Here Is how You Are Being Scammed!
My thanks to all of you that read my previous Scam and Fraud columns and asked for more advice on protecting yourselves during the Age of Covid. With more people home during the Pandemic, it is ideal picking for the bad guys to reach you by phone, and somehow steal your ID.
INTERNATIONAL PHONE SCAMS:
- BOILER ROOMS: Men in India go after their favorite food…..THE ELDERLY. Is there a better place to Scam the elderly than Palm Springs and Miami?
- TECH SUPPORT: A Robo calls says that your computer is on the verge of a meltdown and to prevent it you must call asap. They will say whatever is necessary to befriend you and scare you into paying for unnecessary repairs and other deceptions. They may ask to log into your computer using a remote access software program called Team Viewer…(or AnyDesk or FastSupport) and when the scammer says to hit the “switch sides” function, the caller is then in charge…and can lock you from your own computer. Some company’s have banned these program if the computers initiates the call from India.
The scammer may ask you to recontact TO them, in India, so the scam will work. The Scammer rarely accepts credit cards or checks. Gift cards are payment of choice and bitcoin is now catching up. Of course cash still favorite if they can get the V to send cash in an envelope, because not traceable. The peer to peer apps like Venmo, Zelle and Cash App allow the transfer of funds. Wire transfers, Money Gram or Western Union, are mostly untraceable and have limited protections, so never use these to pay a stranger.
TYPES OF SCAMS:
- FALSE DIAGNOSIS: An alleged certified computer tech calls and instructs you to open up the event log, a diagnostic tool that professionals use to track computer activity. They often have red and yellow warnings messages. To a coder they indicate normal functions but since most of the “older dudes” believe them when they say “see all these bugs?....it is a problem and they compromise your computer.” The Scammer misrepresents the info to ramp up the fear. The bad guy may say “see, there are 20 people on your computer right now?”
- BOGUS REFUND: The caller is allegedly from Microsoft Refund Department saying you paid something that was an over payment and they want to send you a $500 refund. They explain the company has been ordered to shut down, and they have been ordered to refund users. They need remote access into the V’s computer to contact the bank and complete the refund. After seeing theV’s account they push the “Blank Guest Monitor” button to “blacken the V’s screen”. The V can’t see the $50k transfer from their savings into checking. Then they go into HTML code on V’s computer, which determines what the V would see on their screen…and they changes what is on the screen back to show the original balance. Then they say they transferred $50,000 instead of $500, and thus it is necessary to refund the difference between the $50k and $500 to a bank in China, to pay the caller back, or else s/he will lose their job.
- ZOOM PHISHING: Thousands of fake zoom internet domains have been set up. The emails, texts or social media with a Zoom logo, requests you click on a link, because your account is suspended. The scammer then downloads malicious software onto your computer…to use for ID Theft or to search for passwords to hack into other accounts.
- COVID 19 VACCINE CARD CONS: After shots, some post pix on social media. With this info the bad guys can steal your ID and get into your bank account.
- FAKE ONLINE SHOPPING SITES: They use photos from real online retailers, mimicking their look and feel. When you order, you may never get the product, or get an inferior product.
- CELEBRITY GIVE AWAYS DURING COVID: Scammers pose as celebs offering fake giveaways as a way to get private information. You may get a note via social media that you won and you just need to verify your account info and send a small deposit up front.
- ON-LINE ROMANCE: Scammers pray on unsuspecting men and women through online games etc. Marks may be lured to unmonitored online sites and asked for money.
- MEDICARE CARD SCAM: Scammers email or knock on your door saying they are from Medicare and offering Pandemic services after you provide your Medicare card. They may offer cards with microchips.
- CASH TRANSFER APP SCAM: Tools like Cash App, Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal allow you to transfer money and have led to many scams. The accidental transfer of funds scam is when money is sent to V and then the scammer requests the money back saying it was an accident and the payment was with a stolen credit card.
- SOCIAL SECURITY SCAM: The Scammer uses a credible-looking “spoofed” DC phone number and says your SS Card was used in a crime and you will be arrested soon if you don’t send money to fix it. You may be advised your card was used to rent a car that was involved with an illegal act. You may be directed to a website they set up and request you call them back.
- ACCOUNT PROBLEM TEXT: The Scammer notifies you of trouble with your internet account, a credit card, bank account or shopping order on Amazon. They get you to click on links and provide personal info.
- BOOSTER BOX OR BAG: A larger hollow box or bag is placed down over a slightly smaller shopping bag, purse or product placed on the ground while looking in a showcase. The spring-loaded bottom secures the item about to be stolen. The thief then walks away without anyone seeing what happened.
- RFID: Are Radio Frequency Identification Devices that I have discussed in previous articles. They are half the size of a laptop. When a thief walks by you in a restaurant, airport or department store etc, the “card reading device”, costing less than $100, automatically steals your personal info off your credit card. The Radio Frequency Identification is a tiny chip in our credit and debit cards. If your card has the symbol of 4 waves )))) or says Pay Pass, Pay Wave or Blink, it has RFID. Most people did not realize that your credit card information could also be stolen without taking the physical credit card by DIGITAL/SILENT PICKPOCKETS.
- AIRLINE BOARDING PASS. A hacker, with a smartphone, can scan the QR code and get all your info and change your pin.
- Gift Cards: They can be the perfect gift… IF not already opened. However, crooks go to stores and write down the numbers and pin on the back of the gift card. When they see someone purchase one they go online and use up the amount on the card. Thus you must be sure the wrapping on the card has not been disturbed, or the pin revealed.
Report problems to the major reporting agencies below.
Equifax 1-800 525 6285: to place a fraud alert 888 766 0008. To order a credit report call 800 685 1111
Experian (formerly TRW 1-888 397 3742 to place fraud alert. To order a credit report call 888 397 3742
Trans Union 1-800 680 7289 to place a Fraud alert. To order a credit report call 800 888 4213
Social Security Administration (fraud line) 1-800 269 0271