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Scam of the day – December 7, 2021 – Hacker Sentenced for Stealing Millions of Dollars Worth of Cryptocurrencies.

Garrett Endicott recently was sentenced to prison for his role in a hacking conspiracy perpetrated by a criminal group known as “The Community” that stole millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies from their victims through SIM card swapping which gave Endicott and the other five members of “The Community” access to the cryptocurrency accounts of their victims. 

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Scam of the day – December 6, 2021 – Hacked Email Account Scams

The email came from the email address of a person who is a friend and client of mine, but it was pretty clear to me that my friend  had not sent the email.  Rather, her email had been hacked and used to send emails to people on her contact list asking for the payment.  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.

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Scam of the day – December 5, 2021 – FTC Refunding 1.8 Million Dollars to Consumers Defrauded by Lifewatch

Six years ago I told you about one such company, Lifewatch which in 2015 was sued by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Attorney General of Florida who alleged that the company violated the law not only through illegal robocalls, but also by alleging that the medical alert system they offered was free and already been paid for by a friend or family member when that was untrue.  They also were accused of misrepresenting that their product has been endorsed by AARP, which it was not.  Finally, they were accused of telling prospective customers that they would not be charged anything (in regard to the product that they already had been told had been prepaid) until they activated the device.  The truth, according to the FTC, is that Lifewatch charged people immediately.

Now six years later, the lawsuit has been settled with Lifewatch providing 1.8 million dollars to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which is returning the funds to victims of the scam.  The checks being sent by the FTC must be cashed within 90 days of the date of the check.

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Scam of the day – December 4, 2021 – TSA PreCheck Scam Increasing

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.  Recently we have seen the scammers charging $140 for their worthless services.  The actual enrollment price is $70.

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Scam of the day – December 2, 2021 – Return of the Secret Sister Gift Exchange Scam

Fans of the old horror movie Poltergeist 2 remember the classic line “They’re back” and so it is with the classic Secret Sister scam which returns each holiday season.   I first reported to you about this scam in 2015. It seems harmless enough when you see it come up in your email or on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter where it has increasingly been found lately.  It is often titled the “Secret Sister Gift Exchange.”   Commonly it provides you with a list of six people and you are told to send a gift worth at least ten dollars to the first person on the list, remove that person’s name from the list, move the second person on the list to the first position, add your name to the end of the list and then send the list to six of your friends.  In theory, you will receive thirty-six gifts for your small contribution of ten dollars.

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Scam of the day – December 1, 2021 – Watch Out for Holiday Gift Card Scams

Buying a gift card as a gift is both an easy way to purchase a gift for someone and a good way to make sure that the gift is something that the receiver of the gift can actually use and enjoy.  However, scammers are always ready to take any good thing and turn it into a scam. The most common gift card scam involves scammers going to racks of gift cards in stores and using handheld scanners that are easy to obtain, read the code on the strip of the card and the number on the front.  They then put the card back in the display and periodically check with the retailer by calling its 800 number to find out whether the card has been activated and what the balance is on the card.  Once they have this information they either create a counterfeit card using the information they have stolen or order material online without having the actual card in hand.

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Scam of the day – November 30, 2021 – New Danger Discovered in Online Shopping

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre recently identified more than 4,000 online retailers who had their payment systems hacked in a manner that enabled the hackers to steal credit card and debit card information used by unwary online shoppers.  Most of the hacked retailers were small and medium sized businesses and all of them had not updated their card processing software with already issued security patches.  The particular software that was hacked was an e-commerce platform called Magento which is used not only in the United Kingdom, but also extensively in the United States as well as Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil and Italy.  With online shopping expected to be extensive during the holiday season it is critical that online merchants make sure that they install security updates as soon as they become available.

