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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , SNAP, text messaging   

    Food Stamp scam affecting the country 

    Food Stamp scam affecting the country

    The current pandemic has seen the meteoric rise of a number of original scams on a never seen before basis. The majority of these scams have targeted those who have been negatively affected economically by the pandemic. At first, it was the scammers who were trying to steal your economic impact payment. This was quickly followed up by scammers applying for unemployment benefits in every state by using stolen identities. Now, a new nationwide scam has emerged once again targeting those who are the most financially vulnerable in our society.

    States from Pennsylvania to Hawaii are reporting about a text message scam that’s promising victims SNAP benefits. You may know SNAP better under its former name of food stamps. The scammers are sending text messages stating that the recipient is eligible for SNAP benefits even though they may not have applied for them. With so many people facing economic hardships in the country, this scam has the potential to claim a record number of victims. While some who have never had to apply for SNAP may think it’s relatively easy to get these benefits, the reverse is actually quite true. So if someone who is desperate to receive additional food benefits receives this text message there is great potential that they could fall for this scam.

    More than likely, the scammers are after one of two things. They either want your personal information to steal your identity, or they want a payment disguised as a ‘processing fee’.

    The states being affected by this scam have issued warnings that the state will never approach anyone randomly with the offer of SNAP. If you have applied for SNAP, you’ll always receive your approval in the mail. If you receive one of these texts, it’s best that you just delete the text. However, if you have questions or concerns about your SNAP benefits, you should contact your local SNAP office.

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

    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 8:00 am on August 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , text messaging,   

    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, , , , , text messaging   

    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 June 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: change of address, , text messaging, , vehicle history reports   

    Three new scams to watch out for 

    Three new scams to watch out for

    We just recently came across three new scams that we hadn’t heard of before. While we’re not the ultimate authority on scams, we have been keeping our eyes on scams for a long time now.

    The first scam we have for you today involves change of address forms. If you’re moving soon you’ll have to notify the U.S. Postal Service of your new address. You can do this at your local Post Office or online. If you’re going to complete your change of address online make sure that you’re only using the official USPS website. If you were to do a web search for ‘address change’ it may direct you to a website that has no affiliation with the USPS. Instead, if you enter your information on the non-USPS site you could potentially be giving your information to identity thieves. Also, a change of address with the USPS is free. If a site tries to charge you for this, it’s definitely a scam.

    In our next scam, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about receiving a text message that says you’ve been overcharged. The texts try to appear as if they’re coming from your bank, your credit card company, or somewhere you shop often. The scammers will then tell you that they need more information to process your ‘refund’ like your mother’s maiden name or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. These are actually answers to security questions used to access your online accounts. If you receive a text or call asking for this information do not answer them. Instead, call your bank directly to make sure that your accounts are in order.

    Lastly for today, if you’re looking to sell your vehicle online, you’ll often be asked to provide a vehicle history report for the vehicle. The most commonly used vehicle history reports are Carfax and AutoCheck. Some car sellers have reported that they’ve been getting messages from people posing as interested customers asking for vehicle history reports that they’ve never heard of before. The scammers will then direct the sellers to a certain website. These websites are mostly designed to try to get your money for a bogus car history or could be used for identity theft or infect your device with malware. As a seller, you’re not required to provide a vehicle history from a specified website. The ones that we’ve already mentioned are not only legitimate but should satisfy most legitimate buyers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , text messaging,   

    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 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , text messaging   

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams 

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams

    We think it goes without saying that the global coronavirus pandemic has launched a new boom period for scammers. Not only have old scams increased with new coronavirus twists, but new scams are popping up all the time now. Scammers and con artists are now taking every opportunity they can to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty that comes with this crisis.

    With the current travel restrictions and advisories in place, many people are finding it difficult to shop for their weekly groceries. Some scammers are posing as good samaritans offering grocery delivery service. The majority of these scammers are targeting senior citizens. The scammers will then ask for your payment information before making off with it. Many supermarkets and delivery services are now offering free delivery to seniors. You can check with your local retailers to see what services may be available to you.

