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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, ,   

    Campaign robocalls could be identity thieves 

    Campaign robocalls could be identity thieves

    Robocalls are normally illegal in the United States. The exceptions to that law are that charities asking for donations and political campaigns. It’s the latter that we’re concerned about today.

    With the 2020 presidential election being so close and so heated, scammers have been using the guise of campaign robocalls to try and steal your financial and personal information.

    The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that scammers are using robocalls that sound like legitimate campaign calls. Some of these calls Re even said to have used recordings that sound almost identical to the voices of major political candidates. The recorded message asks you to donate money to their campaign. If you stay on the line you’ll be transferred to an operator who will take your information.

    However, instead of your money going to your candidate of choice, the scammers will take your money and potentially use your personal information for identity theft.

    The BBB says that political campaigns will rarely use robocalls to solicit donations. The campaigns mostly use them to ask you to vote for their candidate. If you receive one of these robocalls claiming to be from a politician asking for donations, it’s more than likely a scam according to the BBB.

    It’s recommended that you hang up if immediately if you receive one of these calls. The call may ask you to press a number to remove your number from their list. Since these are scam calls, pressing 1 will do the exact opposite. It will let the scammers know that your number is an active one and they could try calling you with another scam in the future.

    While it’s a good idea to always sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry, please keep in mind that scammers do not abide by the Do Not Call list.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, ,   

    Phishing scam targets voter registration 

    Phishing scam targets voter registration

    No matter which political party you may belong to, there has been a controversy over mail-in ballots. Some believe that this could lead to either voter fraud or voter suppression depending on which side of the political fence you’re on. However, there’s an apolitical scheme going on that doesn’t care what your ideology is.

    According to authorities in Arizona, emails are being sent out to look like they’re from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The emails say that your voter registration information is incomplete. Of course, the email contains a link for you to click on so you can provide your correct information. The link takes you to a legitimate-looking website where you’re asked for your personal information.

    This is what’s known as a phishing scam. The scammers aren’t planning to cast a vote in your name. That doesn’t make them any money. Instead, they’ll use your personal information for financial gains such as opening loans or lines of credit in your name.

    As always, you should never provide personal information to unsolicited emails no matter how official the email may look. Anyone with a modicum of computer knowledge can make an email look like it came from any organization they want.

    If you think that there may be an actual problem with your voter registration information, go to your county’s election office and bring several forms of ID with you.

    No matter which way you lean, make sure that your voice is heard.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , , Synthetic ID, Synthetic ID Theft, Synthetic Identity Theft   

    Identity theft trick could be undetectable for years 

    Identity theft trick could be undetectable for years

    Even if we’ve never experienced it personally, just about everyone is aware of identity theft. Over the years, victims of identity theft have found their lives thrown into turmoil over charges and expenses that they never applied before. However, since all the charges are in the victim’s name, it can take victims years before restoring their credit to a reasonable state it was in before the theft. Now, consumer advocacy groups are warning consumers about a different form of identity theft that could go unrecognized for potentially decades.

    The Better Business Bureau calls it Synthetic Identity Theft. It varies from usual forms of identity theft because it doesn’t steal the whole of your identity. In Synthetic Identity Theft, the thieves will only need your Social Security number. With just that, they can use a fake name, address, and date of birth to create a ‘synthetic’ person. That person won’t have any credit history at first so the thieves will initially be denied for any credit application. However, that will start a credit history for this synthetic ID and eventually, the thieves will be able to open some form of credit. Eventually, they’ll get a high enough line of credit where they’ll extend the credit to their limits before discarding the synthetic ID.

    Eventually, debt collectors will trace the original Social Security number back to its rightful owner and the nightmare of identity theft really begins. Young children are especially vulnerable to Synthetic Identity Theft as the thieves are looking for Social Security numbers that have no credit at all attached to them.

    Unfortunately, there’s not a lot consumers can do to protect themselves from Synthetic Identity Theft. Due to the way ID thieves use a hodge-podge of identity elements to create synthetic IDs normal precautions like credit freezes won’t work. The best way to protect yourself and your child is to keep your Social Security numbers closely guarded. You can also keep an eye out by monitoring your mail, phone calls, and email for strange communications that may be regarding your children.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on September 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , hotel scam, identity theft, , ,   

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for 

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for

    Once again, we’re bringing you a trio of scams that are happening around the country. We think you should keep an eye out for them before they come to your area.

    The first scam literally is one that is happening all across the country. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has issued a warning about a Social Security scam that’s targeting seniors. Scammers are posing as the Department of Justice and are looking to steal personal information. The scammers will leave a number to call back which will lead you to a phony investigator who will ask you for your personal information. If you receive one of these phone calls, you’re asked to report them to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or the FTC website.