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Scam of the day – November 28, 2021 – Beware of Phony Police and Firefighter Charities

The holiday season is a time when many people give to charities.    In particular, you will most likely be contacted by numerous people soliciting charitable contributions on behalf of organizations purporting to support the brave men and women who make up our police and fire departments.  Unfortunately, many of those solicitations will be from scammers merely looking to steal money under false pretenses.  Whenever you are solicited by phone, you can never be sure who is really contacting you.  Even if your Caller ID indicates that the call is coming from a legitimate source, as I have mentioned many times scammers use a simple technique called “spoofing” to manipulate your Caller ID to make their calls appear to come from a legitimate source when the truth is that the call is coming from a scammer.  In addition, even if you are on the Federal Do No Call List, the law permits charities to call you, however, unfortunately you can never be sure when you receive a call that purports to be from a charity whether the call is legitimate or not.  Similarly when you receive a text message or email solicitation for a charity, you have no way of knowing if the solicitation is from a scammer or a legitimate charity.

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Scam of the day – November 27, 2021 – Dangerous Netflix Phishing Email

For a long time I have warned you that the popularity of Netflix makes it a preferred subject for phishing emails.  Particularly since the start of the pandemic many of us, myself included, have been watching a lot of Netflix programming and this has increased the motivation of scammers to set up many phony Netflix websites to which they lure people through emails and text messages to go to under the guise of a variety of  phony reasons, such as needing to update your information or confirm information as shown in the copy of a Netflix phishing email below.  Of course, the real purpose of these phony Netflix websites and the phishing emails and text messages sent to you is to lure you into going to these phony Netflix websites to trick you into providing your credit card information or your username and password which can then be sold by cybercriminals on the Dark Web to people looking to use Netflix for free.

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Scam of the day – November 26, 2021 – Annual Report of Federal Do-Not-Call List

Since it began in 2003, the National Do Not Call list has grown to include  more than 244 million phone numbers.  When you register your phone number with the Do Not Call list it becomes illegal for telemarketers to contact you by phone.  The Do Not Call list does not apply to charities so you still may be contacted by charities even if you have registered for the Do Not Call list. However, when you receive a call from someone purporting to be representing a charity, you can never be sure who is really calling so you should never give your credit card number to someone who calls you allegedly from a charity. If you are interested in a particular charity, contact the charity directly to make your contribution.

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Scam of the day – November 25, 2021 – Dangerous Thanksgiving E Greeting Cards

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  I hope your day is a good one and is free of scams and identity theft.  Electronic greeting cards have become very popular and with good reason.  Even if you don’t remember a birthday or delay sending a holiday card until the last minute, you can send an electronic greeting card, often for free, and have it delivered immediately.  Many electronic greeting cards are quite inventive with videos and music, as well.  But, unfortunately, you can always count on scam artists and identity thieves to try to spoil anything and electronic greeting cards are no exception.  The scam starts when you get a phony electronic greeting card that requires you to click on a link to read the card.  If you click on one of these phony greeting cards, you will end up downloading a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the information from your computer and end up with you becoming a victim of identity theft.

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Scam of the day – November 24, 2021 – Holiday Shopping Scams

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I want to be the first to wish all Scamicide readers a happy Thanksgiving.  Even in these difficult times, we all have much for which we should be thankful.  Friday is the official start of the holiday shopping season although I have been seeing holiday shopping displays since Halloween. The day after Thanksgiving is often referred to as Black Friday, which traditionally is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. This fact is not lost on scammers who will be as pervasive as ever. Over the next few weeks, I will be focusing the Scams of the day on the many holiday season scams about which we should all be aware. If you are shopping in a brick and mortar store Friday or any  other day throughout the year, you should use a credit card rather than a debit card because of the possibility of skimmers which are small devices being used by criminals working as sales clerks that will capture your credit card number which will then be used to make fraudulent purchases. Whenever possible you should use your chip credit card because it is not susceptible to skimmers, however, some retailers have not switched to chip technology so your credit card’s vulnerable magnetic strip will be used to process the purchase which makes it more susceptible to being hacked by a criminal.  As for using your credit card rather than your debit card, it is important to remember that while your liability for fraudulent use of your credit card is limited by federal law to no more than $50, your liability for fraudulent use of your debit card which is tied to  your bank account is unlimited if you do not promptly discover and report the fraud which is why you should always use your credit card for shopping rather than your debit card.

