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Latest Scam Reports
 

Three common phone scams

I’d like to make everyone aware of these 3 common phone scams

  1. Free Vacation Calls -  claiming you “Won a free cruise to Jamaica and all expenses are paid” Unfortunately as much as we would all love a free vacation to a white sandy beach this is a huge scam.  These calls come in many forms such as a cruise,ski trip,beach,etc. They will ask you for important financial and personal information in order to claim your “free prize”. Make sure to never give out any personal or financial information.
  2. Fake charities Calls – yes people honestly pose as fake charities and try to get people to donate money. Yes this is a huge scam, make sure to always check a charities website to verify the correct contact information for that charity. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure whether it is legitimate, hang up and verify correct contact information.
  3. Debt collector calls-  asking you to pay back your loan, they often use threats to gain access to financial information of consumers. If you receive this call ask for the persons name, contact, and number than hang up the phone. Next step is to call your creditor and verify the information to verify if you’re really in debt. It is important to remember that you can hang up and verify information of the caller.

Spread this important information about these type of scams to family and friends so that others can protect themselves.

If you’re ever unsure the legitimacy of these calls or number’s use our site to help provide you the correct information.

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Have you recently received a call from the IRS?

You’re not alone, this is one of the new sophisticated phone scams being implemented all throughout the country. This IRS phone scam is particularly rampant during tax season, but is prevalent throughout the year. Con artist will call posing to be government employees at the IRS. Thousands of consumers has been ripped off already, so here is some information to help prevent this from happening to you

Some helpful information regarding these calls:

  • The IRS will never call demanding instant payment over the phone
  • Never require you to identity personal information such social security, address or important financial information
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers of the phone
  • Require Unique methods of payment such as wire transfer or PayPal
  • Threaten use of law enforcement

These con artist will continue to think of new ways to try impersonate the IRS. Always check the number on callercenter.com to verify authenticity of the number.

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Memorial day scam

Do you still remember the Memorial Day that was commemorated a couple weeks ago?

Memorial Day is time to honor service men and women and sacrifices they have made. Unfortunately, it can be an opportunity for scam artist to take advantage of this event to make some quick money through phone scams.

The Better Business Bureau released scam alert tied to this occasion and provided a list of various scams and misleading tactics that especially target the military community which include:

- Impersonating a military or veteran charity’s website and soliciting for donations

- Posing as the Veterans Administration and asking veterans to update their credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA.

- Charging service member for services they could get for free, such as military records

- Offering “military loans” with high interest rates and hidden fees

- Deceiving service members with fake discounts and incentives for housing then snagging the security deposit

- Selling stolen vehicles at low prices by pretending to be a soldier who needs to sell fast due to upcoming deployment

- Steal members identity by posing as government contractor recruiting veterans then asking for a copy of job’s applicant’s passport

- Posing as a lonely service member on social network or dating service then asking victim to wire money to a third party for some emergency

The con artist also targeting people who support the militaries by asking for donation to support those who have served our country. To avoid falling victim to such scams, do your research before giving. Get as much information as you can about the business. Never wire transfer to someone you don’t know. Always check the number on site’s like ours

There’s no possible way to track money sent by wire transfer.

Do not click links within unsolicited mail or entering personal information on unfamiliar website. Make sure you have updated anti-virus software installed. Beware of identity theft. Put an active duty alert on your credit card report to limit the risk of identity theft.

Always remember that, crocks can see an opportunity in every occasion. Memorial Day is just one example. Thus, always protect yourself and your loved ones with updated information to prevent unwanted things happen.

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SIM CARD CLONING

Did you get a call from a strange phone number recently? Are you getting extremely high phone bill that doesn’t match your usage? Are you getting calls from people you don’t know, accusing you of making obscene calls? Are you worried the caller might have cloned your sim and used your phone number? You have a reason to worry, what your instincts tell you might be true.

Cellular fraud is becoming a serious problem these days. Although cellphone manufacturers and telephone service providers have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the consumer’s information is protected, scammers have found a way work around these safety measures. Just recently, reports on sim card cloning racked government agencies and several have fallen victims to this scheme. The mobile phone industry has already lost millions of dollars in revenue because of scammers have found a way to clone sim card data.

