Scam of the day – June 3, 2023 – Medicaid Scams Surging
Medicaid health insurance is presently used by more than ninety-three million people, however, this number is expected to drop by as many as eighteen million people because of recent changes in the law. During the pandemic Congress passed legislation that prevented the individual states from dropping people from their Medicaid rolls, however, now that the health emergency declaration prompted by the Covid pandemic is over, no longer are the states prevented from dropping people from their Medicaid rolls. This means that people eligible for Medicaid now need to re-enroll in their state’s Medicaid program in order to continue to receive Medicaid benefits. Medicaid can be quite confusing and, unfortunately, scammers are there to take advantage of the confusion, particularly now that people need to re-enroll. Scammers will be calling, texting and emailing people posing as state Medicaid officials asking for credit card or bank account information in order to qualify for Medicaid.
Scam of the day – June 2, 2023 – South Carolina Passes Sextortion Legislation
More recently, as the FBI warns, adult predators, often posing as young girls, contact teenage boys on a variety of online platforms such as games or social media and then convincing the teenage boys to engage in explicit sexual activity while unbeknownst to the teenaged boy, the predator is recording it. The scammer then reveals to the teenager that the scammer has the recording and threatens to post it online unless a substantial payment is made. According to the FBI there has been a significant increase in the instances of his scam with law enforcement receiving more than 7,000 sextortion complaints with the true number of instances of this scam thought to be much higher, but unreported. Many of these scams are organized and based outside the United States, primarily in West African countries such as Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.
Scam of the day – May 31, 2023 – FBI Impostor Scam
Recently the FBI’s Pittsburgh office issued a warning about scam phone calls in which the scammer poses as an FBI agent demanding payment by a gift card to resolve a criminal investigation they say is being pursued against the targeted scam victim. In some of these calls, the scammer threatens arrest if you do not make immediate payment.
Scam of the day – May 30, 2023 – MetaMask Phishing Email
Today’s Scam of the day is a phishing email that appears to come from MetaMask. MetaMask is a software cryptocurrency wallet used to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. The email makes for compelling reading, but it is a scam. Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which will 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. As always, they lure you by making it appear that there is an emergency that requires your immediate attention or else dire consequences will occur.
Scam of the day – May 29, 2023 – Federal Court Shuts Down Pyramid Schemer
Now the Federal Court for Arizona has ruled that Success by Health and its principal, Jay Noland and others violated a range of federal laws and have banned them from ever participating in multi level marketing operations and also imposed a 7.3 million dollar judgment against them. This money will be used to pay back the victims of the scam.
Scam of the day – May 28, 2023 – Memorial Day Scams
As we honor our veterans on Memorial Day, May 29th it is important to remember that scammers take Memorial Day as just another opportunity to scam veterans and others. In the case of Memorial Day, you can expect to be solicited by scammers by phone (remember legitimate charities can call you by phone even if you have enrolled in the Do Not Call List because charities are exempt from the Do Not Call List), email or letters asking for your money for various veterans causes or charitable ventures tied to Memorial Day.
Scam of the day – May 27, 2023 – FTC Refunding Money to Victims of Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scam
In 2020 I first told you about the FTC and the State of Florida suing GDP Network and its owners over allegations that they operated a credit card interest rate reduction scam. GDP contacted consumers through telemarketing cold calls promising to permanently and substantially reduce their credit card interest rates. After tricking consumers into believing they were affiliated with the consumer’s existing credit card companies or well-known credit card networks such as MasterCard or Visa, the defendants promised to save them thousands of dollars in credit card interest and enable them to pay off their credit card debt three to five times faster. The defendants charged upfront fees of as much as $3,995 for their bogus services, the agencies allege.
Scam of the day – May 26, 2023 – Postal Workers Scammed Out of a Million Dollars
The American Postal Workers Union has disclosed that at least 460 of its members lost a million dollars in paychecks through a scam in which the scammers set up fake USPS HR websites that were used by the scammers to trick the postal workers who went to the phony websites to provide their usernames and passwords which the scammers then used to access the postal workers’ real accounts and have the paychecks sent to accounts controlled by the scammers.