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Scam of the day – November 23, 2021 – Phony Letter from State Attorney General

The New Hampshire Attorney General is warning New Hampshire residents about a letter being received by many people that appears to come from the New Hampshire Attorney General.   The phony letter comes on what appears to be stationary of the Attorney General and informs the person receiving it that their identity has been stolen and that the Attorney General is investigating what they oddly refer to as “unsanctioned transactions” being done in the name of the identity theft victim.  The letter goes on to say that accounts linked to the recipient of the letter’s Social Security number will be closed unless the recipient sends gift cards to the Attorney General.

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Scam of the day – November 22, 2021 – A New Version of an Old Scam Updated to Cryptocurrencies

Sophisticated scammers are adept at adapting the latest technologies and using them for purposes of scams.  A wide variety of scams involve the scammer convincing the victim to send money to the scammer under a wide variety of pretenses including romance scams and scams where the scammer poses as a legitimate company or financial institution with which you do business.  Often scammers will require the funds be sent to them by a wire transfer or in the form of gift cards because with both of these methods of payment, it is impossible to stop the payment or determine the true identity of the person receiving the payment.  Now there is a new way that scammers are requiring payments be made – through cryptocurrency ATMs.  The victim of the scam is told to put cash into a cryptocurrency ATM and send the cryptocurrency coins exchanged for the cash to the the criminal using an address stored in a QR code.  The victim scans the QR code into the cryptocurrency ATM which will then send the cryptocurrencies to the criminal.  It is easy to see why criminals would prefer this method of payment even over wiring funds or gift cards because many banks and other institutions that wire funds or sell gift cards now inquire when a wiring is being done or gift cards purchased as to the reason for the wiring of funds or the purchase of the gift cards and are often trained to recognize scams.

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Scam of the day – November 20, 2021 – Child Tax Credit Scams Increasing.

The intricate and complex American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress which provided for a 1.9 trillion dollar economic stimulus package including direct payments to many Americans also provides for qualifying Americans to receive an advance Child Tax Credit payment.  These payments began on July 15th and are continuing monthly until December of 2021.  These payments are an advance on the families’ child tax credit.  Eligible people will get up to half of their child tax credit in these monthly payments and the other half when they file their 2021 federal income tax returns. Payments total up to $3,000 for each qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17 and payments of $3,600 for each qualifying child under the age of 6.  The best place to go for detailed information about this program and determining if you qualify is the IRS’ website through this link. https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.

The good news is that if you do qualify for these payments, you do not have to do anything to get them.  You do not have to specifically apply for them. The bad news is that the FTC just issued a new warning that just like we found with the federal government’s stimulus payments to individuals, scammers are contacting people posing as government officials promising to help people get these payments. The scammers, however ask for personal information they use for purposes of identity theft or ask for payments in order to process a person’s eligibility for this benefit.  The truth is that neither the IRS, which administers the program, nor any other federal agency is contacting people on the phone, email, text message or through social media to help you get your child tax credit and there is no fee to be eligible for the program.

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Scam of the day – November 19, 2021 – Go Fund Me Scams

Crowdfunding is the name for  the process by which people raise funds on websites such as GoFundMe for various projects from movies and books to the development of new businesses.  Unfortunately, as I have been warning you about since 2012, the potential for crowdfunding scams is tremendous.  Recently in Texas, a five year old boy, Raymond Johnson died after a three year battle with cancer.  Incredibly vile criminals promptly set up a GoFundMe account to steal money from sympathetic donors seeking to help out Raymond Johnson’s family. 

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Scam of the day – November 18, 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. 

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Scam of the day – November 17, 2021 – Student Loan Scams Resuming

The present pause on student loan payments and interest put into effect during the pandemic has been extended numerous times, but is scheduled to end on January 31, 2022 with payments required to resume in February. The sudden resumption of payments by 40 million student loan borrowers is prompting scammers to contact students and their families with a wide variety of scams related to repayment or forgiveness of student loans.  Some scammers will be contacting students posing as the student’s loan servicer.  In order to verify that you are being contacted by your real loan servicer, you can go to the Department of Education’s federal student aid website where you can get detailed information on your current student loan servicer including contact information.  Here is that link.  https://studentaid.gov/

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Scam of the day – November 16, 2021 – Car Warranty Scams Increasing.

