Search Scams

Scam of the day – January 27, 2023 – Critical Apple Security Updates

It is always important to update all of the software you use with the latest security updates and patches as soon as they are available. Numerous hacks and data breaches could have been avoided if individuals as well as companies installed security updates as soon as they became available. Hackers take advantage of the fact that many of us procrastinate installing security software to our great detriment. The major data breach at Equifax that affected 148 million people involved a security flaw in Apache software for which a patch had already been issued months earlier, but Equifax had not yet installed at the time of the data breach. Apple has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in multiple products. An attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected device.

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Scam of the day – January 26, 2023 – Data Breach Threatens FanDuel Sportsbook Customers

FanDuel, the online sports gambling site did not suffer a data breach, however, its customers did.  This is because a data breach at Mail Chimp, an email marketing company used by FanDuel to send out FanDuel’s newsletters did result in FanDuel’s customers having their names and emails stolen.  While this information is not as directly harmful as having your Social Security number compromised, it is still significant because this information places FanDuel’s customers at an increased risk of spear phishing emails.  This data breach is just another example of the fact that regardless of how good you are at protecting your personal information, you are always at risk of having that information compromised by third parties who have your information.

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Scam of the day – January 25, 2023 – Pyramid Schemes vs. Multilevel Marketing

Multilevel marketing companies, such as Amway, Avon and Mary Kay utilize a business model where you sign up with them to sell their products directly to consumers and earn commissions on your sales.  In addition, you can earn money by recruiting other people to do the same thing and get a commission from their sales as well.  You will often see social media used to recruit people to multilevel marketing companies with promises of big pay for your work.

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Scam of the day – January 24, 2023 – FBI Recovers 3 Million Dollars of Cryptocurrency from Scammers

Last Friday, the FBI announced that it had recovered almost 3 million dollars worth of Bitcoins that were the proceeds of a scam operated by as of yet unidentified scammers perpetrating an elaborate phone scam on elderly Americans and first generation American citizens.  The scammers used the technique of spoofing to make their phone calls which originated outside of the United States to appear on their victims’ Caller ID as being from American law enforcement agencies.  In these calls, the scammers would tell their victims that their identities had been stolen and that in order to be protected from further damage, they needed to transfer money to the scammers for “safekeeping.”   The victims were further told that when the non-existent identity thieves were captured, their money would be returned to them with interest.

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Scam of the day – January 23, 2023 – Romance Scammer Convicted

Recently in Dallas, Emanuel Stanley Orji, a Nigerian associated with Nigerian organized crime was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for crimes related to romance scams he operated with others including his brother who had previously been convicted of the same crimes.  Orji particularly targeted elderly women who were either widowed or divorced and used dating sites like Match.com to find their victims.  His scam followed the usual pattern of quickly proclaiming love for his victims and then coming up with a variety of reasons that he needed the women to send him money.

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Scam of the day – January 22, 2023 – T-Mobile Suffers Another Data Breach

T- Mobile revealed in federal filings that it had suffered yet another massive data breach affecting 37 million of its customers.  This time while no Social Security numbers were compromised, the stolen information did include the names, billing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, T-Mobile account numbers and information about the specific plans of the affected customers. All of this information can be used to tailor spear phishing emails and text messages that threaten the security of the victims of the data breach.

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Scam of the day – January 21, 2023 – Victims of AT&T Data Throttling Eligible for Refunds

While most often here at Scamicide we inform you about scams perpetrated by a wide variety of dedicated scammers and identity thieves, the truth is that legitimate companies from time to time will engage in conduct that I believe qualifies as a scam.  Today’s Scam of the day is about AT&T who misled its customers about its unlimited data plans.  While AT&T charged customers for what they referred to as unlimited data, the truth is that once the customer reached a specific amount of data use in a billing cycle, AT&T would reduce their data speeds. This reduction of data speed is called throttling and it resulted in some AT&T customers experiencing such slow speeds that they could not effectively use common apps such as web browsing or video streaming.

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Scam of the day – January 20, 2023 – Critical Microsoft and Apple Security Updates

It is always important to update all of the software you use with the latest security updates and patches as soon as they are available. Numerous hacks and data breaches could have been avoided if individuals as well as companies installed security updates as soon as they became available. Hackers take advantage of the fact that many of us procrastinate installing security software to our great detriment. The major data breach at Equifax in 2018 that affected 148 million people involved a security flaw in Apache software for which a patch had already been issued months earlier, but Equifax had not yet installed at the time of the data breach. Recently both Apple and Microsoft issued multiple security updates which you should download as soon as possible.

