Updates from July, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:30 am on July 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Equifax, , , ,   

    Just how bad are military romance scams? 

    Just how bad are military romance scams?

    In a military romance scam, the scammer poses as a member of the US military and target potential victims. Like in most other romance scams, they’ll have the victim believing they’re in some type of relationship before asking for money. These scammers are largely from Nigeria where many of the scammers claim that these scams pay more than honest work. It’s become such a problem that the Department of Defense has employees that constantly scan social media for phony military accounts and report them to the platform in question. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command receives numerous complaints about these scams but since the scams actually involve civilians it’s out of their jurisdiction.

    If you’ve been following the news lately you may be aware of the settlement that credit reporting company Equifax has been ordered to give because of a massive data breach that happened in 2017. The Federal Trade Commission has ordered Equifax to pay $425 million to consumers affected by the breach. his has meant that you may be able to claim $125 from the settlement. Of course, where there’s a payout there’s likely to be a scam. Fake websites are popping up claiming to be the official Equifax settlement website. The goal of these phony websites is to either to get you to give up your personal information or pay for a settlement that will never come. The official FTC settlement site can be found at https://www.ftc.gov/Equifax.

    Speaking of payments, a number of news outlets are reporting about a bank scam that’s affecting consumers. In this scam, you’ll receive a text message warning you that there’s been fraudulent activity on your bank account. You’ll then receive a phone call that appears to be from your bank with someone asking you to input your PIN. Once you do this the scammers will have control of your bank account. It’s easy for just about anyone to spoof a phone number to make it look like it’s coming from your bank. If you receive one of these calls the best thing to do is hang up and call the bank at the official number listed on the back of your credit or debit card.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capital one,   

    100 million card holders hit by data breach 

    100 million card holders hit by data breach

    If you have a credit card through Capital One, you’re probably waking up to the news that your data might have been exposed on the internet. According to reports, 33-year-old Paige Thompson worked for Capital One’s cloud hosting service and was able to gain access to the information through a vulnerability in Capital One’s firewall. Thompson is believed to have not only bragged about having the Capital One information on social media but also posted the information on an online repository that’s normally used to host open source projects. She is said to have done all this while continuing to use her real name.

    The breach is said to have affected more than 100 million Capital One customers. 140,000 Social Security numbers were said to have been exposed along with countless names, addresses, credit scores, and bank account numbers. Capital One states that the vulnerability has since been patched and that they will be offering free credit monitoring for anyone affected by the breach. If you are a Capital One customer that has been affected you should be receiving notification shortly telling you that your account had been breached. This breach could end up costing Capital one somewhere in the range of $100-$150 million.

    However, not all is lost if your account has been exposed. In order to better protect yourself, it is recommended that you go over your credit card statements to make sure there hasn’t been any unauthorized activity. You can also freeze your credit temporarily so no one can take out any loans or other financial transactions in your name. You should also change all the passwords to your financial accounts and make sure not to use the same password. what you shouldn’t do is ignore this issue as it has the potential to damage not only your credit but your personal finances as well. Don’t let someone else’s actions negatively impact your financial well being.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Is legal immigration the real problem? 

    Is legal immigration the real problem?

    Ever since the 2016 Presidential Election campaign, immigration has been a hot button issue in our country. Even though many people and politicians want to close off our borders for no other reason than the people coming to the US are different from them, the majority of people just want immigrants to come here legally. To put it bluntly, most people just want immigrants to sign the register in the way in. However, that’s easy to say if you were born here. In reality, the path to citizenship in the United States is neither fast nor cheap.

    According to the Dallas Morning News, most immigrants coming through our Southern Border who want to come here legally can have their process take anywhere from seven to 20 years and cost them thousands of dollars. Indian immigrants with advanced degrees could potentially have a wait as long as 150 years. That’s not a typo. Their wait could be longer than they’ll be alive. The immigration process in the US has not been updated in decades and there isn’t enough staff to process all the applicants in anything that remotely resembles a timely fashion. We tell the immigrants to get in line but there’s really no line to speak of.