Earlier this year the Federal  Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning about a dramatic increase in extended car warranty scams being perpetrated through robocalls.  Many of these robocalls appear to come from “Susie” of the “Vehicle Service Department.” Often the caller even knows the make, model and year of your car.  They will tell you that your car’s warranty is about to expire, but that you can purchase an extended warranty that will provide tremendous benefits.  Unfortunately, the only one getting  tremendous benefits is the scammer that sells you a worthless contract.

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Scam of the day – November 15, 2021 – The Danger of Squid Game Phishing Emails

Recently scammers have been using Netflix’s popular series “Squid Game” as a hook in a recent onslaught of spear phishing emails promoting a sneak peek at a second season of “Squid Games” although the truth is that the show has not at this time been renewed.  In addition, as a further lure to induce people receiving the email to click on an infected link, some of the emails indicate that the person receiving the email could be cast as a character in the upcoming season.  All of this is done to entice people into clicking on links in the emails that are infected with serious malware.

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Scam of the day – November 14, 2021 – Holiday Toy Scams Start Early

It seems like the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier each year with many stores decked out in holiday decorations even before Halloween so it is certainly not too early to warn you about scams involving online shopping for the season’s most popular toys.  Every year there are a few toys that are in especially high demand.  Often it is difficult to find these toys and the prices when you do manage to find them, they can be pretty expensive which is why so many people are susceptible to being scammed by criminals offering to sell these desirable toys on line at bargain prices.  People falling for this scam end up both not getting the toy that they thought they ordered and losing their  money in the process.  This year’s most sought after toys include a Baby Yoda animatronic toy, Nintendo Switch and L.O.L Surprise dolls.   Scammers are sending emails and setting up phony retail websites to lure people into this scam.

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Scam of the day – November 13, 2021 – Ponzi Schemer Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Earlier this week, Jeff Carpoff was sentenced to the maximum sentence of thirty years in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme in which he scammed investors in his phony mobile solar generator business.  Carpoff lured investors with falsified financial statements and lies about his business.  Numerous investors including Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway fund lost a billion dollars in the scam.  As is typical with Ponzi schemes, Carpoff paid early investors with money that was not derived from profits of his business, but with the investments of later investors. 

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Scam of the day – November 12, 2021 – FTC Refunding Money to Victims of 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle Scam

In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission sued 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle LLC and nine co-defendants for using illegal robocalls, live telephone calls, text messages, internet ads, emails, social media and live events to sell bogus money making opportunities.  The defendants falsely claimed that people using their programs could earn $10,000 or more within 60 days.  The truth is that these representations were false.  The truth is that most people lost their entire investment.

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Scam of the day – November 10, 2021 – Data Breach at Robinhood Poses Spear Phishing Threat

Earlier this week, the popular stock trading app Robinhood disclosed that it had suffered a data breach the previous week in which personal information of approximately seven million of its customers was compromised.  Fortunately for the large majority of people whose information was stolen, the information was limited to email addresses and names.  An unusual aspect to this particular data breach was that rather than being accomplished through hacking the computers of the targeted company, the data breach started with a phone call in which the criminal called Robinhood’s customer support and using social engineering techniques convinced the Robinhood employee to provide access to customer support systems. 

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Scam of the day – November 9, 2021 – Phony Government Grants

The Federal Trade Commission is warning people about a recent increase in scams involving scammers convincing their victims that they are eligible for large government grants if they merely pay a processing fee.  This is a scam.  The federal government does not charge fees for applying for grants.  Additionally, the scammers perpetrating this scam also often ask for personal information such as your birth date and Social Security number which they use to make you a victim of identity theft.  Many times Facebook is used as the medium through which people are contacted regarding this scam.  It is not surprising that scammers use Facebook for these purposes.   The very popularity of Facebook and the fact that on Facebook you are communicating with your friends is reason enough for scammers to use Facebook as a platform for scams.