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Scam of the day – January 19, 2023 – Synthetic Identity Theft is a Serious Problem

Although I have been writing about synthetic identity theft for many years, many people are not familiar with the term “synthetic Identity theft.”  Synthetic identity theft poses a significant threat to many people particularly children.  Synthetic identity theft occurs when a criminal takes information from a variety of sources to create a new identity to take out loans, purchase goods and services, or fraudulently obtain credit cards.  Synthetic identity thieves combine real and fake information to form a new fictional person.  They may use your Social Security number and combine it with the name, address and phone number of someone else.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has said that synthetic identity theft is the fastest growing type of identity theft.  Children are the most common victims of synthetic identity theft and it is often many years before the problem is discovered.

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Scam of the day – January 18, 2023 – FTC Sending Additional Refunds to Victims of Tech Support Scam

Tech support scams in which consumers are tricked by scammers into believing there is a problem with their computers that require the expensive services of the scammers is a major problem.  Tech support scams are increasingly common and victimize consumers 60 years or older about five times more than people between the ages of 20 and 59 according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  In February of 2019 I reported to you that the FTC obtained a temporary restraining order against Elite IT Partners, Inc and its principal James Martinos, shutting down the company, which the FTC alleged used deceptive tactics to gain access to consumers’ computers and then sell them expensive repair and other services that were totally unnecessary.    Most of the victims of this scam were older consumers.

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Scam of the day – January 17, 2023 – Danger of Identity Theft in Parking Lots

Recently Joshua Mallory and Gary Grier pleaded guilty in federal court in Syracuse, New York to charges related to the theft of credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks and driver’s licenses stolen from cars parked in parking lots.  Mallory and Grier were a part of a national gang called the Felony Lane Gang that used these stolen items for purposes of identity theft.  I first told you about the Felony Lane Gang in 2015 when Maine police began investigating a series of automobile break-ins occurring in parking lots in various cities throughout the state that were the work of  the Felony Lane Gang. 

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Scam of the day – January 16, 2023 – FTC Issues New Guidelines for Weight Loss and Other Health Care Products

The unfortunate truth is that there is no magic formula for quick and easy weight loss without diet and exercise, but scammers continue to prey on people looking for that quick solution to their weight difficulties.  The Internet is filled with legitimate appearing websites and social media posts that tout scientifically unproven weight loss products and programs which often appear to be endorsed by various celebrities, however, many, if not most of these are just scams.

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Scam of the day – January 15, 2023 – Mega Millions Lottery Scams

We now know that after weeks of no winners, some lucky person in Maine won the massive 1.35 billion dollar prize.  You would think that now that there has been a winner declared, scams relating to this lottery drawing would cease, but that is definitely not the case.  Fourteen people who had all five numbers of the drawing, but did not pick the correct Mega Ball number got million dollar prizes and  other smaller prizes including $10,000 to people who had four numbers and the Mega Ball were also won.  What we are seeing now is scammers posing as the Lottery employees contacting people telling them that they have won these smaller prizes and then tricking them into paying “fees” and “taxes” to claim prizes they will never receive.

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Scam of the day – January 14, 2023 – Check Washing Increasing

What is old is new again.   Many people continue to pay their household bills by paper checks rather than electronic banking and even when shopping, some people prefer paying by check instead of using a credit card or cash.  While there has been much discussion in the news about data breaches involving credit cards, the problems encountered through check washing are still substantial costing consumers and banks more than a billion dollars each year and the problem is getting worse.

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Scam of the day – January 13, 2023 – GoFundMe Scammer Sentenced to Prison

It started out in November of 2017 as a feel-good story about Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless veteran, who, according to the story reported throughout the media, gave his last twenty dollars to Katelyn McClure a stranded motorist who had run out of gas at the side of a road in Philadelphia, The story continued with McClure and her then boyfriend, Mark D’Amico starting a GoFundMe account for Bobbitt that raised $400,000 of donations from more than 14,000 people touched by the story. But then the story began to unravel. First, Bobbitt sued McClure and D’Amico alleging that they shared little of the money raised with him, but instead used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle. Eventually all three had criminal charges of conspiracy and theft by deception brought against them by prosecutors alleging that the entire story was a sham and that the three concocted the story in order to scam people into making donations. According to prosecutors, the three had met at a casino and came up with the scam. The story about being stranded by the roadside was totally fabricated. It should be noted, however, that the one truth in this entire story is that Johnny Bobbitt was a homeless veteran.

