U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Census Campaign Warning

US-CERT asks users to be vigilant during the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census campaign and to watch for potential census scams.

According to the U.S. Census 2010 website, they began delivery of the printed census forms to every resident in the United States on March 1, 2010. The only way to complete the census is by filling in the form using pen and ink; in some instances, census takers will be visiting households to complete the form face-to-face. It is important to understand that the U.S. Census Bureau will not, under any circumstances, be providing an online option to complete the 2010 census form.

US-CERT encourages all residents in the United States to take the following measures to protect themselves:

ABA Warns of Fraudulent Emails

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 – The American Bankers Association has been alerted that someone or a group of individuals sending emails purporting to be from ABA are actually part of a scam commonly known as phishing. These con artists are sending emails asking people to click on a link for more information — a popular technique to get financial information from the email recipient.

Phishing for financial information has been a long-standing practice. However, criminals are increasingly phishing for access to corporate, small business and government accounts and using that access to withdraw large sums of money from those accounts. Clicking on the link could enable fraudsters to download malicious software on to victims’ computers and steal bank passwords and other account information.

The emails inform recipients that an “unauthorized transaction” has been charged to their account using their “bank card.” The amount of the transactions is typically between $3,000 and $7,000. ABA would never contact a consumer and ask for financial information.

ABA is working with law enforcement to identify the source of the emails and to disrupt them. ABA offers the following advice to consumers, business and government organizations:

  • Never give out financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem. If you are uncertain, call your financial institution or the organization that is purportedly contacting you using a phone number you know is safe.
  • If you have already responded to this type of call or email by providing financial information, contact your financial institution immediately to protect your account;
  • Be extremely cautious about clicking on links within unsolicited emails. When in doubt, contact the organization purportedly sending the email.
  • Inform the ABA about fraudulent phone calls and emails that use ABA’s name by sending an email to alert@aba.com.

New Phishing Alert

Phishing Alert!

We have been notified of a scam in which customers and non customers are receiving emails indicating their Online Services have been suspended.  The email then instructs the customer to click on a link which it states takes them straight to a site to reactive their account. This link is not a valid link and it actually directs you to a fraudulent site. You are advised not to provide personal information. If you have any questions feel free to contact our customer service department at 1-888-262-5456.

Here is a copy of the email customers are receiving.

 

From: Central National Bank [mailto:Onlinesecurity@centralnational.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:05 AM

Subject: Access Suspended

Our Value Customer,

Your access to Online Services has been suspended. Due to a miss-match access code between your Security information. To enable you continue accessing your online account it will only take you few minutes to re-activate your account. Click on the link below and you will be taken straight to where you can activate your account.

https://www.netteller.com/centralnational/login.cfm


Important Notice:- You are strictly advised to match your details correctly to avoid service denial.

Thank You.
CNB Online Banking Customer Services

Jury Duty Scam

This has been verified by the FBI (their link is also included below). Please pass this on to everyone in your email address book. It is spreading fast so be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced.

Jury Duty Scam

The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so h e or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo; your identity was just stolen.

The fraud has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, and Colorado.
This (swindle) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully
people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

Check it out here: http://www.fbi.gov/page2/june06/jury_scams060206.htm

And here:
http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp

Internet Crime Complaint Center

 

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the FBI, The National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

IC3’s mission is to serve a vehicle to receive, develop and refer criminal complaints regarding cyber crime.  The IC3 gives victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.  IC3 provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes to law enforcement and regulatory agencies. 

IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the person who believes they were defrauded or from a third party to the complainant.  If you believe that you are a victim of cyber crime, go to www.ic3.gov to file a complaint.  Information needed to file a complaint includes the following:

  • Name
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you
  • Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded
  • Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint.

This site also contains valuable information about current Internet scams and how to prevent falling victim to such scams.

Tis the Season…of Scams

The Holiday Season seems to bring out the best and worst of human nature.  On the worst side are the scams that are designed to cheat honest people out of their money.  As we get closer to Christmas and as the economy worsens, it is important that we all be aware that scammers are keeping busy. 

