Category Archives: Hoaxes

Job Hunting? Avoid Work From Home Scams

Working from home sounds like a great way to make some extra cash. It means no commuting, and makes you more available to take care of your family’s needs during the day. While some work-from-home employment opportunities are legitimate, (I’m working from home right now, for instance!) job-seekers should be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, because they probably are! Taking the bait could result in financial losses, identity theft, and, perhaps worst of all, crushed hopes.Scammers may target people looking for telecommuting jobs. Image provided by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddi_07/4621283598/sizes/l/in/photostream/"target="telecommuting">Eddi 07 - Free Stock</a>

If you’re looking for work, there are a few things that potential employers might do that should make you suspicious. It might be a scam if:

  • The job you’re applying for offers huge payments with no experience necessary, or large payments for very little time spent working
  • The potential employer asks you to wire money to them for supplies, training materials, or other start-up costs
  • The potential employer asks you for sensitive information related to your identity (social security number, etc) or your finances (bank account routing numbers, etc)
  • The company’s website looks strange or does not function properly
  • The job you’re applying for requires you to process emails, money orders or checks in a way that seems suspicious (some will send you a large check, asking that you take some of the money as payment and send the rest back to them – the check is counterfeit. By the time your bank notifies you of the fake check, you’re out money and responsible to your banking institution for the false check)
  • The job does not require a face-to-face interview
  • The person that contacts you about the position seems nervous, overly aggressive, gets confrontational when asked questions, or seems hesitant to answer questions
  • You are approached to apply for a position that you did not seek out

Some of the most prevalent scams of this nature include the offer of a “secret shopper” position, mailing positions, and information or email processing jobs. If you suspect that a company or employment opportunity might be a scam, do some research about the company. It may be as easy as entering the name of the company into the Google search engine and finding them featured on Rip Off Report to determine that the company is trying to steal your money or identity. You can also call the Better Business Bureau or visit their website to check on the legitimacy of a company or to report a potential scam.

There are, however, a few resources that offer real opportunities to work from home, including Flexjobs.com and workathomemomrevolution.com. Happy job hunting!

Sources:

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/april/workathome_041709

http://www.bbb.org/scam-stopper/ts-employment-scams.php

 

What’s in Your Email and What Should You Do with It? Four Favorite Schemes

download-key-logger-programIt seems that not a week goes by without having to check my spam mailbox as it fills with ever more increasing frequency.  When they said “spam” and phishing schemes where on the rise they really meant, on the rise!  I thought I would share with you my five favorites this week that you should be on the look out for.  One or two  have already hit some friends  and I wouldn’t want them to happen to you.

You Got Mail!

This phishing email message is sent allegedly from FEDEX or UPS.  You have a very important package that they tried to deliver but couldn’t.  If you could just take a minute to provide this information your VIP package will be on it’s way.   This one quite often asks for information, payment of an invoice (requiring me to open an attachment) and will include a subject like like this one,  “UPS Delivery Notification Tracking Number:EVKDBQXRTKRXN4CTMI.”

UPS offers more information on these fake emails as does FEDEX .

Report these types of messages to UPS at fraud@ups.com and to FEDEX at abuse@fedex.com

You Have WON!

So far this week I have won from a lottery that I never entered (scratch offs are about as far as I go) as well as won money from a casino I never heard of, let along gambled at.   Even the FBI got in on the act, telling me that I won $1 million!  This, of course, is different from the email I received last week where the FBI (who I’m quite sure already has quite a bit of information on me) attempted to phish for some more.

You have been Blessed!  Continue reading What’s in Your Email and What Should You Do with It? Four Favorite Schemes

Do NOT Install Snap.Do!

Just days after receiving and setting up my shiny new laptop computer, I encountered an annoying problem. Suddenly, my homepage was no longer Google. It had seemingly spontaneously changed to something called Snap.Do. It looked similar to Google’s homepage, but with a weird sideways squiggle in the same colors as Google’s logo. At the same time, I started experiencing problems with my flash player.

Snap.Do is published by a company called ReSoft. ReSoft purports itself to be reputable, claiming that Snap.Do is a browser tool for simpler, more efficient web browsing. In reality, it’s part of a sneaky package that will track and use your information. It’s basically a browser hijacker inundated with malware and spyware. It will change your internet settings, collect personal information and work with adware.

Some people buy the ReSoft corporate line and willingly register with Snap.Do, while other users are involuntarily infected by it. It affects Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. Do not intentionally install Snap.Do! It is completely unsafe. If you’ve experienced a hijacking by Snap.Do, you’ll want to immediately remove it from your computer.

