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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phishing,   

    Phishing scam targets voter registration 

    Phishing scam targets voter registration

    No matter which political party you may belong to, there has been a controversy over mail-in ballots. Some believe that this could lead to either voter fraud or voter suppression depending on which side of the political fence you’re on. However, there’s an apolitical scheme going on that doesn’t care what your ideology is.

    According to authorities in Arizona, emails are being sent out to look like they’re from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The emails say that your voter registration information is incomplete. Of course, the email contains a link for you to click on so you can provide your correct information. The link takes you to a legitimate-looking website where you’re asked for your personal information.

    This is what’s known as a phishing scam. The scammers aren’t planning to cast a vote in your name. That doesn’t make them any money. Instead, they’ll use your personal information for financial gains such as opening loans or lines of credit in your name.

    As always, you should never provide personal information to unsolicited emails no matter how official the email may look. Anyone with a modicum of computer knowledge can make an email look like it came from any organization they want.

    If you think that there may be an actual problem with your voter registration information, go to your county’s election office and bring several forms of ID with you.

    No matter which way you lean, make sure that your voice is heard.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , gov.us, phishing,   

    New scam tries to fine you for leaving your home during quarantine 

    New scam tries to fine you for leaving your home during quarantine

    With the country now being six months into the quarantine, you would have thought we would have heard of all the coronavirus scams by now. Yet, here we are posting about a new scam with COVID trappings and a little fake governmental fear to boot.

    Tech news website The Verge has posted a blog entry about how one of their editors who is working at home, received a scam email. The mail claimed that the editor left his home three times in one day during the lockdown and needed to go online to pay their $59 fine. The email went on to say the fine needed to paid to the editor’s gov.us account and gave a gov.us web address to click on to pay the supposed fine.

    This is actually a pretty clever scam. The gov.us web address appears like it’s coming from an actual government agency. However, anyone can buy a .us web address. Legitimate federal government web addresses end in .gov so seeing a gov.us address could fool some of the people all of the time. Plus, the scammers aren’t asking for a large amount for their phony fine. Potentially, someone may just click on the email’s link just to pay what they think is a nuisance fine.

    The trick here is that gov.us isn’t even a real website. The web address in the email was actually disguised to take any likely victims to what The Verge called a spammy website. The website The Verge listed has since been taken down but more than likely the website was designed to infect your system with malware that could wreak all sorts of havoc on your device from ransomware to identity theft. In order to avoid pitfalls like this, if you’re on a computer, you can hover your mouse over the address without clicking on it to see where it will actually take you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phishing, ,   

    Delivery text message scam not linked to human trafficking 

    Delivery text message scam not linked to human trafficking

    Recently, we posted a story about how a text messaging scam was fooling victims into giving up their personal and financial information. If you’ll recall, the scam entailed receiving a text message that claimed to be from a delivery service like UPS or FedEx. The text message will say that you have an undelivered package and it will provide a link for you to click on to supposedly set your delivery preferences. Here’s a sample of what the message could look like.

    What happens once you click on the link is you’ll be taken to a page that is designed to look like a page from Amazon. The fake Amazon page will then ask you to fill out a customer service survey in order to claim a prize. After you win the prize, you’ll be asked to pay for shipping by providing your financial information. From there, the scammers can do pretty much what they want with your financial information. In some instances, victims have been signed up for subscription services related to their ‘prize’ that ended up costing them $100 a month.

    For some reason on social media, this texting scam started to be passed around as being part of a human trafficking ring. Multiple anti-human trafficking agencies have gone on record to say this is simply not true.

    Unfortunately, the reality is when recruiting victims for human trafficking, it isn’t so elaborate. More often than not, traffickers will prey on the more vulnerable members of our society such as the homeless and those struggling with addiction or untreated mental health issues. If the traffickers are looking to recruit children, they’ll often take to social media to look for children who are having problems at home or school and are looking for a way to escape their lives. Random unsolicited text messages are not one of the tools in the trafficker’s arsenal.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on September 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , hotel scam, , phishing, ,   

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for 

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for

    Once again, we’re bringing you a trio of scams that are happening around the country. We think you should keep an eye out for them before they come to your area.

