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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charlotte, identity theft, , PNC Bank,   

    Bank promotion leads to identity theft 

    Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the major banking capitals of the US. While the primary banking center of the country is New York City, Charlotte has traded the #2 spot with San Francisco for many years. Many national banks either have their corporate headquarters in Charlotte or have a large corporate presence there. Unfortunately, this large banking presence has not stopped bank scams from happening as the local police recently found out.

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have said they recently encountered dozens of residents who have had bank accounts opened in their name. The residents have said that they’ve received letters in the mail thanking them for opening accounts with PNC Bank. Some of the letters even have debit cards included with them. PNC seems to be the target of this scam since they’re running a promotion where a customer can receive $300 for opening an account.

    It’s believed that the residents targeted in this scam must have had their private information leaked in a previous data breach. While reports have not stated it, in similar scams, scammers have had debit and credit cards sent to the victims home address where the scammer is watching the mail so they can intercept the card.

    If you receive a letter like this from PNC or any other bank, you need to act immediately. Call the bank at the customer service number that’s provided with the letter to tell them you did not open that account. It’s also recommended that you contact your local police department as well. Then it’s strongly recommended that you put a freeze on your credit. You can also get a credit alert that will notify you if anyone tries to open credit using your information.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , identity theft, , phone takeover, ,   

    Scammers stopping cell service can steal your money 

    Scammers stopping cell service can steal your money

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s still hard to imagine life these days without your smartphone. It’s been one of those necessities that you don’t leave the house without. If you’re anything like us, we’re sure you’re checking for your keys, identification, and phone before you go out the front door. Now, imagine that you’re out running errands or what have you, and all of a sudden, your phone no longer has any service. No calls, no apps, no texts or anything. If this were to happen to you, it would be more of a problem than not being able to contact anyone. It could have disastrous results for your finances too.

    Recently, in Memphis, Tennessee, two alleged scammers were arrested for reportedly stealing close to $500,000 from AT&T customers. The pair would call into AT&T call centers posing as AT&T employees. They would then be able to get access to customer accounts. With the customer account information, they would call AT&T back and switch the customer’s service to another cellular provider. The scammers then had access to the various apps that the customer may have used. The scammers are then said to have taken money out of apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App.

    While this scam is far from new, we’ve never seen it used on such a grand scale before. Even though AT&T was singled out in this post, it has happened to other providers, again, just not on this scale. This scam usually doesn’t target as many individuals as this one has. Unfortunately, the onus on protecting you from this scam is on the cellular providers. On top of this, customer service representatives for some providers are often under-trained and are asked to handle multiple customers at the same time. This can lead to a lot of fraud slipping through the cracks.

    In some instances, you can set up a PIN or password with your provider that will identify yourself in case someone tries to take over your account. Other than that, the only thing we can recommend is getting in touch with your cellular provider as soon as your service goes out.

  • Geebo 8:47 am on April 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Google Photos, identity theft, ,   

    Google Photos scam wants your password 

    Google Photos scam wants your password

    By Greg Collier

    It’s difficult to live an online life without using some of Google’s services. For example, if you’re using an Android phone, you’re already entrenched in the Google ecosystem. Because of that, you’re probably using Google services that you might not be aware that you’re using. Google Photos is one of those services. If you use an Android phone you’re probably using Google Photos without even knowing it. In most Android phones, Google Photos will back up the pictures you take with your phone to the cloud. Due to the sheer number of people who use Google Photos, it has become an avenue for identity thieves.

    According to reports, scammers are sending out phony emails that say someone has shared their Google Photos Album with you. These are phishing emails that are said to look authentic. If you click on the link to the supposed photo album you’re asked to enter your Google username and password. Except the website where you just entered your Google information isn’t a Google website. Instead, it’s a website set up by scammers to steal your Google login information.

    Please take a moment to think how much your online life is contained in your Google account. In just your Gmail alone there is probably enough information to steal your identity easily. Between banking information and social media accounts, someone with access to your Google account could essentially take over your identity and ruin it for years to come.

    As is the norm with most phishing emails, you should never click on the link any of these emails contain. On your computer, hover your cursor over the link to see where the link actually directs you. Check for misspellings of actual web addresses used by real companies. Also, don’t click on any links that have been shortened by a link shortening service as they can disguise the links true destination.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car insurance, identity theft, ,   

    Car insurance websites used in identity theft scheme 

    By Greg Collier

    Some licensed drivers in the state of New York recently found themselves receiving bills for car insurance that they didn’t purchase. It seems that the system used to give consumers insurance quotes online had a flaw that allowed identity thieves to find personal information for anyone licensed to drive in the state of New York. Much like other identity theft schemes, the thieves used information that was leaked in a previous data breach to use on the insurance websites. During the quoting process, identity thieves were able to obtain the driver’s license numbers of anyone they had information on.

