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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phishing, , ,   

    Homebuyer loses $155K in email scam 

    Homebuyer loses $155K in email scam

    By Greg Collier

    A woman in the state of Georgia was getting ready to close on a new home when she received an email from her lawyer. She was given instructions to wire transfer the $155,000 for the closing costs. However, the money did not go to the attorney. Instead, it went to the bank account of a local scammer who was recently arrested on felony theft charges.

    So, how was the scammer able to fool the victim? This scam is known as the business email compromise scam, or BEC for short. In this scam, the scammers hijack compromised email accounts of real estate attorneys, title companies, or banks. This way, the scammers can monitor the emails for people who are getting ready to close on their homes. Then, the scammers either use the hijacked email address or a spoofed address to give fraudulent instructions to the homebuyer to wire the money to the scammers. Meanwhile, the victims think they just closed on a new home.

    According to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, this scam is becoming more common. This scam is so profitable, the scammers only need one victim to fall for the scam to make a ton of money.

    While you may not be in the market for a home right now, you may be in the future. So, it’s best to have this knowledge now instead of finding out before it’s too late. When the time comes to buy a home, the best way to protect yourself is to verify everything by phone. If you get an email from someone involved in the process asking you to make a substantial payment, call them to verify the request. It might be even better to visit the sender in person to verify any requests. No one wants to go through the stressful process of buying a new home only to have their dreams of a new home dashed by losing money to a scammer.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phishing, , , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: 3 phone scams worth noting 

    Scam Round Up: 3 phone scams worth noting

    By Greg Collier

    This week in the Scam Round Up, we’re discussing three scams related to phones that have been in the news a lot recently.

    ***

    Our first scam has been affecting both T-Mobile and Verizon customers. Users of both services have reported receiving text messages offering them a free gift. The text messages say, “Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here’s a little gift for you.” The text message also contains a link for customers to click on to get their free gift. These messages are not coming from the phone providers, but instead are coming from scammers. If a customer clicks the link, they’ll be taken to a page where they’ll be asked for their personal information under the guise of verifying their identity. Or, they’ll be asked for payment to cover the cost of shipping the supposed free gift. Of course, there is no free gift to be had. If you receive a text message like this, it’s best just to ignore and delete it.

    ***

    The next phone scam is one of those scams that would be ingenious if it wasn’t so harmful. In this scam, scammers are calling their victims and asking them one question, “Can you hear me now?” The scammers are hoping that the victim gives them a ‘Yes’ response, so the scammers can get a voice recording of the victim. This is so the scammers can use the victim’s recorded voice as a voice authorization for any number of reasons. Such voice authorizations can be used to make purchases or access a victim’s bank account in some situations. If someone you don’t know calls you and starts asking you questions, it’s advised that you do not respond. Another way to protect yourself from this scam is to use the ‘if it’s important enough, they’ll leave a voice mail’ method.

    ***

    Our last scam has been problematic for us to post about since it involves some adult themes. In this scam, victims receive a text message that comes attached with a picture of a young woman. The text messages say something along the lines of “I was hoping we could repeat last night” or “I haven’t heard back from you, did I do something wrong?”. Many people have responded to the texts, telling the sender they have the wrong number. This lets the scammer know that the victim’s number is a legitimate phone number. In some cases, the scammers have sent explicit images trying to instigate a romance scam. In other cases, victim’s have been lured to dating sites where they’re asked to pay money. Much like the previous two scams, you should not respond to the scammers. If you do, it lets them know that someone is at that number and can be targeted for other scams in the future.

    ***

    Since most of us carry are phones with us everywhere we go, scammers can technically target someone at any time of the day, no matter where they are. Hopefully, we’ve given you the knowledge to protect yourself against such scams.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 29, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Antivirus scam costs victim $19,000 

    Antivirus scam costs victim $19,000

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re a computer user who’s been using the internet since the dial-up days, you may still be using antivirus software. Even older users who may have just gotten on the internet probably use antivirus software as well. If you’re in one of these demographics, you may have it ingrained into your internet habits to have robust protection against computer viruses. Most users will opt for the free package many antivirus companies offer. Others will want that extra protection and pay for an antivirus subscription. It’s the latter group that scammers are hoping to catch unaware.

