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

    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: , new york, , ,   

    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 February 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , new york, , ,   

    Scam tries to extort medical professionals 

    Scam tries to extort medical professionals

    By Greg Collier

    Scammers still haven’t gotten tired of COVID-19 related scams yet. However, instead of targeting the general public, some scammers have decided to go after medical professionals in the scammer’s quest for ill-gotten gain.

    This scam is similar to the Social Security scam where the scammers claim that your Social Security number has been suspended due to some fictitious crime that your number was supposedly attached to.

    In this scam, scammers are contacting nurses, physicians and pharmacists posing as the state of New York to tell the victims that their licenses have been suspended. However, a substantial payment just happens to be able to revers the suspension and can avoid the licensee any future fines.

    It’s not lost on us that these scammers are going after frontline workers in a state that has one of the highest concentration of COVID-19 patients. This is an example of a couple of scammer tactics. One is to try to pressure and already overworked system and the other is to take advantage of any crisis no matter how horrible.

    In this instance, the scammers are flooding their victims with mounds of official-looking paperwork that appear to be from such agencies as the state, the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Trans Union and the New York state Office of Professions. The problem with this paperwork is that it can look legitimate since they contain information like the professional’s National Provider Identifier.

    In the long run, scammers may not be after money but instead after the personal information of medical professionals as most of the forms ask for Social Security numbers and the like.

    It is recommended that anyone receiving one of these calls or messages to ignore it and report it to the FBI if you’ve lost money, or the FTC and local police if you haven’t.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: new york, , ,   

    Unemployment scams show no sign of letting up 

    Unemployment scams show no sign of letting up

    In case you haven’t heard by now, states all over the country are dealing with scammers trying to claim unemployment benefits. We’re not talking about people who falsely try to claim unemployment for themselves. We’re talking about a global scamming operation that is looking to claim unemployment money in your name.

    The scammers are taking stolen identities that were exposed in data breaches and are using them to apply for benefits in those identities’ names. Most state unemployment systems are already under heavy load due to the record amounts of unemployment that is currently happening due to the pandemic. This makes it easier for scammers to force their way into the system to try to steal your benefits.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re unemployed or not. Most reports we’ve been seeing say that the unemployment benefits are being applied in the name of employed people as well as the unemployed. Recently, a teacher from upstate New York got a letter in the mail saying that his unemployment benefits have been approved but he’s not unemployed. His letter from the state also said that the benefits would not be deposited into a bank account but would instead be put on a debit card. In some cases, there have been reports saying scammers, or those working for them, will stalk someone’s mailbox looking to steal the debit card directly from the mailbox. In other cases, scammers have changed the address to where the debit card should be sent. The teacher believes that scammers got his information from when his health insurance company had a data breach a few years ago.

    If you receive one of these letters or you’re contacted by your employer, contact your state’s unemployment office immediately. Usually, they’re under the umbrella of the Depart of Labor in your state. Unfortunately, it may take multiple attempts to get through to your state government. The teacher from New York had to make over 200 phone calls before he got his situation resolved. While it may be frustrating, it’s not something you just want to leave for another day as it could impact not only future benefits but your current tax situation as well.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on February 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , new york, , ,   

    Real Estate Scams are still prevalent even offline 

    Real Estate Scams are still prevalent even offline

    With the real estate market the way it is, it’s no surprise that there are people looking to take advantage of the housing crisis. While online real estate scams have been a thing prior to the economic collapse of 2008, they have definitely picked up steam since then. While we will be discussing an online scam that is currently ongoing, some other scammers have taken the old school approach of conning their victims in person.

    Nashville, Tennessee is in the middle of an IT boom with many IT workers looking to relocate there. Because of this, scammers are running the ‘classic’ real estate scam online. The scammers are said to be copying legitimate real estate listings and posting them online as if they were renting the properties. This way they’ve been able to con victims into giving them down payments under the guise of holding the property for them. Unfortunately, it’s usually too late when victims find out they7’ve been taken with many left scrambling for a place to stay. The Tennessee State Government recommends checking with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission to make sure the real estate agent is who they say they are.

    In Alabama, a con artist that is said to be known to police is accused of scamming a woman out of $24,000 while claiming to be a house flipper. House flipping is the act of buying a house that’s usually in a state of disrepair for cheap then fixing it up and selling it for a profit. The victim thought she was investing in just such a house. The scammer even asked the victim for additional funds for additional repairs. However, the scammer never actually purchased the property and no renovations were ever completed. If you’re entering into a real estate venture with someone, it’s recommended that you do your due diligence and research your partner before handing over any money.

    Lastly for today, we go to Brooklyn, New York where a man was recently arrested for allegedly scamming people who were applying for housing through a government program. The scammer would promise prospective applicants that they would be moved to the top of the waiting list if they paid him $15,000. He reportedly then told his victims that an apartment would open up for them in six months to a year. In the meantime, the scammer would repeatedly ask his victims for more money to try to find other apartments for them. The scammer had no affiliation with the government nor the housing facility. When it comes to government-backed programs, the red tape can be excruciatingly long but unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.

    While the desperate need for shelter can often override our better judgment, it’s always worth it to take a step back and research the situation before handing money over to anyone.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: e-scooters, electric vehicles, , new york, Regulus, , Tesla Model 3,   

    Teslas hacked and more electric vehicle news! 

    Teslas hacked and more electric vehicle news!

