When a company has a
computer system dialing phone numbers to "pitch" their product.
Lower credit card interest
rate? Mortgage relief? "Free" vacations, medical supplies or home alarms?
Changes in your health benefits or bank account? These are bait in current
top robocall rip-offs, but new schemes constantly evolve, all seeking your
personal or financial information. This year likely will end with another
record for these automated and often illegal annoyances, says Federal Trade
Commission official Lois Greisman, who oversees the National Do Not Call
"Our law enforcement actions
have already halted billions of robocalls, but with today's technology, tens
of millions can be blasted each day - at a per minute calling cost of less
than 1 cent," Greisman says.
The fact is, certain kinds of
robocalls are legal and useful. Airlines can call with an automated
alert that your flight has been canceled, for instance, and schools can
phone with a message that students are being sent home early because of
impending weather related issues. Nonprofit membership organizations,
including AARP, can call members with pertinent information, such as
upcoming events about retirement planning, Social Security or consumer
Flat-out commercial pitches are
illegal unless you've given permission in writing.
When these kinds of calls come
in, your caller ID usually displays "spoofed" numbers - outright fakes or
those stolen from legitimate organizations or citizens- or just says
"Dozens and dozens of spoofed
numbers can be used per robocall campaign, and telemarketing scripts are
shared as well," says Greisman, explaining why you may get the same rip-off
recording from different incoming numbers.
And it's usually not personal.
Although lists of real phone numbers are sometimes used, typically a
sequence of phone number is programmed- say, dial X numbers with Y area code
over Z period - and computerized systems start calling. The scammers
often don't know who owns those numbers, whether they're on the registry, or
even if the numbers are actually in operation.
Here's how to
Don't help them harass
you. If you "press any key" as instructed - either to "opt out" or
to be transferred to someone ( if only to complain about the call) -
you're logging your number as working. . . and ripe for future calls.
Hang up without pressing any key.
Block robocall numbers.
To do this, contact your phone service provider. But think twice
before paying for this protection since the numbers displayed on caller
IDs are changed frequently. Learn about a promising free
alternative at www.nomorobo.com.
Although most caller ID - displayed numbers are spoofed, report them to
ftc.gov/complaint or call 888-382-1222 toll - free. You'll be
helping the FTC identify violators.
This article is from
Posted November 2013
Banking and Securities Department
Warns Consumers about Suspected Scam
– The Department of Banking and Securities is alerting the public about an
advance fee loan scam being perpetrated under the name Northlawn Lending.
Over the Internet, Northlawn solicits personal and business loans, as well
as debt consolidation services and refinancing.
Several consumers who were solicited for loans, but did not actually apply
for loans, alerted the department when they called the department’s Office
of Consumer Services to inquire about the legality of such loans.
Northlawn Lending represents itself as a company in Camp Hill, Pa. There is
no such company located in Camp Hill or licensed by the Pennsylvania
Department of Banking and Securities.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing more of this kind of activity as consumers use
Internet search engines looking for financial assistance and end up on the
websites of unlicensed operators,” said Secretary of Banking and Securities
Glenn E. Moyer.
“I urge consumers to take steps to ensure that lenders soliciting them are
properly licensed or chartered to do business in Pennsylvania,” Moyer said.
Consumers can call the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities at
1-800-PA-BANKS (1-800-722-2657) or visit
www.dobs.state.pa.us to make inquiries or file complaints against
financial services providers.
Posted June 2013
The $8,000 Vacuum ?
Two seniors from California, live solely on their Social Security benefits of
$2,200 a month. The last thing they could afford or even wanted was a
$4,400 vacuum cleaner. But they bought a vacuum after two door to door
salesmen who said they were students at the nearby college convinced them it was
worth two months of their total income.
Mister, who is 74 and has early stage dementia, let them inside the home while
Misses was baking cookies. They wore us down until we finally gave in, said
Misses, 73. Sound familiar? Now is the busy season for the door to door
sales. Some salespeople, of course, are honest folks trying to make a
living: others are con artists.
Now, you are thinking are you kidding, but this is happening to people who
are being pushed to buying things they really don't want or need.
Here's how to protect yourself.
