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  • 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.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , text messaging   

    Is the FCC cracking down on text spam or are they opening the door to censorship? 

    Is the FCC cracking down on text spam or are they opening the door to censorship?

    Text messaging may just be one of the greatest inventions of mankind. It allows us to send quick messages to our friends and family without having to involve ourselves in lengthy and often times inconvenient phone calls. That’s not even taking into account how many services we can use just through text messaging alone. By some estimates, SMS and MMS messaging is used by roughly 4 billion people worldwide. In today’s world of splintered technical ecosystems, it’s rare for a communication technology to be almost universally used. However, that universal acceptance may start to waver depending on how the FCC’s latest ruling is taken.

    Last Friday, the FCC ruled that cellular carriers can block unwanted texts. The FCC and the telecoms say that this is necessary in order to fight spam texts. Opponents of the ruling say that, much like the repeal of net neutrality, gives too much power to the telecoms. Tech blog Gizmodo has even gone as far as to say that we should stop using SMS and MMS texts as the telecoms may start reading and censoring text messages. The problem with using an encrypted messaging system as Gizmodo recommends is that there is no universal app that everyone will switch to since there are competing encrypted messaging services out there.

    Gizmodo seems to be missing a major point in their argument. If you look at the FCC’s rulings since the current administration took over, their moves seem to have been motivated by one factor, money. The blog post’s author seems to have taken a fringe case of allegedly blocked messages by Verizon and turned it into a national conspiracy. If anything, we’re more likely to see a return to limited text messaging. It wasn’t even a decade ago when many cell phone plans were limited to a certain amount of text messaging. If you went over your allotment of texts for the month you’d be charged for each text that exceeded your plan’s monthly amount.

    While we’ve been very critical of the FCC in the past we don’t believe that the FCC is allowing the telecoms to block text to subvert free speech but to further line their already massive pockets.

     
  • Geebo 10:53 am on February 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , contracts, text messaging   

    Are text messages a binding contract? 

    Are text messages a binding contract?

    A story is making the rounds about a man out of Colorado who was selling some car parts online who may be sued by someone he promised the parts to over text messaging. Instead the seller was offered more money for the parts by someone with cash in hand. The buyer who lost out is now threatening to sue the seller. This has caused some in the media to ask legal experts if these text messages are a binding contract.

    One legal expert weighed in saying that an online deal is like any other…

    “…and even though it’s through informal texts, it’s still an enforceable contract. This is really not very different than how business gets done at much higher levels.”

    You also have to remember that lawyers constantly deal in extremes like this, however in real life it’s highly suspect that most judges would rule in favor of the buyer who lost out on the items. So in reality if you’re selling something online and exchanging texts with a potential buyer, you’re not going to have to get your own legal representation to approve each text message.

     
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