Sim card cloning is a tactic where a secured data stored in sim card is copied into another sim card. When the “cloned” card is used in another mobile phone and activated, the “cloned” sim card can also make and receive calls intended for the phone number. However, only the subscriber is billed for the calls. Unfortunately, telephone service providers don’t have a way to differentiate between the original sim and the “cloned” one. Be warned that after cloning the sim card, the scammers can then make calls, read text messages and see phone book entries.

Unfortunately, there is no way for anyone to detect whether a sim card is cloned or not. So before you become a victim, here are some points to help you:

  • Check your monthly phone bill regularly
  • Check the call records. Logs of incoming and outgoing calls are recorded on your account. If you see unfamiliar phone numbers, verify if they were legitimate.
  • Watch out for suspicious patterns on your mobile phone usage. If you are unable to check voice mail, get calls saying you called them or encounter problems when making calls.
  • Call your telephone service provider if you find suspicious calls or texts posted on your bill.
  • If you’re in doubt, set up a PIN code for outgoing calls. The Better Business Bureau advises the use of a PIN code to reduce the chance of your SIM card being cloned.

If you suspect that you are a victim of sim card cloning, notify the telephone service provider and have them investigate.

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Refund and recovery scam call

Being duped and scammed out of money is bad enough. Unfortunately, victims who lost money to a scammer once are likely to get another scam call. With a guarantee to help them recover the money they lost or get a refund for an unauthorized charge, the scammer lures the victim into disclosing bank/credit card info and pay the small service fee. But don’t be fooled! This pitch is just another tactic designed to get even more money from the victim. It’s the fastest growing phone scam in the US and is known as the Refund and Recovery scam.

Here’s how the scam works: Someone who previously fell victim to a scam and paid money to the scammer is already on the scammer’s “sucker list.” Since the scammers buy, sell and share the list among themselves, victims can expect a surge of scam calls from different people and phone numbers. During the call, scammers tell various stories to convince the victim they’re legit. They may also claim to represent a government agency or identify themselves as police officers to sound credible. They assure the victims that they’re capable of processing the necessary paperwork for the victims to get reimbursed for their loss.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) however, warns that such claims are false. Although there are government agencies that help victims of phone scams especially those who have lost money, they do not charge a fee. To detect a phone scam, the commission shared a few tips:

  • Practice healthy skepticism. Anyone offering to get you a refund for purchased items you never received — for a fee, is most likely bluffing.
  • If someone claims to represent a government agency that will help you recover money you lost to a phone scam and charges you for it, report him to the FTC. Consumer protection agencies do not charge for their services.
  • Check out local law enforcement and consumer protection agencies in your area and verify if they authorized anyone to make calls and offer help to phone scam victims.
  • Don’t give out bank/credit card details in an attempt to recover lost money or a prize you never received. You’re more likely to lose more.

If you believe you’re a victim of phone scam, submit a complaint to the FTC. Report the phone number to www.callercenter.com too, to raise a warning. You never know when your post might save someone from falling victim to the scheme.

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Ringtone Phone Scam

It’s a Sunday and you’re sitting on your sofa, watching TV. A cool commercial pops in. You’re getting the most popular ringtone for free! Sounds great, huh? But before you say, “Gee, thanks! I’d love that,” think again. What you may not realize is that you are not getting a one-time deal. By accepting the offer, you may be subscribing to a service that comes with a recurring fee. And then you find yourself a victim of the ringtone phone scam.

To attract victims, third party vendors use popular songs and colorful ads. You may find a link to click or a 1-800 phone number to call for the offer. Either way, you will be asked to provide credit card information to complete the process. After you get the first charge and you realize that you were misled, third party vendors will make it difficult for you to cancel the subscription. So don’t let yourself get caught.

Before you fall victim to phony deals, educate yourself about this scheme. You can visit websites such as www.callercenter.com that share reports and complaints on phone scams. Phone numbers used by the scammers are listed there, too. Read the posts and get familiar with how scammers operate. And always remember that when companies promote something as “free”, there’s usually a catch. They’re in for business and profit, not to give out free stuffs. So don’t let your excitement get the best of you.

At the same time, always download ringtones from secure websites such as your telephone service provider’s. If you want a ringtone offered by a third party vendor, visit their website and check out the terms and conditions. Read their privacy policy, too. Be warned that most companies readily share, discuss or sell information about you with other parties.

If you notice unauthorized charges on your bill, complain to your mobile phone service provider. Have them look into your account in their database and cancel subscriptions you may not be aware of. You may file for a dispute, too, and possibly get a refund.