You’ll want to go to your control panel and uninstall it. Also, go to your browser settings and delete any search engines related to Snap.Do or ReSoft. Here is a more comprehensive article about Snap.Do and how to completely remove it.

Fake Facebook Friends

facebookfriends A photographer friend of mine just told me that thousands of her photographs from   her blog have been copied and used to create a fake Facebook account.  Just days later several friends circulate a warning that identity thieves, because there is honestly no other way to describe them, are stealing images off of Facebook and setting up “dummy” Facebook accounts.   The warning reminds friends to pass it on and that if they get a second friends request that either their friend has developed multiple personalities or that it is a fake.   I think in most cases it’s probably a fake.

But why set up a fake Facebook account?  Why would you care to learn that a complete stranger’s Aunt Emmy is baking cookies today or that their nephew got a new dog? Continue reading Fake Facebook Friends

Fear of the FBI hopes to make you respond to this identity theft email

As one of the not so lucky people affected by the Yahoo security break, my email in box and spam box get a lot more work than they used to and some of the plots, plans and scams make me laugh.  Other’s could cause a reader to rapidly respond out of fear.  One thing they all have in common, they are lying to me to get information.  Here is the most recent one you should know about and how you can know this email is fake when and if you get one.

————————-Email stated below

RE:  Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) !!! !!! !!! (I am pretty sure that 1) the FBI would not email me and 2) that they would know that it is bad manners and bad writing to use all 9 of those exclamation points.)

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Intelligence Field Unit
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.
(Pretty convincing – I give them credit for looking it up)
URGENT ATTENTION: BENEFICIARY
I AM SPECIAL AGENT _____________ (I’ve deleted just in case this Agent truly does exist)  FROM THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) INTELLIGENCE UNIT, WE HAVE JUST INTERCEPTED AND CONFISCATED TWO (2) TRUNK BOXES AT JFK AIRPORT IN NEW YORK, AND ARE ON THE VERGE OF MOVING IT TO OUR BUREAU HEADQUARTER.
 WE HAVE SCANNED THE SAID BOXES, AND HAVE FOUND IT TO CONTAIN A TOTAL SUM OF $4.1 MILLION AND ALSO BACKUP DOCUMENT WHICH BEARS YOUR NAME AS THE RECEIVER OF THE MONEY CONTAINED IN THE BOXES, INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT ON THE DIPLOMAT WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE BOXES INTO THE UNITED STATES HAS IT THAT HE WAS TO DELIVER THIS FUNDS TO YOUR RESIDENCE AS PAYMENT WHICH WAS DUE YOU FROM THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA FROM UNPAID CONTRACT SUMS.
WE CROSS-CHECKED ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTATION IN THE BOXES, AND WERE ABOUT TO RELEASE THE CONSIGNMENT TO THE DIPLOMAT,WHEN WE FOUND OUT THAT THE BOXES IS LACKING ONE VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION WHICH AS A RESULT, THE BOXES HAS BEEN CONFISCATED.
 ACCORDING TO SECTION 229 SUBSECTION 31 OF THE 1991 CONSTITUTION IN TAX PAYMENT, YOUR CONSIGNMENT LACKS PROOF OF OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE FROM THE JOINT TEAM OF THE IRS AND HOMELAND SECURITY, AND THERE FOR, YOU MUST CONTACT US FOR DIRECTION ON HOW TO PROCURE THIS CERTIFICATE, SO THAT YOU CAN BE RELIEVED OF THE CHARGES OF EVADING TAX WHICH IS A PUNISHABLE OFFENSE UNDER SECTION 12 SUBSECTION 441 OF CONSTITUTION ON TAX EVASION. Continue reading Fear of the FBI hopes to make you respond to this identity theft email

Resource for Learning about Security and Cybercrimes

In the last several years, cybercrime has become an increasing problem, especially with its ever evolving nature. The criminals using cyber methods to get what they want are smarter than your average thief, which means that to really protect yourself from this sort of crime, it’s smart to learn as much as you can about how these crimes happen. One great place to start is at Master of Homeland Security list of the Top 100 National Security Resources.

While a list of one hundred different sites is an immense amount of information to explore, there are a few on the list that really stand out, either because they are very informative or just simply an interesting collection of information. Not all of the sites necessarily pertain to cybercrime, but they all are security related.

First on the list is In Homeland Security, a site which provides news and information about both terrorism and homeland defense. The information isn’t just limited to the US either. There are several international news articles.

Then, second on the list is a really interesting blog by the TSA which Continue reading Resource for Learning about Security and Cybercrimes

‘Tis the Season for Phishing for Families

Hackers might not take a break from trying to find ways to steal your information and money, but it turns out they do follow seasonal trends. According to a report by Kaspersky Lab, in October, phishing attempts on social networks were down 10%, and they saw an increase in attacks on financial institutions or banks and on online shops. They say that’s an expected trend through the holiday season, based on data from last year.

