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10 Skeevy Scams to watch

You may think you’re not dumb enough to fall for scams, but consider that someone you care deeply about is naïve enough to be conned. Besides, some scams are so clever that even those who think they’re scam-proof have actually been taken for a ride.You may think you’re not dumb enough to fall for scams, but consider that someone you care deeply about is naïve enough to be conned. Besides, some scams are so clever that even those who think they’re scam-proof have actually been taken for a ride. Sometimes fraudsters pose as an authority figure. Some claim you won a prize, while others claim you’re in trouble. Some even claim they’re a family member (needing money) and have figured out a way to convince you of this. Some scams are done via e-mail, while others involve a phone call or snail mail. One common ploy is for the crook to pose as a rep from the electric company and threaten to shut off your electricity unless you pay a delinquent bill. Of course, the payment must be in the form of a reloadable debit card. People will actually give these cards to the “rep,” without calling the company to confirm the situation. A big tip-off to a scam is that you’re told you won a prize or have been hired for employment—but must send money to get the prize or be trained for the employment. Some scams are so very obvious, but still, people get taken, like those ridiculous e-mails claiming you inherited a windfall from some deceased prince named Gharbakhaji Naoombuule. But people actually fall for these, not considering that this same e-mail was sent to 10,000 others. Top 10 Scams of 2014
  • Caller ID spoofing. Has your phone ever rung and you saw your phone number and name in the caller ID screen? How can your own phone be calling you? It’s a scam. Ignore it. If you pick up you’ll hear an offer for lower credit card rates. You’ll be told to press 1 to opt out—but you should not even be on that long to hear this option; you should have hung up the second you heard the credit card offer. Anyways, pressing 1 indicates your number is legitimate; it’s then sold to scammers. Caller ID spoofing is also perfect for scammers posing as the police, government agency, corporations etc all with the intention to get you to part with your money.
  • Mystery shopping. Though mystery shopping is a legitimate enterprise, scammers take advantage of this and mail out checks (phony) before the “shopping” is done. A legitimate company will never do this. They also get victims to give up credit card data to pay for getting a job!
  • Calls about unpaid taxes. Always hang up, regardless of threatening nature to pay up or else. The IRS always uses snail mail to notify people of unpaid taxes.
  • Puppy scam. You find a website offering purebred puppies at very low prices or even for free, but you’re told you must pay for shipping or transfer fees (wire transfer) to get your puppy. The money is gone and you never get your puppy.
  • You get a call from someone claiming to have found buyers for your timeshare. You receive a contract, but are told you must pay funds to cover some fees. The contract is phony.
  • Tech support. Someone calls you claiming your computer needs servicing. They’ll fix it after you give them your credit card information. Legitimate geeks don’t call people; you must call them.
  • Postcard survey. Out of the blue you’re told you’ve won a gift card, or, just take a brief survey to get one. Go along with this and soon you’ll be asked to provide your credit card number. Don’t bother. You’ll get no gift card while the crook gets your credit card information.
  • A notice says you’ve won a big fat prize. To claim it, just pay some fees. Yeah, right. Never pay fees to collect a prize!
  • You’re told you’re eligible for a grant or have been awarded one, but must first pay processing fees. Federal grants don’t require fees.
  • Subscription renewal notice. The notice says you can renew for a lower rate. Check to see if the notice was sent by the publication itself or some third party (the crook).
________________ Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention.

How to Deal with Phishing Scams

When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Don't reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t.

When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Don't reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.

Examples of Phishing Messages

You open an email or text, and see a message like this: "We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity." "During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information." “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.” The senders are phishing for your information so they can use it to commit fraud.

How to Deal with Phishing Scams

Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.). Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email or text. The messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – banks, for example. They might threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond. Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information so a scammer can run up bills or commit crimes in your name. Area codes can mislead, too. Some scammers ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." But a local area code doesn’t guarantee that the caller is local. If you’re concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.

Action Steps

You can take steps to avoid a phishing attack:
  • Use trusted security software and set it to update automatically. In addition, use these computer security practices.
  • Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.
  • Only provide personal or financial information through an organization's website if you typed in the web address yourself and you see signals that the site is secure, like a URL that begins https (the "s" stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
  • Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call to confirm your billing address and account balances.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other malware that can weaken your computer's security.

Report Phishing Emails

Forward phishing emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email. You also may report phishing email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a group of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, uses these reports to fight phishing. If you might have been tricked by a phishing email:
  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website. Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft; there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
_______________ The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.

After Anthem Breach - How to Deal with Phishing Scams

When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Don't reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t.

When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Don't reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.

Examples of Phishing Messages

You open an email or text, and see a message like this: "We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity." "During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information." “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.” The senders are phishing for your information so they can use it to commit fraud.

How to Deal with Phishing Scams

Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.). Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email or text. The messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – banks, for example. They might threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond. Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information so a scammer can run up bills or commit crimes in your name. Area codes can mislead, too. Some scammers ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." But a local area code doesn’t guarantee that the caller is local. If you’re concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.

Action Steps

You can take steps to avoid a phishing attack:
  • Use trusted security software and set it to update automatically. In addition, use these computer security practices.
  • Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.
  • Only provide personal or financial information through an organization's website if you typed in the web address yourself and you see signals that the site is secure, like a URL that begins https (the "s" stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
  • Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call to confirm your billing address and account balances.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other malware that can weaken your computer's security.

Report Phishing Emails

Forward phishing emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email. You also may report phishing email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a group of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, uses these reports to fight phishing. If you might have been tricked by a phishing email:
  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website. Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft; there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
_______________ The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.

Laptop security in a nutshell

Imagine you’re at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte while working on your laptop. After all that coffee, you need to run to the loo. Would you leave your laptop for just a sec while you heed nature’s call?Imagine you’re at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte while working on your laptop. After all that coffee, you need to run to the loo. Would you leave your laptop for just a sec while you heed nature’s call? Here’s another question: wouldn’t you hate it if your laptop disappeared? Your family photos, tax documents, and other personal stuff could vanish along with it. Unfortunately, it only takes a minor distraction for that to happen. And the last thing you’d want is for an identity thief to get their hands on your laptop. We’ve got some tips to help you protect your laptop — and the valuable stuff on it. Here’s a fresh take on our popular laptop security bookmark. Want to score brownie points at work, school, a local library, or anywhere in your community? Get free copies of this bookmark and pass ‘em out. Order as many as you’d like!
Laptop Security bookmark
Want more details? Check out this article to learn the do’s and don’ts of laptop security. Would you rather play a game than read an article? Play Mission: Laptop Security to test your skills at keeping your laptop safe. _________________ The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.