Scam of the day – May 25, 2023 – Two Million People Affected by Medical Equipment Company Data Breach
Once again I need to tell you about another major data breach. This time it was Apria Healthcare LLC a home medical equipment company who, we are just now learning was hacked in 2019 and 2021 by the same hackers. As a result of the data breach sensitive information including credit card and debit card numbers of two million of Apria Healthcare’s customers were stolen.
Scam of the day – May 24, 2023 – Ransomware Attack Cripples Dallas
I have been warning you about the dangers of ransomware for eight years. Ransomware is a type of malware that when downloaded encrypts and make unavailable all of the data on your computers. Once this occurs the criminals then threaten to destroy the data if a ransom is not paid. In other variations of ransomware attacks, the cybercriminals threaten to make sensitive information public. Ransomware attacks have been made against government agencies, companies and individuals. Like all forms of malware, ransomware must be downloaded on to your computer in order to cause problems. This is generally done by luring people to click on links or download infected attachments contained in spear phishing emails. One of the most recent ransomware attacks started on May 3rd against the City of Dallas As a result of the attack, the Dallas government has had man of its services unavailable as well as sensitive data stolen.
Scam of the day – May 23, 2023 – FTC Sues Student Loan Debt Relief Scammers
Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against SL Finance LLC and its owners Michael Castillo and Chirstian Castillo as well as against BCO Consulting Services Inc. and SLA Consulting Services Inc. and their owners Gianni Oilang, Brandon Clores, Kishan Bhakta and Allan Radam alleging that they lured unsuspecting victims into paying approximately 12 million dollars in illegal upfront fees by lying about repayment programs and loan forgiveness programs that never existed. The companies also lied about being affiliated with the Department of Education as well as telling their victims that the money paid to them would be used to reduce their loans.
Scam of the day – May 22, 2023 – Taylor Swift Concert Ticket Scams
It is not an overstatement to say that Taylor Swift is one of the most popular singers of all time. Tickets to her concert tour are in great demand with many of her fans (called Swifties) desperate to buy tickets to her concerts. This desperation is not missed by scammers who have been selling phony tickets to her fans who end up going to the concert only to be doubly disappointed as they are turned away at the door and losing the money they used to pay for the tickets.
Scam of the day – May 21, 2023 – Federal Prosecutors Against Alleged Crypto and Metaverse Scammers
Two days ago, federal prosecutors unsealed charges against Bryan Lee in regard to an investment scam where Lee and the previously indicted Neil Chandran operated companies that purported to be developing metaverse technologies and cryptocurrencies. They promised investors huge returns which they said would occur when their companies would be bought by Jeff Bezos of and Elon Musk. Lee and Chandran managed to convince 10,000 people to invest more than 45 million dollars in these fraudulent companies.
Scam of the day – May 20, 2023 – Debt Collection Agency Data Breach
If it seems like I was just telling you about another major data breach a few days ago, you are correct. It was only three days ago that I wrote about another data breach. ...
Scam of the day – May 19, 2023 – Ghanian Influencer Arrested for Romance Scam
Federal law enforcement recently arrested Mona Faiz Montrage on charges related to operating multiple romance scams in which she is accused of stealing more than two million dollars from her elderly victims. Montrage is a popular Instagram influencer who uses the name Haija4Reall and has had as many as 3.4 million Instagram followers. As with all romance scams, Montrage is accused of convincing her victims into believing they were in a serious romantic relationship and then luring them into sending money to her under a variety of pretenses including payments to assist a fake army officer in Afghanistan. In one particularly unusual incident, Montrage is accused of using her real name in establishing the romance scam and then sending the victim in the United States a tribal marriage certificate that indicated that she and the victim were married in Ghana. The victim later sent Montrage $89,000 to help with what Montrage said were costs associated with her father’s farm in Ghana.
