Search Scams

Scam of the day – September 25, 2021 – Census Scams

The United States Census Bureau conducts a national census every ten years.  The Census is very important and is required by the Constitution.  Census data is used to determine the numbers of members for each state in the House of Representatives which also affects the Electoral College.  The Census Bureau contacts Americans in a variety of ways including phone calls, letters and even Census Bureau workers who will come to your home.  As a part of the census, you are asked for much personal information, which makes the census a perfect vehicle for identity thieves to pose as census workers in an effort to lure you into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  A key thing to remember is that the real Census Bureau will never ask you for your Social Security number, bank account numbers or credit card numbers.  Anyone posing as a census worker who asks for that information is an identity thief.  

However, the Census Bureau also conducts each year more than a hundred surveys of households and businesses.  Random people are receiving letters, phone calls and even visits from people representing that they are with the United States Census Bureau taking one of these surveys including the American Community Survey.   Here is a link to a list of the surveys being done by the Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/surveyhelp/list-of-surveys.html

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Scam of the day – September 24, 2021 – Jury Duty Scams Continue to be a Problem

 The jury duty 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.  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 – September 23, 2021 – New Trend in Romance Scams

Now the FBI is warning us about a new trend in romance scams in which the scammer tells his victim that he 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.

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Scam of the day – September 22, 2021 – Coupon Counterfeiter Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison

However, coupon scams can also involve counterfeit coupons which are sold by counterfeiters on social media, which is what Lori Ann Talens did for three years ending in May of 2020.  Using Facebook and other social media she would sell her phony coupons to online groups of coupon fans.  In particular she sold millions of dollars of phony, counterfeit coupons that appeared to be for Kimberly -Clark paper products, Proctor & Gamble household goods as well as other home supply companies.  Last week Talens was sentenced to twelve years in prison for her crimes. 

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Scam of the day – September 21, 2021 – Work at Home Scams

Years ago, stuffing envelopes was a common work at home scam. That scam has been updated by other scammers to offers of being paid to read emails, but it remains a scam.  The range of work at home scams is constantly changing and evolving, but the result is always the same – rarely are these work at home schemes legitimate nor do they provide any income except for the scammers who operate them.  Often the advertisements for these work at home scams appear in conventional media that have not checked out the legitimacy of the advertisements they run.  Merely because an ad may appear on a legitimate television show or publication does not mean that the ad can be trusted.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

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Scam of the day – September 20, 2021 – Phony U.S. Tech Support Invoice Scam

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.

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Scam of the day – September 19, 2021 – SEC Shuts Down Alleged Ponzi Scam

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently obtained a temporary restraining order shutting down an alleged Ponzi Scheme operated by Jason Dodd Bullard and Angela Romero-Bullard.  Over the years Ponzi schemes have been used by many scammers to steal billions of dollars from unwitting victims who made the mistake of investing their money with such criminals. 

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Scam of the day – September 18, 2021 – National Grid Warning Customers About Scam Calls

  Recently, the electrical utility company National Grid published a warning about scammers posing as National Grid employees calling people and telling them that their electric bill is overdue and threaten to shut off their service unless they pay immediately using a prepaid debit card.  Some calls have even asked for the customer’s Social Security number.  This scam is not limited to New York and customers of National Grid but is going on everywhere.

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Scam of the day – September 17, 2021 – Cryptocurrency Scammer Convicted

Recently, Michael Ackerman was convicted in federal court of operating a cryptocurrency scam in which he and two partners scammed investors out of 30 million dollars by falsely claiming that his cryptocurrency investment fund would produce monthly returns of more than 15%.  Ackerman told his investor-victims that he had developed a unique algorithm that allowed him to invest and trade in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and earn tremendous profits.  In particular, Ackerman targeted physicians as investors/victims who were contacted by one of his partners who is a physician.  The truth is that Ackerman never delivered on his claims, falsified records that he used to lure investors to make it appear that his fund was profitable when it was not, and stole much of the money invested to fund his own lavish lifestyle.

