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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Scams, ,   

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring 

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring

    Last week, we discussed how Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was no longer going to be supported with security updates. While not upgrading would leave your computer vulnerable to attacks ultimately, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you didn’t back up your files. Not surprisingly, scammers are using such an innocuous opportunity to try to trick you into paying them for services that don’t exist, giving up control of your computer, or giving them personal or financial information. They’re also doing this by disguising themselves as Microsoft employees to try to gain your trust.

    This scam is a variation of the tech support scam but they’re using the concern about Windows 7 no longer being supported to scare you into believing whatever they have to say. Scammers will call people at random posing as Microsoft employees telling them that their Microsoft license is about to expire. They’ll offer several solutions on how to fix this non-existent problem. They’ll either ask you to pay them to ‘renew’ the license or they’ll ask you for remote access of your computer. The remote access will give them entry into your computer that will allow them to either go through your personal files or possibly install ransomware or malware.

    Once you purchase a computer that comes with Windows or have purchased a copy of Windows from either Microsoft or an authorized vendor, you’ve already paid for the license. There is no annual license renewal or any additional fees like that. That’s not even taking into account that Microsoft never calls any of its users. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook or any other large company to tell you that something is wrong with your device, hang up. They are never who they say they are and do not have your best interest in mind.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams   

    The email scam that will scare your friends! 

    The email scam that will scare your friends!

    Recently, a man from Amarillo, Texas started getting messages and texts from friends and colleagues asking him if he was ok. They were concerned for his well-being after they received an email that said the man was in a serious car accident that left him with spinal injuries. Thankfully, the man was fine but understandably confused why he was receiving so many messages about his health status. It turns out that his email account had been hacked and emails had been sent to everyone in his contact list. So why would a scammer send an email like this to everyone the victim knows?

    Well, it’s the second part of the email that gives away the scam. After telling people that the victim had been in a serious wreck the email goes on to ask for money. Not just money but gift cards. The victim’s friends first received an email that said: “Hi, I need to ask a favor, can you write me back.” If someone responded to the first email they would get the second email that told them about the fake accident. In that same email, they were asked to buy an Amazon gift card that’s intended for the victim’s niece’s birthday. Here is the email’s contents in full…

    I need to get an Amazon gift card for my niece, it’s her birthday, but I can’t do this now because I was involved in a car crash a few days ago, I have fractured my lumbar L1 and fractured my wrist. I’ll pay you back as soon as I’m back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

    It’s unknown if any of his contacts fell for the scam but they did the right thing when they received it. They contacted the man to see if the email was legitimate. That is exactly what you should do if you receive an email like this, preferably through another means of communication like text messaging. If you reply to the email, the victim might not receive it if their account has been hijacked. To better protect yourself from having your email account hijacked we recommend enabling two-factor authentication on all of your email accounts. Not only that, but your accounts should be protected with their own individual passwords that aren’t used on other accounts.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mothers lounge, Scams   

    Alleged gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again 

    Gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again

    We originally bought this story to your attention back in November (3rd paragraph). Back then, a number of expectant mothers received a number of gift cards in the mail that included what looked like a handwritten note congratulating them. Some women who weren’t expecting had also received these gift card packages. The notes were all signed by a ‘Jenny B.’ All the gift cards were actually coupons for the same online retailer. It was alleged back in November that the retailer was using shady business practices such as intentionally changing prices depending on what coupon was being used or charging exorbitant shipping fees.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, these faux handwritten gift card bundles have returned and are once again being sent to women whether they are pregnant or not. From all reports, it seems the method has not changed at all as the cards are signed by Jenny B. and all appear to be handwritten even though they are said to be actually computer-generated. They even have ink smudges printed on the card intentionally to make it appear more like a handwritten note. And once again, if the gift cards/coupons are used, the shipping cost is said to wipe out any potential savings.

    The company that’s running this campaign is called Mothers Lounge and sometimes goes by the name ThoughtfulGiftCards.com. The BBB has given Mothers Loung an F rating not only for the gift card campaign but the BBB has also received reports of the goods being sold being allegedly substandard or counterfeit. Mothers Lounge has said that they only send out these packets to people who have signed up for maternity deals and coupons through a third-party marketing company. So be careful who you give your information to as one vendor could potentially send it to hundreds of others.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams   

    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 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem? 

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem?

    The other day, we posted about several scams that are targeting Amazon shoppers. The scams we mentioned all take place outside of Amazon. That’s not to say that there aren’t scams happening within Amazon. While Amazon is not directly responsible for this particular scam, they are said to be taking measures to combat the problem. What we’re talking about is counterfeits of brand name goods that are being sold through third-party vendors on Amazon. This isn’t the first problem Amazon has had with its third-party stores. Previously, there was an issue of some third-party vendors selling items that had been thrown in the trash.

    Fox Business is reporting that Amazon is getting more serious about cracking down on cheap knock-offs of name brands being sold on their platform. These counterfeits have come at a cost for Amazon as some name brands have refused to sell their products on Amazon because of the number of counterfeits being sold. Many of these counterfeits include such brands as Apple, Nike, Under Armour and Sony. Amazon has even faced a number of lawsuits over the number of counterfeits being sold. Since then Amazon has launched a number of programs to help rod their platform of counterfeits and have even enlisted the help of some well-known name brands.

