purportedly from their utility company informing them of a special company promotion for which they are eligible.  They just need to provide some personal information.  This, of course leads to identity theft.

In another version of the utility scam, potential victims are called on the phone and told that their utility service will be terminated for non-payment unless they pay by credit card, debit card. Zelle, Venmo or gift cards.  A demand for payment by way of a gift card is a good sign that you are dealing with a scammer since legitimate utility companies never require payments or accept payments through git cards.  You also should never pay for a business charge through Zelle or Venmo because of the lack of protections from fraud.

In a third version of this scam, potential victims receive an email that has a link to take them to their bill, but if you click on the link, you either download malware or are prompted to provide information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

You can never be sure when you get an email, text message or a telephone call if it is really from a legitimate source.  Email addresses can be hacked to appear legitimate and even if you have Caller ID, a scammer can use a technique called “spoofing” to make it appear that the call is from a legitimate caller.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.  Never provide personal or financial information to anyone in response to a telephone call, text message or email until you have independently confirmed that the communication was legitimate.

In the case of a utility bill, merely call the number on the back of your bill and you will be able to confirm whether or not the communication was legitimate.  Also, never click on links unless you have confirmed that they are legitimate.  The risk is too great.  It is also important to remember that no legitimate utility company will require you to immediately pay your bill over the phone through a gift card.

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 free 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 11, 2022 – Beware of Fake Endorsements for Phony Erectile Disfunction Products

The Kraken is a mythological sea monster of epic proportions so it is not surprising that scammers have taken that name for a totally phony erectile disfunction (ED)  supplement that the scammers represent as being  as being the equivalent of legitimate ED treatments Cialis and Viagra.  The scammers advertise the worthless supplements primarily on social media and contain totally false representations that the supplements were endorsed by Clint Eastwood, Dr. Phil and Fox News.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to consumers to avoid approximately fifty male enhancement and weight loss products found to contain hidden ingredients that pose serious health risks.  Here are links to lists of the specific products that make up this most recent warning.  https://www.fda.gov/drugs/medication-health-fraud/tainted-sexual-enhancement-products and https://www.fda.gov/drugs/medication-health-fraud/tainted-weight-loss-products  It is important to note that merely because a particular product does not appear on this list does not mean that it is legitimate or safe.  Indeed many of these products are not only ineffective, but are harmful to your health.

TIPS

Anyone considering using over-the-counter products for sexual enhancement, weight loss, bodybuilding or pain relief  should always check with their primary care physician before buying and using these products.  Some of these products may merely be ineffective and a waste of money, however, other of these products may contain ingredients that negatively interact with medications you may be taking.   Always be wary of advertising of such supplements and medicines and particularly wary when the products are only sold online.

Remember my motto, B.S.  Be skeptical.  Merely because a product appears to be endorsed by celebrity does not mean that the celebrity has actually endorsed the product.  For example, Clint Eastwood won a 6.1 million dollar lawsuit against a company that falsely implied he endorsed their products.

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 10, 2022 – Beware of Phony Covid-19 Test Sites

With the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus wreaking havoc around the country, many people are desperately trying to get tested and unfortunately, in many places around the country finding a testing site can be difficult, which provides an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of the situation for purposes of luring victims into identity theft.  More and more we are seeing pop-up testing sites in parking lots and shopping malls throughout the country and while many of these are legitimate, many of them are not.  In St. Louis a Covid testing site in a mall parking lot was asking people to provide their Social Security number which you don’t need to do to get a test. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has warned Baltimore residents to avoid “illegal, unlicensed pop-up COVID-19 testing sites” that collected personal information that could be used for purposes of identity theft.

TIPS

While there are both federal and state regulations for clinical laboratories, not all of the pop-up testing sites are affiliated with clinical labs and also may not be subject to regulation by state departments of health because they often are not classified as health clinics so even if you go to a ‘legitimate” testing site, you may not be getting dependable results.  However, even worse are the scammers who are setting up phony testing sites and asking for personal information they don’t need or charging for tests that should be free.