Don't engage them. As most of this generation we were raised to
be polite, and courteous. One of the reasons other older Americans are so
often targeted from door to door sales. The easiest way to avoid a hard
sell: Keep the door closed.
Be wary of contract offers. Think spending $4,400 for a
vacuum cleaner is bad? Actually, the total cost was more than $8,000.
That's because one of the salesmen provided a contract allowing the couple to
finance their purchase through a company that he recommended. The terms:
No money down, but payments of $112 a month for six years at 18 percent
interest. Weary from the long sales pitch, they admitted they didn't fully
understand the terms when they signed. Always give yourself time to review
the offer. Honest salespeople will understand.
Buyer's remorse?? Act quickly. if you buy anything
costing $25 or more from a door to door salesperson, the Federal Trade
Commission's "cooling-off rule" gives you three days to cancel for a full
refund. Misses and Mister waited 11 days before calling the salesman asking
that he take back the vacuum. He refused saying we waited too long.
Technically, he was correct. But that federal mandate also requires
sellers to tell you about your cancellation rights at the time of sale.
Misses says that the salesman provided the cancellation notices in a sealed
envelope, which she didn't open for 10 days. So when she contacted the
Better Business Bureau, she was told she was out of luck. She waited
three months before telling family members about her foolish purchase.
One of them notified Scam Alert.
They immediately called the president of the company, and found out that the
salesmen were independent distributors who buy the vacuums from them and then
sell deciding on their selling price. The president decided to
contact the elderly couple and took the vacuum back and cancel the financing
Don't engage, - say No thanks.
Be wary of contract offers - tell them you want to think about it.
Buyer's remorse - Act quickly - you have three days to cancel the contract
and get a full refund.
Article is from the AARP bulletin for June 2013
Say No to *72
The scam: A terrible phone call
to a Sioux Falls, SD, man tells him of a death in the family, asks him to
call another number for details and to begin his cell phone call with the
code *72. What this actually does is transfer all calls sent to the cell
phone to the number the caller has given -- the scammer's own number.
The scammer then gives your
number to his buddies anywhere in the world and they can phone him via your
cell, with you picking up the charges -- and knowing nothing about it --
until you get your bill.
The solution: Don't use the *72
or any other forwarding code to forward calls to a number you don't know or
recognize. You can enter *73 to clear call forwarding. (We're not sure if
*72 and *73 are the forwarding codes for all cell phones. Check your cell
phone manual or talk to your carrier.)
Posted February 2013
$299 Prescription Drug
The Pennsylvania Senior
Medicare Patrol (SMP) has received calls about a prescription drug phone
scam affecting PA seniors. The scammer offers a new prescription drug
plan for checking account information and social security number.
STOP, DO NOT GIVE OUT THIS INFORMATION! If you give it out, he may
deduct $299 dollars from your checking account but the drug plan he offered
doesn't not exist. Don't believe anyone who threatens to take away
your Medicare benefits if you do not sign up for their plan! Call and
get the truth 1.800.356.3606 C.A.R.I.E., Center for advocacy for the
rights and interest of the elderly.
Posted November 2012
Holiday Shopping Tips
This holiday season, the FBI reminds shoppers that cyber criminals
aggressively create new ways to steal money and personal information.
Scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims, including conducting
fraudulent auction sales, reshipping merchandise purchased with stolen
credit cards, and selling fraudulent or stolen gift cards through auction
sites at discounted prices.
Fraudulent Classified Ads and Auction Sales
Internet criminals post classified ads and auctions for products they do not
have and make the scam work by using stolen credit cards. Fraudsters receive
an order from a victim, charge the victim’s credit card for the amount of
the order, then use a separate, stolen credit card for the actual purchase.
They pocket the purchase price obtained from the victim’s credit card and
have the merchant ship the item directly to the victim. Consequently, an
item purchased from an online auction but received directly from the
merchant is a strong indication of fraud. Victims of such a scam not only
lose the money paid to the fraudster, but may be liable for receiving stolen
Shoppers may help avoid these scams by using caution and not providing
financial information directly to the seller, as fraudulent sellers will use
this information to purchase items for their schemes. Always use a
legitimate payment service to ensure a safe, legitimate purchase.
