IDENTITY THEFT RISKS

ONLINE SCAMS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

PHISHING SCAMS

Online phishing has become an increasingly popular scam and it has been used to replicate many well-known businesses. We have read reports that big companies including Apple, Google (Gmail recently), LinkedIn, and the IRS have all been affected by the scam. Online phishing scams are created to trick you into providing personal information such as your social security, bank account, or credit card numbers. The scam usually comes in the form of an email with a link or attachment that links to a fake version of the website purporting to be a well-known business. The fake website usually has a place for you to login, which is how they obtain your private information. The fake website may look identical to the authentic website; that’s why most people fall for it. Even scarier, the email may appear to be sent from a friend or an email address that you recognize.

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SMISHING

This is the same as the “phishing scam” except the scammer will send you a text message. The message will appear to be from a big company and will usually have a scare tactic to trick you into clicking on it. This scam has become increasingly popular with the Two Factor Authentication that is widely used by big companies. Several Apple users recently reported, via social media, a text they received which claims their Apple ID will terminate. See the example below:

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GUARANTEED LOAN AND PRE-APPROVED CREDIT CARD SCAMS

These scams are commonly used to target folks who are in need of fast cash or have less than perfect credit. The scammers will promise a pre-approved bank loan or credit card — usually a high dollar amount — and request an upfront “processing fee.” After the victim pays the fee, they receive something of little or no value (such as information about credit repair), but they never see the loan or credit card they were promised. If the offer sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is. Most lenders will require a credit check and proof of income before lending money. Furthermore, if a credit card company ever requires a fee upfront, then it is probably a scam. Many credit card companies do charge an annual fee, but the fee is generally applied to the balance of the credit card.

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NIGERIAN SCAM, FAUX CHARITY, AND LOTTERY SCAM

All of these scams are created to play on your emotions. Whether it is the guilt of helping someone in need or the thrill of winning a large sum of money, people fall victim to these scams all the time. These three scams are actually some of the oldest and most popular, but they are still in circulation because they work. Bottom line, if anyone you do not know asks you to transfer, wire, or send money, it is most likely a scam.

BEWARE OF THESE 3 FRIGHTENING PHONE SCAMS

Many of us have heard of the popular phone scams such as phony debt collectors, fake warrants, alleged lottery winnings, or fake charity scams. However, thieves are becoming more brazen and clever than ever, and they’re constantly introducing new and incredibly convincing scams. We recommend you follow the preventative tips below, and we highly encourage everyone to register their phone number(s) on the Do Not Call List.

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1. ROBOCALL SCAM

Recently reported is a new scam involving unsolicited robocalls. The robocall asks a question prompting you to respond with “yes,” “OK,” or “sure.” The scam occurs when the robocall records your response, then uses your affirmation to fraudulently purchase a product or service. Eventually, you may receive a demand for payment for a product or service you did not purchase or authorize.

2. IRS SCAM

This scam has been popular because of how effective it has been. The caller claims to be from the IRS and uses a scare tactic to collect a debt, often times threatening arrest if you do not make a payment. They may even know the last 4-digits of your social security number, which makes this scam incredibly convincing. First off, the IRS will never call you and demand an immediate payment, nor will the IRS call without sending you a bill in the mail first.

3. GOOGLE BUSINESS LISTING SCAM

A newer phone scam is targeting business owners. The scammer calls the business owner and claims there is an issue with their Google business listing, and the issue can be resolved for a fee. The scammers are usually attempting to collect the alleged “fee” over the phone by requesting a credit card number. This scam has also been reported by other well-known businesses such as Yahoo and Bing.

PHONE SCAM PREVENTATIVE TIPS:

Recently reported as a new scam involving unsolicited robocalls. The robocall asks a question prompting you to respond with “yes,” “OK,” or “sure.” The scam occurs when the robocall records your response, then uses your affirmation to fraudulently purchase a product or service. Eventually, you may receive a demand for payment for a product or service you did not purchase or authorize.

  1. Hang-up on robocallers, especially if you do not recognize the number.
  2. Avoid answering “yes,” “OK,” or “sure” to robocallers you are not familiar with.
  3. Do not click links. When checking the status of any account, be sure to go directly to the website yourself.
  4. Double check the URL to ensure that you are in fact logged into the correct site.
  5. Do not provide ANY private information including your birthdate, SSN, or a credit card number until you verify the company website by checking the URL. Fake URLs are generally a lengthy combination of numbers and letters.
  6. If you are unsure, ask for a phone number and call back the representative to verify the caller.

Report suspicious numbers to the FTC’s Do Not Call List.

WATCH OUT WHILE YOU ARE OUT & ABOUT

RADIO FREQUENCY ID (RFID) CHIPS

Thieves can use scanners to read your credit card information while standing in line behind you. We suggest you purchase a wallet that blocks RFID scanners and only pull out your credit card right before you pay.

LOOK OUT FOR “SHOULDER SURFERS”

Thieves may steal your information by taking a picture of your credit card or writing down its number while standing behind you. It’s best to keep your credit card in your wallet until you need to use it.

PROTECT YOUR WALLET

Keep your handbag zipped at all times, and don’t leave your personal property unattended while you are out in public.

BRING WHAT YOU NEED

Don’t carry extra credit cards or unnecessary government issued IDs (e.g. social security card or passport) unless you need them.

USE SECURE ATMS

Free-standing ATMs are targets for thieves who use skimmers to steal your information. Use ATMs in bank lobbies or other secure locations with video surveillance.

CHECK YOUR MAIL

Check your mail regularly and shred all pre-approved credit card offers. It is a good idea to opt-out by going online at optoutprescreen.com