    Speaking of groceries, many people are now without jobs because of the pandemic are finding it difficult to even pay for groceries for themselves or their families. Now, a text message scam is taking advantage of that desperation. Reports say that there are text messages going around claiming to offer recipients emergency money for groceries. As with most text messaging scams, the text contains a link that if you click on it, you’ll be taken to a website that could either steal your personal information or inject malware into your device. Never click on links sent from strangers no matter how tempting the offer may be. We know it’s cliche at this point but if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Previously, we’ve discussed scammers going door to door offering home covid-19 inspections. Now, more scammers are going door to door posing as workers from either the Red Cross or the Centers for Disease Control offering covid-19 testing. Some of these scammers are even dressed in lab coats to further perpetrate the scam. Neither of these organizations are testing people at their homes. The scammers want you to simply pay a fee for a phony test that could actually put you in danger.

    To keep up with the latest coronavirus scams you can see our previous posts on the matter or check with the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FedEx, , , , text messaging   

    FedEx text scam is more dangerous than you think! 

    FedEx scam is more dangerous than you think!

    A number of reports went out nationwide yesterday about a scam that’s appearing in the text messages of many Americans. As you can see by the graphic above, the text claims to be from FedEx telling you that you have an incoming package that requires you to submit your delivery preferences. The text then provides you a link to click on. While this appears to be just a ‘normal. phishing scam on the surface, this particualr scam goes much deeper than that and can end up costing you a lot of money.

    If you were to click on the link in the phony text you would be taken to a site that looks like Amazon but isn’t. The fake Amazon site then asks you to fill out a customer service survey in order to claim a prize. However, to collect the prize you need to cover the cost of shipping and for that, you need to provide your financial information. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. On top of everything else, by providing your payment information you’re also signing up for a subscription service that will charge you close to $100 a month for products related to the ‘prize’ you chose. We’ve previously discussed subscription scams here.

    If you receive this text, delete it immediately. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t click the link nor should you respond to it. While FedEx does offer a service to text message you about the arrival of your packages you have to sign up for that service. FedEx will never send unsolicited text messages. If you are expecting a package to be delivered from FedEx or any other courier and you are concerned about the delivery, always use the courier’s website or official app to see if there have been any actual problems with delivery.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: military draft, , , text messaging, 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 8:00 am on June 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , text messaging, Wells Fargo   

    Text message scams are on the rise! 

    Text message scams are on the rise!

    We’ve talked about email and phone call scams before but we’re pretty sure we’ve never discussed scams that specifically target you through text messages. Well, we’re going to correct that today.

    The Better Business Bureau recently reported on an employment scam that uses text messaging to try to swindle their victims out of their money or personal information. If you’re currently looking for a new job you could potentially be at risk for this scam. If you post your resume online you could be contacted by text from someone claiming to be a reputable company looking to hire you. They’ll then either ask you to pay for supplies or try to get your banking information for direct deposit. If they say you’re hired without even having you come in for an interview, it’s more than likely a scam.

    In Knoxville, Tennessee, a woman suffering from a cancer recurrence was recently scammed for hundreds of dollars in what’s referred to as ‘smishing’. That’s short for SMS phishing. She received a text message from one of her phone contacts telling about a grant she qualifies for that would provide $50,000 for her cancer treatment. The hook was that she would have to pay $500 first. After she mailed a $500 money order out of state she received another text asking for more money. This time the scammers were asking for $5,000. Luckily, her bank made her aware that this was a scam before she lost the $5,000. Text messages can be spoofed to make it look like they’re from someone you know. If a friend or associate texts you about a too good to be true offer, call them to make sure they sent the text.

    And lastly, the Utah Division of Consumer Protection is warning about a similar smishing scam that involves the Wells Fargo Bank. The text message says that there is an urgent discrepancy in your bank account that requires your immediate attention. You’ll then be instructed to click on a link or call a phone number to correct the discrepancy. You’ll then be asked for your ATM card number, PIN, expiration date, 3-digit security code, Social Security number, billing zip code, and your last known checking account balance. If you ever receive one of these text messages from any bank do not call the number or click on the link in the text. Instead, call your bank’s verified customer service number which you can usually find on their website.

     
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