February 1, 2018
Newest Scam with Old Theme – Send $ to get $
There are many scammers who pretend to be government officials – from the IRS, Social Security, and even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The latest twist is an email from – supposedly – the Secretary of State. In the email, someone pretending to be Secretary Tillerson says you’re owed a payment – which he knows about because of an investigation by the FBI and CIA. The email goes on to say that you’ll get an ATM card with $1.85 million on it – and it even gives you the PIN code. But, to get the ATM card, you have to send in $320 and a bunch of information about you.
No, I repeat, no government agency will ever tell you to pay a fee to collect funds owed to you. Here’s what you can do the next time you get an email or call from someone claiming to be from the government. Ask yourself these two questions:
- Did they say you’ve won a prize, owe money, or threaten you with jail?
- Then did they say that you can collect your prize – or get out of trouble – if you pay them money right away?
If the answer to these is “yes,” that’s going to be a scam. You don’t need to send money. You don’t need to give up your information by phone or email. You don’t need to worry. But what I hope you will do is tell people you know about the scam you spotted – and then tell the FTC.
Prevent Identify Theft
Here are a few basic steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and pretext calling. Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information. Often, identity thieves will use another person’s personal information, such as a Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, or account number to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write share drafts, open share accounts, or obtain new loans. They may obtain this information by:
- Stealing wallets that contain personal identification information and credit cards.
- Stealing credit union statements from the mail.
- Diverting mail from its intended recipients by submitting a change of address form.
- Rummaging through trash for personal data.
- Stealing personal identification information from workplace records.
- Intercepting or otherwise obtaining information transmitted electronically.
Click here to view further information.
Federal Trade Commission
Student Loan Scams Alert
Please read this alert from the FTC if you have student loans and considering assistance in managing the debt.
Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams. Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams:
- Never pay an upfront fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you in advance before helping you to reduce or get rid of your student loan debt. Companies that make you pay upfront might give you no help and not give your money back.
- Only scammers promise fast loan forgiveness. Before they know your situation, scammers might say they can quickly get rid of your loans through a loan forgiveness program. But they can’t.
- A Department of Education seal doesn’t mean it’s legit. Scammers use official-looking names and logos and say they have special access to certain federal programs. They don’t.
- Don’t share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with anyone. Scammers could use it to take control of your personal financial aid information on U.S. Department of Education websites.
You don’t have to pay for help with your student loans. There’s nothing a company can do for you that you cannot do yourself for free: federal borrowers can start with StudentAid.gov/repay; private borrowers can start by talking with their loan servicer.
Federal Trade Commission
How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. There are four main ways to do it: know who you share information with; store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security number; ask questions before deciding to share your personal information; and maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.
Click here to visit the FTC website for further information.