Fraud And Scam Alerts
Identity Theft Odds Increasing
Experts said people are more likely to get their identities stolen than their cars stolen. That’s why local police officers spent the day in intensive training Thursday to help them spot identity theft.
LifeLock and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association put on the seminar in Louisville, showing off the new ways thieves are ripping people off.
With recent data breaches, including Epsilon’s email address leak and Sony’s hacked PlayStation network, authorities said the time to act is now.
"Criminals are always out there looking for ways to take personal information and turn it into money,” Mike Prusinski, of LifeLock, said.
Prusinski travels the country to educate law enforcement and the public about the many ways thieves work to steal personal information.
“As consumers, we make it way too easy on them,” Prusinski said.Prusinski said scammers are using new tools such as skimmers, which are easily purchased online. The electronic device can record the information from credit cards that are swiped through it. Then, an encoder can download the information so a copy of the credit card can be printed to make fraudulent purchases.
But the thief doesn’t even need your card to do it. They can use wireless technology to capture passwords and financial information as you shop online at coffee shops on your phone or laptop.
The Federal Trade Commission has a wealth of information on preventing identity theft and getting help if you’re a victim.
Loan Scam Warning Issued
Scammers claiming to be from the FBI and other agencies are calling Nebraskans to threaten consequences for missing payday loan payments and then stealing their money, a group of public officials warned Tuesday.
The aggressive callers claim to be representing United Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Net and other Internet check-cashing services but are not legitimate, said Attorney General Jon Bruning, Better Business Bureau President Jim Hegarty, U.S. Postal Inspector Dave Margritz, Lincoln Postmaster Kerry Kowalski and Asst. U.S. Atty. Paul Boeshart.
They also warned about phone calls and mailings which offer “free” trial subscriptions to magazines, weight-loss products and other goods and services which end up tying consumers to costly service contracts that are difficult to cancel or even activate.
The warnings came as a lead-in to National Consumer Awareness Week, which begins Sunday.
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Card Deactivated Scam
Reported to the Nebraska Credit Union League, by Darrin Englemann at Omaha Police Federal Credit Union, 3003 S. 82nd Ave., Omaha, NE, 68124, Phone Number 402-391-4040.
Credit union members are being targeted by a scam aimed at tricking them into revealing their debit and credit card information. Members are reporting that they receive official-sounding text messages that supposedly come from their credit union. The texts inform the recipients that "Your debit card (or credit card) has been deactivated." They are then asked to provide their debit or credit card number, PIN and expiration date. Specifically the scam on Tuesday, November 16th , reported by Omaha Police FCU read, “FCU ALERT: Your CARD starting with 4115 has been DEACTIVATED. Please call 402-210-2280.”
The messages appear to be blanketing the region at random. Consumers are urged to be extremely cautious of any message or e-mail that requests credit or debit card information, or any other sensitive personal information. These contacts often are scams perpetuated by people looking to commit identity theft. Financial institutions never request information in this way.
What is a vishing scam?
A vishing scam is the latest scam that careful consumers, and essentially anyone who possesses a credit card and cell phone needs to know about in order to avoid getting scammed. In particular, the vishing scam is a way to elicit either banking or credit card information from someone, which may then be used against the person. Vishing scam operatives want access to this information so they can gain access to credit cards or bank accounts and clean people out.
The typical vishing scam makes use of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), which allows people to talk over their computer lines, and can allow for multiple dialings of numbers at the same time. Scammers may work from a list of regional phone numbers or even from a phone book, but what they mainly do is call everyone they can and leave an automated message saying the person's credit card or account has been compromised, depleted or closed. When this process is done by email, it's called phishing, instead of vishing.
People who are left a message are given instructions to call a number to get more information about this alleged compromise. Scammers often use toll free numbers for this purpose and may even have, for people with caller ID, the legitimate name of the company that is supposedly calling. When people call the number, they're instructed to dial in their credit card number or bank account number, and even sometimes information like personal identification numbers (PINs), or their social security number. Once this information is obtained, callers may speak to a person posing as a "representative" or they may never get to a representative, and are placed on hold. Meanwhile, the damage is done and the scammers may then use information to steal money or credit card numbers.
Essentially, it's pretty easy to avoid a vishing scam or one conducted by email, and now commonly through text messaging on cell phones. Instead of calling the number listed, locate your financial institution account telephone number or your credit card phone number and call that number instead. If you're being vished, a financial institution or credit card company can tell you this immediately by letting you know that there has been no illegal activity on your account or any security compromise of your account. These scams can seem very real though, because they often contain warnings about not divulging your personal information, which may make a potential target feel the company calling, texting or emailing is protecting his/her interests.
The main thing to remember is to never call the number listed on any potential vishing scam calls. This will not take you to your bank or credit card company, and if you give out your information you're likely to have it stolen. People are naturally worried if they hear the security of one of their accounts may have been compromised, but it will only take a few minutes to find the legitimate number of the "supposed" business that is calling you. You can also do your part by making sure that the bank or company is aware you've been vished.
Protecting Yourself From Swindles – Scams Involving Checks, ATMs and the Net.
Fraudsters take advantage of innocent consumers daily through check, ATM (automated teller machine), and Internet scams. These gifted scammers use the latest technology to make it harder and harder to detect if your transactions are legit. Knowing the latest trends in the scamming industry can help you protect yourself from being victimized.
Phishing incidents take center stage in Internet scams as they've increased dramatically in popularity in the past year. Phishers use the Internet to steal money and personal identities. Victims usually receive fraudulent e-mails containing authentic looking company logos and familiar graphics and are asked to divulge financial information.
A study by the Gartner technology research firm shows 52 million U.S. Internet users received phishing e-mail during the past 12 months, from which 1.8 million consumers divulged information and one million fell victim. While consumers at banks and credit unions are prime targets, AOL and eBay users also are victims of frequent attacks.