    While there are some politicians who say they want to deport all illegal immigrants n our country, to do so would cause an economic backlash as there millions of tax-paying immigrants in our country. These immigrants are mostly doing the work that citizens who are born here might find beneath them. If the process to become a US citizen were more streamlined and less expensive we could see an unprecedented economic boom. Then again we should address the elephant in the room that there are too many people in positions of power who don’t want immigrants here only because the immigrants may speak a different language or adhere to a different religion than them. Until these types of politicians are removed from power, there will never be an easy path to citizenship.

     
  • Geebo 8:02 am on July 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bond scam, , , , , , ,   

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam by victim 

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam

    A woman in Northern Kentucky is accused of stealing in upwards of $4 million as part of a romance scam and has been arrested for the alleged theft. The thing is that even though she’s accused of stealing this large sum of money, she’s also the victim in this story. She was the one who was reportedly strung along by the scammers. Investigators say that she never kept any of her employer’s money and sent it all to someone she believed to be in a relationship with. This was after she had sent the scammers all of her own money. Now in most instances, you can’t find yourself in a position where you can embezzle large amounts of money like this without having some form of professional background meaning that even educated people can find themselves falling victim to a romance scam.

    In other scam news, residents of Southern California are being warned about a phony bond scam that has been plaguing the area. Some Sheriffs Offices have been receiving complaints about phony government agents calling residents and telling them that their Social Security numbers have been involved in various frauds. To avoid arrest the residents are being told to pay a bond. As can be expected in these type of scams, the residents are told that they can pay the ‘bond’ using gift cards such as Apple, Google Play, or WalMart gift cards. No government agency, whether it is local or federal, will ever ask you to pay any kind of fee using gift cards. If you are to receive one of these phone calls, it is recommended that you hang up immediately and contact your local police.

    Lastly for today, we have a reminder about the phony check scam. If you’re unfamiliar with this scam it’s one of the more prolific scams on the internet. Whether you’re trying to sell something online or applying for a job online, some unscrupulous scammer will send you a check and ask you to deposit the check in your bank account before sending them back the difference. The check is always a fake and once your bank discovers that, you’ll be on the hook for the money while the scammers make off with the funds. One of these phony checks recently targeted an online seller in North Dakota who was quick to notice the discrepancies in the scammer’s story. The texts they were receiving were from a California number while the check was mailed from New York and calls were coming from someone named Larry while the checks came from someone named Donna. If you ever feel like something is off when dealing with online sales and purchases it probably is.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Realogy, , TurnKey   

    Would you live in an Amazon watched house? 

    Would you live in an Amazon watched house?

    Having a ‘smart’ home has been a craze for tech’s early adopters for some time now. Whether it’s smart lights that can operate on voice command or thermostats that can be operated remotely, the number of gadgets that can be installed in your home seem to be in a never-ending supply. However, it seems that a near-monopoly has been created in the smart home market with either Google or Amazon buying up most of the startups that initially gave rise to the modern smart home idea. Now one of those companies wants to help you buy a house with their devices already built in.

    Amazon has teamed with realtors Realogy to help you get into a new home and not one of the prefab tiny homes you can order on Amazon. The reason this partnership has been made was for Amazon to get you integrated into Amazon’s smart home ecosystem. For example, if you purchase a home worth $700,000 or more you’ll receive $5,000 in Amazon smart devices and services. This includes Ring doorbells, Amazon Echos, among other Amazon-related smart home gear and services. This program, called TurnKey, has launched in 15 major cities including San Francisco, Washington DC, Seattle, and Chicago just to name a few.

    Of course, there are drawbacks to owning such a home. The first concern is privacy. Amazon has courted controversy with its almost always-listening Echo devices. Reportedly, Echo devices not only record your voice but keep it stored in Amazon’s cloud servers indefinitely. The second concern is obsolescence. While these devices and services may seem like a convenience now, what if Amazon decided for whatever reason to stop supporting these devices. The majority of these devices rely on Amazon hosting these services in the cloud. If Amazon decides to pull the plug one day, you’d be left with a bunch of defunct gadgets in need of immediate replacement. More immediately, what if Amazon has any downtime on these services? If these services go down nationally that could potentially make your home a target as we’re sure any kind of outage like that would make national news.