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Scam of the day – November 8, 2021 – FTC Sending Money to Victims of Deceptive Book Seller

In October of 2019 I first told you that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had sued Agora Financial, LLC alleging it scammed seniors into buying books, newsletters and other publications that falsely claimed a cure for type 2 diabetes and also perpetrating a scam related to a non-existent government affiliated check program.  According to Andrew Smith, the FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection,  Agora, “stole money from older adults with lies about having a cure for diabetes and a way to get thousands of dollars in government checks.  One of their publications, “The Doctor’s Guide to Reversing Diabetes in 28 days” claimed to provide a cure for type 2 diabetes totally unsupported by scientific evidence.  The Doctor’s Guide sold for $249.  In addition, Agora also promoted a newsletter entitled  “Lifetime Income Report” and a book entitled “Congress’ Secret $1.17 Trillion Giveaway” that promoted a phony, non-existent government program which Agora promised would enable consumers to receive thousands of dollars.  Consumers obtaining the worthless book automatically became subscribers to the “Lifetime Income Report” for $99 per year.

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Scam of the day – November 7, 2021 – Police Arrest Mailbox Identity Thieves

Identity theft can be high tech, low tech or no tech.  Stealing mail from mailboxes for purposes of identity theft has been done by identity thieves for years.  Numerous times over the last ten years I have warned you about the danger of having your mail, such as credit card bills or bank statements stolen from your personal mailbox.  In addition, many people put themselves in great danger of identity theft by putting their outgoing mail in their mailbox and put up the red flag to alert the mail carrier that there is mail to be picked up.  Unfortunately, that is also an alert to identity thieves cruising the neighborhood of mail to be easily stolen.

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Scam of the day – November 6, 2021 – New Report Shows Child Identity Theft Worsening

According to a new study recently released by Javelin Strategy & Research more than 1.25 million children became victims of identity theft last year and the true number is probably much greater because in many instances child identity theft is not discovered until the child reaches age 18.  Identity thieves 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 the teenager might first apply for a car loan or financial aid for college. 

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Scam of the day – November 5, 2021 – Religious Radio Host Ponzi Schemer Sentenced

In 2019, I told you about criminal charges filed against investment adviser William Neil “Doc” Gallagher who operated a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme in which he victimized mostly elderly clients since 2014.  Gallagher solicited his clients through appearances on radio shows including a Christian-talk radio station.  He appealed to religious clients also through his book “Jesus Christ, Money Master:  Four Eternal Truths That Deliver Personal Power and Profit.”  However, instead of investing the funds provided to him by his clients, Gallagher primarily used the funds to support his own lavish lifestyle and to pay early investors with the money provided by later investors which is the hallmark of a Ponzi scheme.  Gallagher’s scam is also a  good example of what is called affinity fraud where people put undeserved trust in someone offering an investment opportunity because that person is “someone like me.”  Affinity fraud works because people trust other people who may share a common bond, such as family, religion or some other group affiliation.   The list goes on and on.  Scammers take advantage of every connection they can make with their victims to gain their trust and then steal their money.  In Gallagher’s case, his victims put undeserved trust in him because he seemed legitimate on the radio and espoused the same religious views that they did.

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Scam of the day – November 4, 2021 – Tax Debt Compromise Program Scam

A Scamicide reader recently informed me that she had received an early morning weekend robocall informing her of “President Biden’s tax debt compromise program” and offering help eliminating or reducing back taxes.  This scam is similar to many other scams where unscrupulous scammers offer non-existent help eliminating tax debts.  The first thing to be aware of is that there is no such program described as a “tax debt compromise program” although there has long been an IRS program for “Offers in Compromise” whereby in certain situations the IRD will reduce your tax bill if you qualify..  The second indication that this is a scam is that the call came in as a robocall, which for these commercial purposes is illegal.

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Scam of the day – November 3, 2021 – FTC’s New Policy Against Deceptive Subscription Services

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a new enforcement policy in which it warns companies not to use illegal and misleading tactics to trap consumers into various subscription services.  The FTC took this step in response to increasing complaints by consumers about misleading sign-up tactics including adding unauthorized charges, automatic renewal and continual monthly billings that are impossible to cancel.