    The Department of Health from the state of North Dakota is reporting that residents there have been receiving worrying messages about COVID-19. People there have been receiving texts, emails, and even letters telling them that they’ve tested positive for coronavirus. However, many of the people receiving these messages haven’t even been tested for coronavirus. The messages contain a link that directs them to a website where they’re asked for personal information. You should never click on links from or open any attachments from someone that you don’t know personally.

    Lastly, if you find yourself staying at a hotel on a getaway, be careful what information you give over the hotel phone. Police in Wrightsville, North Carolina are warning vacation goers about a scam that has hit their area. Police there say that scammers are calling hotel rooms posing as the front desk and asking for personal information. Sometimes the scammers will even try to get financial information out of their victims. Please keep in mind that the hotel will not ask for payment information away from the front desk. If you receive a call like this while staying at a hotel either call the front desk directly or go straight to the front desk personally.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, , ,   

    New twist on unemployment debit card scam 

    New twist on unemployment debit card scam

    As you may know, every state in the country has been assailed by overseas scammers looking to cash in on unemployment benefits. Due to the record amount of Americans who are currently unemployed, the scammers are overwhelming state unemployment systems by applying for benefits in other people’s names in hopes of making off with that money. To that extent, scammers will also apply for benefits in the names of people who are currently employed. The scam is far from perfect and many people have caught the scam being perpetrated on them before the scammers could get the money. Usually, the scammers would keep their scam within one state at a time. That now seems to be changing.

    A report out of the State of Washington says that a couple there received two unemployment debit cards in the mail. Not only are the couple employed but the cards were issued from the state of Colorado. Neither of them had ever worked or lived in Colorado. The belief here is that since the cards are from out of state, a scammer could call them pretending to be from that state’s unemployment department and then ask for the cards back. The scammer could instruct them to send the cards to an address where the scammers could claim the cards and use the benefits themselves.

    However, some states are already fighting back against the scammers. As we mentioned previously, West Virginia has a system in place to try to prevent fraud. Now, the Colorado cards that were sent to the Washington couple had instructions to follow if they received the cards but did not apply for unemployment.

    If you receive a card like this and you have not filed for unemployment or they’re from a state that you never lived or worked, try contacting the issuing bank to see what they would like to have you do.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, , ,   

    Unemployment scams now targeting seniors 

    Unemployment scams now targeting seniors

    Unemployment scams continue to plague the country. Overseas scammers are said to be applying for unemployment benefits en masse using stolen identities. Unemployment systems in most states are already stretched to their limits in dealing with record unemployment claims. With scammers claiming benefits for people who are still employed, it isn’t making things any better. Now it seems that the scammers aren’t satisfied with taking advantage of the employed and unemployed alike and have chosen new targets.

    Recently, the Chicago area has been hit particularly hard by this scam. Reports say that a host of people have been receiving unemployment benefit debit cards in the mail when they haven’t applied for any benefits. In many cases, scammers are trying to have the payments sent to a different address than the person whose identity they’ve stolen but they aren’t always successful.

    Seniors and retirees are now feeling the brunt of these scams. A retired couple in the Chicago area recently received an unemployment debit card with $10,000 worth of benefits on it. To make matters worse, victims of the scam have been having great difficulty in trying to contact their state’s unemployment department to report the scam. It’s gotten so bad in Chicago that an Illinois State Senator had to step in to try to assist senior victims of the scam with getting in touch with the state.

    While the Illinois Department of Employment Security has said they’re cracking down on the fraud along with federal agencies, the scam only appears to be increasing. You may have had benefits applied for in your name without you even knowing about it. It’s recommended that you check your credit report for suspicious activity. Also, if you receive an unemployment debit card that you have not applied for, do not activate it. It should also go without saying that the money should not be spent as you will be held responsible for it. Instead, contact your state’s department of labor on the phone for instructions on how to deal with the scam.

    Please be patient when trying to contact the state as they’re more than likely understaffed and trying to assist other victims of the scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , , ,   

    FTC: SIM swapping on the rise 

    FTC: SIM swapping on the rise

    Around a decade ago, not everyone had a smartphone. While the iPhone had already been out for three years, many people only had phones that could only make calls and send text messages. Now, the majority of us have smartphones which are basically like having a full-blown computer in your pocket. As such, many of us have very sensitive personal and financial information on our phones. Now, what if someone was able to steal all of that information without having to steal your phone? That’s exactly what happens with SIM swapping.

    SIM swapping is when a scammer or other bad actor is able to convince your cell phone carrier to switch your service to their phone. This way they can have access to the various social media, email, and financial apps that you may have on your phone. SIM swapping is lucrative to scammers because this way they can easily access accounts that are protected by two-factor authentication since many of us use text messaging as our preferred method of 2FA. This is also how they can lock you out of your own accounts after having email addresses and passwords changed.