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Scam of the day – January 12, 2023 – What to do if Your Email Account is Hacked

As I often tell you, you can never be sure who is actually calling you on the phone, sending you a text message or sending you an email.  Therefore you should never give personal information, credit card information, gift card information or wire money in response to such a communication unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate.  Gift cards and wiring money are two of the favorite ways that people are scammed so when you are asked to provide either of those, you should always be skeptical.  Nor, as I always advise you, should you click on a link in an email or text message unless you have confirmed that the communication is legitimate.  The risk of downloading malware by clicking on an infected link is too great.

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Scam of the day – January 11, 2023 – Income Tax Identity Theft Remains a Big Threat

Last year the IRS announced an expansion of its Identity Protection PIN Op-In Program that provides individual taxpayers with a six-digit code that is required to be included on the individual’s income tax return.  This will protect someone whose Social Security number had been compromised from becoming a victim of identity theft because the identity thief will not know the six-digit code. Here is a link to the section of the IRS’ website where you can apply for a PIN. https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/get-an-identity-protection-pin   The PIN is only valid for a single year and must be applied for anew each year.    The process will require you to verify your identity.  Victims of income tax identity theft who have filed an identity theft affidavit with the IRS automatically receive an IP PIN by regular mail from the IRS.

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Scam of the day – January 10, 2023 – FCC Proposing Biggest Fine Ever Against Automobile Warranty Scam Robocaller

Extended warranty scams have been with us for years.  Actually, they are not “extended” warranties at all because if you read the fine print in postcards used to perpetrate this scam you will notice that although the notice that although the postcard looks official,  it is not from either the car manufacturer who issued your original warranty or the car dealer who sold you the car.  The warranties themselves vary from scammer to scammer with some of the “extended” warranties being relatively worthless, but with all of them based on misrepresentations. 

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Scam of the day – January 9, 2023 – Jury Duty Scams Increasing

Recently, judge Timothy Corrigan of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida issued a warning to Florida residents about an increase in this scam, however, the increase in instances of this scam are not limited to Florida. They are being perpetrated around the country. This scam has been used effectively for years by scammers to con people out of their money or make them a victim of identity theft.  The scam starts with a telephone call that you receive purportedly from a law enforcement officer informing you that you have failed to appear for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.  You are told, however, that you can avoid arrest and greater fines by paying a fine through a credit card or or prepaid cash card.  Other times they ask for your Social Security number to confirm your identity.  Of course, the phone call is a scam.  Even if you have missed jury duty, you will never be called by legitimate court officers and shaken down for a payment.

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Scam of the day – January 8, 2023 – FTC Sending Checks to Victims of Student Loan Debt Relief Scam

In October of 2017 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), working with the Attorneys General of eleven states, launched what it cleverly calls, Operation Game of Loans to jointly target these 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. In 2020 I told you that three companies SLAC (which also uses the name Aspyre), Navloan, Student Loan Assistance Center and their owner Adam Owens agreed to be permanently banned from the debt relief business in order to settle charges brought against the companies by the FTC.  These companies had charged an initial upfront fee of $699 and a monthly fee of $39 in return for false promises that these companies would permanently lower or eliminate student loans.  The companies also paid consumers for positive Better Business Bureau reviews.

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Scam of the day – January 7, 2023 – Tech Support Scams Getting Worse

The most common tech support scams start with popups on your computer that provide notices of security problems that contain telephone numbers for you to call to fix the problem,  Whenever you get a pop-up, email, or text message that appears to tell you that you have a security problem with your computer, you should never click on any links contained in the message or call the telephone number provided. If your screen freezes,  , all you need to do is just turn off your computer and restart it. If you are concerned that you may be experiencing a real security problem you can contact tech support at the real tech companies directly by phone or by email using the phone number and email addresses you find on their respective websites.

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Scam of the day – January 5, 2023 – Dual Factor Authentication Scam

Recently scammers have been sending text messages that appear to come from a company with which you do business informing you that there has been suspicious activity on your account and that you need to confirm your identity or else your account will be locked.  You are then told that in order to do so, you will receive a text message with a code that you should, in turn, text it back as a reply to the scammer.  Unfortunately, what is actually happening is that the scammer has already managed to obtain your password and has just tried to log in to your account which is protected by dual factor authentication, so if you do send the code to the scammer, you will have defeated dual factor authentication and enabled the scammer to access your account.