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Scam of the day – November 2, 2021 – FTC Sending Refunds to Victims of Tech Support Scam

According to the FTC, Elite used Internet ads targeted at consumers  who were looking for email password recovery assistance and lured them into providing their names, email addresses and phone numbers to Elite IT Partners, Inc.  Elite’s telemarketers then contacted the consumers posing as well-known companies such as AOL or Yahoo and told the consumers that their computer problems were most likely as a result of their computers being infected with a virus.  The telemarketers would then convince the consumers to provide remote access to their computers to Elite who would then run diagnostic tests.  These diagnostic tests were totally bogus and always resulted in the consumer being told that he or she needed computer repair as well as antivirus software and services that Elite would provide at a high cost.  The FTC further alleged that Elite also charged for additional monthly services that it did not disclose.

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Scam of the day – November 1, 2021 – Phony PayPal 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.  Here is a copy of the phony invoice presently being circulated.

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Scam of the day – October 31, 2021 – Fake IRS Emails About Economic Impact Payments

The third round of Economic Impact Payments authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was paid as  an advance payment of the tax year 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit.   The IRS began sending these payments on March 12, 2021 to eligible people, most of whom have already received their payment.  However the IRS sent these payments based on information contained in their 2020 income tax returns and many people who filed later including those who just paid in October after getting an extension on the filing date for their 2020 income tax return will be now getting their payment when the IRS processes their 2020 income tax return (which they are doing very slowly).  Scammers are not missing out on this opportunity to scam people or make them victims of identity theft and are capitalizing on interest in these payments by sending emails that appear to come from the IRS asking people to click on links to provide access to a form required in order to authorize the payment. 

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Scam of the day – October 30, 2021 – The Dangers of the Unsubscribe Link

While the unsubscribe link is probably safe when it comes in an email from a company that you are sure is legitimate, you could run into serious problems if the unsubscribe link is contained in an email from a scammer.  The problem is that when you click on the unsubscribe link, you run the risk of being directed to a site that downloads malware on to your computer, laptop or cellphone.  In addition, instead of reducing the amount of spam and undesired emails by clicking on the link to unsubscribe, you may end up getting more spam and malware infected emails because the scammers who include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of their emails compile lists of the email addresses of people who click on that link and sell those lists to other scammers as email addresses that they know are valid.

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Scam of the day – October 29, 2021 – FTC Sues Company for Bogus Coronavirus Nasal Spray

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that it had sued Xlear, Inc. for violating the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act alleging that Xlear represented that its saline nasal spray provided protection against infection from the coronavirus and was a “simple, safe, and cheap option that could be an effective solution to the pandemic.  Xlear made these claims on social media, podcasts and television commercials.  The truth is that there is absolutely no clinical trial or scientific evidence to support these false and misleading claims, according to the FTC.  Last July, the FTC sent a warning letter to Xlear demanding that they stop their misleading and deceptive advertising, but they failed to comply with the demand resulting in the FTC suing them to stop their misleading of the public.

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Scam of the day – October 28, 2021 – Deed to Your Home Scam

The scam begins with a call, email or snail mail letter informing you of the importance of having a copy of the deed to your home.  Often these scammers will charge you $90 or more to obtain a copy of your deed for you.  Having an actual copy of your deed is not very important once it has been recorded in the local Registry of Deeds, however it is still a good record to keep.  However, obtaining a copy of your deed on your own from your local Registry of Deeds is both simple and rarely costs more than a few dollars at the most. The problem with this particular scam is that technically, it may be legal in the sense that they are offering to obtain a copy of your deed for you for a fee and there is nothing illegal about that.  However, the emails and letters you receive offering this service are usually confusing and misleading which is why I consider them to be a scam.

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Scam of the day – October 27, 2021 – Amazon Impersonation Scams Dramatically Increasing

I have warned you for years about impersonation scams in which scammers call you on the phone posing, for example,  as the IRS, the Social Security Administration or companies with which you do business and try to lure you into either making an immediate payment to them under some pretense or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Recently the FTC issued a new report in which they indicated that between July 2020 and June 2021 one-third of all of the business impersonator complaints involved scammers posing as employees of Amazon. This represented a five hundred percent increase from pre-pandemic days. This should come as no surprise to anyone, particularly during the pandemic when so many of us did much more of our shopping on line and much of that on Amazon

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Scam of the day – October 26, 2021 – Mavis Wanczyk Lottery Scam Continues

I have been writing about scams related to Mavis Wanczyk for four years but recently I have received many emails from Scamicide readers telling me about various new incarnations of a variety of scams that share the same hook which is that Mavis Wanczyk is giving money away to lucky people.  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 – October 25, 2021 – UK Lottery Scam

Lottery scams are one of the most common types of scams.  Scammers cheat people out of millions of dollars each year by tricking their victims into sending money to the scammers after being told that they have won a lottery, but are required to pay fees or taxes in order to collect their prize. It is hard to win any lottery. It is impossible to win one that you have not even entered and yet scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists have found that it is extremely lucrative to scam people by convincing them that they have won various lotteries.

