July 11, 2019 – FTC shuts down student loan debt relief scheme
In a new case announced today, the FTC alleges the operators of Mission Hills Federal and Federal Direct Group bilked borrowers out of more than $23 million. The FTC says these companies lured people with false promises to pay down student loans and lower monthly payments. According to the FTC, the companies also lied about taking over the servicing of the loans, which tricked people into submitting loan payments directly to them. In fact, the defendants diverted borrower payments to themselves.
If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed by student loan debt, know this: There’s nothing a company can do for you that you can’t do yourself for free. If you have federal student loans, start with StudentAid.gov/repay. If you have private loans, talk with your loan servicer. For more information, check out ftc.gov/StudentLoans.
July 3, 2019 – Be aware for Money Mules.
A money mule is someone who transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of or at the direction of another. Criminals recruit mules to move money electronically through bank accounts, in person, or through a variety of other methods. Once received, the mule will wire the money into a third party bank account; “cash out” the money received, possibly via several cashier’s checks; convert the money into a virtual currency; or conduct a combination of these actions. Money mules are inherently dangerous, as they are added layers to the money trail from a victim to a criminal actor.
Read the entire article on the FBI’s web site and learn what you can do to prevent yourself from falling victim to this scam.
May 6 – Get a one-ring call? Don’t call back.
You could be a potential victim of the growing “one-ring” cell phone scam.
Here’s how it works: Scammers are using auto-dialers to call cell phone numbers across the country. Scammers let the phone ring once — just enough for a missed call message to pop up.
The scammers hope you’ll call back, either because you believe a legitimate call was cut off, or you will be curious about who called. If you do, chances are you’ll hear something like, “Hello. You’ve reached the operator, please hold.” All the while, you’re getting slammed with some hefty charges — a per-minute charge on top of an international rate. The calls are from phone numbers with three-digit area codes that look like they’re from inside the U.S., but actually are associated with international phone numbers — often in the Caribbean. The area codes include: 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.
If you get one of these call:
- Don’t call back
- Report the robocall to the FTC at donotcall.gov and to the FCC at fcc.gov/complaints
- Always check your phone bill for suspicious or unusual charges
*Articles courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission.
RECENT SECURITY ARTICLES, TIPS AND HOW TOs
Check Deposits – Know your checks
Whether you use AnytimeDeposit, an ATM or make a deposit transaction at your local branch, know that you are ALWAYS responsible for the personal or business/payroll checks deposited into your account. It doesn’t matter who the check is from, if you were duped by a “fraudster” or the check hold is no longer on the item. If the item was deposited into your account by you, a joint owner or a complete stranger….you and any of the account owners are responsible if and when any check is returned.
Safeguards for check deposits include properly endorsing the item and knowing who you received the check from and why.
NCUA Says Lookout for Fake Checks
Be on the lookout for fake checks. They may look legitimate, but can be easily faked. Don’t be pressured into wiring or sending money after depositing a check. If you send money to a scammer, the funds may be impossible to recover. You may be responsible for repaying the funds if you deposit a fake check and withdraw money, even if you were scammed. Fraud Prevention Center
NCUA Fraud Prevention Center
Consumers now have an information resource to help learn about and protect themselves against fraud with the National Credit Union Administration’s Fraud Prevention Center.
5 Tips for Protecting Your Checking Account
A nice brief article from the Federal Reserve Board. Read the article
April 4, 2019 – How to stop scammers from stealing your phone number
Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there’s one more security threat to worry about: your phone number. If a hacker gets hold of it, you could be facing some serious personal privacy issues.
Cnet can recommend ways to help you identify scams that lure you to give up your details, and have tips to help keep your phone number safe. Read the Cnet article here.
April 29, 2019 – How to stop scammers from stealing your phone number
Smart speakers add a level of convenience to daily life, but there are also some privacy issues associated with using them. We’ve seen reports of everything from Amazon workers listening to your Alexa conversations and having access to your home address to the future possibility of Google Assistant learning to read your moodbased on the tone of your voice. If you’re really, really concerned about privacy, you should probably steer clear of these devices altogether.
But there are some steps you can take right now to get a better handle on your privacy options. For Amazon smart speakers, the focus of this particular post, it all begins in the Alexa app. Read the full article.