    So what can we as consumers do to avoid buying counterfeits? When shopping on Amazon be aware of prices that are too low for the product in question. Read the Amazon reviews of the seller to see if they have a reputation for selling knock-offs. Be wary of pictures on the item page that are blurry or ill-defined. And if the seller wants you to contact them before you purchase the item, not only could it be a counterfeit product but it could potentially be a scam as well.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Scams,   

    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.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: military draft, , Scams, , whobbly wheel   

    Text message scam threatens victims with being drafted 

    Text message scam threatens victims with being drafted

    Leave it to scammers to use any opportunity to implement a new scam. With the recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran, scammers are using the fears of war to their advantage. The U.S. Army is warning the public about text messages that are being sent out threatening recipients with jail time if they don’t register for the “official Army draft.” It’s believed this scam is designed to garner personal information from the victim in order to commit identity theft. While Selective Service is still a thing, there hasn’t been a draft since 1973. Plus, if there was a draft the military would not use text messaging to find draftees.

    In other scam news, a car scam has claimed 50 victims in Houston. The scam is being called the ‘wobbly wheel’ scam. In it, a driver will honk at another driver telling them one of their wheels is loose. It just so happens that the person who noticed the bad wheel has the very part needed to fix the wheel. Once the wheel is ‘fixed’ they’ll ask for money or gift cards as reimbursement. These scammers have said to be targeting female drivers that have children with them. Four of six known suspects said to be committing the scam have been arrested. If you’re approached with this scam it is recommended that you notify police.

    Lastly, we have another story about being careful who you rent from. In Minnesota, a couple was scammed out of money and left without a home after responding to an ad for a rental property. The ‘landlord’ said that he couldn’t meet them or show them the property because he was out of state. However, the scammer was able to access the lockbox used to house the keys and gave the renters the code once they sent him money through a payment app. Not being able to show the property is always a red flag as is sending money through apps or wire transfers.

    Keep an eye out for these scams in case they come to your area.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    Work at home job scam cost victims thousands 

    Work at home job scam cost victims thousands

    Working at home is the dream for many, especially those who are currently looking to get back into the workforce. Because of that. many scammers use phony work at home positions to try to lure suspecting victims into their clutches by promising them good pay for easy work. However, with most things online, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Recently, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, police have received reports of a work at home scam that has cost its victims thousands of dollars. Money that they’ll probably never be able to get back.

    The victims, in this case, found these jobs on a legitimate employment website. They even went through an application process and an interview. After they were ‘hired’ they even spoke to a phony human resources department. It seems like these scammers were willing to pull out all the stops to make sure this looked like a legitimate job opportunity. The job itself entailed the victims depositing a check into their own bank accounts before being told to use the money to purchase a laptop. Then the remainder of the money was sent to various clients through platforms like PayPal, Zelle, wire transfers, and, of course, gift cards.

    As you might have expected, the checks the victims were sent were fake checks but the money was already spent by the time their banks noticed. With the money being sent to various places, the victims are now on the hook for paying the money back to the bank. Any job that asks you to process business funds out of your own bank account is more than likely a scam. Not only that but since the victims went through an entire application process, the scammers have their personal information as well. So potentially these victims could also be victims of identity theft in the future.

    No matter how legitimate a job may appear, if they want you to use your own bank account or your own funds to do the job it’s probably not a job at all.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    Your old credit card numbers may still be online 

    Your old credit card numbers may still be online

    When you use any one of many online retailers they may ask you if you want to save your payment information with them in case you use that vendor on a frequent basis. This can be quite convenient especially if it’s a vendor that you use all the time. However, with many things online, convenience can come at a cost of security. If you use the vendor long enough, you may have changed your credit or debit card information several times. Each of those card numbers could still be listed in your online account. Even if the numbers have expired they could still mean potential disaster for you.

    According to LifeHacker, there is a scam that relies on you leaving your old card numbers on your online accounts. For example, they talk about how if an Amazon account becomes compromised a bad actor may find old and expired card numbers linked to the account. Scammers will then try the expired numbers to see if they can still be used to make online purchases. Some card companies allow their users to make purchases even if the card is expired in case the user has just forgotten to update their information. The scammers know which cards and which vendors have more liberal policies when it comes to these purchases.

    In some cases, these purchases can show up on your doorstep. The scammers will normally keep an eye on your porch to try to grab the purchase but sometimes just knowing that the old card number works is enough. The best way to prevent this kind of fraud is to make sure that you delete your old card numbers from your online shopping accounts. It’s also recommended that you use only one card for all your online purchases as it makes it easier to keep track of any discrepancies. There are also services you can use that give you one-time use numbers that you can use for online purchases. It would mean you’d have to enter a new number with each purchase but sometimes it’s worth going the extra mile to keep your information secure.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Scams   

    Terrifying twist on scam that targets the elderly 

    Terrifying twist on scam that targets the elderly

    We’ve talked about the grandparent scam before. In it, scammers target the elderly and pose as grandchildren or some other younger relative that claims to be in trouble. Usually, the scammer will try to coerce the elderly victim into making a payment by gift cards or money transfer that is supposed to be for bail, a medical expense, or some other emergency situation. Previously, if someone was taken in one of these scams the only thing they’d have to worry about is losing money. Now, one report is stating that a new frightening wrinkle has been added to the scam.

    A consumer reporter for the New York Post is stating that he has received reports of the scammers coming to people’s doors to collect cash instead of gift cards or wire transfers. The scammers are posing as some kind of collection agents for the scams. In some cases, the people who are instructed to pick up the money don’t even know e=why they’re picking up money from the victims. It’s not just New York City where this is happening either. The scam has reached across the country to the Los Angeles area.

    If the scam is happening on both coasts then it can happen anywhere in between. If you receive one of these phone calls, don’t make any kind of payment or arrangement until you speak with a relative who can verify the location of the person in question. You could also ask the caller a question that only that person would know. You should also contact your local police as well so they can try to prevent other people from falling victim to the scam.

     
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