Tagged: identity theft Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:01 am on February 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , identity theft,   

    BBB: Beware of phony census takers 

    BBB: Beware of phony census takers

    The last time we spoke about the 2020 Census, we were warning people about fraudulent ads for census taker jobs. To summarize, you should never have to pay money to apply for a census-taking job. Official census-taking jobs are available to apply for free at the US Census Bureau’s website. However, this isn’t the only census related scam that you may have to be worried about. According to the Better Business Bureau, phony census takers may be approaching homes in hopes of gaining personal information from their victims.

    Most of us will be completing the census through the official means, which are mail, phone, or online. However, due to whatever reason, many people will not be able to complete or submit the census on their own. That’s where the census takers come in, they help get the government get a better representation of people living in your area. Just like with almost anything these days, scammers are said to be using the census to pose as phony census takers to try to obtain personal information from their victims.

    Census takers will ask residents for detailed information, but what they won’t ask for is your Social Security number. They will also never ask you for money nor, will they ask you for your mother’s maiden name. The former of which is often used as an online password recovery tool and on credit applications. Real Census takers will have ID badges from the Department of Commerce with a watermark and an expiration date on them. You can also call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local census representative to verify the census taker’s identity. If you feel like a census taker may not be an official census taker it is recommended that you call your local police before reporting it to the Better Business Bureau.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , , , , ,   

    Identity thieves could steal your tax refund 

    Identity thieves could steal your tax refund

    We’ve discussed IRS scams in the past but those scams usually involve someone posing as an IRS agent demanding money from their victims. Now, with it being tax season, there is a whole different scam to be on the lookout for and that’s the tax identity theft scam. In this scam, identity thieves get a hold of your Social Security number and try to steal your tax return using your personal information. With the advent of electronic filing and direct payments, it’s easier than ever for someone to file a phony tax return before the victim even knows about it.

    One of the main ways that identity thieves steal your personal information during tax season is posing as tax preparers. If you’re going to have your taxes prepared professionally stick with the more reputable and well-known firms. If you’re going to use a local tax preparer for the first time, do your research on their reputation and performance. A number of fly by night operations seem to pop up out of nowhere during tax season. If they’re offering their service at below-market costs this could be an indicator that they’re not on the up and up.

    The best way to avoid this scam is to file your return as early as possible. Basically, you want to try and get your return in before any potential identity thieves do. If you’re filing by mail you should take your return directly to your local post office and not risk leaving it to sit in a mailbox. And definitely don’t leave it in your own mailbox for the postal carrier to pick it up. It could be easily stolen from your mailbox that way.

    If you receive a letter from the IRS stating that a duplicate return has been received get in touch with them right away as that means that someone did, in fact, file a return in your name.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , identity theft, 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 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft,   

    Is your child at risk of identity theft? 

    Is your child at risk of identity theft?

    When we think about identity theft we often associate with adults. Considering adults are preoccupied with things like credit scores, bank accounts, and mortgages/rent it’s not surprising that we often connect identity theft automatically with adults. However, the Beter Business Bureau is warning parents that their children could be prime targets for identity thieves. The reason children are such lucrative targets for identity thieves is that they’re essentially clean slates. Combine that with the fact that most parents rarely, if ever, check their child’s credit history.

    So how do identity thieves get your child’s information to steal their identity? One way is through social media. While parents have every right to be proud of their children, sometimes they share too much personal information about their child online. In many cases, it wouldn’t take a scammer long to gather the information needed in order to steal a child’s identity. Another way scammers steal a child’s information is by offering child safety kits. While these kits are legitimate and can help keep a child safe from abduction, not everyone who offers them are who they say they are. Scammers will approach parents unsolicited to offer these kits when their true intention is to obtain your child’s personal information.

    So what can you do to protect your child’s identity? The first thing is to be careful who you share your child’s information with. Maybe you shouldn’t share every detail of their lives on social media. You should also routinely check their credit history. Sometimes these identity thefts go on for years before anyone notices which could ruin their credit as adults. If you find out that your child’s identity has been stolen have your child’s credit history frozen immediately. Then contact your local police to report the crime as in most instances the child’s identity is stolen by someone they know.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , identity theft, , ,   

    Scams that use the Amazon name 

    Scams that use the Amazon name

    Over the weekend, a number of reports came out independent from each other that detailed separate scams that are using Amazon’s name and logo to fool victims into handing over personal or financial information.

    In the first scam, scammers are sending out emails with the official Amazon logo attached to them. The email thanks you for purchasing an Amazon e-gift card. The email then says that if you didn’t purchase the e-gift card to click a link to cancel the purchase or receive a refund. This is a phishing attack that will lead you to a website that is not Amazon where the scammers will try to get you to input personal or financial information in order to get your ‘refund’. In one instance, a victim was asked to buy Amazon gift cards from a local retailer to fix the problem. If you ever receive an email like this you should never click on any links. Instead, go straight to the retailer’s website to check your account.

