Saturday, January 9, 2016

SCAM UPDATE- Sweepstakes, Social Media, and More

With the start of 2016, scammers will continue to call, email, and use social media to try to take your identity and take your money. Here are some scams to watch out for and tips to protect yourself from modern thieves:

·         The AARP Fraud Watch Network has issued a warning to Publishers Clearing House (PCH) players about scammers calling, emailing, sending letters and using social media to people and claiming that they have won the “$5,000-a-week-forever” prize. The trick is the scammers want some money up front for you to “claim” your prize. The sweepstakes will be awarded on February 26.  Remember, if you did not enter, you did not win. And if you did enter the PCH sweepstakes, the winner will be notified by the PCH team, Prize Patrol van and all, in person, just like in their advertising. For smaller prizes, usually less than $1,000, the company says that it notifies winners via overnight delivery services, certified mail, or email, not by phone, text messages, Facebook, emails (for major prizes), or “regular” USPS delivered letters. For more about this scam go to:

o   Here is an example of how PCH delivers the news to a lucky winner:

·         Apparently young, new drivers are posting pictures of their first driver’s licenses on social media such as Facebook to show that they have made it one more step to adulthood. By doing so however, they leave themselves open to ID thieves collecting their names, addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers, and signatures. ID theft against children is major problem that usually is not discovered until the child reaches adulthood and begins to apply for loans, mortgages or an apartment. While earning a driver’s license is an exciting time, encourage your child not to overshare their personal information on social media.

·         The AARP Fraud Watch Network also suggests that to get a good start to 2016 that you take some practical measures to prevent ID theft. Freezing your credit, checking your credit report, thinking before you act, being less social on social media, cleaning your wallet, and regularly changing your passwords, will help you to protect your identity. For more detail, go to:

·         Scammers use any tools that they can to take your money including the phone, at your door, and online. They can get your phone number or email by purchasing them from companies that sell this kind of data, purchasing a “sucker list” from other scammers of people who have fallen for scams, or from giveaways, sweepstakes, or surveys that people voluntarily sign up for. For more information on specific scams going around, go to:

·         Phishing is a technique that tries to get you to click on a link embedded in an email that will download malware into your computer or take you to a web site that asks for your personal information. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning businesses and colleges about a phishing scam that claims to protect you from phishing scams. When you are at work, you might receive an email that appears to be from your IT department with a subject line similar to “Mailbox Helpdesk” and saying that “new security updates need to be performed on our servers, due to the rate of phishing.” To receive the update, all you have to do is to click on the link. The BBB says don’t do it! The link will download malware to your computer. For tips on how to avoid the phishing scam, go to:




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