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Scam-spotting help for recent refugees

People who’ve recently arrived in the US have a lot of adjustments to make. For many refugees and immigrants, and some of the social services groups who help them, the basics come first: figuring out language, food, shelter, and work.
People who’ve recently arrived in the US have a lot of adjustments to make. For many refugees and immigrants, and some of the social services groups who help them, the basics come first: figuring out language, food, shelter, and work. Understanding how to avoid fraud isn’t high on the list – until a scam finds a recent arrival. That’s why the FTC has created new materials to help refugees and immigrants spot, avoid and report scams. We worked closely with the International Rescue Committee to create a short handbook to help anyone identify a sure sign of a scam. Short, clear tips like this: the IRS will never call you to ask for money. Or this: anyone who guarantees you a job – if you pay them – is trying to scam you. We’ve also designed posters – one that explains how to spot a government imposter, and another about how to spot fake job offers. And all the materials are available – for free – in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Dari, Amharic, and Somali. The messages are clear, easy to read, and straight to the point. And, we hope, in languages used by recent arrivals in your area. If you know someone who works with refugees or immigrants, or you know someone who’s recently arrived in the country, spread the word. Order the handbooks for free in any of the seven languages, and print the posters from our website. And if you spot any kind of scam of, please tell the FTC. Every report makes a difference, and helps us stop scammers. ___________________ 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.
 

Scam Texts "Phish" for Banking Info

Watch out for this text message scam. Con artists are trying to fool users into sharing personal information by sending text messages that look like alerts from banks.

Watch out for this text message scam. Con artists are trying to fool users into sharing personal information by sending text messages that look like alerts from banks. 

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Fake bank text message

How the Scam Works:

You receive a text message that appears to be from a bank. It's prompting you to update your profile and provides a link to a website. The link may even have the bank's name as part of the domain (see example in photo).  

If you click on the URL, you will be taken to a form that looks like part of the bank's website. The page will prompt to "confirm" your identity by entering your name, user ID, password and/or bank account number. Don't do it! Sharing this information puts you at risk for identity theft. 

Protect yourself from text message scams.  

  • Just hit delete! Ignore instructions to confirm your phone number or visit a link. Some scam texts instruct you to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts. But this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
  • Read your phone bill. Check your phone bill for services you haven't ordered. Some charges may appear only once, but others might be monthly "subscriptions." 
  • Know your rights. Real commercial text messages must provide a free, easy way for you to opt out of future communication. Learn more here
  • Know how to combat spam texts. In Canada, an anti-spam law covers text messages. Learn more about reporting and fighting spam here.  In the US, forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cellphone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.
  • Watch out for lookalike URLs. Just because a URL has the name of a real company in it, doesn't mean it's legitimate. Anyone can register a subdomain (realcompany.website.com) or similar URL (realcompany1234.com). 
  • Ask your phone carrier about blocking third-party charges. Mobile phone carriers permit outside businesses to place charges on your phone bill, but many carriers also allow you to block these charges for free.
___________________ 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.

Fake Emails Pose as WhatsApp

Scammers are always taking advantage of what's new and popular. This time it's WhatsApp, a smart phone application that allows users to send text, video and audio messages via the Internet. Scammers are impersonating the app to spread malware.

Scammers are always taking advantage of what's new and popular. This time it's WhatsApp, a smart phone application that allows users to send text, video and audio messages via the Internet. Scammers are impersonating the app to spread malware. 

How the Scam Works:

You receive an email that appears to be from WhatsApp. The subject line reads "Incoming Voice Message" and a time stamp. Open up the message, and you'll see a "missed voicemail" alert and a button to play the message. 

The email uses WhatApp' colors and logo, so it looks legitimate. But don't click to play! WhatsApp says it does not communicate with customers via email unless they are replying to a specific customer request. The email is really a trick to download malware to your device. 

This is far from the only scam pretending to be WhatsApp. Also look out for messages enticing you to click on links or download attachments. These scams typically claim that your account is being suspended or you are eligible for a new service. 

Tips to Protect Yourself From a App Scam

Scammers love to impersonate popular apps. Here's how to spot a con: 

  • Get antivirus software for your phone. Just as you use antivirus software for your computer, you should get similar software for your mobile devices.
  • Know how a service communicates with you. Most apps communicate with you through the app, offering updates, bug fixes, etv. If an app suddenly communicates using a different channel, that's a red flag. Be wary of any change from the norm.
  • Search before you click. If something seems suspicious, do a quick search online. You can easily find out if the new deal or feature is for real. 
  • Watch for the usual warning signs. Scammers might be impersonating the latest tech companies, but that doesn't mean their scams are sophisticated. Look for poor grammar and reply email addresses that don't match the business.
  • Verify -- but not by using a source scammers give you. Check if an offer is real, but don't call the phone number or website in the email you suspect may be a scam. If it is a con, chances are the person on the other line will be involved, too.

For More Information

To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). Learn more about scams pretending to be WhatsApp on their website

__________________

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.

Revenge of the nannies

Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like care.com, sittercity.com, or craigslist.com? A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you.Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like care.com, sittercity.com, or craigslist.com? A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you. The scammer also sends you a check and asks you to deposit it, keep some money for your services, and send the rest to someone else to — supposedly — pay for special items or medical equipment. But the check is fake, and it can take weeks for a bank to discover the forgery. If you deposit the check and withdraw the funds, you’ll wind up owing the bank all that money. After the last post, we heard back from many people with great ideas to help avoid this scam:
  • Don’t deposit a check from — or send money to — anyone you don’t know.
  • Never share your bank account number — including with a potential client.
  • Be careful with potential clients who claim to be out of town or pressure you to deposit their check.
  • Check out your potential clients. Search online for their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and even the text of the message you received. Many people said that an easy search told them they were dealing with a scammer.
  • Call MoneyGram (1-800-666-3947) or Western Union (1-800-448-1492) if you were tricked into transferring money.
If you got a check through the U.S. mail, file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. And, as always, please tell the FTC. _________________ 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.