    The second scam was reported as happening in the Pacific Northwest. In it, the scammers are sending consumers letters stating that their Amazon purchase didn’t go through. What’s troubling about this scam is that the scammers have gained access to information that allows them to know what you purchased from Amazon and how much you paid for it. The letter instructs you to go to a website in order to but again, asks you to input personal and financial information. It’s unknown how scammers have gotten the purchase information so if you receive one of these letters, it’s recommended that you change the password to your Amazon account.

    In the last scam, if you’re thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime or you have a technical issue with Prime, be careful of what links you click on after a web search. In some cases, if you do a web search for ‘Amazon Prime’ or ‘Amazon Prime customer support’ you may be presented with ads that take you to third-party sites that are definitely nor Amazon. In other cases, these ads will list a phony customer service number for Amazon Prime. Security researchers have stated that these ads will take you to sites that will try to get you to pay for services that would be free if performed by amazon. This is also known as the tech support scam. Again, if you have customer service needs that Amazon needs to address, go to Amazon.com in order to find the correct information.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, , military death,   

    Scam call frightens military family 

    Scam call frightens military family

    We’ve talked about some pretty underhanded scams in the past few years. Nothing seems to be lower than the virtual kidnapping scam where scammers try to convince you that one of your children has been kidnapped. There’s also the grandparent scam where scammers try to fool the elderly into giving them money by posing as one of their grandchildren in trouble. I think we can all agree that one group of people that should be immune from scams are those with family in the military. While these brave men and women are defending our country, they shouldn’t have to worry about their loved ones being scammed out of their savings or having their identity stolen.

    Recently, a man in North Dakota received a phone call telling him that his Marine son was killed on active duty. The scammers told the man that his son had died during live-fire practice. They then asked the man where he’d like to have his son’s remains shipped to before eventually asking for the man’s Social Security number. It wasn’t until after the man hung up that he realized he had been scammed. He was eventually able to reach his son who was fine. The man then took several steps to try to make sure his identity won’t be stolen.

    If the unthinkable were to happen and a service member is killed during active duty, a member of that branch of the military will personally visit the primary next of kin to inform them. Phone calls should only be received after a member of the military pays a personal visit to the family’s home. There have even been scams where people dressed in military uniforms have gone to people’s houses telling them that a service member in their family had died. So even if someone shows up to your home, you may want to make some phone calls first to confirm the news.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, , ,   

    Family with leukemia afflicted baby targeted in rental scam 

    Family with leukemia afflicted baby targeted in rental scam

    Further proving that scammers will stoop to any level, a family in Southern California is scrambling to find a new home after falling victim to an online rental scam. If you’ll recall, scammers will copy the online ads of homes for sale then post the ad in online marketplaces as a home for rent. The rent requested will often be well below market value. In most cases, the scammers will try to pressure you to make some kind of large payment without being able to see the property. In other cases, the scammers will also make you fill out a lengthy application they’ll use for identity theft.

    That’s what happened to the family from California. Their 14-month-old son has been diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. They are looking for a home closer to the hospital where the baby is being treated. In terms of Southern California travel, the hospital is too far away from their current residence. While looking for a new home, they found an online ad for the perfect place. They responded to the ad and filled out an application with all their personal information. It was after a friend looked into the property they found out that it wasn’t actually available for rent. Now, they’re busy trying to find a new home while worrying about not only their son but also having their personal information exposed like that.

    If you’re looking for a new home and you find one that’s too good to be true, it probably is. In order to avoid such scams always do a reverse image search on the photos in the ad to make sure the ad isn’t stolen from someplace else. You should also check with the county assessor’s website or office to verify who the true owner of the property is. And don’t be taken in by convoluted stories about why the property can’t be shown or why the supposed landlords can’t meet you. Lastly. never pay or wire money for any property sight unseen. If you would like to help the family mentioned in today’s story they have a GoFundMe page to help assist with the astronomical cost of childhood leukemia.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , identity theft, , ,   

    Getting scammed after being scammed 

    Getting scammed after being scammed

    If you’ve ever been scammed you may have reported the scam to your local police, the Better Business Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While you should report scams to the FTC, if you have, you may want to be on the lookout for a scam that comes from reporting the scam. According to reports, people who report scams to the FTC are sometimes targeted by a new set of scammers. These scammers claim to be a company that can help you get your money back from the original scammers. While a service like this sounds great, sadly, it’s just another scam.

    Residents of the Denver area have been reporting they’ve been getting calls from people posing as the Denver Police Department. The scammers will tell their victims that they’ve been the victim of identity theft then ask for their banking information. Once the information was given the scammers would just hang up. If police discover that you’ve been an actual victim of identity theft, they will send an officer to your home rather than call you. And as always, you should never give your financial information over the phone to any stranger, even if they claim to be the police.