As for product delivery, fraudsters posing as legitimate delivery services
offer reduced or free shipping to customers through auction sites. They
perpetuate this scam by providing fake shipping labels to the victim. The
fraudsters do not pay for delivery of the packages; therefore, delivery
service providers intercept the packages for nonpayment and the victim loses
the money paid for the purchase of the product.
Diligently check each seller’s rating and feedback along with their number
of sales and the dates on which feedback was posted. Be wary of a seller
with 100 percent positive feedback, with a low total number of feedback
postings, or with all feedback posted around the same date and time.
Gift Card Scam
Be careful when purchasing gift cards through auction sites or classified
ads. It is safest to purchase gift cards directly from the merchant or
retail store. If the gift card merchant discovers that your card is
fraudulent, the merchant will deactivate the gift card and refuse to honor
it for purchases. Victims of this scam lose the money paid for the gift card
Phishing and Smishing Schemes
In phishing schemes, a fraudster poses as a legitimate entity and uses
e-mail and scam websites to obtain victims’ personal information, such as
account numbers, user names, passwords, etc. Smishing is the act of sending
fraudulent text messages to bait a victim into revealing personal
Be leery of e-mails or text messages that indicate a problem or question
regarding your financial accounts. In this scam, fraudsters direct victims
to follow a link or call a number to update an account or correct a
purported problem. The link directs the victim to a fraudulent website or
message that appears legitimate. Instead, the site allows the fraudster to
steal any personal information the victim provides.
Current smishing schemes involve fraudsters calling victims’ cell phones
offering to lower the interest rates for credit cards the victims do not
even possess. If a victim asserts that they do not own the credit card, the
caller hangs up. These fraudsters call from TRAC cell phones that do not
have voicemail, or the phone provides a constant busy signal when called,
rendering these calls virtually untraceable.
Another scam involves fraudsters directing victims, via e-mail, to a spoofed
website. A spoofed website is a fake site that misleads the victim into
providing personal information, which is routed to the scammer’s computer.
Phishing schemes related to deliveries are also rampant. Legitimate delivery
service providers neither e-mail shippers regarding scheduled deliveries nor
state when a package is intercepted or being temporarily held. Consequently,
e-mails informing of such delivery issues are phishing scams that can lead
to personal information breaches and financial losses.
Here are some tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
■Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
■Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
■Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as
the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
■Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal
■Always compare the link in the e-mail with the link to which you are
directed and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
■Log directly onto the official website for the business identified in the
e-mail, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail
appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal
with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the
business will provide the proper contact information.
■Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if
the e-mail is genuine.
■If you are asked to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a
scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
■Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial
institution by contacting them using the main contact information.
■Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Posted August 2012
Do Not Call Registry
Scammers have been
making phone calls claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry.
The calls claim to provide and opportunity to sign up for the Registry.
These calls are not coming from the Registry or Federal Trade Commission,
and you should not respond to these calls. To add you number to the
Registry you can call 888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register, or
go click on "Register a Phone Number" on our web site
will not expire. Telephone numbers place on the National Do Not Call
Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement
Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008.
Posted July 2012
A computer pop-up
05/30/12—The IC3 has been made aware of a new Citadel mal-ware platform used
to deliver ransom ware, named Reveton. The ransom ware lures the victim to a
drive-by download website, at which time the ransom ware is installed on the
user’s computer. Once installed, the computer freezes and a screen is
displayed warning the user they have violated United States federal law. The
message further declares the user’s IP address was identified by the
Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section as visiting child pornography
and other illegal content.
To unlock the computer, the user is instructed to pay a $100 fine to the
U.S. Department of Justice using prepaid money card services. The geographic
location of the user’s IP address determines what payment services are
offered. In addition to the ransomware, the Citadel malware continues to
operate on the compromised computer and can be used to commit online banking
and credit card fraud.
This is an attempt to extort money with the additional possibility of the
victim’s computer being used to participate in online bank fraud. If you
have received this or something similar, do not follow payment instructions.
It is suggested that you:
Contact your banking institutions.
File a complaint at www.IC3.gov.
