Category Archives: General Identity Theft Help

FBI warns OS X Mac Users about Ransomware Purporting to be from FBI

A new version of ransomware is targeting OS X Mac users can claiming that it is coming from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is not malware and it appears as a webpage that uses JavaScript to load numerous windows. It requires that each frame be closed, but for that to happen a fee is requested thus the name ransomware has stuck.

A similar ransomware scam took place in May of 2012 also using the name of the FBI to lure in victims. The latest inception of ransomware uses “FBI.gov” within the URL in attempt to make the warning appear legitimate.

The scam is complicated. The warning that appears accuses victims of violating various U.S. laws, then locks up the victims computer. It claims that to unlock the computer and avoid legal issues, a fee of $300 needs to be paid via a prepaid Visa card. But the scam doesn’t end there. If a victim realizes that there is a scam taking place and attempts to close the windows, more windows (iframes) pop up with the warning.

The actual FBI website reports the simplest way to remove the ransomware’s iframes is to “click n the Safari menu, choose the “Reset Safari” option, making sure all check boxes are selected.” It also suggests holding down the Shift key while relaunching Safari to prevent reopening windows and tabs from the previous session.

“Ransomware messages are an attempt to extort money. If you have received a ransomware message, do not follow payment instructions. Be sure to file a complaint at www.IC3.gov,” says the FBI’s warning report.

All email and internet users should be warned of ransomware scams although the current version is only targeting OS X Mac users. The FBI encourages anyone who has been a victim of ransomware, e-scams, and phishing to contact the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.

 

Can Smartphones Steal Our Credit Card Information?

There was a time when credit cards had to be slid through a funky machine and stamped. This left your personal information fairly insecure or at least at the mercy of the retail establishment’s security procedures. Now credit cards are so fancy you can simply walk by and tap them to pay for your bill. Would it surprise you to know that your credit card could be even more at risk today despite the jump in technology? A CBC News investigation is saying that a simple Smartphone app is capable of swiping your information right through your wallet. In about one second, they were able to use a Samsung Galaxy SIII and an app that shall remain nameless to do the deed. Information like the card number, expiration date and name was quickly stolen with a simple walk by.

That is alarming news to those of us that use PayPass or payWave from MasterCard and Visa collectively. Both appear to be susceptible to the app and the smartphone despite what is said by those with Visa or MasterCard. Both companies say that their products are safe and that you are not responsible for unauthorized purchases anyway. For me, the proof is in the doing. They were able to take a card’s information with a simple walk by, and then use it to purchase a Coke. That shows me that it is possible despite claims to the contrary.

This is a natural progression that one should expect to see when new technologies are being formed. If you come up with a new way to do things where paying and money is concerned, someone, somewhere is going to try to exploit it. It is the unfortunate way of the world. Once they have been caught a few times, then the technology will Continue reading Can Smartphones Steal Our Credit Card Information?

The Pros and Cons of Using Pay Anywhere Card Readers

Gone are the days of having to be tied down to a computer to process a payment in the world of small business. Thanks to a wonderful little idea called a Pay Anywhere card reader, you can actually accept payments anywhere that you can carry a smart phone.  Pay Anywhere is certainly not the only player in the game where card readers are concerned, but they are the most respected. Despite the great reviews for this product, however, there are a handful of concerns as well. Here is a look at the pros and cons of Pay Anywhere:

Pros of Pay Anywhere card readers

The primary positive for these little card readers would be the fact that you can get paid anywhere. Just being able to whip out the little thing and swipe a credit card on the spot will give you great freedom as a small business owner. It provides convenience to the customer and at the same time gives you the flexibility to do business anywhere.

Another great reason to go with Pay Anywhere card readers is because it has the lowest transaction fees in the business. It is cheaper than any other credit card processor, thereby saving you and the customer  money once again.

You can feel great confidence in the accuracy of this fine product, simply because it has been around longer than any other card reader service. It started way back in 1992 and continues to this day. That type of longevity can go a long way towards giving you confidence.

Finally, Pay Anywhere has a dedicated customer service line that can help you when you need it. Whether it is a technical problem or a customer service issue, Pay Anywhere is there to talk it over and work it out.

Cons of Pay Anywhere card readers Continue reading The Pros and Cons of Using Pay Anywhere Card Readers

Is Pattern Recognition a Fair Way to Monitor Your Credit Cards?

When it comes to protecting your credit cards, companies are going to great extremes in recent times. Gone are the days where you simply got a phone call when you spent a great deal of money and when your bill is past due. Now, credit card companies are paying close attention to your account in real time. This is called credit card pattern recognition and it has been around for longer than you might think.