    The first scam literally is one that is happening all across the country. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has issued a warning about a Social Security scam that’s targeting seniors. Scammers are posing as the Department of Justice and are looking to steal personal information. The scammers will leave a number to call back which will lead you to a phony investigator who will ask you for your personal information. If you receive one of these phone calls, you’re asked to report them to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or the FTC website.

    The Department of Health from the state of North Dakota is reporting that residents there have been receiving worrying messages about COVID-19. People there have been receiving texts, emails, and even letters telling them that they’ve tested positive for coronavirus. However, many of the people receiving these messages haven’t even been tested for coronavirus. The messages contain a link that directs them to a website where they’re asked for personal information. You should never click on links from or open any attachments from someone that you don’t know personally.

    Lastly, if you find yourself staying at a hotel on a getaway, be careful what information you give over the hotel phone. Police in Wrightsville, North Carolina are warning vacation goers about a scam that has hit their area. Police there say that scammers are calling hotel rooms posing as the front desk and asking for personal information. Sometimes the scammers will even try to get financial information out of their victims. Please keep in mind that the hotel will not ask for payment information away from the front desk. If you receive a call like this while staying at a hotel either call the front desk directly or go straight to the front desk personally.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phishing,   

    Package delivery update text is a scam 

    Package delivery update text is a scam

    We first discussed the delivery update scam back in January of this year. Now, with even more people receiving deliveries at home, the scam seems to have returned with a vengeance. Various law enforcement agencies and consumer protection groups from all over the country have issued warnings about this scam recently.

    The way the scam works is that you’ll receive an unsolicited text message like the one above. It may claim to be from a delivery service like FedEx, DHL, or UPS. Other times they’ll claim to be from Amazon directly but they’ll all tell you t6he same thing. The messages state that you have an undelivered package that needs your preferred delivery option. Then at the very end of the message, a link will be provided for you to click on.

    As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, you should not click on the link. Doing so will take you to a page that is designed to look like it’s an Amazon page. The fake Amazon page will then ask you to fill out a customer service survey in order to claim a prize. After you win the prize, you’ll be asked to pay for shipping by providing your financial information. From there, the scammers can do pretty much what they want with your financial information. In some instances, victims have been signed up for subscription services related to their ‘prize’ that ended up costing them $100 a month.

    While delivery services do have text messaging services that notify you about the arrival of your package, you need to sign up with these services first before the delivery company will text you. So, if you have not signed up for this service and receive one of these text messages, there are a couple of things you can do. The first is to just ignore it and delete it. The other thing you can do is copy the text of the message, paste it into a new text message, and text it to the Federal Trade Commission at 7726 (SPAM).

    Whatever you do, don’t click on the link or respond to the text. Even if you respond, scammers will know that your number is a working one which will just invite more scams.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phishing, , , ,   

    TikTok text is a scam 

    TikTok text is a scam

    TikTok is a social media app and platform that allows you to make and view short video content. It is insanely popular among today’s younger generations. As such, younger users may not be especially familiar with certain scams that have been affecting the platform.

    For example, some TikTok users have been reporting that they’ve been receiving text messages claiming to be from TikTok. These messages state that the user needs to verify their TikTok account. The message then provides a link to click on in order to verify the account. While the reports we’ve read do not specify it, we imagine the link takes you to a phony page that looks like TikTok and asks the user for their login information. This is known as a phishing attack.

    With this information, the TikTok account can be hijacked and then used to try to phish information from that user’s followers. However, access to TikTok accounts is not the only goal in this attack. A lot of people will use the same login information on multiple online accounts such as their email and financial accounts. Access to those accounts could allow these scammers to essentially take over someone’s life. This could result in not only lost money but could also lead to things like having credit cards and loans applied for in the user’s name. If one of these text messages is received, it’s best to ignore it and delete it.