Scam of the day – May 18, 2023 – Massachusetts Diploma Mill Resurfaces
Recently, a website for the non-existent Massachusetts Central University has resurfaced. The phony college claims on its website to have 10,000 students and 1,200 faculty members. The truth is that the college doesn’t exist in any form. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education first became aware of the Massachusetts Central University in 2021 and ordered the taking down of its website, however, now that website, complete with fake photos of students, faculty and a non-existent campus has reappeared.
Scam of the day – May 17, 2023 – Another Major Health Care Data Breach
It was just less than a week ago that I told you about a data breach at NextGen healthcare, an electronic health record software company which recently notified a million patients that their personal data had been stolen in a major data breach that apparently occurred between March 29th and April 14th of this year. That particular data breach is extremely serious because the information stolen included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and home addresses. Now, I must inform you of an even larger data breach again in the healthcare industry. This time the victim of the data breach is the national pharmacy network PharMerica. which is now sending out notification letters to more than 5.8 million people informing them that their data was compromised in a data breach that occurred in March, but is only now being disclosed. The PharMerica data breach is serious because among the personal information stolen was names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, health insurance information and medical information. This sensitive data puts
PharMerica’s customers in serious danger of identity theft. In an unusual twist, some of the information stolen relates to deceased people who were customers of PharMerica. Identity theft of dead people can still create problems. Here is a link to a Scam of the day in which I discussed this form of identity theft and what you need to do to correct the problem. https://scamicide.com/2023/02/27/scam-of-the-day-february-28-2023-dead-people-are-becoming-victims-of-identity-theft/
Invitation to Attend a Free Webinar on the Wild Wild World of Scams
I will be a speaker at a webinar entitled "the Wild Wild World of Scams: Crazy Scam Stories & How to Mitigate Your Risk on May 24th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and I encourage Scamicide readers to attend this free webinar. Below is a link to click on for more...
Scam of the day – May 16, 2023 – Mavis Wanczyk Lottery Scams Continue
Many of you may not remember the name of Mavis Wanczyk, but she was the lucky winner of a 758 million dollar Powerball drawing in 2017. Not long after she claimed her prize, a scam started appearing in which many people received emails with the message line referring to the Mavis Wanczyk Cash Grant. The email indicated that you were chosen to receive a large cash grant from Mavis Wanczyk. All the lucky strangers receiving the emails had to do was provide personal information in order to qualify for the grant. In addition, phony social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were also set up in Ms. Wanczyk’s name through which people were contacted with the same phony offer of free money informing them that in order to qualify for the grant they merely needed to provide personal information.
Scam of the day – May 15, 2023 – FTC Shuts Down Debt Relief Scammers
Credit card debt which often carries an interest rate that is so high it could cause a nose bleed is a concern for many people and, as always, anything that concerns many people is something that scammers are interested in. Last November the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint and obtained a preliminary injunction shutting down ACRO Services and its related companies that the FTC claimed was operating a deceptive credit card debt relief scam in which ACRO claimed it could clean up your credit card debt in return for an enrollment fee of thousand of dollars plus additional monthly fees. Now the case has been settled and ACRO as well as other affiliated companies of their four principals have been permanently shut down.
Scam of the day – May 14, 2023 – Sophisticated Airbnb Scam
However, in the last four years a more sophisticated Airbnb scam has arisen. Computer savvy criminals created a subscription service called Land Lordz which they lease to less sophisticated criminals to assist them in victimizing Airbnb customers. Land Lordz helps criminals create and manage phony listings on phony websites that look like Airbnb. The phony listings are generally copied from legitimate Airbnb listings and will include fake reviews as well. The phony Airbnb site emphasizes that all payments will go through Airbnb and will therefore be safe and secure. If someone asks for further details, which is common, the scammers email a response with a link that appears to take you to the real Airbnb website, but instead takes you to a phony website that merely appears legitimate. When the targeted victim of the scam logs into the phony Airbnb website, the scammers are notified and respond by demanding a deposit be wired to them. Once the money is wired, the funds are lost forever.
