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  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: freedom to breathe card, Global Empowerment Fund, government scams, impersonation scam, , , ,   

    Government impersonation scams 

    Government impersonation scams

    Recently, we’ve heard of three new scams where the scammers are impersonating either the federal or state government. Scammers often imitate various government agencies in order to make their pitch seem more authentic. However, the impersonations are never perfect.

    The Federal Trade Commission is warning citizens about an email phishing scam that is using the agency’s name. The emails claim that you’re eligible to receive funds from the “Global Empowerment Fund” due to the current pandemic. All you need to do to get the money is to provide your bank account information and the money will appear in your account. While the FTC hasn’t said if anyone has fallen for this scam, it’s a safe bet to assume that your bank account will be drained rather than receive extra funds if you were to provide your banking details.

    With the current controversy over whether or not you should wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus, scammers are selling cards that claim to make someone exempt from having to wear a mask. The idea is that you present this card to a business that requires the wearing of masks and you’ll be allowed in without a mask. The card claims amnesty under the Americans with Disability Act and has a fake Department of Justice logo. While these cards may appear official they have no legal authority and no business is required to abide by them.

    Lastly, we have a scam on the state government level. In Michigan, residents there are reporting receiving text messages that claim to be from the state. The messages say that they can reunite the recipient with unclaimed property. The messages then provide a link for you to click on. As always, you should never click on links in text messages from someone you don’t know. Now, unclaimed property is something that most states hold on to. However, in most cases, you have to pursue the state to claim any such assets. Usually, you can start the process through a state website. Very rarely will the state contact you and if they do they wouldn’t do it by text message. If you receive a text like this the best thing to do is delete it.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , , ,   

    Police impersonation scams on the rise 

    Police impersonation scams on the rise

    Within the past few weeks, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of news articles about police impersonation scams. This is where scammers will pose as your local or state police and try to pressure their victims into making a large payment under the threat of arrest. The scammers will often call their victims and make the phone number look like they’re calling from the police department.

    These scams can take a number of forms. One of the most infamous ones is the jury duty scam. This is where the scammers will call you up and tell you that you missed jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. Then they’ll tell you that the warrant can be withdrawn if you just pay them a fine over the phone. Sometimes the scammers will just say that you have a warrant out for your arrest and will forgo the jury duty angle. Other times, the scammers will just say that you owe a fine.

    What all of these scams have in common is that the scammers will try to pressure you into making a payment right away and over the phone. Police departments do not call people to tell them that they have warrants or owe fines. You will almost always receive that information by mail if it is legitimate. Scammers, on the other hand, will try to get you to make a payment either through gift cards or wire transfer. If you weren’t sure if a call you received from someone claiming to be the police was a scam or not, the gift cards should be a dead giveaway as no government agency accepts them as payment. As we have said in the past, gift cards are the currency of scammers due to the fact the cards can be emptied remotely and anonymously.

    If you receive one of these calls, just hang up. Don’t even engage with the scammers. However, you are asked that you report the calls to your local police.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Text scam says you have covid-19 

    Text scam says you have covid-19

    So far, we’ve seen some insidious scams that have preyed on the fear of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but this one may just take the proverbial cake. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is warning residents about a new coronavirus scam that is targeting its victims through text messages. The text messages say something to the effect of “Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.” The text also contains a link that is supposed to contain more information. In all likelihood, the link goes to a website that either tries to steal your personal information or injects malware on to your device. We recommend that you shouldn’t click any links provided by anyone you don’t know personally whether they’re sent through text, email, or social media.

    The State of New Jersey has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic due to its proximity to New York. The New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has been warning the Garden State about several scams taking advantage of the current crisis. Most of these scams we have gone over previously. However, one particular scam that Mr. Grewal is warning about caught our attention. That would be the impersonation scam or grandparent scam. Normally, this scam is when a scammer calls an elderly victim and poses as a grandchild and that they’re in some kind of trouble. They’ll then ask for money for things like bail or emergency medical expenses that have to be paid right now. Now, scammers are using the cover of covid-19 to perpetrate these scams. The scammers will say they’re infected with covid-19 and need money. As with most scams, they’ll ask for the money through gift cards or wire transfer. Instead of immediately reacting, call the person the scammers are claiming to be directly to verify that they’re actually ok.

    Previously, we’ve detailed scams where the scammers are disguising themselves as workers for the CDC, the Red Cross, and local hospitals selling various coronavirus tests or cures for a fee door to door. Of course, neither the tests or cures they sell are legitimate and they are just looking to make a few hundred dollars a pop. If that wasn’t low enough reports in Las Vegas have surfaced stating that some of these scammers have taken to posing as employees from Veterans Affairs Hospitals. For many of our veterans, the VA is the only place where they can receive medical treatment so some older veterans may be trusting of anyone who claims to be from the VA. In response to this, the VA has stated that they won’t come to your home without scheduling an appointment first.

    If you know someone who could be susceptible to these scams, please check in on them even if it’s just a phone call. They’ll probably appreciate that you’re looking out for them.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams 

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams

    As with any time of crisis, there is no shortage of scammers during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not just talking about people buying insane amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and trying to sell them with enormous markups. A number of scams that are preying upon covid-19 fears are just age-old scams dressed up in a coronavirus suit. Here are some more coronavirus scams to look out for.

    Johns Hopkins University has a very useful real-time map showing the spread of the coronavirus. The map from Johns Hopkins is safe as can be. However, there are malicious sites out there that have similar looking maps but are injecting malware into the user’s device that is designed to steal passwords. This malware can then spread to other devices and continue the process. If you think your device may be infected, run an antimalware application like Malwarebytes to remove the malware.

