Friday, June 22, 2018

Smart Safety: Internet Scams

Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout and author of "Swiped" says watch out for these scams circulating this summer and make sure you don't get burned.

GDPR Phishing Scam
  • Scammers know that companies are sending a lot of emails to customers about GDPR - and that makes customers prime targets for phishing attacks.  They are exploiting the uncertainty surrounding GDPR.
  • Fraudsters are pretending to be from legitimate businesses like Airbnb and are spoofing their email addresses to target customers in order to steal their sensitive data.
  • Some messages state that the customer needs to update their privacy settings or opt into a new privacy policy and its mandatory that they click on the link to comply with GDPR rules.  Once they click, they are asked for personal and account information.  They just got scammed.
  • Consumers should be on high alert and look for red flags, like the wrong domain name, like' as opposed to ''.
  • Think before you click and never give out personal or credit card info.
  • If you are a victim of this scam, check your accounts for any suspicious activity and change your passwords, using long and strong diverse combinations that don't repeat across accounts.
Chinese Consulate Phone Scam
  • The FBI issued an alert warning about a phone scam targeting the Asian community, and is spreading to the larger population.
  • The robocalls are in Mandarin and claim to be from the Chinese Cosulate.
  • Those who do not speak the language, may immediately hang up, but many Chinese immigrants have followed the prompts, fearing that they are in trouble with the government.
  • The calls claim that the person needs to call the Chinese Consulate because they are being investigated for financial crimes.  This can be very scary, especially for the more vulnerable populations in NYC.
  • Once the victim listens to the message and follows the prompts, they are then connected with the scammer. The scammer then tries to execute a "parcel scam" claiming that the person received a package in connection with a crime. They are threatened by a fake police officer and told if they wire money to a Hong Kong account, the problem will be resolved.
  • This scam is making its rounds in NYC, LA, SF, Washington DC and even Australia.
  • If you get this call, immediately hang up.  Consider putting your number on the Do Not Call Registry.  Never wire money or give out personal information over the phone.
Medicare Card Scam
  • Medicare is in the process of mailing new cards to every person who receives Medicare benefits. The new cards have replaced Social Security numbers with unique Medicare numbers, an important measure to help protect identities.
  • Scammers are taking advantage of this with phone scams targeting the elderly.  They pretend to be form Medicare asking the victim to update their information and provide their SSn and even bank info.  Once the victim hands over the info, they just got got.
  • Medicare officials will never call you to update information.  Your card will be sent with instructions via the mail. If you were the victim of this scam, make sure to check your accounts tor any suspicious activity and your explanation of benefits.  Contact the Medicare office and the FTC to report the scam .
Western Union Refund Scam
  • If you were a victim of a scam between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017, and used Western Union’s money transfer system to send money to a scammer, you are able to file a claim to get your money back.
  • Scammers are banking on the fact that customers will be expecting refunds and launching phishing attacks.  They will send an official-looking email about the Western Union settlement and ask you for information about your transaction, along with your name and address.
  • This is a scam. You cannot apply for a refund by email. Do not respond, click on any links or give out any information.
Adam K. Levin is a consumer advocate with more than 30 years of experience and is a nationally recognized expert on cybersecurity, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. A former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Mr. Levin is Chairman and founder of CyberScout and co-founder of  Adam Levin is the author of Amazon Best Selling Book Swiped:  How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers and Identity Thieves.

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