Posted July 2012
Malware Installed on
Travelers’ Laptops Through Software Updates on Hotel Internet Connections
analysis from the FBI and other government agencies demonstrates that
malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while
they are establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms.
Recently, there have been instances of travelers’ laptops being infected
with malicious software while using hotel Internet connections. In these
instances, the traveler was attempting to set up the hotel room Internet
connection and was presented with a pop-up window notifying the user to
update a widely used software product. If the user clicked to accept and
install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop. The
pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate
software product for which updates are frequently available.
The FBI recommends that all government, private industry, and academic
personnel who travel abroad take extra caution before updating software
products through their hotel Internet connection. Checking the author or
digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the
software vendor may reveal an attempted attack. The FBI also recommends that
travelers perform software updates on laptops immediately before traveling,
and that they download software updates directly from the software vendor’s
website if updates are necessary while abroad.
Anyone who believes they have been a target of this type of attack should
immediately contact their local FBI office and promptly report it to the
IC3’s website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3’s complaint database links complaints
together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case
consideration. The complaint information is also used to identify emerging
trends and patterns.
Residents from all over
Pennsylvania have received calls from scammers claiming to be "from
Medicare." The scammer states that Medicare is sending out new cards
and then instructs the beneficiary to give the scammer their checking
account number in order to receive the new card. In at least tow
cases, the scammer already had the beneficiary's address, bank name, and
bank routing number!!!
If you receive a call like this,
hang up the phone!!
will never call you to sell you anything
NEVER ask for your checking account number.
report a similar scam or other Medicare fraud,
call the Pennsylvania Senior Medicare Patrol
here to help!
Medicare Beneficiaries urged to be on the
look-out for phone scams
The Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) warns seniors and people with
disabilities to be aware of a scheme that asks Medicare beneficiaries for
money and checking account information to help them enroll in a Medicare
Prescription Drug Plan.
This scheme is
called the “$299 Ring” for the typical amount of money Medicare
beneficiaries are talked into withdrawing from their checking accounts to
pay for a non-existent prescription drug plan. Consumers can report these
cases to their local law enforcement agencies or 1-877-7SAFERX
received complaints from Indiana , Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts
New Jersey and Georgia. Complaints have been made against a number of
different companies, but authorities believe that the companies are the same
and are typically based outside the U. S. As soon as CMS receives these
complaints, they are investigated and referred to federal law enforcement
No Medicare drug
plan can ask a person with Medicare for bank account or other personal
information over the telephone. No beneficiary should ever provide that
kind of information to a caller. They should contact their local police
department if they believe someone is trying to take money or information
from them illegally.
Medicare should also remember that they should be on the lookout for anyone
trying to take advantage of them and take steps to protect themselves by
·No one can
come into your home uninvited.
·No one can
ask you for personal information during their marketing activities.
keep all personal information, such as your Medicare number, safe, just as
you would a credit card or a bank account number.
you have a question or concern about any activity regarding Medicare, call
legitimate Medicare drug plans will not ask for payment over the telephone
or the Internet. They must bill the beneficiary for the monthly premium.
Typically, that amount is set up as an automatic withdrawal from the
beneficiary’s monthly Social Security check. Beneficiaries may also opt to
pay the monthly premiums in other ways such as writing a check or setting up
automatic payments from their checking accounts.
Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud
Medical Equipment Fraud:
Equipment manufacturers offer "free"
products to individuals. Insurers are then charged for products that were
not needed and/or may not have been delivered.
"Rolling Lab" Schemes:
Unnecessary and sometimes fake tests are given to individuals at health
clubs, retirement homes, or shopping malls and billed to insurance companies
Services Not Performed:
Customers or providers bill insurers for services never rendered by changing
bills or submitting fake ones.
Medicare fraud can take the form of any of the health insurance frauds
described above. Senior citizens are frequent targets of Medicare schemes,
especially by medical equipment manufacturers who offer seniors free medical
products in exchange for their Medicare numbers. Because a physician has to
sign a form certifying that equipment or testing is needed before Medicare
pays for it, con artists fake signatures or bribe corrupt doctors to sign
the forms. Once a signature is in place, the manufacturers bill Medicare for
merchandise or service that was not needed or was not ordered.