    If you’re in the market for a Tesla Model 3 and want to take advantage of its Enhanced Autopilot feature, you may want to think again. A team of cybersecurity researchers known as Regulus claims that they have been able to hack into a Tesla Model 3 and essentially take remote control of the car while on autopilot. Regulus performed this experiment in a closed location and were successfully able to cause the car to malfunction with parts that can be bought off the shelf. While it’s doubtful that these attacks will become widespread immediately, it does show that autonomous vehicles may not be ready for primetime just yet as many of its proponents claim.

    The State of New York is getting ready to pass legislation that would make electric scooters and bicycles available for rent in their state. However, it will be up to the individual municipalities to determine where the scooters can be ridden and left out for rent. What remains to be seen is how they will be embraced by residents of the Empire State. In many communities such as Seattle and Austin, Texas, many residents have found them to be a public nuisance have taken to throwing the scooters in lakes and rivers. While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is supporting the new legislation, it will be interesting to see if scooters in the Five Boroughs end up in the Hudson River.

    Lastly, if you own an electric or hybrid vehicle and live in the state of Utah, you may be paying more out of pocket. While only 2% of vehicles in Utah are electric or a hybrid, the state is looking to make up for the loss in revenue when it comes to the highway tax that the state makes off of gasoline sales. Under a voluntary program starting in January, the state would want to charge electric and hybrid drivers 1.5 cents for every mile driven. While a tax like this seems inevitable with many drivers moving on to electric vehicles it will be interesting to see how states enforce such a tax once electric vehicles become more commonplace.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on March 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Andrew Cuomo, , , new york,   

    New York tries to lure Amazon back with full-page ad 

    New York tries to lure Amazon back with full page ad

    Long Island City, the proposed spot for HQ2

    Just like a lover who was spurned on Valentine’s Day, New York is trying to win back Amazon on both the state and city level. As you’ll recall, Amazon had originally picked Long Island City in the Borough of Queens to be the location where Amazon would construct its new corporate headquarters dubbed HQ2. Then after a groundswell of opposition by a number of politicians representing the community, Amazon announced on Valentine’s Day of this year that they would not be going forward with the project in Queens. Since the announcement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has vociferously voiced his displeasure in those who opposed the Amazon deal citing Amazon would bring much-needed jobs and revenue to the state. Governor Cuomo is even reportedly working behind the scenes to try to bring Amazon back to New York City.

    To that end, not only has Cuomo been in communication with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos but in today’s New York Times, a full-page ad has been taken out asking Amazon publicly to come back to New York. The open letter has been signed by such luminaries as the AFL-CIO labor union and former New York mayor David Dinkins.

    This past week, Governor Cuomo has insisted that 70% of New Yorkers were in favor of Amazon building HQ2 in New York, which may, in fact, be true. However, when it comes to picking a final location anywhere in the five boroughs will the local residents be in favor of Amazon coming to their part of town. I’m sure someone living in Brooklyn or Manhattan wouldn’t mind if Amazon chose to build a massive complex on Staten Island but the Staten Island residents may have an issue with them. Amazon can have both good and bad effects on any community it lands in. If New York really wanted to have a smooth process of bringing Amazon back it needs to find a community that would welcome Amazon in with open arms first.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on February 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , new york, , Sammy Musovic   

    Were NY Amazon protesters paid to be there? 

    Were pro-Amazon protesters paid to be there?

    While Amazon’s decision to not put their 2nd headquarters in New York remains a contentious issue in the Big Apple at least one positive outcome came out of the controversy. At least one Queens landlord was expecting to hike rents on his properties once Amazon moved in putting currently skyrocketing housing costs even more out of reach. Long Island City landlord Sammy Musovic reportedly put $1 million into renovating his properties in hopes of an influx of new Amazon employees needing housing in the area. When Amazon pulled out, Musovic organized a protest designed to get people to boycott the online retailer. The problem was with how the protest was allegedly organized.

    Patch.com is reporting that at least two protesters were paid to attend the event after responding to a craigslist ad looking for sign holders. Now two people being paid $30/hr. to be there doesn’t sound that bad but when you take into account only 10 protesters showed up to the Musovic-led protest it may be safe to assume that others were paid as well. In their report, Patch also included a text message between one of the protesters to one of the organizers and a video of protesters receiving cash for their services.

    While there is no law against paying people to carry signs for you, it does certainly damage the credibility of your objection. However, since Musovic took out a million dollar loan to make the renovations there is a distinct possibility that he may raise rents anyway to try to recoup his loss which in turn may the local housing market even more volatile as I’m sure there are people living in his properties already struggling to make their rent. It seems that once New York, both the state and the city, decided to engage in the Amazon HQ lottery it was doomed to have a negative impact on the city no matter what Amazon’s decision would have been.

     
  • Geebo 9:21 am on October 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: new york, ,   

    Rental scammer goes the extra mile in fleecing victims 

    Rental scammer goes the extra mile in fleecing victims

    By now, we should all know how the craigslist rental scam works. A scam artist will copy a real estate ad from a legitimate realtor then paste it into craigslist but lowering the rental price to lower than market value. The ‘renter’ will then ask for the money to be wired to them and won’t let you inspect the interior of the home. Here’s a video about how the scam normally works.

    One family from Upstate New York found themselves victims of the rental scam, but their scammer used a completely different scam. According to the family, the scam artist represented himself as a real estate agent. He allegedly showed the family the inside of the home and even had them sign a lease before taking their money. It wasn’t until some time later when the bank knocked on the family’s door asking them why they were living in the home. The scammer was said to have had multiple victims, however, performing such an elaborate scam left him a large target for police who had no trouble in apprehending him.

    Again though, the same caveats apply to this rental scam as they do the others. Do your homework. Check the county appraiser’s website to find out who is actually renting the home if it’s even for rent. And as always the age-old adage applies, if it seems to good to be true it probably is.

     
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