Updates from January, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Social Security scams are now the #1 phone scam 

    Social Security scams are now the #1 phone scam

    This past Wednesday, the Senate Aging Committee released a report claiming that social Security scams are now the nation’s leading phone scam. For the first time in five years, social Security scams have outpaced IRS scams when it comes to financial losses. These scam calls resulted in the loss of $38 million in 2019 with most of the losses coming from seniors. The Social Security Administration has promised to bolster education efforts when it comes to warning recipients about these scams. This will include mailers sent to recipients and a banner across the SSA website warning recipients of ongoing scams.

    We’ve discussed Social Security scams multiple times in the past. The way they generally work is that the victim will receive a phone call telling them that either there’s been suspicious activity attributed to their Social Security number or that their Social Security benefits are about to be suspended. Sometimes even both these options are threatened. Often these calls will appear as if they’re coming from the SSA’s customer service number which can be easily spoofed. The scammers will then instruct the victims that the problem can be resolved with some kind of payment. This can range anywhere from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Unless you have an ongoing case that requires resolution with the SSA, they will never call recipients. If there is an issue with your Social Security number or benefits, the SSA will always reach out by mail. If you receive one of these phone calls that threaten you with legal action or request some form of payment, you’re asked to hang up and report the call to the Office of the Inspector General. If you know someone who could potentially be targeted in a Social Security scam please show them this post, the article we linked to above, or this warning page from the SSA.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on January 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Man loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents 

    Man almost loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents

    A man in Michigan almost lost $50,000 after falling prey to a very threatening scam. Unfortunately, the man did lose $30,000 to the scammers before the scam was noticed. For many, especially the elderly, that is not an insignificant amount of money to lose. The scam that was used against him was a combination of scams that we’ve discussed previously. At first, it involved a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. They told the man that a car had been leased in his name using his name and Social Security number. From here it became more frightening for the man.

    He was then transferred to someone claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Agency and that if he didn’t pay them money he would go to jail. The man didn’t believe them and he hung up. He then received a call from someone claiming to be from the local barracks of the Michigan State Police telling him he would be arrested if he didn’t cooperate with the supposed DEA agent. The scammers then instructed the man to purchase $10,000 in gift cards and provide them with the numbers. The next day the scammers called back and instructed him to overnight $20,000 in cash to a location in Texas. The scammers tried to get another $20,000 out of the man but his bank informed him that he was likely the victim of the scam.

    There are a lot of red flags in this story. The first is that Social Security rarely calls recipients and that’s usually only when there’s an ongoing issue that the recipient initiated. Secondly, law enforcement will never call someone asking for money. Lastly, no government agency accepts or requires money through gift cards. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up and call your local police. If you believe there may be some kind of issue that needs your attention through Social Security or law enforcement, call them back at their official numbers.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LabCorp, , , Wawa   

    Recent data breaches can affect your money, health, and privacy! 

    Recent data breaches can affect your money, health, and privacy!

    If you’ve ever been to the East Coast especially the Pennsylvania and South Jersey areas you may be familiar with the convenience store chain Wawa. They recently had a data breach that could have exposed up to 30 million payment cards of its customers. Reportedly, hackers had installed malware into the payment processors at multiple stores at both the register area and their gas pumps. Some of the payment card information has even ended up on the web for sale to malicious actors. If you used a debit or credit card at a Wawa store in the past couple of months you’ll want to keep an eye on your account for unauthorized purchases.

    LabCorp is one of the nation’s largest medical testing companies. They recently had a flaw in their website that allowed 10,000 patient records to be exposed. This information included dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and lab results among other medical data. This is the second breach for LabCorp in the past year as their payment system was exposed back in June which resulted in the compromise of close to 8 million payment records. This latest breach could result in heavy fines for LabCorp under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). LabCorp has said that they will be notifying patients who had their data exposed.

    Lastly, it seems we can’t talk about data breaches without talking about Ring. While Ring’s most recent incident may not be a data breach per se, it does show how your information can be put at risk. The internet privacy advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) claim they have discovered that the Android version of the Ring camera app sends user information to several third-parties. One of those third-parties is said to be Facebook and it doesn’t matter if you have a Facebook account or not. Some of the information sent to these third-parties include users’ full names, email addresses, and app settings including the number of locations they have Ring devices installed in.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Kobe Bryant, , spear phishing   

    Scammers are preying on the loss of Kobe Bryant 

    Scammers are preying on the loss of Kobe Bryant

    No matter what your opinion of Kobe Bryant may be, it’s a tragedy that he and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna along with seven other people lost their lives in a helicopter crash over the weekend. Leave it to the scammers of the internet to waste no time in trying to take advantage of this horrible accident. It seems like it took the scammers no time at all to put their schemes into action after the news broke of Kobe’s untimely passing. In less than a day, con artists had taken to the internet to try to prey on Kobe’s fans in their time of mourning.