Tips for Avoiding Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud:
■Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
■Never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services
■Ask your medical providers what they will charge and what you will be
expected to pay out-of-pocket.
■Carefully review your insurer's explanation of the benefits statement. Call
your insurer and provider if you have questions.
■Do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you
that services of medical equipment are free.
■Give your insurance/Medicare identification only to those who have provided
you with medical services.
■Keep accurate records of all health care appointments.
■Know if your physician ordered equipment for you.
Reverse Mortgage Scams
The FBI and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of
Inspector General (HUD-OIG) urge consumers, especially senior citizens, to
be vigilant when seeking reverse mortgage products. Reverse mortgages, also
known as home equity conversion mortgages (HECM), have increased more than
1,300 percent between 1999 and 2008, creating significant opportunities for
Reverse mortgage scams are engineered by unscrupulous professionals in a
multitude of real estate, financial services, and related companies to steal
the equity from the property of unsuspecting senior citizens or to use these
seniors to unwittingly aid the fraudsters in stealing equity from a flipped
In many of the reported scams, victim seniors are offered free homes,
investment opportunities, and foreclosure or refinance assistance. They are
also used as straw buyers in property flipping scams. Seniors are frequently
targeted through local churches and investment seminars, as well as
television, radio, billboard, and mailer advertisements.
A legitimate HECM loan product is insured by the Federal Housing Authority.
It enables eligible homeowners to access the equity in their homes by
providing funds without incurring a monthly payment. Eligible borrowers must
be 62 years or older who occupy their property as their primary residence
and who own their property or have a small mortgage balance. See the FBI/HUD
Intelligence Bulletin for specific details on HECMs as well as other
foreclosure rescue and investment schemes.
Tips for Avoiding Reverse Mortgage Scams:
■Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements.
■Be suspicious of anyone claiming that you can own a home with no down
■Do not sign anything that you do not fully understand.
■Do not accept payment from individuals for a home you did not purchase.
■Seek out your own reverse mortgage counselor.
If you are a victim of this type of fraud and want to file a complaint,
please submit information through our electronic tip line or through your
local FBI office. You may also file a complaint with HUD-OIG at www.hud.gov/complaints/fraud_waste.cfm
or by calling HUD’s hotline at 1-800-347-3735.
This scam like others, is an
attempt to obtain beneficiaries' Medicare numbers in exchange for "free
products or services".
One woman reported receiving
A man called and stated he was
from ABC Health, a certified Medicare provider. This man told the
beneficiary that ABC Health was offering free back braces (or some other
device like a motorized chair), and that all he needed was her Medicare
number. He was persistent and repeated the request several times,
while reassuring the beneficiary that ABC Health was a certified Medicare
Luckily, the targeted woman knew
not to give up her Medicare number, and to be wary of unsolicited callers.
She asked several questions, and managed to get their telephone number.
She then called Medicare to report them.
It is very important to remember
the following tips:
Protect - Never give out your
Medicare number to unsolicited callers
Detect - If something sounds too
good to be true, it probably is
Report - If you receive a similar
call or would like to report a scam, call the Senior Medicare Patrol at
CARRIE (Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the
Elderly). A real person will answer your call, no buttons to push
or menus to follow. CARRIE phone number :1-800-356-3606.
With Banking information Scam
Email have been received from
Scam Banking email account: Re: Please sign into your bank account right
away someone has access to you money. Then they give a link for you to
click on and follow. This leads you to what looks like your bank on
line...............DO NOT FOLLOW THE LINK OR SIGH IN UNDER THIS BANK ACCOUNT
This is a good replica of the
real bank account web site except it isn't your bank account web site.
Your bank will not contact you
with this sensitive information. If you get this email call you bank
or stop in at the bank with the email printed out. These counterfeit
bank scams have been successful in getting peoples account numbers and
robbing them of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An elderly resident
reported receiving phone calls from a male identifying himself as a
representative from Publisher Clearing House.
The male was telling her that she won an automobile and attempted to get the
resident to pay for insurance upfront before the car could be delivered.
The resident refused and informed her relatives of the call. While the
relatives were discussing the first few calls at the house, another call
came in and this caller identified himself as a representative from the
Philadelphia Police Department who indicated he was aware of the person
calling them and that they were investigating the caller.