Scam of the day – May 13, 2023 – Thwarting the Wrong Type of Shredder is Child’s Play
Many people think that the common strip shredder which shreds your documents in long strips will protect you from identity theft. The truth is it does not. This fact was reinforced recently when North Carolina television station WFMY did an experiment with a group of fifth graders at the Northern Guilford Elementary School who were given shredded documents which they were able to piece together sufficiently to recognize account numbers and other information which in the wrong hands could lead to identity theft.
Scam of the day – May 12, 2023 – Mother’s Day Scams
One common Mother’s Day scam involves an email that you get offering Mother’s Day gifts such as flowers, jewelry, shoes or clothing at tremendously discounted prices. All you need to do is to click on a link to order online. The problem is that many of these offers are indeed scams. If you click on the link, one of two things can happen and both are bad. Sometimes the link will take you to an order form where you provide your credit card information, but never get anything in return. Instead your credit card information is used to make you a victim of identity theft. Even worse is the other possibility which is by clicking on the link, you will unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the personal information stored on your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.
Scam of the day – May 11, 2023 – Major Healthcare Data Breach
NextGen healthcare, an electronic health record software company recently notified a million patients that their personal data had been stolen in a major data breach that apparently occurred between March 29th and April 14th of this year.. This particular data breach is extremely serious because the information stolen included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and home addresses.
Scam of the day – May 10, 2023 – Walmart Gift Card Refunds to Scam Victims
Large retailers such as Walmart and Target are the most common places where scammers send their victims to purchase gift cards to provide to the scammers. In 2016 Walmart began tracking the gift card balances from outside the country and developed a system to recognize fraudulent patterns involving these gift cards. Using this technology Walmart identified and froze gift card funds that would have been sent to scammers. However, Walmart did not refund the cost of the gift cards to the targeted victims of the scams. Consequently the Department of Justice filed a legal action to get those frozen gift card funds returned to the potential scam victims who purchased them. This legal action has now been settled and Walmart is returning the frozen $3,958,060.84 to their customers who purchased the gift cards with those funds. People who bought Walmart gift cards between April 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 that were identified as going to scammers and were frozen can now apply to get their money refunded. If this applies to you, here is a link you can use to apply for your refund. https://kccsecure.com/walmartgiftcardremission/Claimant The deadline for applying for a refund is July 14, 2023.
Scam of the day – May 9, 2023 – Scams Using Car Photos
After more than ten years, it is rare that I come upon a new scam, but today is one of those days. Recently in San Diego it has been reported that scammers are taking photos of people’s cars and then posting them on social media indicating that the car has been stolen and that a thousand dollar reward is being offered for information about the whereabouts of the car. When people respond to the social media post with information about the “stolen” car, they are then instructed to provide their bank account number and bank routing number in order to have the reward sent to their bank account. Unfortunately, once the scammer has your bank account number and the routing number for your bank which is used for wire transfers, they are able to use that information to make purchases where money is wired from your account and the goods purchased are sent to the scammer who then can sell the goods thereby laundering the proceeds of the scam. Some scammers will even use your banking information to set up recurring payments such as for utilities.
Scam of the day – May 8, 2023 – “Smishing” Getting Worse
Although the name may not be as familiar as “phishing” which is the name for emails that lure you into clicking on malware infected links or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, “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.
Scam of the day – May 7, 2023 – Mystery Shopper Scam Continues to Claim Victims
Mystery shoppers are people hired to shop at a particular store and report on the shopping experience for purposes of quality control. Unlike many scams, there actually are legitimate mystery shopper companies, but they never advertise or recruit through emails, text messages or letters. The manner in which the scam generally works is that when you answer an advertisement, or respond to a letter, email or a text message to become a mystery shopper, you are sent a bank check. You deposit the check into your own account and spend some of the money on the goods that you purchase which you are allowed to keep and also are directed to keep some of the balance of the check as payment for your services. You are instructed to return the remaining funds by a wire transfer
Scam of the day – May 6, 2023 – Phony Hotel Website Scam
Booking a hotel room online for a vacation can be an easy and economical way to find a room. It can also be an easy way to be scammed. According to recent figures from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, consumers were duped into making reservations at hotel websites they thought were those of particular hotels, but actually were websites set up by scammers who victimized 15 million people last year using this scam at a cost of 1.3 billion dollars to the victims.