April 4, 2019 – FILING YOUR TAXES? WATCH OUT FOR PHISHING SCAMS
THE INTERNAL REVENUE Service has warned taxpayers for years to be wary of online phishing, where criminals impersonate the agency using fake emails, text messages, or websites in order to steal your personal information. Read more from Wired.com.
November 27, 2018 – Half of phishing sites trick you into thinking they’re ‘secure’
You can’t assume that a site is honest because it has that “secure” padlock in the address bar, and PhishLabs just illustrated why. The anti-phishing company has determined that 49 percent of all known phishing sites used Secure Sockets Layer protection (and thus displayed the padlock) as of the third quarter of 2018. Read more about this from Engadget.com.
Call forwarding phishing attacks
Be on the lookout for Call Forwarding phishing attacks. How it works: the fraudster calls a person and asks him/her to activate their credit card. Then they ask you to call a phone number to activate the card. The phone number contains *72 which activates call forwarding, giving them control of the person’s phone number allowing international calls, etc. NEVER give out your personal information to anyone calling you and when it doubt, hang up and call them using official corporate phone numbers.
Avoid tech support phone scams
Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. Read what you need to know and how to protect yourself. Read what you need to know and how to protect yourself.
Phishing scam targets taxpayers who use tax software
The growing popularity of tax preparation software has led to a rise in e-mail scams targeted at do-it-yourself taxpayers. Read the article.
April 12, 2019 – Social Security Administration (SSA) imposters top IRS in consumer loss reports
Have you gotten calls about supposed problems with your Social Security number from callers pretending they’re with the Social Security Administration (SSA)? If so, you’re not alone.
They often use robocalls to reach you, then launch into a story aimed at tricking you into giving them your money, your Social Security number (SSN), or both. They may say your SSN has been suspended and you need to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Or, they may say your SSN has been involved in a crime and your bank account is about to be seized or frozen, but you can protect your money if you put it on a gift card and give them the code. Never do that – your money will disappear.
If you get one of these calls, remember – the real SSA will never contact you out of the blue or tell you to put money on a gift card or, for that matter, visit a Bitcoin ATM, or wire money. Read the full article from the FTC web site here.
April 10, 2019 – Puppy Scams: How to Protect Yourself from Fake Online Pet Sellers
If you are looking for a pet to add to your family, be on the lookout for scams. As more consumers turn to the internet to find new pets, more scams are popping up online. Experts say a shocking 80% of sponsored advertisements about pets may be fake. The BBB International Investigations Initiative conducted an extensive study of online puppy scams and also provides tips for avoiding puppy scams. Read the article from the Better Business Bureau.
April 1, 2019 – How to Avoid Scholarship Scams
AS COLLEGE COSTS RISE, scholarship scams employed by predatory companies continue to target prospective students and their families. A student searching for scholarships to help pay for college might find lengthy surveys promising a pot of money waiting at the end, an inbox cluttered with spam emails and U.S. Department of Education logos emblazoned across websites asking for an upfront fee to apply. Read more from U.S. News.
April 24, 2018 – Be wary of home warranty scams
Home warranty scams are common, but if you get one in the mail and you’ve never had one, don’t be fooled. These mail pieces seem very serious and claim to be time sensitive. They may even reference your loan from your financial institution. Why do they have that information? Because it’s public information at the court house.
Bottom line…throw them in the trash.
Online Tools and Tips
February 2019 – Password Checkup by Google – recently released a new tool called Password Checkup that will alert you when you need to change your password because it might have been stolen by a third party. It’s an extension (plug-in) that you install in the Chrome browser. Once it’s installed, it will let you know if you need to change your account password. Read more from Google including the new Cross Account Protection for apps that have Google Sign In.February 2019 – Why you should NEVER share PINs and Banking Credentials
One of the most frequent scenarios we hear in our Risk Management Department is account fraud when members share their FMFCU Debit/Credit Card PINs, card numbers, logins and online/mobile banking passwords. Whether a friend, family member or stranger…this information should NEVER be shared!Sometimes it seems like sharing is a logical thing to do in certain situations. But we’d like to remind you that your cards, PINs and banking credentials belong to you and you only! If you share it with someone else, YOU are responsible.
The Federal Trade Commission has a comprehensive online library related to securing your information. Read more here at FTC.gov.