The resident was given a phone number and contact name which turned. out to
be fake. The resident did not suffer a loss in this incident. This incident
was an attempt to obtain important information from the victim by fraud.
Residents are cautioned against giving out any personal information over the
phone. They are urged to verify information from the caller or contact their
local police department.
That chain lock on and
the room safe aren't as secure as you might think.
Take these critical
precautions during your next hotel stay. For example:
Ask about security
Does the door have
Don't allow anyone
in without Identification (ID)
Top 5 Travel Scams
fall victim to any of the travel scams that have made this list on your way
to your dream vacation. Travel related fraud is a major consumer concern.
The National Fraud
Information Center has near the top of the fraud list. There are so many
and they've become so clever that it's hard sometimes to tell a real deal
from a phony. Many of them are in the "Too good to be true" category but not
all. Sometimes "hard sell" tactics are used. Others simply fail to provide
to goods or services promised. Avoiding travel scams isn't always easy Our
list below contains some of the worst travel scams.
Avoid Being Scammed
are several easy ways to protect yourself from postal mail scams.
all mail after reading. This includes, correspondence from your bank,
credit card company, insurance company, mortgage provider, all utility bills
-anything that has your personal information on it.
or throw away any letters claiming you have won money in a lottery or
sweepstakes you do not remember entering.
1-888-567-8688 or log onto
www.optoutprescreen.com to stop the flood of pre-approved credit card
and insurance offers. These unsolicited offers are used by scammers to
steal your identity - so stop them before they come.
Remember that, unfortunately, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it
Counterfeit Drug Scams
Posted February 2011
Consumers have lots
of choices for buying prescription drugs these days. But beware –
counterfeit drugs are on the rise. You might throw your money away on
ineffective drugs, or even worse, you could be harmed by taking drugs that
aren't what they pretend to be.
If you know the size, shape, color, taste, and side effects of the
prescriptions you take, you will more easily identify possible
counterfeits. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you notice anything
different about a medication.
attention to packaging.
Check for altered or unsealed containers, or changes in the packaging or
label. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you notice any changes.
buy prescription medications from a safe, reputable source.
If the seller is unfamiliar check with your state board of pharmacy or
the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at
www.nabp.net (click on "Who We Are" on the left and then "Boards of
Pharmacy" for a list of state boards) or call 847-698-6227. These sources
can tell you if the pharmacy is licensed.
you buy medications online, make sure the seller
is properly licensed.
Check with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of
Boards of Pharmacy at
www.nabp.net (click on "Who We Are" on the left and then "Boards of
Pharmacy" for a list of state boards) or call 847-698-6227.
(see more at
Posted September 2010
Your long lost cousin,
nephew, brother, mother, did not die in a car accident. This relates to
the "next of kin" or "inheritance" scam. You will not be
collecting millions of dollars because someone shares the same last name.
These scammers will always ask for money to pay for this document or that
permit for funds release, etc etc. Don’t be fooled, it is a scam!
Winning Lottery Ticket
There is no such thing as
winning the lottery through your email address. If you receive an
email saying you were selected through email or told for any other reason
you have won a lottery, it is a scam! Do not reply. No matter how
tempting it is, please don’t respond. It is for your own good! Lottery
scams come in many forms.
Your phone rings and a
machine is on the other ends saying " this is your bank calling there is
a problem with your account please follow the automated system to help
correct this problem. Then it instructs you on how to reply Press 1
for more information, etc.
DO NOT REPLY, HANG UP AND
CALL YOUR BANK and REPORT IT.
THIS IS A SCAM TO GET YOUR
BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER.
Your bank will not call you
and ask for information. If anyone calls you and asks for on your
personal information say "no thank you" and hang up. If they are a
reputable company they will not call you with a machine or even call you
at all. Most of these calls are automated machines. If it is
a human being calling tell them to mail it to you. NEVER EVER GIVE
YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, YOUR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBERS OR OTHER PERSONAL
INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE. There are a lot of scams and con men or
women who would love to get your private information. Please stop
and think, does this sound right? Do not give out that
For other scams go to
www.fbi.gov and check out "Be
Crime Smart" at the bottom of the page.