You don’t need to give your Social Security number to a legitimate testing site so remember my motto – B.S. Be skeptical.  Only go to confirmed legitimate testing sites at real clinics and sites that you know are legitimate and don’t give personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

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 free 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 9, 2022 – Phony Norton Life Lock Invoice

The phony invoice scam is a common scam popular with scammers because it is quite effective.  It starts when you receive an email that purports to be from a popular company with which many of us do business that indicates that you owe them a significant payment.   The scammers count on people being concerned that they are being wrongfully charged for a product they did not order.  You are provided a telephone number to call if you dispute the bill. If you call the number, you will be prompted to provide personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

The copied email below, which I personally received, appears to come from Norton Life Lock, a company that provides a wide range of digital security services and identity theft protection services.   As always, the purpose of a phishing email is to lure you into clicking on links contained within the email or providing personal information, in this case by phone if you call to dispute the phony bill . If you click on links in phishing emails, 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 phishing email provides a phone number to call if you wish to dispute the obviously phony invoice.  If you call the number in the phishing email you will be asked for personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  The phone number is not one of Norton Life Lock.  The real phone number of Norton Life Lock is 800-543-3562.

There are a number of red flags that indicate that this is a scam.  Your name does not appear anywhere in the invoice.  Only your email address appears in the phony invoice.  Also, the email was sent from an email address that has no relation to Norton Life Lock.  Finally, the email provides what it says is a toll free number to call if there are any issues with the invoice, but the area code 432 which is indicated in the email is not a toll free number, but rather an area code used in Texas.

Here is a copy of the invoice being circulated.

Norton Logo
Thank you for trusting NortonLifeLock for your Cyber Safety needs.
You are almost done!
Hi User,
Your Order Number NP1338685316 for $ 514.48 is now complete. Your order details are shown below and are stored in your NortonLifeLock account.
Norton™ 360 with LifeLock™ Select
You must download and install Norton™ 360 with LifeLock™ Select on each device that you want protected. Please follow these simple steps:
  1. Download your NortonLifeLock subscription by clicking on the “Get Started” button or go to your Norton account
  2. Follow the instructions to install your NortonLifeLock service on one or more devices

Your subscription is active and will renew on January 02, 2023 for $ 499.48/ year + applicable tax

— Your NortonLifeLock Team
Order Number: NP1338685316
Payment Method: Credit Card
Billing Date: JAN 03, 2022
Product Information
Price: $ 499.48

Norton™ 360 with LifeLock™ Select

Product Key: X6CWKYBY9KFRY94GJGJWK6QGD
Serial Number: 29GYQ7FQKRX9
1 year(s) protection for up to 5 device(s) and 100GB backup storage
Subscription Service with Download – Qty: 1
Annual Subscription & Automatic Renewal Payment Authorization
Your 1 year subscription is now active and includes the purchase of an annual subscription which automatically renews. By subscribing, you authorized NortonLifeLock to automatically charge from your Credit Card & the applicable annual renewal price (plus applicable taxes), before each renewal, unless you cancel.
SubTotal: $ 499.48
Tax: $ 15.00
Total: $ 514.48
You have agreed to have the information and payment details stored in your NortonLifeLock account for subscription management and renewal purposes.
Tax Disclosure
Seller’s details:
NortonLifeLock Inc.
60 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 1000, Tempe, AZ  85281, USA
USA FEIN:  77-0181864
Canada GST #:  12801 3208 RT0001; QST #:  1211858032
You have received this email as a service message from NortonLifeLock regarding the status of your NortonLifeLock product subscription

Copyright © 2021 NortonLifeLock Inc. All rights reserved.

NortonLifeLock Inc. 60 E Rio Salado Pkwy STE 1000, Tempe, AZ 85281, United States

TIPS

Once, I received a large invoice from a company with which I do business for goods I did not order, but rather than click on the link provided in the email, I went directly to the company’s website to question the invoice.  When the website came up, the first thing I saw was a large announcement that the invoice was a scam and that many people had received these phony invoices.  If you ever receive a phony invoice such as this and you think that it may possibly be true, don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the email.  Rather, contact the real company directly at a phone number or website that you know is legitimate where you can confirm that the phishing invoice was a scam.

Never click on links or download attachments in emails or text messages unless you have absolutely confirmed that they are legitimate and don’t call companies at telephone numbers that appear in the email such as this one.  Instead, if the email appears to come from a legitimate company, you can call them at a telephone number you confirm is legitimate .  Don’t call the number that appears in the email.  One of the indications that this is not legitimate and is a phishing email is the fact that the email address from which it was sent has nothing to do with Norton.   Most likely it is the email address of someone whose email account was hacked and made a part of a botnet used to send out these phishing emails.   The email does contain good graphics and the Norton Life Lock logo, but these are extremely easy to copy.

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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