    The identity thieves were then able to buy legitimate car insurance policies in other people’s names. While many people buying the stolen cards may not be able to afford the prohibitive cost of car insurance, the majority of the buyers probably have records that prevent them from driving legally. The identity thieves could also be using the driver’s license numbers to file for fraudulent unemployment claims. Some of the policies may even still be active as some drivers may just ignore the bills since they don’t really have a policy with the insurance company the identity thieves used. Some consumers have said that they have had great difficulty in getting the matter resolved with the insurance companies.

    The insurance companies have said that the problem with their websites have been fixed. At least one insurance company is providing victims with one year free service of credit monitoring.

    If you live in New York and have received a bill like this, it is strongly recommended that you contact the insurance company right away to get the matter resolved. If you don’t live in New York, you can use this as an example if you receive a bill for something you didn’t purchase yourself. Don’t just ignore or throw out the bill. Get in touch with whoever sent the bill immediately to make sure your identity hasn’t been stolen. If you don’t take the proper precautions in protecting your identity, it could take years before it’s repaired.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , , ,   

    New phishing scam sells your identity on the dark web 

    New phishing scam sells your identity on the dark web

    By Greg Collier

    An insidious phishing scam has turned up in the nation’s largest metropolitan area.

    For those who may not be familiar with what phishing is, it’s when you get sent a phony email or text that has you click on a link. These links either take you to a phony website where identity thieves will try to steal your personal information or the links will inject malware into your device. If malware were to get into your device, it could transmit your data to scammers and identity thieves and scammers, or it could lock your device in a ransomware attack. However, this new phishing attack has victims voluntarily giving up their information in a more comprehensive way than before.

    Reports out of New York are saying that victims of the attack are receiving authentic looking emails and text messages that appear to be from the State Government. The messages largely target those who are currently unemployed in the Empire State. Once the victim clicks the link in the message, they’re taking to a website that is a mirror image of the official New York unemployment website.

    After the victims use their login information on the phony website they’re then asked to take high-quality pictures of their driver’s license and other sensitive documents. Once the identity thieves have your information, they turn around and sell your identity on the dark web. According to security experts, Social Security cards are going for around $1.50 while driver’s licenses are going for around $100. Just imagine, a $1.50 transaction on the dark web that happens instantly can have expensive repercussions on your life for years to come.

    Always be suspicious of any text message, email, or social media message that wants you to click on any kind of link, especially if it’s for such a crucial matter like your unemployment benefits. Most government agencies like unemployment offices will not email or text you but instead will almost always contact you through the postal mail. And keep in mind that all official government websites end in .gov.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , child safety kit, identity theft, ,   

    Child safety kit scam returns to social media 

    Child safety kit scam returns to social media

    By Greg Collier

    The Indiana State Police have received complaints about a scam circulating on social media. The scam involves the advertising of child safety kits. If you’re not familiar with child safety kits, they are a way of gathering your child’s identifying information in case the unthinkable happens, and they go missing. These kits allow parents to quickly give investigators the information needed to help find their child. This includes a DNA sample such as strands of hair, recent photos, and fingerprints among other information. Many child safety organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) partner with local law enforcement to provide these kits free to parents. You can even make your own kits at home, although you may want to have your children professionally fingerprinted by your local police.

    Unfortunately, scammers will try to prey on a parent’s fears to ‘sell’ phony kits. These phony kits are really just attempts to steal your child’s personal information to use for identity theft. In Indiana, the State Police there are saying that after some parents clicked on the social media ad for one of these kits, they received phone calls from aggressive people who wanted to come to the parent’s home to install an app on the parent’s phone. When you’re trying to protect your child’s safety, the last thing you need is an aggressive stranger in your home seeking your child’s information. While the report doesn’t state what the app’s real purpose is, one can safely assume that the app either steals your child’s information when you enter it, or installs malware to your device.

    The purpose of keeping your child’s information at hand is so that you can provide it to law enforcement quickly as possible if need be. Providing that information to a third party only delays giving the information to police.

    In identity theft, there is a huge market for children’s information including their Social Security numbers. This way a scammer can use the information to build up credit years before the parents or the child would notice.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: identity theft, , , ,   

    Tax scam season is starting 

    It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that we were all filing our taxes for 2019. Due to the pandemic, the IRS gave us all a generous extension to file our income taxes. This year, we’re not so lucky. The deadline for filing your taxes this year is the traditional April 15th. So, with tax season also comes a number of tax scams which are made even more difficult to avoid due to 2020s unprecedented circumstances.

    The best tip we can give to avoid being scammed is to file your taxes as soon as possible. Last year, scammers were known to file for false returns using stolen identities. If you wait too long you could receive a notification from the IRS that someone has already filed a return using your Social Security number.