Every day you probably find dozens of
spam emails clogging your inbox. Among them you may see warnings that you
must contact your bank to prevent your account from being frozen or that
you must download information to double check a purchase you don't
remember making. These are common examples of email identity theft scams.
You must learn to recognize them in order to keep your personal
information safe from thieves.
Evaluate whether the subject line or the email is aimed at scaring you
into immediate action. This is known as social engineering. Identity
thieves will send an email designed to frighten you enough to take
immediate action, such as inputting your bank or credit card information,
without thinking more closely about whether the message is actually
Read the email closely to see if it ever refers to you by name. Most
identity theft scams use emails that refer to the recipient in generic
terms. The emails claim to be from your bank, credit card company or
another legitimate sender, but they refer to you generically as "Dear
Customer," "Dear Accountholder" or some other general title.
Check the email address of the sender. Although return addresses can be
spoofed, many scammers who send identity theft emails don't even bother
to disguise their return address. They may claim to be writing to you
from a financial institution, government agency or auction site, but
their address will be from Yahoo!, Hotmail or another free email
Move your mouse over any links in the email to see where they would
actually send you. Do not click the links because you could be taken to a
site that will download viruses or malicious software. When you move your
mouse over the link, the target will appear at the bottom of your browser
window. Often the link will have text that seems to indicate it belongs
to a bank or other legitimate site, but it will actually take you to an
entirely different web page.
Skim the email to see what information it asks you to provide. Identity
theft scammers send emails to collect such information as names, Social
Security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and anything
else that can be used to steal your identity, drain your accounts and run
up bills in your name. Any email that asks for personal information is
Note whether there are any attachments that arrived with the email. Many
identity theft emails don't even blatantly ask for information or try to
trick you into visiting plishing websites. They attempt to trick you into
downloading a virus that will steal information right from your computer.
2010 Older Scam
an old email scam still tried
Request for urgent
Re: Transfer of US
$48,600,000.00 Million American Dollars into your account.
After our deliberation with
my colleagues I decided to forward you this business proposal.
However, the current unfavorable political / economic climate in the
county since the beginning of the new year 2010 fiscal period now
presents an opportunity for this money to be transferred out of the
country without being noticed. We want a reliable person who could
assist us to transfer the sum of forty-eight million and six hundred
thousand United States dollars only ($48,600,000.00) into his or her
The fund resulted from an
over invoiced bill from a contract awarded by us under the budget
allocation to my ministry and the bill was approved for payment by the
concerned ministries. The contract was duly executed, commissioned
and the contractor was paid his actual cost of the contract. We are
left with the balance of $48,600,000.00 as the over - invoiced amount
which we have deliberately over estimated for our own use. But
under our protocol division civil servant are forbidden to operate or own
a foreign account. This is why I contact you for assistance.
We have agreed to share the money as follows:
1. 30% for your account owner
2. 60% for us
3. 10% for tax as may be required by your
The letter goes on to ask for
your bank name and account information etc.
DO NO REPLY - DELETE
NO ONE GIVES YOU SOMETHING
(posted Dec 2009)
(this article came from The Readers Digest)
Please beware of fake- check scams.
Con artists are preying on consumers and fraudulently using the names of
trusted companies like Reader's Digest. Some scams mimic prize award
notifications. victims receive a phony check and are asked to return
a portion of the winnings to the sender.
Remember, a legitimate sweepstakes never asks an entrant or a winner to pay
money to collect a prize. If someone says you've won and asks for
payment of any kind, contact the national Consumers League at 1701 K Street
NW, Suite 1200, Washington, D.C. 200006, or go to fakechecks.org.
Learn more at readersdigest.com/scam.
(posted August 09)
Did someone call at your home recently
to ask questions about the upcoming US Census?
Maybe they wanted to know if you had another home -- like a
vacation place or a casita in the backyard.
That's fine. US Census Bureau people have already been out
door-stepping to verify addresses and other info and will continue to
do so over the next year.
The Census is a count, every 10 years, of everyone living in the
United States. It is a confidential data gathering exercise which
relies, in the main, on you filling in a form, not telling it to
someone over the threshold of your property.
