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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Potential modeling scam poses threat 

    Potential modeling scam poses threat

    The modeling scam isn’t one we discuss often but it can have potentially devastating effects. The damage can range anywhere from simply being swindled out of a substantial amount of money to becoming the victim of an online predator. Modeling can artists like to prey upon the insecurities of their victims and promise them lives of luxury and fame even though the odds of becoming a legitimately successful model are about the same as someone becoming a successful professional athlete. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped victims from being scammed and the swindlers are always looking for new ways to find more victims.

    For example, recently in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina, a number of women were sent text messages asking them if they wanted to be models for Victoria’s Secret. The texter was reportedly posing as a former model and asked the women for photos, personal information, and possibly a meeting. Authorities in the area believe this could potentially be a plot to recruit victims for human trafficking. Usually, human traffickers rely on social media to try to recruit victims instead of text messaging. However, the women that were texted in Myrtle Beach are all public figures in their profession and their numbers could have been obtained in any number of ways.

    If you are thinking about getting into the modeling industry, have realistic expectations and do your research on the pitfalls it entails. What may sound like a great job could be any number of ways you can put yourself in danger. While you may be able to find one or two legitimate modeling jobs online, for the most part, legitimate modeling jobs are done through modeling agencies. The Federal Trade Commission has a website on how to tell if a modeling job is legitimate or if you’re dealing with shady charlatans.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , sim jacking, sim swapping,   

    SIM Swapping can cost you thousands if you’re not careful 

    SIM Swapping can cost you thousands if you're not careful

    Freelance British food writer Jack Monroe recently made news when she found out that someone stole the phone number to her smartphone. They were then able to transfer the number to another phone where they had access to some of her financial information and were able to steal £5,000 from her personal account. That amount equates to close to $6,300 in the U.S. This is a trick known as SIM_Swapping or SIM-Jacking named after the SIM cards in most smartphones that contain your calling information including your phone number. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to protect yourself against the attack.

    SIM Swapping works when the victim is targeted by someone with knowledge of how the attack works. First, they get your name, address, and date of birth, then they contact your cell phone carrier to try and convince them that they are you. If the attacker is successful, he can get the carrier to switch your number to their phone. The attacker can then receive all your calls, texts, emails and the like. That way they can receive the two-factor authentication texts that would allow them to access any of your sensitive online accounts including banking.

    While most victims of SIM Swapping don’t notice the attack until it’s too late, there are some steps you can take to try to protect yourself although nothing is a guarantee of preventing such an attack. You can instruct your cell phone carrier to require a PIN number if anyone calls to try and have any portion of your service changed. As with most PINs, don’t make it something obvious that an attacker can guess like your birthdate. You can also sign up for a Google Voice number which is much more secure and tougher to attack than a traditional cell phone number but work just like a traditional phone number and they are also free to get.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    BBB scam stats that may surprise you! 

    BBB scam stats that may surprise you!

    The Better Business Bureau recently released some statistics about scams in this country. While some of them may seem obvious there are some that come as a surprise even to us. The BBB recently issued a report called “Exposed to Scams: What separates victims from non-victims” that you can read at this link, however, it is in PDF form. The BBB surveyed 1400 people who filed reports about scams to them. Out of those 1400 people, 43% did not engage with the scammers. 30% engaged with the scammer but did not lose money. 23% engaged with the scammer and lost money.

    The most common scams were said to be the tech support scam, followed closely by tax collection scams, and online purchase scams. The median amount lost in scams was $600 which is up from $152 in 2018. What also is telling is that out of 91% of people who were approached by scammers on social media, 53% of them lost money. Respondents also include in their survey that people who sounded more official were more likely to con victims out of their money. However, the surprising statistic to come out of this report is that younger people are more vulnerable to scammers than the elderly even though the elderly have long been the targets of many scammers.

    Once you’ve been scammed, it becomes easier to spot a scam when it approaches you. However, you don’t have to be a victim first in order to avoid a scam. There are lots of great resources online that can educate about what scams are new or resurfacing. For one there’s our blog here at Geebo, as we like to keep up to date on the latest scams and when the older one appears with new twists. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a website listing a number of current scams. And as always, the Better Business Bureau has its famous BBB Scam Tracker.

    As the saying goes, knowledge is power. And we want you to have the power to stop these con artists from making victims out of consumers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Be careful of random packages at your doorstep 

    Be careful of random packages at your doorstep

    Today, we’re bringing you a handful of scams from around the country. Remember, just because they may not be happening in your town doesn’t mean they can’t.

    Our first story is out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where unrequested packages have been showing up at random homes. Scammers are allegedly using stolen information to have high-end items like smartphones sent to random houses. The scammers then keep an eye on the homes where the items are to be delivered so they can pick them up. While this was a good attempt by the scammers to cover their tracks, two men have been arrested for their alleged part in the scheme. A good way to help protect yourself against this is to sign up for the US Postal Service’s Informed Delivery service.