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Scam of the day – September 16, 2021 – Child Identity Theft Getting Worse

This is the beginning of a school year and as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to be of concern to parents of school age children, another significant problem facing school children is one of which parents are generally not aware  Identity thieves will steal the identity of a child and then run up large debts using the credit of the child, who generally does not become aware that his or her identity has been stolen until he or she reaches older teen years when he or she might first apply for a car loan or financial aid for college. According to the cybersecurity company Emisosoft, 1,200 American schools from kindergartens to high schools were victims of data breaches or ransomware attacks resulting in huge amounts of personal information of school children including Social Security numbers being sold to identity thieves on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services.

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Scam of the day – September 15, 2021 – T-Mobile Customers Targeted by Smishing Scam

Recently large numbers of T-Mobile customers in Louisiana were targeted with a smishing scam.   Many of you may be unfamiliar with the term “smishing” which is described in detail in my book “Identity Theft Alert ,” however, you are probably familiar with the term “phishing” which describes the scam by which identity thieves will trick you in an email that appears to come from a person, company or governmental agency to go by way of clicking on a link to a phony website that appears to be that of a legitimate company or governmental agency.  There you are either tricked into providing personal information that becomes used to make you a victim of identity theft or by merely clicking on the misleading link, you unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that reads and steals all of the personal information from your computer and proceeds to make you a victim of identity theft.

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Scam of the day – September 14, 2021 – Rent Assistance Scams

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought financial hardships to many people including many people renting homes or apartments.  In response to this problem, Congress has sent billions of dollars in rental assistance to state agencies to distribute to renters in need.  As you can imagine, scammers have also jumped on this bandwagon and are contacting people by emails and text messages posing as various federal agencies and non-profit groups.  In these communications, the scammers lure people into providing sensitive personal information, such as your Social Security number, that is used to commit identity theft.  The phony emails often carry the logo of federal agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which is easy to counterfeit.

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Scam of the day – September 13, 2021 – Wells Fargo Phishing Email

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 a new phishing email  presently being sent to unsuspecting people that appears to come from Wells Fargo.  This particular one comes with a Wells Fargo logo, but was sent from an email account that had no relation to Wells Fargo which is a clear indication that this is a scam.  Most likely the email address from which it was sent was from an email account of an innocent person whose email accounts was hacked and made a part of a botnet used to send out phishing emails.  I have disarmed the link which was found where the email indicates “sign on to your account at wellsfargo.com”  and at the bottom of the email . If you had hovered your mouse over the link when it was active you would have seen that the link was from an address unrelated to Wells Fargo.

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Scam of the day – September 12, 2021 – SEC Sues BitConnect for Massive Fraud

Recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued the company BitConnect and its founder, Satish Kumbhani alleging they operated a 2 billion dollar fraud scheme.  According to the SEC, BitConnect said it had an automated program that made huge profits by trading bitcoins that would be provided to BitConnect by its customers.  The company proclaimed that it never had a negative day of trading and its annualized return was 3,700%.  Unfortunately, according to the SEC BitConnect was nothing more than a glorified Ponzi scheme in which new investors were paid from the contributions of later investors with most investors losing their entire investments.  Already. Glenn Arcaro, an American promotor of BItConnect which itself is based overseas has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in November.

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Scam of the day – September 11, 2021 – MyChart Phishing Scam

Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which download malware or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, are nothing new.   They are a staple of identity thieves and scammers and with good reason because they work. Reproduced below is a copy of a new phishing email presently circulating that appears to come from MyChart.  MyChart is an online platform that allows you to communicate with your health care provider about a wide range of matters including scheduling appointments and reviewing your prescriptions.  MyChart and other online medical platforms have become even more popular during the pandemic.

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Scam of the day – September 10, 2021 – Zelle Scam Steals Money From Chicago Women

Recently, Nausheen Brooks and Darlene Chelsey were each scammed out of $3,500 when they received text messages that appeared to come from their bank, Bank of America asking them to verify purchases.  Of course there were no purchases and it wasn’t Bank of America contacting them.  After responding to the text messages, they were called by scammers posing as Bank of America employees. Through “spoofing” their Caller ID was able to be manipulated to make it appear as if the call actually came from Bank of America.  The scammer told the women that withdrawals had been made from their Zelle accounts, but that all they needed to do to remedy the situation was use their mobile banking apps to transfer money back to themselves.  While this does not seem particularly logical, the frightened women complied only to quickly find out that their Zelle accounts had been taken over by the scammers who promptly emptied the accounts.