Scam of the day – May 5, 2023 – Protecting Your Electronic Devices While Traveling
Summer vacation time will soon be with us and many people will be traveling, however, since few of us totally disconnect from the digital world, many of us will be traveling with our cell phones, tablets and laptops. Today, I will tell you about some steps you should be taking to protect your security on your electronic devices while traveling. Using public WiFi in coffee shops, airports, hotels and other places while on vacation poses a particularly significant problem. Whenever you use public WiFi, there are two concerns. First, you can’t be sure that you are actually using the public WiFi and not a phony WifFi readily set up by a hacker sitting near you who is stealing your information and second, someone may be able to hack into your device while you are on the legitimate public WiFi.
Scam of the day – May 4, 2023 – Danger of E-Skimming
Regular readers of Scamicide are certainly familiar with skimmers which are devices installed on ATMs and credit and debit card processors that steal information from credit and debit cards thereby enabling criminals to use that information to make charges on those cards. The increased use in recent years of cards with chip technology has dramatically decreased the amount of fraudulent purchases made through stolen credit and debit card information because the chip card creates a new authorization number each time the card is used thereby negating the value of skimming a credit card with a computer chip. Chip card technology, however, offers no protection when credit and debit cards are used for online purchases. The FBI has warned about what it calls E-Skimming which occurs when criminals infect the websites of businesses and government agencies with malware that allows the criminal to steal credit card and debit card information and then use it to make charges using the victim’s credit card or debit card.
Scam of the day – May 3, 2023 – The Danger of Facebook Farming
Many of you may not be familiar with the term “Facebook farming”, but we have all seen Facebook postings urging us to click that we “like” them. Sometimes it is an emotional appeal to show support for a sick child. Sometimes it is to show support for a political message. Often what appears to be a familiar company promises a chance at a substantial prize merely for liking or sharing a post. While some of the postings described above urging people to click on links or share the posting are legitimate, unfortunately often they are not. Often they are done to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithms that value the popularity measured by likes and shares which causes the posts to appear on the Facebook pages of more people. Although the original content liked or shared may appear sincere or entertaining, the scammers who use this technique, which is called “farming,” then are able to change the content of the post to something entirely different from what was originally shared or liked. This is done for purposes of sending advertising or gathering marketing information, but, at its worst, it also can be used to send malware infected content such as keystroke logging malware that can steal personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.
Scam of the day – May 2, 2023 – Watch Our for Delivery Scams
Many people are reporting receiving text messages that appear to come from UPS or Federal Express indicating that it is necessary for you to update your delivery preferences. In order to do so you are asked to click on a link and provide personal information. Unfortunately, if you click on the link one of two things will happen. Either you will be taken to a page where you provide your personal information to a criminal who will use the information to make you a victim of identity theft or you will download dangerous malware, such as ransomware, merely by clicking on the link.
Scam of the day – May 1, 2023 – PayPal Resolution Center Scam
Today’s Scam of the day is one that has been around since 2018, but is resurfacing, as many scams do. It starts with a phony email purporting to be from PayPal that indicates that PayPal is investigating a payment reversal due to your receiving an unauthorized payment due to a transaction error. You are directed in the email to click on a link to login and access your PayPal Resolution Center. Don’t do it! Clicking on the link will take you to a phony PayPal website that will lure you into providing your password and other personal information that will lead to identity theft.
Scam of the day – April 30, 2023 – Watch Out for “Juice Jacking”
The colorful term “juice jacking” was first used in 2011 to describe the danger of data theft when you use a public charging station to recharge your phone or other mobile device. In 2019, the Los Angeles District Attorney issued a warning about the dangers of charging your phone at the USB chargers commonly found at airports, hotels and other public locations. More recently, earlier this month both the FBI and the Federal Communications Commission issued warnings about juice jacking. The problem with juice jacking is the fact that information is transferred between your smartphone and the charger as soon as you plug your cellphone into the charging station you are using to recharge your cellphone.