    While the allure of free Amazon devices may seem like a strong one, you may want to weigh your options before giving into it.

     
  • Geebo 7:42 am on July 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Libra coin,   

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch! 

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch!

    If you’re unfamiliar with cryptocurrency it’s essentially a form of digital currency that is not centralized through any bank or nation. Bitcoin is the most notorious of these cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin is decentralized its value has wildly fluctuated over the years. While there are those who have made a virtual fortune through trading BitCoin the cryptocurrency craze seems to be on a downswing as many competing cryptocurrencies looking to copy Bitcoin’s relative success have flooded the market. One of those cryptocurrencies is set to be launched by Facebook which they have dubbed Libra. While Libra is some time away from launching, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take advantage of speculators by fraudulently using the Libra name.

    According to reports, a wave of scammers has gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch claiming to be official sellers of Libra. Unfortunately, Facebook’s own platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook itself are being used to perpetrate these scams. However, in Facebook’s defense, these scams have also spread to Twitter, YouTube, and the web at large with a number of websites claiming to be affiliated with Libra. Some phony outlets are even claiming to give discounts on millions of Libra coins. As you’ve probably guessed, these scams are designed to only take your money and give you nothing in return.

    Investing in cryptocurrency is like investing in any other financial market. You should only do it if you can afford to lose the money you invest as not all investments turn into profits. That’s not even taking into account that Libra seems more like a way to spend money globally rather than an investment type of cryptocurrency. So if you’re actually interested in using Libra once it launches, you’ll have to wait until 2020 before you can purchase any. No matter what someone online tries to tell you.

     
  • Geebo 7:23 am on July 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DoorDash, food delivery, , tipping,   

    Your delivery tips may not be going where you think! 

    Your delivery tips may not be going where you think!

    In today’s immediate response needed society, many of us use food delivery services like UberEats or DoorDash to have food delivered to our home. These services became popular once consumers found out that they could have food delivered to them from restaurants that don’t normally deliver. Can’t get out of the home and need to get a decent meal delivered for dinner? Just use the app for one of these services and you can have dinner delivered to your home in no time. Now, while it may be convenient for you this convenience comes at a cost. Is that cost burdened by the restaurant? No. Is it the platform itself? Sort of. However, too much of the cost may be burdened by the delivery drivers themselves.

    A recent report from the New York Times had one of their writers and go out and work as a delivery driver for these gig economy platforms. In order to make any decent amount of money, many of these drivers have to work for several different services while trying to comply with the rules and demands of each. trying to juggle all of those demands increases the likelihood that they could lose out on deliveries. Meanwhile, they’re not really employees of any of these companies and are seen more like independent contractors. This way these companies don’t have to provide many benefits to their drivers.

    To make matters worse, according to the Times report, some of these platforms consider tips as part of the drivers’ base wages. For example, if you tip your delivery driver through the platform’s app, that tip may just be taken off the top of whatever they were going to make for that delivery. In essence, tipping just reduced their pay. Not all delivery platforms are like this, but The Verge has a list of companies that do and don’t count driver tips as base pay. So the next time you order lunch to be delivered, try to keep in mind the person delivering your food and what they’re going through as well.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Expedia, , , , , ,   

    Scam strikes vacation sites! 

    Scam strikes vacation sites!

    If you’re still looking to plan your vacation for this summer, you may want to be extra careful who you book your vacation with. The Better Business Bureau has been warning potential vacation-goers to make sure you use the proper travel website when booking travel plans. While most reports we’ve seen have mentioned Expedia, we imagine that this could happen with any well-known travel website. The scam works like a lot of phishing scams by posing as a website that looks identical to sites like Expedia but directs you to call a different number than Expedia’s actual number. The scammers will then tell you that their system is down and can you make payment using a prepaid debit card. That should be your red flag as once payment is transferred from that card the money is gone. Real travel platforms will never ask you to pay by prepaid debit card or gift card.