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Scam of the day – September 9, 2021 – Sophisticated Amazon Phishing Email

The latest Amazon phishing scam starts with an email that appears to come from Amazon informing you that someone has attempted to use your password to access your account.  Anyone receiving such an email would certainly be concerned that their account is about to be hacked and may be lured into clicking on the link provided to deny access.  Phishing emails often try to entice people into providing sensitive personal information that can be used for purposes of identity theft or to click on links that may either ask you for personal information or merely by clicking on the link you may download harmful malware.

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Scam of the day – September 8, 2021 – Return of the Joker Malware

The return of the Joker sounds like it should be the title of a Batman movie, but the truth is that Joker is the name of a strain of malware first used in 2017 and now, according to Belgian police, is making a harmful return.  This malware when downloaded on to your Android cell phone enables the criminal to sign you up for expensive services and authorize payments from your bank account or credit card.  This malware is found in legitimate apps that have been infected with the malware so even if you are getting your apps from the Google Play Store you cannot be sure that the app is not infected with this malware

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Scam of the day – September 7, 2021 – Recruiting Firm Data Breach

As I have reminded you many times, we are only as safe and secure as the security as the companies and websites that have our personal information.  So even if you are extremely diligent in protecting your personal information, you can be in danger of identity theft and scams if your personal information falls into the hands of hackers.  Administrative staffing agency Career Group, Inc. suffered a data breach between June 28th and July 7th, which was discovered by the company in early July.  While the data breach occurred in late June and early July, the company is only now notifying its affected customers.  Included in the compromised data were names and Social Security numbers.  Social Security numbers in particular are treasured by identity thieves as information they can leverage to either access your accounts or to open bogus new accounts in your name.

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Scam of the day – September 6, 2021 – Inheritance Scam

We are all familiar with the Nigerian email scam, a common version of which begins with an email informing you that someone has died in Nigeria and has left you a large sum of money in his or her Will.  You are initially told that you do not have to pay anything to get your funds, but as time goes, on you are asked for payment after payment under a variety of guises.  Of course, the whole thing is a scam.  Most people recognize that they don’t know anyone in Nigeria and ignore the email.  However, there is now circulating a version of this scam that is a bit more convincing.  It starts when you receive an email or snail mail letter that appears to come from a legitimate law firm that is handling an estate here in the United States.  The email or letter informs you that indeed you are a beneficiary of the estate and it names someone who has the same last name as you as the person leaving you a bequest in his or her Will.  Even though you don’t recognize the name of the deceased, it may appear to be legitimate. 

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Scam of the day – September 5, 2021 -Cryptocurrency Phishing Scam

Cryptocurrency exchanges are digital platforms where you can buy, sell, exchange or store your various cryptocurrencies.  There are many legitimate cryptocurrencies.  Luno is a secure cryptocurrency exchange founded in in 2013 with millions of clients in many countries.  Recently many Luno clients suffered data breaches and had their accounts stolen, however, the fault was not in Luno, but rather the individual clients who fell victim to a common socially engineered phishing scam. 

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Scam of the day – September 4, 2021 – History Repeats Itself With Conviction of Hacker of Nude Photos

It is said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it and that is exactly what recently happened.  Hao Kou Chi, a Californian sold his services as a hacker for hire to anyone who wanted nude photos stored in iCloud accounts of particular people.  Similar to what happened in 2014, Chi emailed his victims posing as iCloud security from the email addresses “applebackup icloud” and “backupagenticloud” which appeared legitimate.  He then tricked his victims to providing him with their iCloud account usernames and passwords which enabled him to gain access to their photos stored in the cloud.  All in all, Chi stole 620,000 photos and 9,000 videos.  Chi has been arrested and has pleaded guilty.