Summer time bring attacks on kids

During the summer months and holidays, hackers target kids who are out of school and likely don’t know better than to click bad links on social networks. Kids are also more likely to over share private information online, making them a prime target for scammers. Most of the younger generation hasn’t yet learned to be skeptical of deals that are too good, and that can get them into serious trouble. Once school starts again, the phishing attempts via email slow down, while the hackers move toward more promising targets.

Holiday shopping online makes a tempting target for hackers

When the holiday season rolls around, Continue reading ‘Tis the Season for Phishing for Families

Consumer and Companies Working Together to Stay Safe from Cyber Fraud

Banks and other financial institutions are struggling to keep up with ever advancing technology while still protecting our money, in part because we want instant access wherever we are. But mobile banking comes with risks, especially that our information and account numbers are vulnerable without strong safeguards in place. And while the banks are continually increasing and assessing security measures, thieves are also working to learn ways around online security.

Today, millions of transactions are happening online or over mobile apps, and that brings an increase in the risk of cyber fraud, where skilled hackers can steal your information, your money and your identity.

One of the challenges banks face in protecting our accounts is that they have to keep us happy. That mean making sure we can access our own accounts with a minimum of fuss, yet we still expect the banks and other financial institutions to protect us from cyber fraud. Of course, it’s in the banks best interest to protect our money, or we might just take our business elsewhere, and they know that. It’s a fine balancing act they have, and it’s important that we play a bigger role in preventing cyber fraud.

Banks are realizing that Continue reading Consumer and Companies Working Together to Stay Safe from Cyber Fraud

Tips for avoiding Sandy scams by so-called repairman and contractors

Hurricane Sandy caused billions of dollars worth of damage. If you’re one of the unfortunate homeowners to be affected, you need to be careful when looking for someone to rebuild or repair your home. There are a lot of corrupt contractors looking to make a quick buck by scamming those affected by the hurricane. This can make a bad situation even worse. Let’s take a closer look at what to look out for when hiring a contractor and how to find the best contractor for the job.

What to Look Out For

First of all, you want to make sure a contractor is licensed and has experience. This doesn’t guarantee that the contractor won’t rip you off, but it will give scammers pause when you ask to see credentials. You also want to watch out for contractors that ask for a complete upfront payment. A legitimate contractor will not do this. You may be asked to pay 10-25% of the total up front, but never 100-percent. Scammers are also very likely to point out damage that needs immediate attention. Don’t let this fool you. The contractor is only trying to get your money. Always get more than several opinions when getting work done. You should also be wary of contractors offering prices well below other estimates you’ve received. Remember, if it sounds too good be to be true, it probably is. Last, but not least, understand how long projects will take and how much they will cost. If a contractor says he can replace the roof in less than one day for $500, run! (And we don’t mean straight into the contractors arms)

What to Look for in a Contractor

Chances are the contractors in your area are in high-demand, especially if the damage in your area was severe. This means you may have to wait up to a week or longer to get estimates, but you should get several before moving forward. A good contractor will be able to look at your home and give you a list of work that needs to be done along with a price rundown and a final estimate. A good contractor should also be able to provide a good list of references. However, you need to do more research to find out if you’re making the best decision. Ask for referrals from friends and family who have had work done in the past and search websites that review local contractors.

The damage from a hurricane can be devastating. Unfortunately, scammers can make the experience much worse. If you’ve experienced damage to your home, make sure you make an informed decision before hiring a contractor.

FBI Warns Of Superstorm Sandy Donation Scams

Father saves son from Hurricane Sandy.Hurricane Sandy absolutely ravaged the east coast, but there are scammers out there that are hoping to ravage your bank account. While donating to the cleanup and recovery efforts is certainly a good thing, the government is warning people to watch out for scams. If you want to help the recovery efforts, there are legitimate ways to do so.  Find out how to avoid Sandy-related scams and how you can help Sandy victims without getting caught in a “storm” of theft, fraud and hoaxes.

What to Watch Out For

There are a number of scams being sent through email. If you receive an unsolicited email asking for donations to help the victim of hurricane Sandy, there’s a good chance it isn’t real. These emails have been arriving from people claiming to be victims and even from those claiming to be elected officials. Scammers are also using social networking sites to lure in those that want to help those in need. If you live close to an affected area, you may even be approached on the street or at your home. Be wary of those asking for cash donations and never give out personal or financial information.

How to Help Continue reading FBI Warns Of Superstorm Sandy Donation Scams