    In Greenville, South Carolina, authorities there have warned elderly residents to be aware of various scams that have affected the area. At least two elderly residents were taken for a combined total of $80,000. One of the victims gave control of her computer remotely to a scammer who claimed to be helping process an unexpected refund. This led to the scammer advising the victim to buy a number of gift cards in order to receive the phony refund. Control of your computer should never be given over to strangers even with the promise of money as this could lead to ransomware or malware being placed on your computer or your personal information being stolen. And as always, no legitimate service, business, or agency will request payment by gift cards.

    Please always keep in mind just because these scams aren’t happening in your area doesn’t mean they’re not on their way.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on March 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, , , , , ,   

    Tax collection, Homeland Security, and yet another puppy scam 

    Tax collection, Homeland Security, and yet another puppy scam

    It’s time again to bring you some more scams that are happening around the country that could ultimately impact your area and possibly someone you know.

    First up is a twist on the typical IRS scam. In the typical IRS scam, someone will call a victim on the phone pretending to be from the IRS trying to pressure the victim into making an immediate payment on a tax bill that doesn’t actually exist. The flaw in this scam is that the IRS rarely calls a taxpayer to settle any taxes owed. Instead, the IRS is known for mailing out any delinquent tax notices. That’s where this new scam being reported out of Sullivan County, Tennessee takes it up a notch. The scammers are mailing out letters claiming to be from a “Tax Enforcement Department” which then directs potential victims to call a phone number to make a payment. If you receive a letter like this and you feel like you may owe the IRS some money always call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.

    Speaking of government agencies, our next scam involves possible the most fear-inducing branch of the government and that’s the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS recently released a warning stating that scammers were calling people posing as the DHS by spoofing official DHS phone numbers. That way when someone receives the call it appears to be from DHS itself when in reality it’s just a scammer. The scammers are said to be claiming that the people they call have been victims of identity theft and ask the victims for personal information or threatening people with immigration offenses if they don’t make a payment right then and there. Some of these scammers are even sending out emails using an uscis.org email address. That is similar to but not the web address of DHS which is actually uscis.gov If you receive one of these phone calls or emails, the DHS requests that you call them at 1-800-323-8603.

    Lastly, we have an online puppy scam that has an added level of cruelty added to it. Luckily, no puppies actually exist in this scam if you can call that lucky. An online puppy scammer is said to be taking money from victims over PayPal as a deposit for a purebred puppy. The phony breeder then directs all of their victims to an address in Atlanta, Georgia to pick up the fictitious puppy. According to FOX 5 Atlanta, people have driven from as far away as Detroit. The man who lives at the Atlanta address has had to tell all the people who showed up on his doorstep that they’ve been scammed. Buying puppies online is always a risky venture as there are a plethora of scams involving puppies, some of which end up with puppies being bred in backyard puppy mills. When searching for a new pet for your family you should always deal with a locally licensed breeder or your local shelter. You’re less likely to run into scammers this way.

     
  • Geebo 9:11 am on April 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, ,   

    Fake Facebook profiles a problem for the military 

    Fake Facebook profiles a problem for the military

    One of the other issues discussed with Mark Zuckerberg by Congress was not just that of privacy, but that of identity theft. US Representative Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, mentioned to Zuckerberg that the Congressman had his own information stolen by scammers who had created fake profiles in order to extort money from victims. According to CBS Marketwatch, this is not a new problem on Facebook and often targets members of the military to steal their identity.

    Members of the military often have their profiles copied to make fake Facebook profiles by overseas scammers. The scammers then use the fake profiles to try to get someone romantically interested in the fake profile. This is hen usually followed up by some request for money from the victim. These scams have claimed anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars from victims, and it’s believed the crime is underreported due to the number of victims who are too embarrassed to come forward.

    Facebook is usually not a big help when it comes to these fake profiles. When the military reports these profiles, Facebook will have them removed, but then they’ll just pop right back up soon after. As in the video shown above, the serviceman whose profile was copied again and again couldn’t get the fakes removed due to Facebook claiming that the fake profiles did not violate their ever-vague ‘community guidelines’.

    Now you may be savvy enough to not fall for such a scam, but think of all your friends on Facebook who may not be. If they’re suddenly head over heels for someone in the military they’ve met online, warn them that this may be a scam, especially if they ask for money. As a military spokesperson put it to CBS…

    Members of the military shouldn’t be asking for money, said Heusdens. “If they say they need help paying for a medical bill, the military pays for medical treatment for soldiers,” she said. Likewise, asking for help to buy food is a red flag.

    “We get fed very well,” she said.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel