Crowdfunding Scams: Don’t Believe the Hype!

December 4th, 2014

In recent years, crowdfunding has become more and more popular. What people often forget is that crowdfunding isn’t the same as preordering and in truth it’s a gamble at best. There have been many instances in the past where an item was backed and things were promised but the inventor either never followed through or production demands were never met, which resulted in backers losing all of their money. It happens more often than you think so it’s important to not fall victim to it.

In order to combat getting scammed, there are two things you can do. The first thing would be to simply not back anything until the item is officially out and has been review to make sure that it’s a quality item. If you are going to participate in crowdfunding, then see if there is an insurance option available on the website. For example, IndieGogo recently tested out an “optional  insurance” feature where the buyer was able to pay an extra $15 in order for their investment to protected in case there is a problem with the invention and/or it was never produced. Now while the insurance option isn’t available on all crowdfunding sites, we believe that it will become a prevalent feature on crowdfunding sites in 2015. 

E-ZPass Phishing Scam: Don’t Get Phished!

July 9th, 2014

The New York State Thruway Authority has recently issued a warning to all E-ZPass customers about a phishing scam that has come to their attention. They warn of people having received bogus emails made to appear official stating that they have unpaid tolls. These bogus emails includes a clickable link where you supposedly download a copy of your invoice. E-ZPass is urging all people NOT to open or respond to these emails. If you do, all of your personal information will be compromised.

Although phishing emails aren’t a new form of scamming, criminals are getting craftier in the way they present the emails to would-be victims. Always be wary of emails you receive and if you’d like to report one such E-ZPass phishing email, then we strongly suggest you contact the Federal Trad Commission to do so.

Dialing For Your Hard-earned Dollars

March 24th, 2014

There’s a new scam going around that many people with a family name from South Asia probably know about; but if you don’t then consider yourself warned. In actuality, this scam has been around for years, targeting one group of people at a time. Right now, the people being targeted seem to be mainly from India and Pakistan.

The scam works like this: You get a call from someone claiming to be from the government. They may claim to be from the IRS, a law enforcement agency, or maybe even the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The caller often times has a foreign accent, and might even speak in your native tongue. The caller might also provide some information about you such as the last four digits of your Social Security number or address.They will then claim that you owe money, and that if you don’t pay, bad things will happen to you such as deportation of you and family, freezing your financial assets, or even possible jail time. The caller will then tell you to pay your debt with a prepaid card, and will threaten you if you protest.

Now it’s important remember that the U.S. government will never call you asking for money. It never happens because that’s not how the system works. It’s also important to keep in mind that threats against you are never made by government employees. They will never send police to your house and the IRS will never deport you. The last, and probably the most important thing to remember is that the government will never call you asking you to pay them using a prepaid card or money transfer. Even if everything sounds legit to you on the phone, if someone ever asks you to buy a prepaid card or wire money, it is guaranteed to be a scam.

If you’ve ever been a victim of this scam then be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and tell them your story. They can help bring these criminals to justice. If you’ve never been a victim, then consider yourself lucky and be sure to remember these tips.

Staged Rear-ending Car Insurance Scam: Watch That Rear!

March 4th, 2014

Getting into a car accident may be bad enough, but getting scammed on top of it can make it 100 times worse. Believe it or not, planned accidents where innocent drivers become pawns in auto insurance scams is a very real thing. Here we’ll talk about one such insurance scam that is not uncommon on the road.

The most common insurance scam is the staged rear-ending. How it works is simple:  The scammer will slow down or come to a stop in busy traffic or at an intersection. The will then swoop in front of the victim, causing the driver to crash into them from behind. In almost every jurisdiction, rear-endings are considered the fault of the rear driver even though in reality they are the victim of the scam. The con artist may also additionally claim to have neck or back pain, despite the low speed of the accident. Not only would they be able to file a collision claim, but they could also file a personal injury claim as well.

The way to avoid this scam from happening to you is quite simple. Never follow anyone too closely and always allow for plenty of room for a quick stop. It’s also a smart idea to be aware of the traffic ahead of the car in front of you so you can anticipate the need to slow down or stop. Follow that rule, and you’re good to go!

Flappy Birds Software Scam: Don’t Be Fooled

February 18th, 2014

Despite Flappy Bird being gone from the app store, many people are still wanting to play it. Since most people aren’t willing to pay $99,000 for a phone with the original app on it, they’ve been searching the internet furiously to download it for free.

Unfortunately, that’s where scamming comes into play. It’s recently been reported that fake Flappy Bird apps are on the rise and are not only charging people, but they’re also stealing personal information from oblivious customers. Most of these fake apps come from Vietnam and Russia and work by sending messages to premium numbers and adding hidden charges to the victim’s phone bill.

While this scam is nothing new, many other popular mobile games have been targeted by cybercrimnals who know how to find more victims. We strongly recommend that before you download any Flappy Bird clone or any other game, that you first check the legitimacy of the app and read all of the reviews. Also, and probably the most important thing you can do, is install a security app to help safeguard your smartphone from criminals.

Valentines Day Scam: Infected E-Cards

February 11th, 2014

You probably didn’t know this but online greeting cards are an incredibly easy way for scammers to infect your computer with malware and viruses that end up giving them remote access to your computer. What does this mean? Well it’s simple: they’ll be able to access your online banking accounts, passwords, and even turn your computer into a spam-sending “botnet.”

So the question is: how does one avoid this type of scam? The answer is simple: avoid clicking on embedded links from incoming e-cards; especially when they’re sent from someone you don’t know. Steer clear of unrecognized senders, in particular ones from webmaster@hallmark.com. These are fake. And even if you do recognize the sender, be sure to open the e-card from the company’s website, rather than straight from the email. Follow these tips and you’ll be safe. Whether or not you’ll be crying while eating a pint of Hagen-Daz because you don’t have a valentine, is a different story entirely.

“Missed a Call” Scam: Don’t Call Them Back!

February 4th, 2014

If  you’ve ever picked up you phone and have seen that you’ve missed a call from a number that you don’t recognize, you should think again before calling them back. One new scam that’s popped up recently is the one-ring phone scam. The perpetrators of this scam use auto-dialing programs in order to make thousands of phone calls all around the country.They typically will let the phone ring once before hanging up — just long enough for you to see the missed call message.

People who end up calling these numbers back are typically connected to paid adult entertainment service lines that are located overseas. The victim is then charged a $19.95 international call fee upfront, plus additional costs per minute if they stay on the line for the unwanted service.

These calls typically come from outside the US and include numbers with the following area codes: 268, 809, 876, 284 and 473.

So the next time you see a missed call from an unknown number, think twice before calling them back or you just might become a victim of this terrible and unfortunate scam.

Vishing Scam: Watch Out For This One!

January 28th, 2014

A new type of scam that’s been gaining popularity as of late is something called a Vishing scam. Also known as a courier or not hangup scam, the con starts off when a scammer calls a consumer pretending to be affiliated with either a bank or with the police. They claim that the person’s credit card has been compromised and that there is an issue with their account. The scammer will then advise that the victim call their bank, but in reality they end up staying on the line while pretend to be a bank representative. They then might persuading the victim to transfer funds, withdraw money or even reveal sensitive security information.

Experts say that this scam is becoming a growing problem. It’s important to remember that a bank will never call and ask for sensitive information. If you are ever contacted by someone claiming to be from a bank informing you of fraud, be sure to hang up the phone and call the bank yourself from another line if possible. That is the only way to ensure you don’t become a victim of this scam.

FIFA World Cup Scam: Love The Game and Don’t Get Scammed In The Process

January 7th, 2014

Following the announcements of the countries that will be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022, FIFA has recently been alerted on the growing number of fraudulent email scams that are claiming to be affiliated with the organization. Typically, these scams work such that recipients are notified and told that they have been selected as a lottery prize winner and that they have won a nice chunk of change or are invited to submit a tender. They are then persuaded to give personal information on a website or required to pay upfront in order for them to enter the tender process.

FIFA themselves have advised the public to be suspicious and cautious around any emails that concern lottery drawings, tenders, or competitions; and recommend that they not provide any personal information or financial details as well. We tend to agree. In addition to that, we’d add that any fraudulent scam that a person may encounter should be forwarded to authorities immediately. Remember: don’t let your love of the game be grounds for getting scammed!

Video Game Scams: A Gateway To Serious Trouble

December 17th, 2013

Here’s a common scam you may find in the gaming community. It involves scammers tricking their victims into paying a nominal one-time fee, for supposed access to unlimited downloads of games for PCs and gaming consoles like the XBOX 360 and the Playstation 3.

In actuality all these people are getting for their money are a set of links to file sharing/torrent sites that aren’t legal to use anyway since swapping games and files is a form of piracy.  Not only is using a torrent site ill advised, but they also may host a minefield of malware-infected programs that you could end up downloading unknowingly.

Even if you decided to take a risk and use one of these file sharing sites, it still does not require a $40 passage through a gateway in order to find. This is why it’s important to be wary of potential offers like this and steer clear of them! And if you’re looking for cheap video games, you can never go wrong with digital distribution systems like Steam or Origin.