If you use credit cards often, you probably have gotten those odd phone calls or emails about your recent spending habits. Perhaps your credit card company noticed an odd spending pattern, or your first purchase on vacation in Tahiti. Any type of purchase that is unusual in the eyes of the credit card company can come under suspicion.

This is being used more and more as the criminals become more advanced. While the added security is a wonderful thing when it works, it can be a bit of a pain in the tail at other times. Imagine you are on vacation and you go out to supper for the first time. Imagine that you whip out your credit card and it gets declined for no good reason. This usually leads to an awkward conversation with the waiter and a long phone with the credit card company call to straighten out the fact that you are on vacation. That is not always so fun.

So, the obvious question is…are the security measures worth it in the long run? Continue reading Is Pattern Recognition a Fair Way to Monitor Your Credit Cards?

List of celebrities and political victims of hackers grows

It seems somewhat ironic, Angelina Jolie who starred as “Kate” aka Acid Burn in the movie “Hackers” has now joined the almost dozen celebrities who have had their financial information hacked into and released for the Internet to share.

TMZ reports that both Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie are the latest in a line of online hack jobs which pulled financial information including social security numbers, credit card information, car loans, banking information and even mortgage amounts and released them online. Among the others hurt by the hackers were Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher, Robert Mueller, Tiger Woods, Kanye West, Eric Holder,  Robert De Niro, Dennis Rodman, Michael Vick,  NRA advocate Wayne LaPierre and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.  There are also reports of Britney Spears, Donald Trump and even the first lady Michelle Obama being victims of these same hacksters. In the First Ladies case, it appears the problem is really with the president as they stated “”Blame your husband, we still love you, Michelle.”

Other political figures include Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden and Al Gore.   However, either there is little to be learned online about these particular political figures or they are protected better online than the other victims, there was little information revealed about them.

Credit agencies are making their own inquiries, and as reported by Forbes Magazine, “We learned about this late this afternoon [and] immediately launched an investigation,” a TransUnion spokesperson said by email.

The hackers appeared to be based out of Russia and performed a dump of the information on a website which now appears to be based on an island off the coast of Madagascar  in a technique known as “doxxing.”   But here’s the really interesting part, doxxing is the act of obtaining and posting private information about a person by scouring the Internet and is not necessarily illegal.

“You can post it as long as there is nothing nefarious about it,”  says LAPD cyber crimes detective Andrew Kleinick. “They are public figures and that kind of thing happens. It’s not right, [but] I know of no crime. He continues Continue reading List of celebrities and political victims of hackers grows

Skype Spam/Scam from Scum: Rory Gilbert-mrrorygilbertel@gmail.com

This is new.

I’m being scammed/spammed via my Skype account from a Rory Gilbert.

Of course, it’s simple for scummy scammers to create thousands of fake Skype accounts and send out scams and spam like this.

In any case, if you hear from this particular Rory Gilbert on Skype, you should know that this is a scam.

Note that he never uses my name.  He’s just looking for anyone with the common last name of Kraft.

The typical NIgerian 409 Fraud Scam, perpetuated via Skype.
The typical NIgerian 409 Fraud Scam, perpetuated via Skype.
[11:33:48 AM] Rory Gilbert: Hello  Kraft

I am sorry to contact you unannounced through this medium. I am Mr. Rory Gilbert a former staff of Barclays bank dubai, United Arab Emirate . I write you this proposal in good faith hoping that I will rely on you . In 2006, one Mr. Daniel Kraft

who has same name as yours and who has your country in his file as his place of origin, made a fixed deposit for 36 calendar months, valued at $18,400,000.00 with my bank. I was his account officer before I rose to the position of Manager Director now. The maturity date for this deposit contract was 16th of January 2009. Unfortunately, while on a business trip ,he died in a deadly earthquake that occurred on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province of China which killed at least 68,000 people.
Since the last quarter of 2009 until today,the management of Barclay’s bank have been finding a means to reach him so as ascertain if he will want to roll over the Deposit or have the contract sum withdraw .Since September 2009,when I discovered that this will happen , I learnt of his death ,so I have tried to think up a procedure to preserve this fund and use the proceed for charity .

Some directors here have been trying to find out from me the information about this account and the owner, but I have kept it closed because, I know that if they become aware that Mr Daniel is now late, they will corner the funds for themselves. Therefore, I am seeking your co-operation to present you as the one to benefit from his fund at his death since you have the same name, so that my bank head quarters will pay the funds to you. I have done enough inside bank arrangement and you only have to put in your details into the information network in the bank computers and reflect you as his next of kin.