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Scam of the day – October 24, 2021 – FTC Sending Refunds to Victims of Pain Relief Supplement Scam

Pursuant to a recent settlement, the Federal Trade Commission is sending checks to people who were scammed by Mile High Madison Group, Inc and four other related companies along with the principals of these companies Vittorio DiCriscio and Vito Proietti in regard to phony pain relief supplements sold under the names of Neurocet, Regenify and Resetigen-D primarily through direct mail campaigns.  These supplements were marketed using false and deceptive statements that the supplements could stop pain and treat age-related ailments although there was no scientific evidence to support their claims.

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Scam of the day – October 23, 2021 – Online Trading Academy Update

Now Universal Guardian Acceptance, LLC (UGA) and Universal Account Servicing, LLC (UAS) the funder and servicer of the payments plans used by victims of this scam to pay for training from OTA has settled claims brought against it by the FTC.  Under the terms of the settlement, UGA and UAS are required to forgive any debts incurred by the victims of OTA’s scam to pay for OTA’s faulty trading program.  Victims of the scam who financed their payments to OTA through UGA and UAS will be receiving notices of the offer of debt forgiveness shortly and will have 45 days to request debt forgiveness.

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Scam of the day – October 22, 2021 – Mailbox Identity Thief Sentenced to Prison

Identity theft can be high tech, low tech or no tech.  Stealing mail from mailboxes for purposes of identity theft has been done by identity thieves for years.  Numerous times over the last ten years I have warned you about the danger of having your mail, such as credit card bills or bank statements stolen from your personal mailbox.  In addition, many people put themselves in great danger of identity theft by putting their outgoing mail in their mailbox and put up the red flag to alert the mail carrier that there is mail to be picked up.  Unfortunately, that is also an alert to identity thieves cruising the neighborhood of mail to be easily stolen.

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Scam of the day – October 21, 2021 – Vaccine Verification Phishing Scam

As the federal government and more and more state governments along with private employers are requiring their employees to be vaccinated from the Coronavirus as a condition of employment, scammers are taking advantage of this situation to contact people with phishing text messages called smishing that purport to come from state health departments that appear to enable you to confirm your vaccination status.  Recently the New York State Department of Health issued a warning about this type of scam which they say is intended to lure people into providing personal information that can be used for purposes of identity theft.  In addition, the links contained in these smishing emails also present a threat of downloading malware, such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware if targeted victims of the scam click on the links provided in these emails.

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Scam of the day – October 20, 2021 – AOL Mail Notification Scam

Millions of people still use AOL. One reason for this is that you get greater email privacy when compared to some other email carriers. Due to its popularity, scammers and identity thieves often send out phishing emails that appear to come from AOL, such as the one reproduced below.   If you click on the link in the email where it reads “Log-in to Restore” one of two things can occur and both are bad.  Either you will end up providing personal information to an identity thief or you will, merely by clicking on the link, download dangerous malware such as ransomware on to your phone, computer or other device.

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Scam of the day – October 19, 2021 – FCC Proposing New Rules to Combat SIM Swapping

SIM card swapping is a major problem.  A Subscriber Identity Module, more commonly known as a SIM card, is an integrated circuit that stores information used to authenticate subscribers on mobile devices, such as a cell phone.  The SIM card is able to be transferred between different devices, and often is, when people update into a newer cell phone.  However, as more and more financial transactions, such as online banking, are now done through cell phones, identity thieves with access to their victims’ SIM cards are also increasingly becoming able to intercept security codes sent by text messages for online banking as part of dual factor authentication and thereby providing the identity thief with the opportunity to empty their victims’ bank accounts and cause other financial havoc.

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