And most importantly, spread the info! Share a warning to family and friends to protect them against these types of scams.  It’s never easy to be scammed out of money.

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Ebola Phone Scam

You turn on your TV, the radio or your computer and sooner or later, you’ll run into an “Ebola” story. The news caused an uproar and people everywhere expressed their fear. However, while this is a serious health concern, others see this as an opportunity to make money. Recently, fake charities and bogus fundraisers emerged, making phone solicitations supposedly to help with Ebola. But before you let your good intentions get the best of you, it’s best to do a little research.

To help you recognize a phone scam, the Better Business Bureau pointed out tips to help you avoid falling victim to this phone scam:

  • Verify if the charitable organization is legit. Go to give.org and type in the name of the charity.
  • If you want to get involved, choose the organization that shares updates for transparency. It gives assurance that the organizers are being honest about how the money is being used.
  • Practice healthy skepticism with solicitation calls that started after the news on Ebola spread out. Be warned that scammers are likely to take advantage of the situation.
  • Be suspicious of organizations you’re not familiar with. Look up their information online and read the comments. You should be careful about who you share your credit card information with.
  • Do not assume that your donation is tax deductible. And as always, read the fine print especially about credit card or any other fees.
  • It’s always best to give to people you know. It is safest when you personally know who you are helping.

This is only one example of scammers riding the wave of a popular news item, in the past we have reported scams related to hurricane relief and things like ice bucket challenge. Scammers use these popular news items in order to appear more legitimate, so be always on a look-out for these type of scams.

If you are contacted by a phone scammer, submit a complaint to the FTC. Be sure to include the scammer’s complete information. Report the phone scam to www.callercenter.com too, and spread the word. While most of us may recognize the scam right away, others may not so it helps when you share the info and help them detect a phone scam.

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Credit Card Phishing Scam Warning

Unfortunately, science and technology often get ahead of good sense. Changes should not be based on whether or not it is possible, it should be based on whether or not it is good for the human race. Along with new technology, for instance, came a scam called advance credit card phishing. Few people, however, even know what phishing is.

Phishing is where a person with illegal intent in mind uses a fraudulent email or online shopping site to acquire personal credit card information. This scam, however, has now extended to gaining entry into bank and credit union databases making it even more difficult to protect personal information.

This scam is actually quite easy which is why it has become so popular with con artists and thieves. Generally a well-phrased email is sent that appears to originate from a person’s bank or credit card company. A warning flag to look for is that the request will include personal information claiming there is a need to confirm confidential information. Generally when these emails are ignored, follow-up mails may be received that threaten to close the account unless confidential information is revealed.

Another popular strategy is where fake shopping websites are launched that only accept online credit card payments. This one is harder to detect as these sites appear to be real with real products. Unfortunately, when ordering from these sites, products are not delivered and instead the credit card is charged again and again. Unfortunately, in both instances the result can be high credit card charges and drained bank accounts.

Right now phishing messages are being targeted to specific groups. Government and military employees, credit union and bank customers, and many others are all receiving messages indicating that accounts have been frozen and cards have been deactivated. What is most disconcerting is that many of the new messages are requesting recipients contact a toll free number in order to correct the problem. What few know, however, is that thieves are on the receiving end of that call documenting personal information and quickly moving the money to international shores.

Don’t be fooled by copyright notices in the name of the financial institution, references to the FDIC, or any other verbiage that may seem authentic as it is more than likely fake. One of the keys to identifying these scams is to know that when calling the toll free number rather than just being asked for the card number, the expiration date and pin number will also be requested. By contacting the financial institution directly, scams can be avoided.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Crimes Division, these scams are very difficult to shut down. Once identified, the telephone company will cancel the toll free number and web hosting companies can shut down an operation within a matter of minutes. However, keeping them down is the hard part since it’s so easy to open a new telephone line or forward calls to international lines and websites can be launched within a matter of minutes.

With today’s international communication sources it’s always important to be wary rather than to step into a situation that may be irreversible. For a mere $250 any thief can steal millions within a matter of minutes. Just make sure that the money illegally gained does not belong to you.

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How Government Regulates Credit Card Companies

Legislation is working hard to eliminate shady late billing practices especially by those in the credit card industry. In the US recently the House Finance Services Committee recently passed the Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights which was designed to set new limits on when interest can be raised on credit cards as well as set limits on fees and finance charges.

