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  • 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.

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

    Scammers are using stimulus check confusion against you 

    Scammers are using stimulus check confusion against you

    The scammers are still at it during this crisis. Here are a few more scams that are using the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage.

    There is still a lot of consumer confusion around the delivery of the economic impact payments, or as they’re better known stimulus checks. The scammers are taking advantage of this confusion to try to steal your identity. Some reports say that scammers are sending out emails that look like they’ve officially come from your bank. The emails offer to give you the status of your stimulus check but instead, they take you to a link that asks for your personal information. As of right now, the only place where you can find out the status of your stimulus payment is from the IRS’s Get My Payment website. If the IRS needs to contact you, they will send you a letter through the regular mail.

    Another scam we just recently heard of is the deed transferring scam. It seems that scammers are telling people struggling with their mortgage payments to transfer their deed to a third-party. The scammers say that this will allow the homeowner to no longer be responsible for their mortgage payments. This is false. In reality, the new deed holder could potentially evict you from your own home. In turn, this could cost the homeowner untold costs in legal fees for just trying to stay in their own home.

    Lastly for today, there are reports coming out of the state of Washington about a new porch pirate scheme. Investigators there say that a group of porch pirates are dressing up as nurses to try to take your deliveries without being questioned by authorities. We assume that the trick here is that in many states there are still stay at home orders and medical staff are considered essential workers and no one would question a nurse being out during the quarantine. Most delivery services have options where you can be notified when your delivery arrives. If you enact these options you’ll have a better idea when to bring your deliveries inside and foil the porch pirates’ plans.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , identity theft,   

    Beware of scammers bearing checks 

    Beware of scammers bearing checks

    Currently, the Federal Government is considering sending economic relief checks to many Americans due to the effect the current pandemic has had on the economy. It is unclear just who will be eligible for those checks and how much the checks will be for. Senator Mitt Romney has stated that the government should send $1,000 checks to all Americans. Meanwhile, other reports have stated that the checks could potentially only go out to those whose employment has been affected by the pandemic. This consideration is still in its early stages and it’s important to keep in mind that no affirmative plans have been put into action at the time of this post.

    This hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take advantage of the economic situation. Before the plan has even been finalized, scammers have been taking to the phones promising people a quick delivery of their relief checks, for a fee of course. According to the Better Business Bureaus of North Dakota and Minnesota, scammers have already been calling people promising them that they can receive their checks immediately. The scammers will then ask for your personal and financial information which they will use to either steal your identity, clean out your bank account, or both.

    If and when these stimulus checks go out, you will never have to pay a fee to receive them. The government is the last organization that would need your identifying information since they have it already. So if someone is asking for Social Security number or any other identifying information then they’re probably not with the government. The government will also never ask you to pay a fee in order to receive a payment.

    While we are currently living in uncertain times, it’s always best to have a good head on your shoulders and to not give in to panic and fear as these can be used against you by those looking to take advantage of you.

     
  • 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.

     
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