I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 50/50% to both parties My share will assist me to start a charity organization to help the poor and also own a company which has been my dream.
Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal email address,  mrrorygilbertel@gmail.com Have a nice day,and may GOD bless you.
Best regards,

MR. Rory Gilbert.
mrrorygilbertel@gmail.com

 

I have blocked this user on Skype and reported the message as abuse.

I suggest you do the same.

Foursquare Discounts or Four or More Opportunities for Identity Theft?

foursquare now offers discounts to merchantsMany stores today offer member discounts, program rebates, and other ways of earning money back when you make a purchase at the store. This is usually done with the swipe of a key fob, member card, or giving the cashier a phone number to look up. I personally never remember to bring those with me, so I am always grateful that they can simply look my number up to apply the discount. On the other hand, who can remember every single key fob they have or know ahead of time every time they will visit a store they are a member of? I know I’m not that organized, but even if I was, I don’t relish the thought of filling a key ring with multiple fobs.

FourSquare came up with a great program to help eliminate the hassle of having to carry all those key fobs or merchant cards around. Their program allows you to sync your data so that in some cases, multiple discounts can be applied.

Here’s how it works: You sync your information with merchants who participate in the program. When you go to that store and swipe your credit card, all your information is applied. For instance if you have ecoupons, you don’t have to print them out because they are synced with your card already. You also don’t have to have your key fob for in-store discounts because they are already in sync with your card. When you consider this and the fact that most banks offer cash back incentives, it seems like this would be a great way to simplify your shopping experience.

There’s just one problem; doesn’t it also simplify the identity theft experience? Continue reading Foursquare Discounts or Four or More Opportunities for Identity Theft?

Opposing Views of Fingerprint Payments

fingerprint takes place of credit cardWhen my child’s school started scanning fingerprints for lunch payments, I was opposed to the idea. But I like to be a pretty fair person so I weighed the pros and the cons. As it turns out, this could be a budding popular method of payment and there are actually quite a few perks involved.

Pros

There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t lost their wallet, purse, or at least one credit card. Personally, I am well known for all of the above. One of the advantages of fingerprint payments is that it’s pretty hard to lose your finger. Even if someone did manage to take it from you in some unspeakable way, new fingerprint systems monitor for pulse as well as scanning the fingerprint. Another positive point is that identity theft is a lot easier to prove when you aren’t even in the same location.

Let’s just assume that someone used some sort of technology to duplicate your fingerprint. They put it on their own finger, which obviously has a pulse. They make a purchase. You try to dispute it. If this had been a credit card and you weren’t in the same location as the purchase, your creditors might accuse you of lending it out in an effort to obtain the merchandise without having to pay for it. This is clearly an impossible task when you use fingerprints instead of credit cards.

Cons

While there are plenty of pros when it comes to fingerprint payments, there are cons as well. How you look at each depends a great deal on how you view the financial and governmental system, not to mention your own body. I have to admit, when I first heard of it at my son’s school I wondered how much he would hate me for allowing this if later on down the road he wanted to live “off the grid”.

I don’t even like the idea of Social Security numbers. The idea of submitting my young child’s fingerprint to anyone was appalling to me. For me, the biggest downside of all to fingerprint payment Continue reading Opposing Views of Fingerprint Payments

Here comes the marriage fraud

marriage fraudCue up the wedding music.   Turn on the PC.  You may not kiss the computer screen.   Yes,  internet marriages are becoming more common, but could that also mean that marriage frauds could become more common and easier to do too?

Britain recently uncovered a 20 million pound marriage scam involving cash for brides from Eastern countries.  The brides were bought and paid for, in order to get access to benefits and jobs in Great Britain.  It has been called the largest marriage scam uncovered, to date.

In the U.S.  three brothers were recently found guilty of  “participating in a conspiracy to enter into marriages for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws, making false statements to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and unlawfully attempting to procure naturalization and citizenship.” Apparently the three men in question paid women to marry them and set up a scheme where they would convince U.S. authorities of their happily married status, so that they could become citizens.   They now face prison time and deportation.

True Love or Marriage Fraud” took an inside look at the problems with marriage fraud in Canada.  stating that,

 Canada is, perhaps, the easiest among all developed countries in which to commit marriage fraud — and without any repercussions.  Around one thousand cases marriage fraud are reported to the government every year – stories of would-be immigrants who woo and marry Canadians as a doorway into Canada.

One artist from Ottawa says of the Canadian system, “The easiest way to become a permanent resident in this country is to get married. As soon as you step into the country you’re granted permanent residency status. There’s no other country that grants this…..I was duped into marrying this man who had no intention of staying with me.”

Reporting marriage fraud Continue reading Here comes the marriage fraud