This law is designed to protect individuals against unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive pricing. This included addressing common problems like double-cycle billing, retroactive interest rate hikes, and due-date gimmicks. The result is a list of protective measures that could change the face of the credit card industry.

Because this law has only recently has gone into effect, it may take some time for individuals to notice a change in their monthly statements. Those who are scam artists in this line of business often circumvent new laws and, having built their business on consumer desperation, will continue to apply excess charges for as long as possible. One area where they take significant advantage is with late charges as well as over-limit fees.

One change in the law that will help many is called double-cycle billing. This is where cardholders pay in full and on time, but through flocculating cutoffs dates, balances are maintained through fees and interests that are applied after payments have been applied. In this instance, although a $500 debit may be paid in full, interest on the $500 is applied after the payment is made in order to maintain a balance.

One of the ways in which late payments are applied is by sending statements on the due date. By the time they are received and paid, late charges are applied. With this new law, this is no longer allowed. In fact, statements must be mailed no less than 25 days in advance and late charges can be avoided as long as bills are paid by 5 p.m. on the due date.

The new law also prevents customers from being caught up in high subprime rates they can’t get out of. This is where the interest rate exceeds 25% of the credit limit and compounds annually. Often those with lower incomes, poor credit histories, and are younger consumers are targeted for these types of programs. Additionally, it establishes definitions for terms like “fixed rates” and “prime rates” so that consumers are no longer mislead or deceived.

One of the common complaints is that set credit card limits are lowered prior to payments being received in order to charge over-credit limit charges. These can exceed the cost of a late payment and goes against an individual on their credit history. Unfortunately, the new law does not specifically deal with this issue so consumers need to be wary when working with credit card companies to ensure they are not being scammed by misleading and deceitful practices.

It’s important that individuals perceiving they may have been scammed or encountered illegal practices under the new law, file grievances with the proper authorities immediately. Additionally, learning budgeting skills and only using credit cards for emergencies is a great way to keep credit scores high while having the funds available should they ever be needed. Should fraud occur, however, never hesitate to file a petition with the courts in order to let credit card companies know that illegal practices will no longer be tolerated by consumers.

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Robocalls on The Rise

One of the newest scams to find success is called “smishing” or “vishing, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This is where a text message or automated phone call on your landline or cell phone says there is a problem with the account at your bank. A link is provided, supposedly associated with the fraud division of your bank, that requests personal information on your account so the perpetrators can be traced. What is actually happening is scammers are gaining enough information on personal bank accounts to drain them dry before an individual can prevent the theft.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is so concerned about the growth of this type of scam that they have issued a warning explaining that cyber crimes are not longer limited to computer systems. The combination of SMS texting and phishing called “Smishing” and voice activated phishing called “Vishing” are a growing trend because of their success rate as well as their ease of operation. Additionally, tracking down the perpetrators is much harder than would be expected.

So, how does it work? According to the FBI, criminals participating in this type of crime utilize an automated dialing system called a robot scammer. They text or call random numbers in a particular area code or utilize bank customer phone numbers acquired while hacking. Victims receive a message stating something like “There’s a problem with your account” or “Your ATM card needs to be reactivated.” Victims are then directed either to a link or phone number where personal information is acquired. With very little information thieves can then make charges against various credit cards, steal from bank accounts, create duplicate ATM cards, or various other things that defraud unwitting victims.

One additional feature of this system is that if using a Smartphone, once logging onto phony websites any information contained within the phone can be downloaded including phone numbers to friends and families who can serve as additional targets. This is especially important with the growth of mobile banking as well as the ability to conduct financial transactions online. The result is that smishing and vishing has become not only lucrative, but an extremely attractive alternative for cyber criminals.

Credit unions have been especially hard hit by this type of crime recently. For many customers accounts were cleaned out within about 10 minutes. The result has been thousands of victims who are now in the process of trying to recover stolen funds. However, this type of crime is not limited to individuals as businesses are also often targeted especially during peak seasons. In fact, this crime has a tendency to increase over the holidays and during summer months so individuals need to be especially weary during these peak periods of the years.

The FBI and a number of State Attorney Generals are pooling resources in order to warn consumers about the increase in robo-calling scams. They stated that individuals should not rely on caller IDs as these numbers can be spoofed making it appear as if they came from the bank and that these messages should never be responded to as instructed. Instead, if receiving such a request the bank should be notified immediately by calling their direct line. The best way to protect one’s self is to remember that once information goes onto the Internet or is given to an individual, privacy is forfeited.

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