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Scam of the day – January 4, 2023 – Lesson of Identity Thief’s Sentence

Recently Jared Wilkes Post was sentenced in the Alaska Federal Court to prison for defrauding banks and people of more than $100,000 through a sophisticated check kiting scam.  For four years Post contact people on social media and convinced them to share their bank account information.  Post told his victims that he didn’t have a bank account and he needed to deposit a legitimate check into his victim’s account who he then told that he would pay them a portion of the check for allowing him to use their bank account.  Once the check appeared to clear, Post told his victims to pay him through some form of a cash app or a Western Union funds wire. The truth is that the checks being deposited were stolen and altered, however, the banks would not discover this fact until after money had been withdrawn and paid to the scammers, leaving the banks and the individual bank account holders at a loss.  The provisional credit initially given by the bank in the initial days after the deposit of the check may have made it appear to the individual victims of the scam that the check had cleared, but when the fraudulent nature of the check was later discovered, the provisional credit was removed from the account, leaving the account holder having paid his or hers own funds to the scammer.

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Scam of the day – January 3, 2023 – Facebook Marketplace Scams

Facebook Marketplace is a free service on Facebook where millions of people buy and sell all manner of goods  Often people can get some tremendous bargains and sellers can get an easy, low cost way to sell goods.  Around this time of year, we often see an increase in use of Facebook Marketplace as some people use it to sell unwanted gifts they received during the holiday season.  Again, as always, anything popular with many people is popular with scammers and there are a number of scams related to Facebook Marketplace

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Scam of the day – January 2, 2023 – Should You Use a Password Manager?

Having unique, complicated passwords for each of your accounts is an essential element of online security.  However, remembering all of your passwords can be a difficult task for many people, which is why so many people use online password managers, which store all of your passwords for you.  These companies, however, are tempting targets for identity thieves.

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Scam of the day – January 1, 2023 – Pig Butchering Cryptocurrency Scams Getting Worse

I have been warning you about romance scams for many years and just a year ago I first warned you about the pig butchering scam.  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.  Frank Fisher of the FBI recently said that pig butchering is “sweeping the country.”

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Scam of the day – December 31, 2022 – Nanny and Caregiver Job Scams

This is just another variation on the scam whereby the victim, for whatever purposes receives a check in excess of the amount to paid to the victim and asks the victim to send back the difference.  There are a number of tell tale signs to look for and steps to take to avoid this type of scam.  First, you need to remember that although a check may appear to have been cleared by your bank after a few days, all you are really getting is “provisional credit” and when the counterfeit check eventually bounces, the credit is taken back from your account and you are left having sent your own money to the scammer.

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Scam of the day – December 30, 2022 – Parking Ticket Scam

Police in Santa Cruz, California recently arrested a 19 year old boy who they say created fake parking tickets with a QR code that the targeted victims could scan in order to pay for the phony parking tickets. He then put the tickets on numerous parked cards.  The QR code took the targeted victims to a website where they were prompted to pay the fine online. Parking ticket scams have been increasingly reported for the last five years.  They take various incarnations, most commonly either through counterfeit parking tickets as allegedly made by the Santa Cruz teenager or through official appearing email or snail mail letters informing you of a parking fine and luring you into paying online by credit card, debit card or gift card.

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Scam of the day – December 29, 2022 – Hacker Claims to be Selling Personal Information of 400 Million Twitter Users

A hacker who uses the name Ryushi claims to have hacked into Twitter through a now-patched API vulnerability and is offering the information for sale for $200,000 on the Dark Web to other cybercriminals who could use the information to target the Twitter users for scams and identity theft.  As proof of Ryushi’s claim, he or she has posted as a sample, the personal data of 1,000 Twitter users including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Trump Jr., Mark Kuban and Piers Morgan. The information stolen appears to be email addresses, names, user names and phone numbers as well as other information.  This information can be leveraged through social engineered spear phishing emails and text messages to lure unsuspecting victims into scams and identity theft.  In addition, your phone number is valuable to a criminal who can use it to do a SIM swap or other threatening activities. Here is a link to an earlier Scam of the day in which I describe all the risks and danger of having your cell phone number fall into the wrong hands. https://scamicide.com/2022/06/19/scam-of-the-day-june-20-2022-why-you-should-keep-your-cell-phone-number-private/

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Scam of the day – December 28, 2022 – How to Keep Your Cryptocurrency Wallet Secure

Your digital wallet is where the key that allows you to access your cryptocurrency account is found.  If your key falls into the hands of a hacker, you can easily lose all of your cryptocurrency account so it is of paramount importance to secure your digital wallet.  Digital wallets can either be hot wallets or cold wallets.  Hot wallets are connected to the Internet which makes them more susceptible to being hacked which is why a cold wallet which is not connected to the Internet, but rather is is kept in a portable hard drive is your best bet.