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Scam of the day – September 3, 2021 – How to Safely Use Public Wi-Fi

Whether we are at the airport, a hotel, a shopping mall, a coffee shop or almost anywhere else, you will usually find free public Wi-Fi service offered so that we can use our cell phones, laptops or tablets to connect to the Internet.  However with this convenience can come danger.  Too many people assume that the Wi-Fi that they are using is secure and this is not always the case.  In fact, often an identity thief will go to the same coffee shop or other venue and set up his or her own Wi-Fi which is what you may unwittingly be tapping into when you think you are connecting to the Wi-Fi of the particular coffee shop or other place you find yourself at.  Technologically, it is easy to set up a phony Wi-Fi that can steal data from your cell phone, laptop or tablet and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.  And even if you are not using the phony Wi-Fi of an identity thief, you may be using an insecure Wi-Fi that is susceptible to being hacked by a savvy identity thief who can steal your information in that way, as well.

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Scam of the day – September 2, 2021 – Hurricane Ida Charity Scams

Hurricane Ida is the most recent natural disaster affecting millions of people in the Southern United States and while the levees constructed following Hurricane Katrina, which coincidentally hit New Orleans on the same day of sixteen years ago, held, levees protecting smaller communities outside of New Orleans did not fare so well and even in New Orleans the damage has been devastating.  The damage throughout the South has been tremendous leaving people in dire need of assistance and scammers are busy posing as charities to steal your money from the needy.

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Scam of the day – September 1, 2021 – Grand Jury Indicts 8 Alleged Grandparent Scam Criminals

I am sure most of you are familiar with the grandparent scam where a grandparent receives a telephone call from someone purporting to be their grandchild who has gotten into some trouble, most commonly a traffic accident, legal trouble or medical  problems in a far away place.  The caller pleads for the grandparent to send money immediately to help resolve the problem.  However the caller also begs the grandparent not to tell mom and dad.  One would think that no one would be gullible enough to fall for this scam, but don’t be so hard on the victims of this scam.  Scam artists have a knowledge of psychology of which Freud would have been envious and are able to use that knowledge to persuade their victims to send money right away. While this scam has been going on for approximately thirteen years, it continues to victimize people. 

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Scam of the day – August 31, 2021 – Microsoft Outlook Phishing Scam

Today’s Scam of the day came from a long time friend and Scamicide reader who was savvy enough not to fall for this very clever scam.  It starts when you receive an email that appears to have been sent by Microsoft Outlook informing you that you have received a voice mail message with a link to click on to access the voice mail message.    If you do click on the link you will be directed to a phony, but legitimate appearing Outlook login page where you are prompted to provide your email address and password which is the information that the scammers are seeking.  Having your Microsoft password and email address can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft.

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Scam of the day – August 30, 2021- Phony Covid-19 Grant Smishing Scam

However, recently Scamicide readers have been reporting an uptick of smishing text messages such as copied below which purport to tell you of your eligibility for government offered Coronavirus related payments and grants.  These scams are particularly risky because we are all familiar with the actual stimulus payments twice sent to eligible Americans.  However, those stimulus programs are done and the programs referred to in the text messages copied below are phony and do not exist.  

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Scam of the day – August 29, 2021 – Phony Restaurant Delivery Scam

Ordering food online for delivery was somewhat popular prior to the pandemic, but has become much more widely used as people want 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.

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Scam of the day – August 28, 2021 – Phony World Health Organization COVID-19 Lottery

Taking advantage of public awareness of such lotteries, scammers claiming to be Capital Finance, Inc., a phony financial  management firm claiming to be from London are contacting people through emails in which they tell their targeted victims that they have won a million dollar lottery prize set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) in association with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to pay people for losses suffered as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Scam of the day – August 27, 2021 – Increase in U.S. Marshal Impostor Scams

Recently the United States Marshals Service for the Northern District of Ohio indicated that there has been a significant increase in impostor scams in which the scammers call their targeted victims and tell them that they have missed important court dates after having been served with subpoenas.  Of course are no subpoenas and the targeted victims are called randomly.  The scammers then threaten arrest unless they are paid by prepaid debit cards over the phone.

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Scam of the day – August 26, 2021 – Pet Scams Continue to Worsen

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.   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. Often the scammers hook their victims for more and more money, such as when even after the victims has paid for the non-existent dog, the victim is asked for additional payments for a special crate to transport the dog along with additional transportation company fees.