Scam of the day – April 29, 2023 – FTC Taking Action Against Robocallers
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. Robocalls are used by scammers to perpetrate a wide variety of scams. The ease by which illegal robocalls may be made by computers using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) accounts for much of the problem. Most of the robocalls received in the United States originate overseas. In an effort to stop these overseas VoIP calls the FTC is taking action against the VoIP service providers here in the United States and warning them that they must stop their services from being used to bring illegal robocalls into the United States. The FTC and its partners in law enforcement have identified 24 service providers responsible for routing and transmitting illegal robocalls during the last two years. The FTC then contacted these service providers and demanded that they stop their services from being used for illegal robocalls. To date 22 of the 24 have cooperated and one of the remaining uncooperative service providers is presently subject to an FCC law enforcement action.
Scam of the day – April 28, 2023 – LinkedIn Job Scams Getting Worse
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and, as such, has long been attractive to scammers seeking to piggy-back on the sites good reputation. Recently the number of job scams being found on LinkedIn has increased dramatically. A recent development is scammers using the name of legitimate companies that are hiring and approaching their victims through LinkedIn’s direct messaging feature. They then create counterfeit websites that look like the websites of the legitimate companies they are posing as and ask the job seekers for personal information as part of the hiring process before holding a job interview by Skype. The personal information which may include the job seeker’s Social Security number is used for purposes of identity theft. They also may ask for money or your credit card number to pay for background investigations or equipment for the company which legitimate businesses do not do. In other instances, the job seeker is required to pay for equipment or training which the scammer promises to reimburse, but, of course, the money is never paid back. Making the problem even worse is the use of AI to make the photos and websites even more legitimate appearing.
Scam of the day – April 27, 2023 – Google Voice Code Scam
The scam involves the Google Voice/Google Phone service which is a free phone number provided to you by Google. Calls to that number are forwarded to your cell phone. In order to set up a Google Phone number you need to provide your phone number for verification purposes. Google then texts or calls you with a 6 digit code that you must enter online to finish the process. The good news is that if you fall for the scam and send the 6 digit code to the scammer, you won’t lose any money, however, you can be sure that a scammer will be using your phone number to perpetrate scams and hide his or her tracks.
Scam of the day – April 26, 2023 – Facebook Messenger Scam
A variation on an old Facebook scam has recently resurfaced. In the new scam you receive a Facebook Message that merely says “look what I found” and is followed by a link that leads you to a website where you are prompted to provide personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft. Alternatively, merely clicking on the link, in some instances, has downloaded destructive malware to your phone, computer or tablet.
Scam of the day – April 25, 2023 – Danger of Pop-Up Ads
Pop-up advertisements that appear on your phone, computer or other device are considered by many people to be merely a nuisance, but they can also, in some circumstances, present a serious threat to your well being. While often the pop-up ads may be legitimate advertisements, they also can lure you into clicking on links and being directed to websites that either convince you to provide personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft or, in a worst case scenario, merely by either clicking on the link or being redirected to another website, you may unwittingly download malware such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware that can steal from your phone or computer sensitive personal information that can be used to access your bank account or make you a victim of identity theft in other ways.
Scam of the day – April 24, 2023 – New Medicare Card Scam
Many older Americans are receiving emails or phone calls purporting to be from Medicare either offering new plastic cards to replace their paper cards or new Medicare cards with microchips. All the targeted victim has to do is merely verify their Medicare number. And while your Medicare number is no longer your Social Security number, giving it to an identity thief can cause you substantial problems when you try to access Medicare as well as cost the American taxpayers millions of dollars.
Scam of the day – April 23, 2023 – Facebook Privacy Settlement
Anyone who used Facebook in the United States between May 2007 and December 2022 is eligible to claim a share of the 725 million dollar settlement. Your share, however, is likely to be quite small considering that lawyers’ fees most likely will be approximately 181 million dollars and with 200 million people using Facebook, the amount individual Facebook users will get will undoubtedly be little. The exact amount that claimants will receive is dependent upon how many people actually file claims. If you do not file a claim, you will not receive benefits pursuant to this settlement. Many people are expected not to bother since the amount they will receive will be so low. The deadline for filing a claim is August 25th and the settlement itself still requires court approval. A court date for approval by the Federal District Court for Northern California is set for September 7th.