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Scam of the day – December 27, 2022 – FBI Issues Warning About Sextortion

I have been warning you about sextortion scams for seven years.  Earlier this week the FBI issued a new warning about sextortion. Generally, sextortion scams begin with an email in which you are told that your computer and web cam have been hacked and that the scammers have video of you watching porn online.  In the email, the scammer threatens to send the videos to people on his contact list unless you pay a ransom in Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency.
In other instances, 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.

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Scam of the day – December 26, 2022 – Avoiding Funeral Scams

Consumers also have the right to ask for and get price information by phone.  You also have a right to receive a written itemized price list when you go to a funeral parlor.  You also have the right to see a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets which can enable you to ask about lower-priced caskets that may not be on display.  However, the FTC Funeral Rule as it presently reads does not require price information to be provided on a funeral provider’s website and a survey of the FTC found that fewer than 40% of funeral provider websites provide that information.  Consequently the FTC is considering amending the FTC Funeral Rule to make it mandatory to disclose price information on funeral provider websites.

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Scam of the day – December 23, 2022 – Watch Out for this Work at Home Scam

Laundering money derived from a scam is an essential element of many scams.  Scammers can be extremely clever at distancing themselves from their scams in order to avoid detection.  The people they enlist either as willing or unknowing participants in the laundering of the proceeds of a scam are called money mules.  Scams in which innocent people are lured into being unknowing money mules are numerous. One of the more common of these involves work at home scams where your job is to receive goods, often electronics that have been shipped to you, inspect them and then reship them to an address provided to you by your new employer.  

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Scam of the day – December 22, 2022 – Scammers Piling on Victims of Cryptocurrency Scams

It has been a rough year for cryptocurrencies with the value of many legitimate cryptocurrencies down more than 60% and this doesn’t include the estimated 3.5 billion dollars lost by cryptocurrency investors to a wide variety of cryptocurrency scams.  In recent years I have written about many of these scams.  If you want to see them, go to the “search for scams” tab at the top of the first page of Scamicide.com, type in “cryptocurrency” and you will find information about a huge number of these scams.

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Scam of the day – December 21, 2022 – Credit Repair Scammers Settle FTC Lawsuit

 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.

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Scam of the day – December 20, 2022 – Phony Restaurant Delivery Scam

Ordering food online for delivery was somewhat popular prior to the pandemic, but really took off during the pandemic when people wanted restaurant food without having to go to a restaurant.  Many restaurants have taken advantage of this interest and set up websites to facilitate ordering food deliveries and companies such as DoorDash and GrubHub also take online orders for food deliveries from multiple restaurants.  As could be expected scammers also are getting into the food delivery business although it would be more accurate to say that they got in the business of taking your online orders for food delivery, but deliver nothing except charges on your credit card. Scammers create websites for phony delivery services using names such as “Order Hero” and “Order Ventures” or they mimic websites of legitimate restaurants or delivery services and through manipulating algorithms used by search engines to rank websites may appear at the top of a Google Chrome or other search engine search.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

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Scam of the day – December 19, 2022 – What to do When you Become a Data Breach Victim Over the Holidays

The federal government has warned business leaders to be ready for inevitable cyberattacks during the Christmas and New Year period.  Many times in recent years, major cyberattacks and data breaches occurred over the holidays when businesses, government agencies and individuals are not paying as much attention to cybersecurity as they should be.  According to the National  Cyber Director Chris Inglis, “Historically we have seen breaches around national holidays because criminals know that security operations centers are often short-staffed , delaying the discovery of intrusions.”

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Scam of the day – December 17, 2022 – Dangerous Social Security Scam

Protecting the privacy of your Social Security number is essential in order to protect yourself from identity theft.  Identity thieves use a variety of pretenses to trick people into providing their Social Security numbers to scammers who can then use it as part of their efforts to steal your assets or get loans in your name that they don’t repay.  Recently a savvy Scamicide reader received an official appearing notice through email that appeared to come from the Social Security Administration. The notice carried the logo for the Social Security Administration and read as follows: “We have noticed some unusual activity on your account and as a security measure we are required to deactivate your SSN services.  This is not a permanent cancellation; you will be able to reactivate your account at any time.  We apologize for any convenience this may have caused you.  If you need any help with reactivating your account, please contact our customer service at 1(888) 623-2544.”