    Speaking of unwanted packages, we’ve discussed the brushing scam before. It’s where you’ll receive a number of packages from a retailer like Amazon that you didn’t order. By law, you can keep those packages, however, they’re being sent by third-party vendors from overseas who are looking to use your information to post positive reviews of their products with your name listed as a verified purchaser. It’s gotten so bad for one man in Charlotte, North Carolinas that he says he’s been receiving nearly 30 packages a week since July. If this happens to you, your amazon account may have been compromised. It’s recommended that in this case that you change your Amazon password and check your account for illegitimate purchases.

    Lastly, the state of Texas is warning its residents about a potential insurance scam. The Texas Department of Insurance is reporting that a group claiming to be the Consumer Insurance Association is offering discounted insurance rates over the phone. This group is not licensed in the state of Texas and could be part of an identity theft operation. Never just give out your personal information over the phone to anybody who cold calls you. If you feel like they may be a legitimate company, research them first before divulging any sensitive information.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FTC, , Match.com, ,   

    Dating site sued over romance scams 

    Dating site sued over romance scams

    We’ve talked about romance scams a lot lately. We’ve mostly discussed how to recognize a romance scam and how just about anyone can find themselves as a victim in one. We’ve even touched on the legal ramifications romance scams could have for both perpetrators and victims. What we haven’t talked about is what the law is doing to try and prevent these scams outside of arresting a handful of scammers. Now, the Federal Trade Commission seems to be getting serious about them by going after one of the major platforms where romance scammers find their victims.

    Dating sites are one of the biggest online services where romance scammers troll for their victims. One of the biggest dating platforms online is Match.com. The FTC is suing Match over alleged dubious business practices that have allowed romance scams to flourish on Match. The FTC says that Match is aware that close to a quarter of all Match profiles may be fraudulent with many of them allegedly being used to run romance scams. The FTC claims that not only did Match know these profiles were fraudulent but left the profiles on their platform to attract other users to their service. Match is a paid subscription service and you can’t communicate with other members without signing up for a subscription.

    Of course, Match has denied the allegations. They had a chance to settle with the FTC a while ago for $30 million and a chance to clean up their act but Match rejected the offer. The problem with dating sites and apps whether they’re free or paid is that they’re filled with fake profiles. Whether it’s to attract new users or the users are actively trying to catfish the new members, online dating services are rife with con artists and frauds. Loneliness can be a heavy cross to bear and it can impair your judgment when it comes to accepting a new romantic interest into your life. While the heart wants what it wants, you should also listen to your gut. Once again, the FTC has a website about how to recognize a potential romance scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Twitter leaks phone numbers to advertisers 

    Twitter leaks phone numbers to advertisers

    We’ve mentioned two-factor authentication, or 2FA as it’s known, a few times lately. It’s the security protocol that has two or more layers of authentication that better secures your online accounts. The most common form of 2FA is through text messaging. For example, if you have 2FA enabled, when you sign in to an online account not only would you have to provide your password but you’d also have to provide a code that had been texted to you. While authentication sent through SMS texts isn’t the most secure form of 2FA it is better than nothing. However, thanks to so many platforms using SMS texting for 2FA it has led one platform to issue an apology recently.

    Twitter recently announced phone numbers that users had registered with them for two-factor authentication were used for targeted advertising. The numbers were used to match users to marketing lists provided by advertisers. In some people’s eyes, that goes against everything that 2FA is supposed to stand for. One security expert even compared Twitter’s practice to that of trying to secure a tent against bears by using raw meat.

    Like we said, While SMS text messages are the most common form of 2FA, they’re not the most secure. There are alternatives that you can use that are more secure. There are hardware keys that act as authenticators that can be used on both computers and mobile devices. There are also software alternatives that are free, that create something along the lines of a temporary secondary password that can be used for the second layer of authentication. This way, you won’t have to worry about even more robocalls from advertisers and other bad actors from plaguing your phone.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on October 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: addiction recovery, body brokers, drug rehab, , opioid crsis, patient brokers,   

    Are opioid addiction centers just a racket? 

    Are opioid addiction centers just a racket?

    If you’ve ever watched daytime TV for any length of time recently, you’ve probably seen commercials for various addiction treatment centers. They seem to make a lot of promises to get you or a loved one off of opioids thanks to the opioid crisis that has plagued our country. Many of them tout the benefits of their treatment programs over others or they try to use scare tactics to get you to use their facility. A number among them even boast their facility by the beach is what’s best for recovering addicts. While drug addiction is one of the hardest personal battles someone can fight, too many of these recovery centers are nothing more than fronts for insurance fraud.