    The Better Busines Bureau, as always, is already on top of these scams. They are warning that the scams are coming in two different forms of attack. The first is what’s known as a spear-phishing attack. Emails are being sent out en masse claiming to be from a reputable news outlet. The email will claim to have some kind of exclusive news that’s not being reported anywhere else. The email will contain either a link or an attachment that the scammers will hope you’ll click on. This could lead to any kind of malware being installed on your device.

    In a similar vein, the second form of attack is clickbait. These are the headlines you may see that claim to have news that ‘you won’t believe’. Or they may claim that they have ‘exclusive footage’ that no one else has. These websites also contain malware that could be used to steal personal information from your device.

    In any case, you should never click on links or attachments in emails from people you don’t know personally. Also, the articles that go along with shocking headlines usually aren’t shocking at all and could contain code that could possibly hijack your device. Always think twice before clicking on any potentially risky link.

     
    • Suberinacooperjohnson 4:43 am on January 30, 2020 Permalink

      The FBI should take these people check.

    • Suberinacooperjohnson 4:45 am on January 30, 2020 Permalink

      Continue praying for the entire kobe bryant family especially his wife , vanassa& daughters. As well as his mother/father & sisters.entire Lakers family, friends & fans.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Avoid this census scam in 2020 

    Avoid this census scam in 2020

    With it being 2020 and a new decade, the US Government is getting ready to issue the 2020 census forms. Each decade the government takes the census in order to not only determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives but to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities. To complete this monumental task, the government often hires census takers to visit the homes of people who haven’t or are unable to complete their census forms. With the 2020 census upon us, scammers have not hesitated to try to take advantage of people who are looking for one of these government positions.

    Once again, the Better Business Bureau is warning prospective census takers to be on the lookout for hiring scams. Some online listings have already been discovered offering census-taker jobs but then ask for money for either a training or processing fee. These ads are not being placed by the Federal Government as governmental jobs never ask for any kind of payment upfront. The best these ads will do is send you a package on how to apply for government jobs or claim to prepare you for the application test but will not deliver any kind of actual employment.

    While this may seem like a once in a decade scam, these phony employment ads crop up all the time for governmental jobs. The most common of these scams is for the US Postal Service. However, these scams can also appear for other governmental agencies like the IRS, especially around tax time. It’s best to keep in mind that you will never be charged for applying for a government job and that these positions should only be applied for through official government websites. If you’re interested in becoming a census taker, you can apply for one of the positions at the US Census Bureau’s website.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FedEx, , , ,   

    FedEx text scam is more dangerous than you think! 

    FedEx scam is more dangerous than you think!

    A number of reports went out nationwide yesterday about a scam that’s appearing in the text messages of many Americans. As you can see by the graphic above, the text claims to be from FedEx telling you that you have an incoming package that requires you to submit your delivery preferences. The text then provides you a link to click on. While this appears to be just a ‘normal. phishing scam on the surface, this particualr scam goes much deeper than that and can end up costing you a lot of money.

    If you were to click on the link in the phony text you would be taken to a site that looks like Amazon but isn’t. The fake Amazon site then asks you to fill out a customer service survey in order to claim a prize. However, to collect the prize you need to cover the cost of shipping and for that, you need to provide your financial information. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. On top of everything else, by providing your payment information you’re also signing up for a subscription service that will charge you close to $100 a month for products related to the ‘prize’ you chose. We’ve previously discussed subscription scams here.

    If you receive this text, delete it immediately. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t click the link nor should you respond to it. While FedEx does offer a service to text message you about the arrival of your packages you have to sign up for that service. FedEx will never send unsolicited text messages. If you are expecting a package to be delivered from FedEx or any other courier and you are concerned about the delivery, always use the courier’s website or official app to see if there have been any actual problems with delivery.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Personal Data Protection Fund, , US Trading Commission   

    Can you get paid for data breaches? 

    Can you get paid for data breaches?

    Sadly, data breaches are just a part of our way of digital life anymore. It’s not a matter of if some of our data will be exposed, it’s a matter of when. Some of the more egregious data breaches have even landed companies in legal trouble such as the infamous Equifax leak. Some of these have resulted in class action lawsuits which while costing the companies large sums of money, consumers affected by the leaks can only claim a very small part of that settlement. Some scammers are now using that fear of exposure and a little bit of consumer greed to try to trick people into giving up their personal information.

    Security experts Kaspersky Labs recently came across a website that promises to send you money if your data has been exposed in one of these corporate leaks. The website claims to be from the ‘Personal Data Protection Fund’ that was created by the ‘US Trading Commission’. There is no governmental office known as the US Trading Commission. The site asks you to enter your information including your Social Security information to see if your data has been leaked. Of course, it tells you that it has and promises you a payout of $2,500. All you have to do is give them your bank number in order to collect the payout. As you might have expected, there is no payout and now some overseas scammer has all the information they need to steal your identity or worse.