Some of the more common scams that we see include:

  1. Lottery Scam: This is one of the most popular counterfeit check scams because it is successful. The victim will receive a letter or e-mail informing them that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes.  They are given a counterfeit check to finance the taxes and fees associated with collecting the prize.  They are asked to cash or deposit the check and wire the money to an individual who is collecting the “tax”.  It is difficult to detect this scam because the checks are usually lower dollar amounts (less than $3,000) and technology makes it easy to counterfeit real bank checks.  The victims are also told not to disclose their good fortune until they collect their grand prize. The reason this is so successful is that it plays on an American dream. If you receive one of these letters and checks, ask someone at your bank before you fall victim.
  2. Internet Auction Scam: In this scam, the victim places an item for sale on the Internet (not necessarily on e-bay, often on local classified websites). The winning bidder contacts them to arrange payment, but there is a catch. The buyer is overseas and shipping needs to be arranged. Payment is sent in the form of a counterfeit check for thousands of dollars in excess of the purchase price. The buyer is asked to wire the excess money to the buyer’s shipper who will arrange pickup of the item (they are often told that there is a little extra money for them to keep for their trouble to sweeten the deal). The money is wired before the check comes back, leaving the victim out the money.
  3. Internet Auction Scam 2: In this scam, the victim receives counterfeit money orders for their items.  In most cases, the item is sent before the counterfeit is detected and the victim is out the money and they item that they were selling.  Most money orders have instructions for validating their authenticity.  For example, some have a circle on each of the money orders that will change colors if you rub it, or they have a telephone number to call.  Postal money orders can be verified by calling 1-866-459-7822.

These scams are always evolving and we see new twists all of the time.  Education is the best form of scam prevention. Just remember if it seems too good to be true it probably is. Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Protecting Your Money

There are lots of people out there making a living off of tricking an honest consumer out of their money. Yet there are simple tips and precautions that can protect you. After all criminals look for the easy scam, if they were into hard work they would probably have real jobs!

 

Tip #1

Do not leave your wallet or purse in plain sight in an unattended vehicle. It takes less than a minute for a passing thief to break your window and snatch anything they want. 

 

Tip#2

Never write your PIN on your debit or credit cards or have them written down close to where you keep your cards. 

 

Tip #3

Buying products or services on-line must be done with care. Using reputable sites that have been around awhile is always encouraged. Sometimes when you authorize them to charge your card you are unknowingly signing up for a service as well. They might charge your card every month for a monthly e-newsletter or some other nonsense.

 

Tip #4

This is more a fact than a tip. Lately there has been an e-mail rumor going around saying if you are held up at the ATM and you put in your pin backwards the ATM will signal the police. THIS IS NOT TRUE! In fact most debit and credit cards have the option where the user can pick their own pin number. In that case if you pick 5555 as your pin there is no way the ATM could decipher what is forwards and what is backwards. 

Thanks to Sherol Rumbagh for sharing these tips!  

I Won the Lottery!

That’s right; I really did win the lottery.  Well, at least that’s what an email told me.  Even though I’ve never lived in, or visited England, somehow I won their lottery.  I couldn’t believe my luck while reading this.  It seemed so weird that I had won because just that week a customer came in with a check saying she won the lottery in Nigeria.  Two big winners in one week!  All I had to do to collect my winning check was send back an email with my current contact information.  There was also a form where I had to fill in my lottery ticket number and the amount I won.  Strange that they were informing me I won, yet they didn’t have my ticket number, but I chalked it up to a misunderstanding. So I filled in the winning ticket numbers I would have played.  Deciding the amount I won, well that was difficult.  I didn’t want to appear too greedy so I put down a meager five billion dollars.  I figure that’s the difference between having a plain quarter pounder and having one with cheese for the rest of my life. The English lotto officials were so accommodating.  All I had to do in order to get my winnings was give them my bank account number and they took out several thousand dollars for ticket and handling fees.  After doing this, I was told it would only take a few weeks for them to send me my big winnings.  It’s only been a few months since they emptied out my account, so I know I should be receiving the money any day now.  I wonder what I’ll buy first after I pay off all of the recent debt I’ve incurred.

NO, I did not send them any money or give out my bank account number! Hopefully after reading this, most of you have realized what a joke lottery scams are.  I guarantee it’s a scam any time you receive an email saying you’ve won a foreign lottery.  Why on earth would someone send money to a lottery office in order to get money sent back to them?  Yet it happens all the time. Even if by some one in a trillion chance it was real, too bad!  It’s illegal in the U.S. to play any foreign lottery.   So please don’t get fooled by these emails and watch out for your elders so they don’t fall for these tricks via direct mail or phone and end up losing everything.  To learn more about foreign lottery scams, talk with your local police department, talk with a bank official, or check out http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/intlalrt.shtm.