Scam Alerts

In the News

Fraudsters and criminals are always thinking of new ways to steal your money or your identity.

Don’t let the fraudsters take what belongs to you! Keep informed of their latest scams:

Package Delivery Scam- in Your Inbox!

The Federal Trade Commission has learned of a phony “delivery failure notification” email making the rounds that looks like it’s from the U.S. Postal Service — but it’s not. The email is bogus and there is no package. And if you downloaded any attachments, or clicked on any links, you’re likely to end up with a virus or malware on your device.

So how do you tell what’s legit and what’s a scam? Here are some ways to spot a bogus email:

  • It tells you to click on a link or download an attachment;
  • It urges you to take immediate action; or
  • It asks you to “re-confirm” personal or financial information.

Another sure sign an email is a scam? If you hover over the link in the email, it won’t show the official website of the supposed sender — in this case, the U.S. Postal Service website.

If you have questions about a delivery by the U.S. Postal Service, visit usps.com or call 1-800-ASK-USPS. (Source: ftc.gov)

Business Directory Scams

Listing your business in a directory can be an effective way to advertise the products or services you offer potential customers. But be sure you know what you’re getting for your money… and that you even asked for the listing in the first place.

If you run a small business, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from scammers:

  1. Read the FTC’s information on small business scams, which outlines how con artists target businesses. Share it with your staff, including receptionists and administrative personnel, to help them spot and stop a business scammer.
  2. Designate a point person for office supplies, directory listings, subscriptions, and other things you buy periodically. Tell your staff that all purchasing calls should go through that person, and keep a central file of your usual suppliers.
  3. Use your company’s social networks to educate others about the telltale signs of a business scam.
  4. Encourage professional associations or local business groups to issue a warning to members.
  5. Take a minute to share this information in your community — fraudsters often target churches and other nonprofits that depend on volunteers.

And, be sure to report business directory and other scams by filing a complaint with the FTC.     (Source: ftc.gov)

Don’t Let Tax Scammers Get Away with It

Tax season is getting close — and for some people, so is an experience with tax identity theft or IRS imposters. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. You usually find out something’s wrong after you file your tax return.

Also, IRS imposters work year-round — posing as the IRS when they call and say you owe taxes. They even threaten to arrest you if you don’t put money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and can fake caller ID information to make it look like it really is the IRS calling.

January 26th-30th is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. That week, the FTC, AARP, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) will be hosting a webinar to give you the facts about these scams, and teach you how to protect yourself and those you care about:

The Webinar on Tax Identity Theft and IRS Imposter Scams, on Tuesday, Jan. 27th from 2:00-3:30pm EST, is open to everyone. Find login information, as well as articles and other resources, at ftc.gov/taxidtheft(Source: FTC.gov)

New Twist to the Telephone Tech Support Scam

In a new twist on the well-known tech support scam, criminals are exploiting browser pop-up windows. The pop-up window states that victim’s computer has been hacked, while a second pop-up provides a number to call. In another variation on the scam, an individual who paid the required fee later received a call advising the victim the funds paid for the services were used to purchase weapons for ISIS and asked for additional money to remove the victim’s name from a black list.  (Source: ic3.gov)

Now E-cigarettes Can Give You Malware

E-cigarettes may be better for your health than normal ones, but spare a thought for your poor computer – electronic cigarettes have become the latest vector for malicious software.  In one example, an e-cigarette made in China had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system. (Source:theguardian.com)

Dridex Banking Trojan Steals Online Banking Credentials

Attackers are targeting online banking users’ account information worldwide through sophisticated phishing attacks designed to deliver Microsoft Word documents containing malicious macro code known as Dridex. Once downloaded, Dridex monitors for activity related to online banking. The malware then performs information theft through such methods as form grabbing, screenshots and site injections.    (Source:bankinfosecurity.com)

Guard Against Ebola-related Charity Scams

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taken the lives of more than 4,000 people. Many people are asking how they can help. If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Urgent appeals for aid that you get by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or even in person, may not be on the up-and-up. Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from fraudsters who either solicit for bogus charities or aren’t honest about how a so-called charity will use your contribution.

For questions to ask and for a list of groups that can help you research a charity, go to Charity Scams. (ftc.gov)

Dangerous Celebrities

“Click baiting” is a way to get someone’s attention online. Many advertisers use it, but so do scammers. They engage with potential identity theft victims by offering something that is too intriguing to ignore: messages claiming new videos, “shocking” information or scandalous news on celebrities, newsmakers and other famous people.  Many consumers are unaware of the risks that exist when searching for celebrity and entertainment news. Often, the click bait leads to a sketchy website or a link that downloads malware on the user’s computer or smart phone.

How can consumers avoid the bait?

  • Don’t download video from suspect sites – go to Official video sites;
  • Beware of clicking on third-party links – go to the original content provider;
  • Always password protect your computer and smart phone; and
  • Be careful on the “cloud” – treat it as any asset that requires protecting.

Security company McAfee has identified the “Most Dangerous Celebrities” of 2014 – those whose names and images are most widely used by scammers as click bait. Click here to discover who they are, and learn more about this scam.   (bbb.org/delaware)

Why is MY Number Calling Me?

Scammers are using caller ID spoofing technology to impersonate the phone numbers of local businesses, neighbors and even you! Watch out for this wacky twist on the classic phishing phone scam. It’s a “robo-call” and you may be prompted to provide your credit card number in order to obtain a lower rate – or another of many different phishing schemes.

With many people rejecting calls form unfamiliar numbers, scammers are now posing as familiar businesses, government agencies, and ordinary people. They purchase lists of numbers and use spoofing technology to trick their targets into picking up the phone. Posing as your own phone number is great for shock value and ensuring the number isn’t blocked.

If a scammer calls:

  • Hang up. Don’t press buttons, don’t call back, don’t even talk.
  • Don’t trust Caller ID. Scammers have technology to display any number on your screen.
  • NEVER give out financial information. If you did not initiate the call, don’t provide account, credit card, or social security numbers.

Source: Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas

Find the details on more scams here.