    Many patients are being lured to these facilities with the promises of free airline tickets and money by people called ‘patient brokers’. Instead of receiving treatment, patients will receive little to no treatment while the facilities bill health insurance companies for charges that never occurred. Some patients will even be paid to relapse so the facilities can continue to commit insurance fraud. Florida was a hotspot for this kind of activity until the state passed anti-kickback laws to not only try to prevent this kind of fraud but gave investigators more authority to crack down on these facilities. Florida is just one state as many of these facilities have opened up all over the country.

    A lot of these facilities take advantage of addicts and their families because in many cases the families or patients affected are too embarrassed to go to their doctor for proper rehab recommendations. There is no shame in wanting to recover from addiction. However, if you give in to shame, you or your loved one could end up in a revolving door of addiction thanks to these facilities. That’s the best-case scenario with the worst-case scenarios being that they could end up in prison or the morgue. Like any life-changing decision, take the time to research any facility that you or someone from your family could be housed in.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activation fee, , Amazon Echo, , Google Home, , , , virtual assistant,   

    Beware the activation fee scam for new devices 

    Beware the activation fee scam for new devices

    In the past, we’ve discussed a couple of scams that could affect new owners of such devices like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. The first was using unofficial apps to help you get your device activated. The second was using your virtual assistant to look up phone numbers for you which could result in being connected to scammers posing as services you may not use that often. Now, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting a new scam that could affect new owners of these devices and this scam could cost users money.

    This new scam kind of resembles the unofficial app scam. The difference with this scam is with fake phone numbers posing as technical support for many of these devices. If someone were to do a web search looking for a technical support number for one of these devices the number that appears may not be that of the company who made the device. Instead, it may belong to scammers who are going to try to get you to pay an ‘activation fee’ while posing as companies like Amazon and Google. This scam not only applies to devices like this but to many other services as well such as anti-virus and printer support just to name a few.

    If you have technical trouble setting up any kind of device or service it is always recommended that you go to the manufacturer’s or distributor’s website to locate the proper customer service number. Scammers will use search engine optimization (SEO) tricks to try to get their phony number listed first on search engines even above those of the legitimate manufacturer’s. Also beware of any technical support that tries to get you to pay for their service using gift cards, prepaid debit cars, or money transfers. That is guaranteed to be part of a scam as once the money is paid, it will be next to impossible to recover from a scam artist.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , religion   

    Are religious apps taking advantage of the faithful? 

    Are religious apps taking advantage of the faithful?

    Even some of the oldest religions in the world have taken advantage of the digital revolution. Now, instead of carrying their religious texts with them everywhere many religious practitioners now use digital apps instead. With these apps, passages of inspiration and guidance are just at the tip of their fingers. There are legitimate apps dedicated to whatever religion you may choose to practice. However, that doesn’t mean that every religious app should be trusted as some try to be all-knowing but not in a good way.

    CNET recently did an expose on a number of religious apps in the Google Play Store. It was discovered that religious apps potentially contain more malware than gambling apps. Some of these apps request privacy permissions from users that go above and beyond what any app should be asking for with at least one app sharing personal information with Facebook. These privacy-invading apps do not discriminate as they can be found in apps dedicated to most major religions.

    People who practice a religion tend to trust other practitioners of that faith a little more than others. However, there have always been those looking to take advantage of that kindness and faith. While such faith in our fellow man is to be commended there is no shame in being somewhat cynical when it comes to those looking to make a buck or two off of your devotion. While many of these apps purport to make you stronger in your faith, the devil is truly in the details.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , formjacking,   

    New online attack is undetectable! 

    New online attack is undetectable!

    With most online threats there is a lot that consumers can do to protect themselves. For example, with phishing attacks, you can go to a website directly rather than using the link provided in an email or text. To avoid malware you can avoid risky websites and install an anti-malware program in case you do get infected. However, security experts are now warning about an online threat that has virtually no protection. It’s called formjacking and there’s no way to detect it until it’s too late.

    Formjacking is when a third-party injects code into a secure website that uses forms for anything from a job application to payment methods. If a website has been compromised then the attackers can lift any information submitted through the form. As you can imagine, this can include your home address, your social security number, and any credit or debit card numbers. The only defense against formjacking is for the company that owns the website to do a constant review of the site’s code to make sure there is no malicious code in there.

    Not all hope is lost though. There are services that can provide you with temporary charge card numbers that can be assigned to individual services that you may use. Your bank or credit card provider may also offer such a service. Both Google and Apple Pay are reportedly said to be secure as well. But we fill out so many forms online there isn’t anything that can guarantee 100% protection. Your best defense is to keep a watchful eye on your charge statements and credit history to make sure that no one has lifted your information and used it for their gain.

     
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