    Also, if you’re not going to do your own taxes, and you’re looking to use the services of a tax professional, research the person or company first. Dome fraudsters will set up shop looking like a legitimate tax preparer only to steal your identity and your refund while charging you to do it. Try to avoid any service that’s promising you a ‘too good to be true’ return.

    Tax season is also when scammers will attempt IRS impersonation scams. The scammers will call their victims posing as the IRS and demanding payment for any number of reasons. The one thing all these impersonators have in common is that they will try to pressure you into making a payment over the phone. The IRS does not call taxpayers about tax issues. If the IRS has a concern that they need you to resolve, they will always contact you through the regular mail.

    If you suspect one or more of these scams you can call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , identity theft,   

    Don’t share your COVID-19 vaccination card 

    If you’re one of the 32 million people who have started their COVID-19 vaccine treatment, you may want to share the good news with others. While it’s great that you want to encourage others to get the vaccine, you may want to be careful how you share the news.

    The Better Business Bureau is warning vaccine recipients about posting pictures of their vaccination cards to social media. Again, it’s great that you’re being proactive about the pandemic, however, the cars contain enough information that could lead to identity theft if posted publicly. The card contain your full name and date of birth which may not sound like much but is enough information for identity thieves to start looking into your personal information.

    There’s another much more sinister reason why you should post your vaccination card online. There are people who are actively avoiding getting the vaccine. This puts the health of the nation at serious risk if enough people refuse the vaccine. Instead of life getting back to normal, COVID-19 will become a constant in our society. Since scammers are always looking to take advantage of a situation no matter the cost to everyone else, there is a market for phony vaccination cards that can be copied from yours. This would allow the unvaccinated who are potentially carrying the disease to return to public places like job sites or schools to spread new strains of the virus to unsuspecting victims.

    You’ve already taken the first step toward helping your community get healthier. So, we hope you don’t take a step back by allowing your medical information to be made public.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: driver's license, identity theft, ,   

    Driver’s license scams are happening all over 

    Driver's license scams are happening all over

    Recently, we’ve seen reports from different parts of the country about scams that involve driver’s licenses. Sometimes when we discuss scams, they come from smaller cities and towns in America. That doesn’t make those scams any less dangerous, but today we have scams that are being reported in major urban areas like Chicago and New York.

    In Chicago, residents are receiving text messages that claim to be from Illinois’ unemployment office. The texts ask residents to update their driver’s license information to comply with upcoming Real ID regulations. The messages contain a link that once you click on it, you’ll be asked for your personal information. Authorities in Illinois say that identity thieves are looking for new identities, so they can file false unemployment claims. The state’s unemployment office wants to remind residents that they’ll never communicate by text with claimants.

    In New York, residents there are receiving emails that purport to be from the New York Department of State. The emails ask you to validate your current ‘profile’ to avoid future delays in renewing your license. Much like the aforementioned Chicago scam, the emails contain a link that the senders want you to click on. Again, this is more than likely designed to steal your identity. New York authorities are urging residents to delete the emails if they receive them.

    Lastly in Phoenix, the Arizona Department of Transportation is warning their residents about text messages being sent that appear to be from their Motor Vehicle Division. These messages also claim that they need you to update your license information to meet new guidelines. The link in these text messages take you to a website where you’re asked for your name, birthdate, address and license plate number.

    No state government agency is ever going to contact residents through text message or email for things like license renewal. If a license renewal is required, you will receive any notification in the postal mail. Scammers use text messages in scams like this because they can say they’re being sent from anybody. You should never click on any link in a text message or email from people you don’t know personally.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , identity theft, ,   

    New brushing scam sends you white powder 

    New brushing scam sends you white powder

    Brushing scams are unfortunately, nothing new. This is when you get sent packages to your home of things you didn’t order. Usually, they come from Amazon or some other large online retailer. This is done so third-party vendors with these retailers can give themselves good online reviews in your name. This makes it look like their product was favorably reviewed by verified purchasers. The most infamous brushing scam took place over this past summer when thousands of consumers received unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail.

    We may be facing yet another one of these massive brushing scam incidents. Police in the Indianapolis metro are reporting that residents there have been receiving quite an ominous delivery that they didn’t order. These packages have been said to contain a blue and white powdery substance. Local police say the substance isn’t harmful, but residents should still avoid contact with it. They are also recommending that if you receive one of these packages to contact your local police. The US Postal Inspection Service says that they’ve received reports of consumers from across the country receiving these packages.

    While police in Indiana are stating that the scammers are getting consumers’ personal information from public sources like social media, often these brushing scams can mean one of your online accounts has been compromised. For example, if you received one of these brushing packages from Amazon, your Amazon account may have been compromised. It’s recommended that you change your password if this happens to you. If you were to leave your password the way it is, that could lead to items being purchased with your money. There is also the potential that it could lead to identity theft.

    While the brushing scam may seem relatively harmless at first, it could lead to a world of trouble if the consumer isn’t careful.

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