    Speaking of the BBB, they’re also warning about a scam that’s currently happening in the Pacific Northwest. It appears that a genetic testing scam is happening there now. You may see commercials for services that promise to test your genetics to give you your ethnic makeup. Most of these are established services with decent reputations. However, there are scammers trying to cash in on this craze by coming to your door or setting up shop in senior centers. If you’re asked for any kind of medical insurance information such as your Medicare number it’s a scam. This particular scam is designed just to get your medical carrier information to be able to commit future insurance fraud with your information. This scam also tends to target those who are on Medicare or Medicaid.

    Lastly, we have a scam out of the Midwest where some Sheriffs Offices are warning residents about it. In this scam, you’ll receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a border agent from either the Canadian or Mexican border. These fake agents will say that a rental car registered in your name has been found with drugs in it. They’ll even try to say that your name has been connected with a drug cartel. The scammers will then try to ask you for financial information to try to clear the incident up such as your bank account or credit card numbers. If you receive one of these calls it’s recommended that you hang up immediately.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Check out this bizarre double scam! 

    Check out this bizarre double scam!

    We’ve been telling you about numerous scams for some time now in order to help better protect consumers. Every so often we’ll post a story about a scam we’ve previously discussed to remind consumers that these scams are still out there. Occasionally we’ll post about a brand new scam that’s either brand new or one we’ve never heard of before. Then there are times like now where we bring you a scam so unusual it almost defies belief. One such scam just recently took place in the state of Kentucky where a woman was almost scammed twice by the same scammers using two different scams.

    The victim thought she was buying an iPhone online through a marketplace app. She paid $200 for the phone over the internet but never received the phone. Months later, she was contacted by someone posing as some kind of investigator. They showed her a copy of a receipt that was supposed to be for her phone and that the scammer had been caught and was being forced to pay restitution as part of a settlement. She was told that as part of the settlement she could receive $30,000 in compensation. Of course, there was a catch. All she had to do was wire some money to cover the costs of processing. Luckily, the woman’s mother warned the victim that this was nothing more than a scam.

    When dealing with marketplace apps that have no verified sellers, always deal locally and never send any money over the internet. Never wire any money either for any part of the transaction as marketplace apps are rife with wire fraud like this. Only deal locally and in cash. When you meet to make the transaction always do so at a local police station. With as great as a convenience online shopping can be, with marketplace apps there are too many variables that can’t be controlled.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #FaceAppChallenge, FaceApp, ,   

    Is the #FaceAppChallenge invading your privacy? 

    Is the #FaceAppChallenge invading your privacy?

    The Jonas Brothers aged using FaceApp

    Every few months or so, a photo app takes social media by storm. In the past, there was the craze where you could post gender-swapped photos of yourself. Snapchat previously had a filter that made you look like a baby. Now, the most recent trend is people posting pictures of themselves that have been artificially aged through an app called FaceApp. It seemed like everyone was having a good time with the app before it was reported that FaceApp may be committing a major breach of privacy. However, is it really that bad?

    According to reports, FaceApp is developed by a company in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This has led some to speculate whether or not FaceApp is a tool of the Russian government. FaceApp is also said to have an atrocious privacy policy. If you agree to their terms, FaceApp will have access to all the photos on your phone that have faces and could not only potentially be used in advertising but could be sold to third-parties. FaceApp claims that they are honoring all requests to have photos removed from their service and supposedly none of the data is actually sent to Russia.

    However, these kinds of privacy policies aren’t unique to FaceApp. Many apps that are based in the US have equally bad terms of service when it comes to your privacy. Even the most mundane apps such as weather or fitness apps sell your information to advertisers so they can show you ads tailored to your interests. So more than likely if you’ve taken place in the FaceApp Challenge you’re not being spied on by the Russian government. However, if you start seeing ads that are eerily specific to you, you’ll know why.

     
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