    An Indiana woman recently fell victim to an antivirus scam. She says that a notification appeared on her computer that said she had been charged $500 for Norton Antivirus. The victim had not used Norton in a while, but felt the service may have been one of her bills that are on auto-payment. The notification she received also included a phone number to call in case of any questions.

    The victim called the number and was told the problem could be corrected if the customer service representative could have remote access to her computer. The victim entered an access code on her computer, and the rep then had access. The rep then claimed that they had made a mistake and the victim now owed them $12,000. To rectify the matter, the victim was instructed to withdraw $12,000 from her bank and transfer it to Bitcoin using a Bitcoin ATM at a local gas station.

    If you’re a regular reader, you already know where this is going. The notification and call center were both run by scammers. Not only did the scammers get the $12,000 in Bitcoin, but they also took an additional $7,000 directly from the victim’s bank account.

    If you receive an email, text, or any kind of message from some company that claims you owe them money, do not call the phone number included. Instead, go to the company’s official website, and use the phone number from there. Furthermore, most legitimate companies do not ask for any kind of payment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. While Bitcoin is easy to track, it’s nearly impossible to recover once it’s given to scammers. And please keep in mind, you shouldn’t give remote access to your device to any stranger. Lastly, no real company will ask you to withdraw money from your account if they made a mistake. Any decent company worth their salt can correct the matter on their end without any need for bank access.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phishing,   

    New Instagram scam hijacks your account 

    New Instagram scam hijacks your account

    By Greg Collier

    We wouldn’t say Instagram is rife with scammers, but it’s definitely fertile ground for them. Most often, Instagram scams involve accounts that claim to be selling a product you’ll never receive. There are also accounts that attempt to lure victims in with some get-rich-quick scheme, typically involving cryptocurrency. Even on Geebo.com’s Instagram account, we receive comments from spam accounts asking to promote our posts on these spam accounts. However, today, we’re going to discuss a scam that not only compromises your Instagram account, but could take it over too.

    Essentially, it’s a phishing scam. Phishing is a type of hack where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick a person into revealing personal information. In this case, scammers are sending out emails that appear to have come directly from Instagram. The email states that the Instagram account in question has violated copyright law and will be deleted in 24 hours if the user doesn’t act. The email also contains a link for users to click if they want to dispute the claim.

    Of course, anybody who is active on Instagram is going to click the link to attempt to protect their account. Once the link is clicked, the user will be asked to input their Instagram login information for verification. Then, the user will be directed to Instagram.com, making the scam seem almost legitimate. Scammers do this to obtain accounts, so they can have more accounts to help spread other scams. It doesn’t matter whether you have 2 million followers or just two. Scammers will attempt to hijack any active account they can to lend legitimacy to their other scams.

    To protect yourself from a scam like this, you should know how Instagram actually handles copyright claims. They do not delete entire accounts for a single infraction. Instead, if an author of a work claims you violated their copyright, Instagram will remove the post from your account and send you a message saying so. Another way to protect yourself is by inspecting the email itself. While it may look as if it came from Instagram, scammers are hoping you won’t look at the email address it came from. Often, phishing emails are sent from free email services like Gmail and Yahoo. You can also check any links sent in the email by hovering your cursor over the link. This should show you where the link will actually take you.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , buskers, , phishing, , , violin scam,   

    Scam Round Up: The violin scam and more 

    By Greg Collier

    As we move into the holiday weekend, here are three more scams that you should be aware of.

    ***

    Most of us have seen street musicians known as buskers. They’re performing out on the street with a hat or an open guitar case, where people can leave tips if they enjoy the performance. I’m sure you’re wondering what could be scammy about that? It seems that there are several people from around the country have been using busking to trick people into giving them money. They appear to be playing a violin that’s hooked up to an amplifier, along with a sign that says they need money for food or rent. Here is one such episode from the state of New York. The phony violin players are actually pretending to play the violin, while the actual music comes from a recording. Some of these phony buskers will even list their Venmo or Cash App accounts, so you can donate to them electronically. If you see one of these fake musicians, you should just avoid them and not give them money.