    Scammers are continuing to call people promising at home coronavirus tests. In at least one case, scammers are promising Medicare recipients a coronavirus testing kit. This is similar to many scams that prey upon Medicare patients by offering them a free medical item such as a back brace. As in other cases, the scammers are trying to get the victim’s personal information such as their Social Security number and other identifying information for potential identity theft. Please keep in mind that at the time of this posting there is no home test kit for covid-19. Testing can only be done at approved medical facilities and clinics. If you think you may have covid-19 symptoms, please call your doctor and they’ll advise you on how to get tested.

    The impersonation scam, or grandparent scam, is also having a coronavirus layer attached to it. Usually, in this scam, someone will call an elderly person and tell them that one of their grandchildren are in some kind of trouble and need money to rectify the situation. In this new version of the scam, people are being told that a loved one is in the hospital with coronavirus and can’t be treated until a deposit is paid. As much as the US healthcare system revolves around money, no hospital is going to turn away a covid-19 patient for any reason.

    Fear is to scammers like blood in the water is to a shark. These times are stressful enough without having to worry about being scammed. Don’t allow fear to override your sensibilities and you’ll be able to get through this.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on March 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Are new remote workers a security threat? 

    Are new remote workers a security threat?

    With the new coronavirus recommendations designed to try to prevent the virus from spreading any further, many companies are requiring their employees to work at home. For many, this will be the first time that they will be working remotely. All these new remote workers could also mean new security risks that their employers may not be prepared for.

    One of these threats is phishing attacks. We’ve discussed phishing attacks many times before and they’re nothing new for most companies. In short, hackers or scammers will send fake emails trying to get the recipient to click on a link or download an attachment. Usually, these links or attachments contain malware that can infect a corporation’s entire system. In the corporate world, these emails often look like legitimate emails from your employer. If you receive an email like this, hover your cursor over the link to make sure it goes someplace safe. If it has an attachment, verify the sender exists within your company and then verify with them that the attachment is legitimate.

    For example in the UK, an email was sent to all the employees of several healthcare organizations asking employees to click on a link so they could register for a coronavirus safety seminar. The link went to a website that appeared to be an Outlook Web App and when the user would enter their contact information that information would then be stolen.

    Another corporate phishing attack that has been on the rise is the impersonation scam. This when an employee receives an email from a company executive’s email address but wasn’t sent from the executive. Often this scam targets payroll or other financial employees. These emails will often ask for large sums of money to be wired or to change the bank account from where the money is normally held. If you receive one of these emails it never hurts to contact the executive directly by phone to verify the transaction being requested.

    While working at home can be distracting to some, take a moment to verify questionable emails. A few minutes out of your schedule is better than bring an entire company to a halt.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on January 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Man loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents 

    Man almost loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents

    A man in Michigan almost lost $50,000 after falling prey to a very threatening scam. Unfortunately, the man did lose $30,000 to the scammers before the scam was noticed. For many, especially the elderly, that is not an insignificant amount of money to lose. The scam that was used against him was a combination of scams that we’ve discussed previously. At first, it involved a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. They told the man that a car had been leased in his name using his name and Social Security number. From here it became more frightening for the man.

    He was then transferred to someone claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Agency and that if he didn’t pay them money he would go to jail. The man didn’t believe them and he hung up. He then received a call from someone claiming to be from the local barracks of the Michigan State Police telling him he would be arrested if he didn’t cooperate with the supposed DEA agent. The scammers then instructed the man to purchase $10,000 in gift cards and provide them with the numbers. The next day the scammers called back and instructed him to overnight $20,000 in cash to a location in Texas. The scammers tried to get another $20,000 out of the man but his bank informed him that he was likely the victim of the scam.

    There are a lot of red flags in this story. The first is that Social Security rarely calls recipients and that’s usually only when there’s an ongoing issue that the recipient initiated. Secondly, law enforcement will never call someone asking for money. Lastly, no government agency accepts or requires money through gift cards. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up and call your local police. If you believe there may be some kind of issue that needs your attention through Social Security or law enforcement, call them back at their official numbers.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , impersonation scam,   

    When family comes calling for gift cards 

    When family comes calling for gift cards

    In the past, we’ve talked about family impersonation scams such as the grandparent scam. We’ve also talked about the numerous scams that involve retail gift cards. Now, we have reports of the two scams coming together like an evil chimera of scams. Once again, the scammers are upping their game during the holiday season and are looking to prey on your bonds with your family in order to try to get you to part with your hard-earned money under false pretenses. In short, they’re looking to take advantage of the charity you have for your family for their own gain,

    A report out of Northern California has revealed a new type of scam where scammers are posing as your relatives through email. The scammer will ask you to buy a gift card for their niece or nephew while the scammer claims that they’re traveling and can’t buy it themselves. They’ll either have you send the gift card to an address or have you email them the gift card serial number off of the back of the card. Either way, the phony relative disappears with your money from the gift card.

    If you receive one of these emails, check the email address to make sure if it’s the one that belongs to your relative. Even if it matches you should still call that relative to make sure they didn’t send that email. The request for the gift card itself should send up a red flag. Gift cards can be bought at almost any store from dollar stores to the bog box markets. Even gas station mini-marts sell various gift cards. If your relative claims to be traveling then they really should have no problem buying a gift card on their own. If they say otherwise, it’s more than likely a scam.

     
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