    As always, you should never give your personal or financial information to just anyone who asks on the internet. Don’t be lured in by promises of money where you don’t have to do anything for it. Also, the government doesn’t hand out payments for people who have had their data breached. If you’re afraid your data may have been breached you can check at haveibeenpwned.com which is one of the more trustworthy places online.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring 

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring

    Last week, we discussed how Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was no longer going to be supported with security updates. While not upgrading would leave your computer vulnerable to attacks ultimately, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you didn’t back up your files. Not surprisingly, scammers are using such an innocuous opportunity to try to trick you into paying them for services that don’t exist, giving up control of your computer, or giving them personal or financial information. They’re also doing this by disguising themselves as Microsoft employees to try to gain your trust.

    This scam is a variation of the tech support scam but they’re using the concern about Windows 7 no longer being supported to scare you into believing whatever they have to say. Scammers will call people at random posing as Microsoft employees telling them that their Microsoft license is about to expire. They’ll offer several solutions on how to fix this non-existent problem. They’ll either ask you to pay them to ‘renew’ the license or they’ll ask you for remote access of your computer. The remote access will give them entry into your computer that will allow them to either go through your personal files or possibly install ransomware or malware.

    Once you purchase a computer that comes with Windows or have purchased a copy of Windows from either Microsoft or an authorized vendor, you’ve already paid for the license. There is no annual license renewal or any additional fees like that. That’s not even taking into account that Microsoft never calls any of its users. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook or any other large company to tell you that something is wrong with your device, hang up. They are never who they say they are and do not have your best interest in mind.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The email scam that will scare your friends! 

    The email scam that will scare your friends!

    Recently, a man from Amarillo, Texas started getting messages and texts from friends and colleagues asking him if he was ok. They were concerned for his well-being after they received an email that said the man was in a serious car accident that left him with spinal injuries. Thankfully, the man was fine but understandably confused why he was receiving so many messages about his health status. It turns out that his email account had been hacked and emails had been sent to everyone in his contact list. So why would a scammer send an email like this to everyone the victim knows?

    Well, it’s the second part of the email that gives away the scam. After telling people that the victim had been in a serious wreck the email goes on to ask for money. Not just money but gift cards. The victim’s friends first received an email that said: “Hi, I need to ask a favor, can you write me back.” If someone responded to the first email they would get the second email that told them about the fake accident. In that same email, they were asked to buy an Amazon gift card that’s intended for the victim’s niece’s birthday. Here is the email’s contents in full…

    I need to get an Amazon gift card for my niece, it’s her birthday, but I can’t do this now because I was involved in a car crash a few days ago, I have fractured my lumbar L1 and fractured my wrist. I’ll pay you back as soon as I’m back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

    It’s unknown if any of his contacts fell for the scam but they did the right thing when they received it. They contacted the man to see if the email was legitimate. That is exactly what you should do if you receive an email like this, preferably through another means of communication like text messaging. If you reply to the email, the victim might not receive it if their account has been hijacked. To better protect yourself from having your email account hijacked we recommend enabling two-factor authentication on all of your email accounts. Not only that, but your accounts should be protected with their own individual passwords that aren’t used on other accounts.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mothers lounge,   

    Alleged gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again 

    Gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again

    We originally bought this story to your attention back in November (3rd paragraph). Back then, a number of expectant mothers received a number of gift cards in the mail that included what looked like a handwritten note congratulating them. Some women who weren’t expecting had also received these gift card packages. The notes were all signed by a ‘Jenny B.’ All the gift cards were actually coupons for the same online retailer. It was alleged back in November that the retailer was using shady business practices such as intentionally changing prices depending on what coupon was being used or charging exorbitant shipping fees.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, these faux handwritten gift card bundles have returned and are once again being sent to women whether they are pregnant or not. From all reports, it seems the method has not changed at all as the cards are signed by Jenny B. and all appear to be handwritten even though they are said to be actually computer-generated. They even have ink smudges printed on the card intentionally to make it appear more like a handwritten note. And once again, if the gift cards/coupons are used, the shipping cost is said to wipe out any potential savings.

    The company that’s running this campaign is called Mothers Lounge and sometimes goes by the name ThoughtfulGiftCards.com. The BBB has given Mothers Loung an F rating not only for the gift card campaign but the BBB has also received reports of the goods being sold being allegedly substandard or counterfeit. Mothers Lounge has said that they only send out these packets to people who have signed up for maternity deals and coupons through a third-party marketing company. So be careful who you give your information to as one vendor could potentially send it to hundreds of others.

     
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