    ***

    It seems the brushing scam has also picked up during the holiday season. This is where someone will receive items from a site like Amazon that they didn’t order. In most brushing cases. This is done so the seller of the item can post a positive review of the product using the victim’s name as a verified purchase. While you can keep anything you receive as part of a brushing scam, the goods are usually not worth keeping. In some instances, like this one, the Amazon account of the recipient has been compromised and is being charged for the items they receive. If you start receiving items you didn’t order, check your Amazon account for fraudulent activity and change your password.

    ***

    Lastly, residents in the state of Wisconsin have been receiving text messages claiming to be from the state’s DMV. The texts are requesting that residents follow a link to confirm personal information. However, the texts are also threatening residents with a suspension of their license if they don’t comply. No state is going to threaten their residents with suspension of their driver’s license for not following a text link. Not only that, but identity thieves can do a lot with your driver’s license number if they already have some of your other personal information. It’s almost as valuable as your Social Security number.

    ***

    Thank you for reading, and here’s hoping our readers have a safe and happy holiday.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phishing, , , ,   

    Delivery scam more common during holidays 

    By Greg Collier

    If you’ve ordered any last-minute Christmas gifts online, you’re probably checking your phone or laptop for delivery updates. After all, we all want to be able to give everyone the gifts they want on Christmas Day. However, the holiday season is fraught with its own sets of pressure and confusion, and scammers are looking to take advantage of that by preying on your anxiety of a potentially missed package delivery.

    The delivery text message scam is not a new one, but like many scams, its activity increases during the holidays. This scam starts out when you receive a text message that claims to be from either Amazon or any number of delivery services, including the US Postal Service. The text message says that the scheduled delivery for your package has changed. The text message also includes a link that it wants you to link for confirmation of the new delivery schedule.

    Links in text messages from people you don’t know are almost always bad news. In the past, these links have led to phony websites that look like Amazon but aren’t. You’d be asked for your Amazon login information before being asked to fill out a survey for a free gift. You’ll then be asked for your payment information to pay for the shipping of the supposed gift. What really just happened is that you’ve willingly given your information to identity thieves who now have access to your Amazon account. These links can also inject malware or ransomware into your device.

    So, how do the scammers know that you’re waiting for a delivery? They don’t. They’re texting random people by the boatload, hoping to get just a few people to fall into their trap.

    Please keep in mind that delivery services will not text you out of the blue unless you’ve signed up for their texting service. The links in the phony texts are often from a web address that has nothing to do with the company they’re pretending to be from.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , phishing, pinhole camera, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: New sweepstakes scam and more 

    By Greg Collier

    Today we’re our readers three more scams that are happening around the country that could be coming to your area.

    ***

    In Raleigh, North Carolina, people are reporting being called by scammers posing as Publisher’s Clearing House telling them that they’re winners in the famous sweepstakes. PCH’s name has been used in scams for a number of years. What’s different this time is the scammers are leaving voicemail messages that say, “This is a legitimate call notifying you that you have won.” That’s the equivalent of leaving a message that says, “We’re totally not scammers, we promise.” If you were to call the number provided, you would more than likely be lured into an advance fee scam, where the scammers would get you to pay a phony tax or processing fee on your winnings. That’s illegal in the US, and why all legitimate sweepstakes say that no purchase is necessary.

    ***

    It was brought to the attention of police in Fairfield, California, that an ATM had a small camera known as a pinhole camera attached to it. The camera was attached to what was supposed to be a rearview security mirror. The camera is used in an operation known as skimming. Skimmers are usually attached to the card reader to get the information from your debit card’s magnetic strip. However, the camera helps the scammers get your card number and PIN. Devices like this are normally attached to freestanding ATMs like the ones in convenience stores and gas stations. However, bank ATMs are not immune to these devices.

    ***

    Recently, the state of Pennsylvania has issued a warning to its residents about text messages related to unemployment benefits. Some residents of the Keystone State have received text messages saying that their unemployment benefit debit card has been frozen. The text contains a link to supposedly verify the recipient’s identity and card status. Clicking such a link could lead to identity theft or having malware infect your device. The state has said that they never send out text messages with embedded links.