Elizabeth was a victim of an AOL attack when she discovered her credit card number had been stolen from her online AOL wallet. She now enters her credit card number and password each time she makes a purchase, no longer keeping them saved. Elizabeth responded to "What's Your Story?" on the Home and Family Finance Resource Center Web site, as did other contributors
in this article.
Fifty-two million U.S. Internet users received phishing e-mail during the past 12 months.
As consumers such as Elizabeth catch on, phishers develop new ways to scam their victims. Many phishers now are trying techniques that have worked well for virus writers. The newest phishing scam is activated when you simply open an e-mail, no clicking required. Once infected, the scammers change the IP (Internet Protocol) address in your PC's Hosts file to their choosing. The fraudsters then associate the IP address with bogus bank/credit union Web sites, which forces your browser to go to fake Web sites that look like your financial institution's site.
A phisher using the name Robotecteur is responsible for sending out the e-mail virus "I Still Love You" to three million people. The virus recorded user names and passwords when the user visited any of 30 online banks and payment Web sites programmed in the virus. Robotecteur then received e-mails containing the sensitive information.
This form of phishing is different because the scammers don't have to lure you to a specific Web site. Instead, they get your username and password once you log in to a banking Web site. A keylogger then records your information and takes screen shots
of your PC activity.
Unfortunately, most PC users will not detect a problem until it's too late, because most are not knowledgeable with Hosts files. While the attacks have only occurred in Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom, security experts expect to see the scam soon in the U.S. However, experts also say all phishing scams, these included, are preventable. As always, run and update antivirus software frequently and, if you don't have one already, install a firewall. More information about phishing is available on the Anti-Phishing Working Group Web site.
While phishing remains a high concern, experts also caution consumers against high-risk Internet use. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) reports 55% of filed complaints are related to Internet fraud. The median loss for an Internet attack is $195. While online banking is safe, consumers still are more fearful of online banking transactions than giving out financial information for online shopping. Experts advise consumers to monitor their accounts regularly rather than wait for the monthly mailed statement.
The most common check scam is the "Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud," with 100 victims daily.
Brad, from Maryland, noticed unusual activity on his card, which he hadn't used in several months. Brad noticed the suspicious charges when he checked his online account. His quick action allowed him to resolve the matter before anything was
posted on his account.
Experts say it's also a good idea to change your online banking and shopping account passwords every three to six months. And to avoid being led to fraudulent Web sites, retype the Web address in your browser rather than click through e-mail links. These simple steps can protect you from serious hassles down the road.
While scammers increasingly turn to the Internet, consumers still are targets of check scams. Check scams collected an average $5,000 loss per consumer. Fraudsters increasingly use e-mail to contact their victims.
There are several variations of the check scam; the most common strategy is the "Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud," with 100 victims daily. The scammer proposes to send the victim a check for an extra sum and requests the victim wire back the excess money. The scammers often are from--or at least claim to be from--other countries, which explains why it is too difficult for them to make direct payment. Scammers offer to buy something you have for sale, offer you collection of a sweepstakes you won, or pay you
to work at home.
Victims often send the product or money to the scammer once they receive payment. However, the realistic looking checks sent to victims are forgeries and, unfortunately, the victims are responsible for the money they withdraw against the bad check. Experts advise sellers to not send refunds or deliver goods in the period it takes cashiers' checks to clear.
Like all scammers, those who target ATM users use the latest technology to their advantage. The newest ATM scam involves skimming. Fraudsters make counterfeit ATM cards by using a skimmer, which is a card-swipe device that reads the information on a consumer's ATM card. Scammers take a blank card and encode all the information from an ATM card when they swipe immediately after the machine's last transaction. The skimmer catches the PIN (personal identification number) through a small camera mounted on the ATM. The consumer is unaware they've been scammed because the ATM card has not been stolen and still works
at other machines.
Fifty-five percent of filed complaints are related to Internet fraud.
Joyce, from Colorado, fell victim to such an attack. Because her card wasn't stolen, she didn't detect a problem until her checking account was down almost $800. After contacting Bellco Financial Services, Joyce was able to erase the damage done by the shopping spree she never took.
The "Lebanese Loop" is another popular ATM scam. Scammers insert a portable steel loop into an ATM card slot. The scammer usually approaches the victim while at the machine, and poses as the person next in line. Victims are advised to enter their PINs three times and then hit cancel to get the machine to accept the cards. The scammer is able to memorize the PIN for future use and the machine keeps the card because of the excessive number of attempts to enter the correct PIN. Victims leave in frustration because they couldn't get any money and they've lost their card. Once the loop is taken out of the ATM the scammer has the card and the PIN number for future transactions. This is a relatively new scam that many experts believe will be short-lived due to
fast technology upgrades.
While it is difficult to guarantee protection from ATM scammers, there are security tips that lessen the risk. Be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary at the ATM, such as odd- looking equipment or wires. As always, monitor your accounts regularly to make sure there is no unusual activity.If you've been scammed, the FTC Web site has information on the steps you need to take to clear your name and protect your identity.
The Nebraska Credit Union League is aware of phone calls, text messages, and emails being made about:
• Confirming Account or Credit Card Numbers
• Account De-activation
• Account Status Alert
• Changes to Terms and Conditions
• Irregular Activity
The e-mails and text messages ask that the customer call a number in order to have their account reactivated. Some may request that you leave callback information or provide your financial information directly. All of these messages are fraudulent. Please do not respond to these messages.
Your financial institution would never solicit your personal identification information via email or telephone. If you did respond to such a solicitation, you should contact your financial institution directly using the local phone number provided by your financial institution.More Information on Internet Fraud Report a suspicious email