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Scam of the day – December 16, 2022 – The Danger of Public USB Phone Charging Stations

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.  A few years earlier cyber security company Kaspersky Lab issued a report detailing the dangers posed by the simple act of recharging your phone through someone else’s computer or at a public charging station.  The problem stems from the fact that information is transferred between your smartphone and the charger as soon as you plug your cellphone into the computer or charging station you are using to recharge your cellphone.  

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Scam of the day – December 15, 2022 – PayPal Phishing Scam

Here is another good example of a phishing email that is presently being circulated.  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. Copied below is part of a phishing email  presently being sent to unsuspecting people that appears to come from PayPal.  It contains a PayPal logo which I did not show in this Scam of the day.  Such logos may look legitimate, but are easy to counterfeit. The email attempts to lure you into calling a phony customer service number where you will be asked for personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

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Scam of the day – December 14, 2022 – Holiday Puppy Scams

Scams involving sales of non-existent puppies had already increased dramatically in the last few years, but really took off  during the Coronavirus pandemic when many people were looking for the emotional support of a loving dog and the holiday season is bringing even more instances of puppy scams as people attempt to buy dogs as holiday gifts.  People buy dogs or other pets online and, although they think they are taking proper precautions, they often end up getting nothing in return for the money that they wire to the scammer who may have a website or some other way of marketing their non-existent pets with photographs and false information.

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Scam of the day – December 13 2022 – Netflix Phishing Email

The popularity of Netflix makes it a preferred subject for phishing emails sent to people appearing to come from Netflix in which you are told you need to update your credit card information or asking for other personal information.   Reproduced below is a copy of an email received by a Scamicide reader.   The email looks somewhat legitimate although the salutation of “Hi Customer” is pretty much an indication that this is a scam.  The Netflix logo appears on the email, but it is easy to counterfeit the Netflix logo and make the email appear to be legitimate when it is not. Two things can happen if you click on the links in the email.  Either you will be directed to a phony but legitimate looking website where you will be prompted to input your credit card information and thereby turn it over to an identity thief or, even worse, merely by clicking on the link, you will download keystroke logging malware that can steal all of the information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

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Scam of the day – December 12, 2022 – She’s Back! Mavis Wanczyk Lottery Scam

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.

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Scam of the day – December 11, 2022 – Gift Cards Scams Continue to Snare Victims

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  consumers lost 148 million dollars to scams in which gift cards were used as the payment method last year and this number has increased each year since 2018.  .  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.

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Scam of the day – December 10, 2022 – Job Scams Getting Worse

According to the FBI, which has warned about the increasing frequency of job scams, the scammers often first set up a phony website that appears to be that of a legitimate company with which you might be familiar.  They then post the phony job opportunity on legitimate job sites and direct the job applicants to the phony website  These scammers will do interviews of prospective employees in much the same way that real companies do to make their scam appear legitimate, however, unlike legitimate job interviews, the interviews done by scammers are generally relatively short and don’t require repeated interviews before the targeted victim of the scam gets “hired.”  At that point, the scammer then requests personal information such as your Social Security number which a legitimate employer would also do which is one reason this scam is so dangerous.  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.

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Scam of the day – December 9, 2022 – REAL ID Deadline Extended – Watch Out for Scammers

The most effective scams are the ones that capitalize on real things that apply to you.  It was only a month ago that I reminded you about the scams associated with the REAL ID impending deadline.  Many people are familiar with the REAL ID, which is a new version of your driver’s license mandated by federal law.  The federal REAL ID Act established new security requirements for driver’s licenses and identification cards with which all states must comply and which will eventually be needed by you if you wish to board an airplane or enter certain federal facilities although you can still do so if you have a passport. The original date by which you had to get a REAL ID was set at October 1, 2021, however due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the deadline was postponed until May 3, 2023.  Now the deadline has been extended again.  The new deadline is May 7, 2025.  This is both good news and bad news.  It is good news because it gives you more time to get your REAL ID, but it is also bad news because it gives scammers more time to contact you posing as governmental officials seeking your personal information under the guise of helping you apply for your REAL ID when their real purpose is to harvest your personal information and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

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