The Bureau will mail out the form in March next year (2010). If
you don't complete and return it, they'll send a second one. If you
still don't reply, they'll come knocking at your door.
They'll want to know about every person living at each address
including name, age, gender, race, ethnic origin, birth date, marital
status, employment status and other relevant data.
And you're legally obliged to tell them.
But if they seem to be seeking more detailed, personal information
about you, be very wary. It could be a scam.
Of course, the scammers are hoping you won't know that and are
already out in force.
Obviously, it makes sense to return the form because, then, apart
from the verification process, the Bureau won't come calling.
So, how can you tell if the person
you're dealing with, face-to-face, on the phone or by letter is
Well, here are a few clues:
Genuine census workers will not ask for your Social Security
number or any confidential, personal financial information like
bank account and credit card numbers.
They won't ask you for money or claim that you owe it.
The Census does not involve collection of data either by email
or through online websites; the Census Bureau may communicate with
you via email but will not ask for information or ask you to click
a link or attachment.
Genuine Census workers carry official identification, a
confidentiality notice and, often, a handheld computer.
They won't ask to come into your home -- and don't invite them
to do so.
A small sample of people are legitimately asked more detailed
questions as part of the Census. So, if you have any questions about
whether a form or person is legitimate, you should contact your
Bureau Regional Office.
(posted June 09)
The Jury Duty
Scam:- The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court and
claims you've failed to report for jury duty. He tells you that a
warrant has been issued for your arrest. The victim will often claim
they never received the jury duty notification, and rightly so. The
scammer then asks the victim for confidential information for "
verification" purposes. Specifically, the scammer asks for the
victim's Social Security number, birth date, and sometimes even for credit
card numbers and other private information- exactly what the scammer needs
to commit identity theft.
So far, this jury
duty scam has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Illinois,
Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state. In
realty, court workers will never call you to ask for social security
numbers and other private information. In fact, most courts
follow up via regular mail and rarely , if ever call prospective jurors.
give out your social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal
confidential information when you receive a telephone call.
(posted May 09)
Some families have received phone calls just days after a spouse or other
family member has passed away. The callers are bogus bill collectors
delivering the startling news that their loved one owned a large debt and if it
is not paid immediately, collection efforts would begin. Protect yourself
and your family estates:
1. know your obligations- unless a family member is a co-signer, they are not
responsible for the deceased debts and under no obligation to repay
2. know the procedure - even if you are a co-signer, it is illegal for bill
collectors to contact you. They should go through the executor or probate
court to collect the debt. Provide only the contact information an never
give out a social security number
3. know the facts- get as much information about the collection agency; such
as how much is owned, for what reason, when the debt was acquired and why you
are being contacted
4. do an identity check - check the collection agency authenticity by contacting the Better Business
Bureau at www.bbb.org or access
www.naag.org. for the attorney general office
in your state
Most people are spending less, simply because they have less.
There are record numbers of people hitting the food pantries and we must
all look out for our neighbors and friends. Some less - than -
scrupulous people are more than willing to separate you from your money
Think of this statement: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably
is". People are reporting that they are receiving a number of
mailings from offers, charities, and alleged non-profits. Make sure
you are familiar with these causes, businesses, or organizations. WE
have some ability to check them out for you, but you can also call the
Department of State about Charitable Organizations @1.800.732.0999 to
obtain valuable information to help you make better, more informed
(posted April 09)
A bogus and deceptive website http:\\bailout.hud-gov.us
was designed to look like an official government website for HUD customers.
This site collects personal information for ill- gotten gain. The official
HUD website for the American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT 2009 is
We are aware of two scams in
our area. One involves door-to-door visitors that claim
to represent the Pike County Area Agency on Aging
. . . . . . .they DO NOT.
We do not conduct business in
that manner. Call the Pike County Area Agency on Aging office at 775-5550
to verify a visitor.
The second is a telephone
scam offering a new Medicare card or prescription drug plan. These are bogus
offers and Medicare authorizes NO such thing. If you are contacted, call
Filing a complaint: you may also
call toll free at 1.800.732.0999 to file a complaint about a
charitable organization that has solicited donations from you. Also
available is the Office of Attorney General