Scam of the day – April 22, 2023 – Home Buying Scam Costs Family $160,000
Earlier this year in Ohio, Maverick Sun and his wife Emily Sun were scammed out of $160,000 when the responded to an email from a scammer posing as their title company requesting that they wire money to the scammers posing as the title company which the Suns did. It wasn’t until the next day that the Suns learned that they had been scammed. The story may have a happy ending, however, as Chase the bank where the funds were wired to flagged the account as fraudulent and froze the account. However, six months later, the funds have not been returned to the Suns although Chase has indicated that they are still investigating the incident.
Scam of the day – April 21, 2023 – Pig Butchering Scammers Thwarted
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.
Scam of the day – April 20, 2023 – Verified Social Media Account Scam
Setting up a social media account is easy to do for a scammer requiring merely a name, a photo and an email address, all of which can be done to make it appear that the account is that of the real celebrity when, in truth it is that of the scammer. Sometimes the scammer will add a middle initial or a slight misspelling of the name of the celebrity to avoid detection as may have been the case with this particular Ellen DeGeneres scam. Despite the efforts of the various social media companies to try to stop this practice, it continues in great numbers. Facebook estimates that there are as many as 60 million phony Facebook accounts including hundreds of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. It tries to remove the accounts when it becomes aware of them, but they spring up soon again. To combat this scam Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have all set up verification programs that provide for verification that the account is a legitimate one and then provide a badge or other symbol to indicate to everyone that the account is indeed a legitimate account. Now scammers are taking advantage of this and sending messages or emails that purport to come from Twitter, Facebook or Instagram indicating that there is a problem with your status and that unless you appeal, you will lose your verified account status. A link or download is provided for you to start the appeals process, but if you click on the link or download the attachment you will end up downloading malware that will steal your data from your device and put you in jeopardy of identity theft.
Scam of the day – April 19, 2023 – Scammers Are Hacking Your Phone
Regardless of whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, your phone can be hacked and accessed remotely. Like so many scams, one way they install the spyware to let them access your phone is by luring you to click on an infected link in a phishing or spear phishing email or text message. In other instances the spyware is found in Trojan Horse apps that you download thinking they are a legitimate app, but not realizing the real purpose of the app is to get you to download the spyware that is a part of the otherwise innocuous appearing app.
Scam of the day – April 18, 2023 – Hackers Stole More than 721 Million Passwords in 2022
Passwords are the key to accessing a myriad of your accounts, from Amazon to your bank to any company with which you do business online. Password security is obviously critically important, however, unfortunately, regardless of how protective you are as to the privacy and security of your passwords, you are only as safe as the places with the weakest security that have your passwords. Recently researchers found that 721.5 million passwords were compromised online in 2022 with most of these being stolen in data breaches of companies and then sold in batches to criminals on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services.
Scam of the day – April 17, 2023 – Credit Repair Scams
Last June I told you that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) civilly sued Michael and Valerie Rando and their company The Credit Game for operating a bogus credit repair scheme. Credit repair scams are very common as scammers take advantage of people with debt problems and promise to fix their credit and clear their credit reports of adverse information for up front fees.
Scam of the day – April 16, 2023 – Update on Change of Address Scam
In March 7th’s Scam of the day I warned about the danger of identity theft that occurs when criminals steal your mail from your mailbox. Among the dangers of mail theft are criminals gathering personal information contained in your mail to set up accounts in your name or getting your credit card bill and using the information in your bill to access your credit card. However, sometimes the criminals don’t even have to steal your mail, they can get the United States Postal Service (USPS) to deliver your mail directly to the criminal by submitting a change of address form with the post office on your behalf either in person or online that results in your mail being sent directly to the criminal.