    ***

    While these scams may not be happening in your area right now, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t. But now you have the knowledge to protect you if they do.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , phishing,   

    Veteran loses college fund to nationwide bank scam 

    By Greg Collier

    A naval veteran from Southern California recently lost $19,000 to bank scammers. This particular bank account that was targeted by scammers was for his daughter’s college tuition. The man is a customer of Chase Bank and says the scam started with a text message that appeared to come from Chase. This was followed up by a phone call from someone claiming to be a Chase representative. The phone number the call came from was even said to have matched Chase Bank’s customer service number.

    The representative identified the man by name and also reportedly knew the last four digits of the man’s Social Security and debit card number. The man was told that there was fraudulent activity on his account. Before the man knew it, he was locked out of his bank account. When he got a hold of an actual Chase representative, he was told that wire transfers had been made from the account to a recipient in Florida. The entire account had been depleted.

    If you’ve been a reader of our blog for at least the past couple of weeks, this scam may sound familiar to you. This scam has a lot of the same hallmarks of the Zelle scam that’s been affecting bank customers nationwide. The difference here is that this is the first time we’ve heard of the scammers having a victim’s identifying information. With that information, they’d be able to bypass using Zelle, and access the account directly. It’s possible that the information was gained from some form of data breach and the call was made to confirm the information was up-to-date.

    If you receive a text from yours or any bank about fraudulent activity, do not respond to that text. Instead, call the bank from the customer service number that’s on your debit card or on the bank’s website. If you respond to the text, scammers may know that they’ve reached a live number where they can target a vulnerable consumer.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , phishing,   

    Scammers pose as Powerball winner 

    By Greg Collier

    We all have dreams of what we would do if we won a multi-million dollar lottery like Powerball. We even think of how generous we would be if we won. A lot of us even think about being charitable with the money, even if it’s paying off our parent’s mortgage or buying a friend a new car. Others even think about donating a large chunk of the winnings to charity or even total strangers. It’s that last part that scammers hope you’ll believe in being on the receiving end of the donation to a total stranger.

    The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that scammers are posing as a somewhat famous Powerball winner from Wisconsin. The actual winner was a man who won a $768 million lottery jackpot in 2019. He was a retail employee before hitting the jackpot. After winning, he was known to go back to his previous employer just to hand out gift cards to random customers in the store.

    Scammers are using this man’s name in a phishing scheme. They claim to be the Powerball winner and are sending out text and social media messages telling people nationwide they’ve been chosen to receive a $50,000 gift The victims are then instructed to click on a link which will help them claim their gift. Victims have reported giving scammers their Social Security numbers along with their driver’s license information. Those two pieces of information are essentially the keys needed to steal your identity completely. Other victims have reported losing money when asked for processing fees and taxes.

    We understand there are people out there who are in dire financial need. The pressure and stress of these situations can cause almost anybody to misjudge a situation. However, if you receive an unsolicited message promising you money out of the blue, the odds are almost 100% that it’s a scam. The generous lottery winner that gives out free money is largely only seen in fiction. Even if a lottery winner wanted to give out money to random strangers like this, the legalities and logistics of doing so would make it not worth doing.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phishing, ,   

    There is no stimulus surprise 

    There is no stimulus surprise

    By Greg Collier

    It’s been months since the IRS issued their last round of economic impact payments, otherwise known as stimulus payments. At the time of this writing, there are no current plans to issue a fourth round of stimulus payments. However, that hasn’t stopped scammers from using promises of additional payments to get what they want from their victims. In fact, the IRS recently said that the number of scams they’ve received complaints about has been the highest that they’ve seen in over a decade.

    Recently, there’s been a nationwide uptick in scammers using the promise of stimulus payments to get information or more from their victims. The methods aren’t new, but the message is. Scammers are sending out texts and emails that claiming that the victim has been specially chosen by the President to receive a surprise credit. Other messages have stated that the victim has unclaimed stimulus money. Even more messages posing as the government ask victims for their banking information, claiming that the IRS needs it again to send out another stimulus payment. All the messages contain a link that the scammers hope you click on. Moe than likely, the link will take you to a phony website asking for your personal and financial information, which the scammers can then use for any number of illicit purposes.

    As always, there’s a good way to avoid this scam if you keep one thing in mind. The IRS does not communicate by text message or email, and they especially don’t do it out of the blue. If the IRS or just about any government agency needs to contact you for some reason, they will almost always do so through the postal mail. Everyone else is almost guaranteed to be a scammer.

     
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