uc logo white
Text Size

Announcement: New Study

Check out Smithton Medical's new study!!

Home

New Banking Identity Theft Scam Coming to a Cell Phone Near You

A new scam is making the rounds and it is using text messaging as the vehicle to reach potential victims. The message appears to come from a bank and simply tells the user to call their bank immediately. The phone number to call is provided in the message. A new scam is making the rounds and it is using text messaging as the vehicle to reach potential victims. The message appears to come from a bank and simply tells the user to call their bank immediately. The phone number to call is provided in the message. The scam appears to have started last week in California. People there began receiving the aforementioned text messages. Most of the messages appeared to come from Wells Fargo Bank but Bank of American was also mentioned in some of them. Anyone who called the number provided was greeted by an automated attendant that asks the caller to provide a wide variety of information including their address, social security number and bank account numbers. We expect the scam to spread across the country rapidly because it has one of the lowest barriers to entry of any scam we’ve seen. A high school student with minimal programming skills could easily design the application to automatically send the text messages from any Android based phone. All that is needed is a list of telephone numbers. And setting up the automated attendant to handle responses from the text messages wouldn’t be any more difficult. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a version of the scam directing recipients of the text messages to visit a website either. Again, the barrier to entry for this is minimal. Anyone who suspects that they may have been tricked into responding to the scam should notify their bank immediately and should seriously consider freezing their credit file. _____________________ Jim Malmberg, ACCESS, American Consumer Credit Education Support Services, is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group whose primary purpose is to disseminate credit education information and assistance to the general public, visit www.GuardMyCreditFile.org

Credit Card Scam Artists Want To Know Your Credit Card Security Codes

Credit card scam artists are a resourceful bunch. That’s why it shouldn’t be any surprise that many of them are now involved in telemarketing campaigns that try to trick victims into giving up their credit card security codes. Credit card scam artists are a resourceful bunch. That’s why it shouldn’t be any surprise that many of them are now involved in telemarketing campaigns that try to trick victims into giving up their credit card security codes. ABC News has put together a short but informative report on the scam that is well worth watching. Even if you don’t think that you would fall for this type of fraud, we think you might change your mind about that after see the report. NBC Video Link: https://screen.yahoo.com/credit-card-scammers-trick-cardholders-143019699.html ___________________ Jim Malmberg, ACCESS, American Consumer Credit Education Support Services, is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group whose primary purpose is to disseminate credit education information and assistance to the general public, visit www.GuardMyCreditFile.org  

Healthcare Data Under Attack

It’s been a while since I sent a Friends of the Firm email, but that’s not due to lack of news. The truth is the data breach landscape has gone a bit crazy. You no doubt have heard about the huge mega breaches at Anthem and Premera, both health insurance companies whose breaches involved over 100 million Americans and their personal medical identities.

Hello Friends,

It’s been a while since I sent a Friends of the Firm email, but that’s not due to lack of news. The truth is the data breach landscape has gone a bit crazy. You no doubt have heard about the huge mega breaches at Anthem and Premera, both health insurance companies whose breaches involved over 100 million Americans and their personal medical identities.

Today, ID Experts released our 5th Annual Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data. It should be no surprise that the key finding is that for the first time, intentional, malicious hacks of healthcare organizations is the number one cause of data breaches in healthcare. (See NBC News story, Health Industry Can't Protect Your Records from Hackers: Report, here).  In fact, outside intrusion has increased by 125% since we started the study in 2010. And our study data was gathered just before these huge breaches were announced…essentially foretelling that these large breaches of your medical data would occur. If you combine this data with the recent Ponemon study, released by the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance (MIFA) that reported medical identity theft increased 22% in one year, and the FBI’s continuous warnings to healthcare organizations about hacker attacks, this is getting serious.

So it is important to understand why this is happening. It is highly unlikely that the bad guys are hacking into your healthcare data to find out about your latest affliction. What they want is your medical identity. Armed with your Medical ID they can bill Medicare, Medicaid, and/or private insurance for millions of dollars, never having to render any service. You can also be a victim of Medical ID theft, wherein a fraudulent individual uses your identity to obtain medical goods or procedures, putting you at serious health risk due to inaccurate personal health records. According to the FBI, your Medical ID is worth 20 to 100 times more than your financial ID on the dark internet, simply because it is so easy to monetize the information.

So what can you do? First of all, whether you are a notified victim of these huge breaches or not, you should be checking all of you Explanation of Benefit (EOB) statements that your health insurance provider sends you (note that Medicare does not provide these). Look for healthcare providers claiming they did something for you that you do not recognize and if you suspect something, call your insurance provider. And of course I know it is self-serving, but ID Experts is proud of the fact that we are the first to release a Medical Identity Monitoring Service that alerts you if someone is using your hacked medical ID for fraudulent purposes. Don’t hesitate to ask your health insurer if they are planning to offer it. With all of the data showing that your personal medical identity is clearly under attack, it is only a matter of time before you will be demanding a way to protect yourself from the worst form of identity theft…..Medical ID Theft.

_________________

Robert Gregg, CEO of ID Experts, and a CPA by trade, has an extensive career as an executive.  As CEO of ID Experts, he is committed to protect consumers from identity theft resulting from privacy data breaches, particularly in healthcare. ID Experts provides the absolute best hands on service to prevent and remediate data breaches, and take great care of the victims of a breach.

Charity Scams Spring Up in Wake of Nepal Earthquake

Donors from across the globe are giving generously to support victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal. Scammers know this, and these con artists are using social media to fool potential donors into giving to non-existent charities. Donors from across the globe are giving generously to support victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal. Scammers know this, and these con artists are using social media to fool potential donors into giving to non-existent charities. How the Scam Works: You are on Facebook, and you see a post in your newsfeed. It's a shocking image from the recent earthquake in Nepal, and it's accompanied by a request for donations. Here's one example. You click over to the Facebook page. You notice that it was set up only a few days ago and isn't associated with an established charity. The page claims to be collecting money for the victims of the earthquake, and it encourages you to click a link to donate. Don't do it! Many Facebook pages requesting donations have sprung up in the wake of the Nepal earthquake. Unfortunately, this now happens with every major tragedy. Some pages are outright scams: con artists pocket the donations or use scam donation forms to collect banking information. Others are created by well-meaning people or groups. They may intend to do good with the donations, but they lack the infrastructure of an established charity. Still others are "click bait" designed to create a large number of followers that can later be sold to a new page owner. Be Smart About Online Giving: Check out BBB Wise Giving Alliance's complete list of tips on their website as links to BBB Accredited Charities active in Nepal relief.
  • Be cautious when giving online. Be cautious about spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. If you want to give to a charity involved in relief efforts, go directly to the charity's website.
  • Be careful with Facebook recommendations: Use social media as a starting point, but don't assume that your Facebook friend vetted the charity she/he posted.
  • Program Descriptions: Look for a clear description of the organization's programs in its appeals and website. Does the program explain how (financial assistance, shelter, counseling) it is helping earthquake victims?
  • On-the-Spot Donation Decisions: Be wary of excessive pressure in fundraising.  Don't be pressured to make an immediate on-the-spot donation.  Charities should welcome your gift whenever you want to send it.
For More Information Learn more about email scams in the wake of the Nepal earthquake in this alert by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Check out Give.org, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance's website, for charity evaluation and smart giving tips. To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). ___________________ The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Canada, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.