    Normally, someone would have to give your cell phone carrier a PIN number in order to transfer service to a new device. However, since so many people forget their PINs, some carriers will let you change service after answering a couple of security questions. Scammers can often find the answer to these questions, like your pet’s name or the street you grew up on, from your social media accounts. The Federal Trade Commission has said that SIM swapping has been on the rise in the past few years.

    There are ways to protect yourself from SIM swapping. The first is to not share too much information about yourself on social media that could lead to scammers knowing the answers to your security questions. The other way is to contact your carrier and tell them not to allow any device switching on your account. However, to get your account unfrozen you may have to visit your carrier’s store with your ID.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , ,   

    More states are dealing with unemployment scams 

    More states are dealing with unemployment scams

    The unemployment scams that are happening from Washington to Maine continue to take hold in more states. Both Mississippi and Minnesota are reporting that their unemployment assistance programs are being targeted by scammers looking to steal benefits.

    As we have discussed before, scammers are using stolen identities to apply for unemployment benefits in various states across the country. It doesn’t matter if you’re currently receiving unemployment benefits or you’re currently working. If your identity has been compromised scammers will use your information to try to scam benefits from the already overworked state unemployment systems. In most cases, the scammers will have the stolen benefits redirected to another address but in some cases, the scammers are said to be actually stalking the mailboxes of people whose identity they’ve used to apply for benefits.

    Besides using stolen identities that were compromised in various data breaches, scammers are also using details that they’ve harvested from social media to apply for benefits. It’s being recommended that you keep things like your birthday and your hometown private on social media.

    Many victims of the scam have voiced their concerns over their inability to reach their state’s unemployment offices. The unemployment offices have urged victims to keep trying to reach them as they are currently trying to assist as many people as they can during these trying times.

    If you’ve been a victim of this scam it’s recommended that you first contact your state’s unemployment office or your HR department if you’re currently working. On top of that, you should change your passwords for all your sensitive accounts. You should also initiate a credit freeze with the major credit bureaus so the scammers can not apply for things like credit cards or bank accounts in your name.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , ,   

    More details about unemployment scams 

    More details about unemployment scams

    Previously, when we discussed the recent unemployment scams plaguing the nation we mostly talked about how scammers were using stolen identities to apply for unemployment benefits. Now, the Federal Trade Commission has released more details not only about how the scam works but what to do in case you’re a victim.

    Overseas scammers have been overwhelming the online unemployment application systems in many states. They’re using stolen identities to apply for benefits while most states are under a mountain of applications due to the global pandemic. This makes it a perfect time for scammers to try to sneak into the system. People who are currently employed are finding out that unemployment benefits are being sought in their name.

    While the ill-gotten benefits are usually sent to one of the scammers, in some cases they’re sent to the person whose name the benefits are in. In many of these cases, the scammers are posing as the state’s unemployment office and asking for the money back. However, instead of asking for the payment to be returned through legitimate channels, they’re asking for the payment to be sent through gift cards or wire services. These are hallmarks of many scams and payment should never be sent this way to anyone claiming to be a governmental organization.

    If you receive an unemployment payment that you did not apply for, the FTC urges you to report it to your employer and your state’s unemployment office. You can also report it to the FTC themselves at IdentityTheft.Gov.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on June 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , , wic   

    New scam targets mothers on food assistance 

    New scam targets mothers on food assistance

    As if it wasn’t bad enough that scammers were targeting Pennsylvania’s unemployment system, now it seems the scammers are also targeting those in the Keystone State that are also in need of food assistance. According to state officials, scammers are now targeting recipients of the Women, Infants, and Children program otherwise known as WIC. WIC is a government assistance program that helps provide healthcare and nutrition to low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under the age of five.

    According to reports, scammers are posing as WIC representatives and calling recipients promising them additional funds. The scammers will then ask the WIC recipient for personal information such as their Social Security information or banking information. Some scammers have promised to deposit the phony funds directly into the recipient’s bank account.

    The information stolen by the scammers can be used for any number of additional crimes such as identity theft or money laundering. Just because someone may be in a low-income situation it doesn’t mean that their personal information isn’t valuable to online criminals. Anyone with a Social Security number is potentially at risk.

    Pennsylvania WIC’s office says that if you’re unsure if a call from WIC is legitimate or not to hang up and call the WIC office directly.

    We’d also like to remind our readers that just because this scam isn’t currently happening in their state, that doesn’t mean it may not be in their state soon. The current unemployment scam problems started in one state and quickly spread to several others.

    We find this scam particularly reprehensible since it could potentially take food and healthcare away from those who need it most. We wonder when the scammers will start taking candy from babies.

     
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