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Scam of the day – August 25, 2021 – Phony YouTube Activation Link Scam

In order to install YouTube on your smart television you must download the app to your television which will respond by providing you with an activation code to use to complete the process online at the URL youtube.com/activate.  Some people however, will use search engines such as Google Chrome to confirm that the URL is legitimate.  Unfortunately, people are reporting doing a search engine search and being directed to a phony, but legitimate appearing YouTube page where if you type in the activation code a notice will indicate that there is an error and provides a  telephone number for customer service for you to call.  If you call the number, you are instructed that you are required to pay a refundable fee in order to activate your account

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Scam of the day – August 24, 2021 – Counterfeit COVID-19 Vaccination Cards

As many companies, universities and government agencies now requiring that employees and students be vaccinated against COVID-19, some people are still refusing to get vaccinated although getting the vaccine is the best and safest way to protect yourself and the people with whom you come into contact.  This has provided an opportunity for criminals to provide counterfeit vaccination cards to people not wanting to get the vaccine, but still wanting to have access to places that require vaccination.

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Scam of the day – August 23, 2021 – DocuSign Phishing Scam

DocuSign is a company that provides technology for the transmission of contracts and other documents with features for electronic signatures.  DocuSign is used by many businesses.  Recently, the security vendor Avanan discovered an increasing number of scams in which phony DocuSign messages are being used to sending malware infected links and phishing links luring people into providing personal information that is used for identity theft purposes. 

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Scam of the day – August 22, 2021 – T-Mobile Data Breach Update

Last week I reported to you about  a data breach at T-Mobile initially discovered when hackers started offering  for sale on the Dark Web data of what they said was 100 million customers of phone carrier T-Mobile for sale.  T- Mobile confirmed the data breach although they say that the number of customers affected was 49 million people.  The information being sold includes names, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and addresses.  Also being sold are the PINS used by some T-Mobile customers to protect their accounts from identity theft, but now are in the hands of hackers.  This type of information poses a tremendous threat to victims of the data breach, which is the sixth for T-Mobile in the last four years.  Social Security numbers in particular can be used by identity thieves to apply for credit cards and loans in your name.  In addition, the phone numbers and the fact that the victims of the data breach are known to be T-Mobile customers to create phony phishing text messages, called smishing, posing as T-Mobile and luring the targeted victim into clicking on a link in the text message that can download destructive malware.

T-Mobile is still investigating the data breach, but has agreed to offer two years of free identity theft protection services including credit monitoring.  Here is a link to T-Mobile’s offer of free identity theft protection services.  https://www.t-mobile.com/brand/data-breach-2021/next-steps

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Scam of the day – August 21, 2021 – FBI Issues Warning About Virtual Kidnappings

I have been warning you about phony kidnapping scams, also known as virtual kidnapping, for eight years.  The scam starts with a telephone call informing the person answering the phone that a child or other relative has been kidnapped and if the person receiving the call does not respond by wiring money right away, the relative will be killed.  As with so many scams, we are often our own worst enemy and this scam is no exception.

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Scam of the day – August 19, 2021 – Cryptocurrency Scammer Pleads Guilty

John DeMarr recently pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to his participation in a massive cryptocurrency scam that swindled close to 500 investors out of more than 11 million dollars.  The scam was a typical cryptocurrency scam in which the criminals led by accused criminal Kristijan Krstic  promised up to 200% gains with two to three months to be derived from crypto-mining.  Krstic and 15 other defendants have also been charged by federal prosecutors with operating 20 other cryptocurrency scams in which they stole approximately 70 million dollars from their victims

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Scam of the day – August 18, 2021 – Another Major Data Breach at T-Mobile

Often the first indication that a company has suffered a data breach is when the data stolen by hackers appears for sale on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services.  This is what appears to be the case in regard to a data breach at T-Mobile as a hackers is offering data of 100 million customers of phone carrier T-Mobile for sale for 6 bitcoin (approximately $280,000).  The information being sold includes names, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and addresses. 

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Scam of the day – August 17, 2021 – TSA PreCheck Scam

Unfortunately, scammers, of course, have been taking advantage of people trying to sign up for the TSA PreCheck program and are setting up phony websites that appear to be official websites of the TSA.  They then lure you into providing personal information they use to make you a victim of identity theft as well as steal the money they charge you online for a phony TSA PreCheck enrollment.

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Scam of the day – August 16, 2021 – Financial Advisor Data Breach

Recently, investment advisors Saybrook Fund Advisors LLC suffered a major data breach in which a cybercriminal hacked into the email account of one of Saybrook’s employees and was able to access sensitive personal data contained in emails and attachments to emails from the account between March 18, 2021 and March 29, 2021.   The stolen information included Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit and debit card information, health insurance information, login credentials and more, putting the affected clients of Saybrook in serious danger of identity theft.  The compromise of their Social Security number is particularly threatening to the security of the affected clients.

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Scam of the day – August 15, 2021 – New Unemployment Compensation Text Message Scam

Identity thieves are sending out text messages such as those shown below that purport to be from your state’s unemployment department in which you are told that it is necessary for you to either verify your personal information, make corrections to your personal information or reactivate your account.  The link in these emails takes you to a legitimate appearing website that appears to be that of your state’s unemployment department where you are prompted to provide your Social Security number and other personal information.  Victims of this scam who provide this information end up becoming victims of identity theft as this information is used for a variety of identity theft purposes including making claims in your name for unemployment compensation.

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Scam of the day – August 14, 2021 – Yet Another Mavis Wanczyk Instagram 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 – August 13, 2021 – PayPal Phishing Email

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. 

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Scam of the day – August 12, 2021 – Another Chase Phishing Scam

Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which download malware or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, are nothing new.   They are a staple of identity thieves and scammers and with good reason because they work. Reproduced below is a copy of a new phishing email presently circulating that appears to come from Chase Bank.

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Scam of the day – August 11, 2021 – Why You Should Keep Your Cell Phone Number Private

There are numerous legal public records directories, such as White Pages Premium that assemble records about you from a wide variety of online sources and provide this information to anyone who uses their services.  Merely having your cellphone number can allow someone to use these services to obtain your name, birth date, address, past addresses, names of your family members, past phone numbers and much more.  This information can be leveraged by an identity thief or scammer to answer security questions at your online accounts and change your passwords or even to answer questions from your mobile service provider to allow the identity thief to perform a SIM swap, take over your phone and allow the identity thief to thwart dual factor authentication. 

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Scam of the day – August 10, 2021 – Louisiana Attorney General Issues Warning About Online Quizzes

Quizzes on Facebook and other social media are very popular, but they can be exploited by identity thieves. A good example of this was the “10 Concerts, but there is one act that I haven’t seen live.  Which is it?” Facebook quiz.  While this may appear harmless, the information you provide may tell more about you than is safe to make public.  It may provide information about your approximate age and preferences in music which can then be used by a scammer to send you a  spear phishing email tailored to appeal to your particular interests that you may trust and click on a link contained in the email that contains either keystroke logging malware that can be used to steal your identity or ransomware.

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Scam of the day – August 9, 2021 – Police Arrest Indian Robocallers

Now, police in India arrested sixty-five people operating call centers in India that called Americans posing as government officials with various government agencies such as the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).  The calls started with a pre-recorded robocall in which the targeted victims were told their Social Security numbers would be suspended for various fictional violations unless they paid a fine through gift cards.

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Scam of the day – August 8, 2021 – How to Protect Your Phone From Being Hacked

The National Security Agency (NSA) has issued a list of best practices for security on your mobile device that includes many of the suggestions I have made to you over the years such as avoiding public Wi-Fi, installing security updates as soon as they become available, not clicking on unconfirmed links in text messages and not using public USB charging stations.  Click on this link for the full list. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/21018353-nsa-mobile-device-best-practices

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Scam of the day – August 7, 2021 – Sophisticated Car Wrap Scam

Car wrapping is actually legitimate, which is part of the problem.  Scammers exploit legitimate advertising through car wraps by either putting an ad on the Internet or contacting you through a mass email or now text messages in which they seek people to have their cars used for advertising through this technique called shrink wrapping.  Unsuspecting victims respond to the advertisement and are sent a check for  more than the amount that the victim is to be paid for the service.  The victim is instructed to deposit the check in his or her bank account and wire the rest back to the company.  This is where the scam comes in.  The check that the scammer sends you is a counterfeit.  However, unfortunately, the money that you wire the scammer comes right out of your bank account and is impossible to retrieve.

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