    Our readers tend to be in a different age demographic than those who are TikTok’s target audience. So why are we telling you about this TikTok scam? If you have young children or grandchildren the odds are that they’re using TikTok. These young users may not be familiar with the ways in which online scammers will try to take advantage of them. Many kids can be a little obsessive about their TikTok account and will react to any message that claims they’re in jeopardy of losing their account. It’s our job as their mentors to teach them about things like this so they can be better prepared for the world.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Coca-Cola, Little Caesars, phishing, , , ,   

    Commercial scams to watch out for 

    Commercial scams to watch out for

    Scammers will not hesitate to pose as even the most successful and trusted brands in our country to try to steal something from you. Whether it’s money or information, scammers will promise you the world to get what they want from you. Here are three recent scams that have posed as large commercial entities.

    On social media, a scam has been going around offering free pizza. Scammers are posing as pizza restaurant chain Little Caesars. The phony post is telling users that if you share the post and comment on it, you’ll receive a free pizza at your local Little Caesars. This is being posted by a fake Little Caesars account. The real Little Caesars account will have a verified checkmark next to their name. According to investigators, this scam is designed to get you to put some form of malware on your device.

    If you thought that a company as large as Coca-Cola can’t be used in a scam, think again. An email is currently being circulated congratulating recipients that they’ve won the Coca-Cola sweepstakes. This is a scam that’s as old as the internet itself. The email asks that you give your contact information to the phony Coke company in order to collect your winnings. Security experts say that these emails are an attempt to gather your personal information to use for future phishing attacks that could compromise your device or financial information. Remember, that you can’t win a contest you never entered. If you receive an e-mail like this, your best course of action is to delete it.

    Lastly for today, a number of AT&T mobile customers have said that they’ve been the targets of a scam. They’ve been receiving text messages that say their payments have not gone through. The text message includes a number to call to resolve the issue but the number doesn’t belong to AT&T. While no one has reported falling for the scam, we imagine it’s not unlike the tech support scam where the scammer will ask for money to try to fix the non-existent issue. If you receive a text like this, it’s best to check your account online to make sure there are no payment issues. If you need to call customer service, use the number that is on your provider’s website.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phishing,   

    Increase in scams against businesses seen 

    Increase in scams against businesses seen

    We’ve discussed a certain scam that targets businesses only a handful of times in the past. The scam comes in a few different forms but the goal is always the same and that’s to steal money from the company.

    There’s the business email compromise scam where a scammer spoofs their email address to make it look like they’re a high ranking executive at your company. The scammer will contact an employee that has financial responsibilities like payroll or accounts payable through the spoofed email. They’ll then instruct that employee to send money to a new direct deposit bank account or issue payment to a phony vendor who is in league with the scammer.

    One particularly eerie scam was when scammers used deep fake voice technology to impersonate the company’s CEO and ordered a company director to wire $240,000 to a phony vendor.

    Like we said, these stories were edge cases that only happened a handful of times. Also, they happened when most people were still working in offices and not working from home.

    Now, with the current global pandemic, more people than ever are working from home and the scammers know this. Due to the record number of people working at home, the Better Business Bureau says that these business impersonation scams have increased exponentially. Without being able to just walk to your boss’s office it can be difficult to get confirmation from your higher-ups.

    If you get an email from a company executive to wire transfer money, send gift cards, or make a payment right away that’s out of the ordinary, contact that executive by phone to make sure the request is legitimate or not. While some bosses may get gruff over this idea you can always tell them you’re just trying to keep the company secure and save the company money. Also, you may want to address this situation with your bosses if it hasn’t already been addressed and suggest some kind of system to prevent these scams from being successful.

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

    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 May 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , phishing, , ,   

    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.

     
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