November 13, 2017
Western Union Scam Victims – Important Time Sensitive Information
The Federal Trade Commission is alerting consumers who lost money to scammers who told them to pay via Western Union’s money transfer system between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, that they can now file a claim to get their money back by going to FTC.gov/WU before February 12, 2018.
“American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “We’re pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers’ rightful hands.”
So if you were a victim make sure to file your claim before February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU
Sep 12, 2017
There are steps to take to see if your records were part of the breached data and to help protect your information from being misused.
First, visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
• Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
• Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.
• You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.
Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:
• Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
• Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
• Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
• If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
• File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.
Aug 14, 2017
IRS Scam Alert!
The IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax industry are warning industry professionals about a new, convincing phishing scam, capitalizing on the extension tax deadlines of Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.
The Internal Revenue Service issued a Security Summit Alert for tax professionals to beware of this new phishing email scam, which impersonates tax software providers. The message claims to offer software upgrades, and attempts to steal usernames and passwords to access the preparers’ accounts and mine sensitive client data.
“This sophisticated scam yet again displays cybercriminals’ tax savvy and underscores the need for tax professionals to take strong security measures to protect their clients and protect their business,” the IRS alert advised.
The latest email variation carries a subject line of “Software Support Update” and highlights an “Important Software System Upgrade.” The e-mail informs recipients that due to a recent software upgrade, the preparer must revalidate their login credentials. It provides a link to a fictitious website that mirrors the software provider’s actual login page. Instead of upgrading software, the duped tax professionals provide information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.
“This scam is targeting tax professionals and firms, attempting to steal highly sensitive client information, and, frankly, it’s not surprising,” Mike Wyatt, threat researcher, at San Francisco based digital threat management firm RiskIQ, said. He explained cybercriminals often leverage holidays, events, and other important dates in their threat campaigns, so it makes perfect sense to capitalize on the extended tax deadlines coming up. “Ultimately, getting people to click on their links requires social engineering, and leveraging themes and holidays is a reliable tactic for them.”
Kern Schools recommendations:
- When possible use Out of Band (OOB) authentication prior to clicking on any link or opening any attachment in an email. For example, if you get an email from someone you can call the individual or agency (but not with any information in the email) use the phone number posted on their web site. If you can confirm the email is legitimate then you can click on the link or open the attachment.
- Make sure you have antivirus protection and the software is updated with the latest threats.
- Slow down…ask yourself, why am I receiving this, is this the normal way I am contacted…the hacker always wants to create a sense of urgency for you to act quickly and try to address the issue or appear non-threatening…
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.
Listed below are tips to protect yourself and your family from various forms of Internet fraud.
For information on the most common complaints and scams, see the annual reports of the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, a partnership of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Also see its information on Internet Crime Schemes and its Internet Crime Prevention Tips.
Tips for Avoiding Internet Auction Fraud:
- Understand as much as possible about how the auction works, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller’s obligations are before you bid.
- Find out what actions the website/company takes if a problem occurs and consider insuring the transaction and shipment.
- Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an e-mail address. If it is a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller/business is located.
- Examine the feedback on the seller.
- Determine what method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment.
- If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
- Be cautious when dealing with sellers outside the United States. If a problem occurs with the auction transaction, it could be much more difficult to rectify.
- Ask the seller about when delivery can be expected and whether the merchandise is covered by a warranty or can be exchanged if there is a problem.
- Make sure there are no unexpected costs, including whether shipping and handling is included in the auction price.
- There should be no reason to give out your social security number or driver’s license number to the seller.
Visit the FBI website for further tips on preventing Internet fraud.
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.
External Bill Pay Options
Although there are several bill payment options available to our Members, as well as all consumers, Kern Schools does not endorse any services outside of DataNet online banking and DataMobile mobile banking.
Should you choose to use a bill payment service outside of DataNet and DataMobile, please be aware if payment(s) made are not presented to payees in a timely manner, you may be responsible for late fees. For this reason, Kern Schools strongly encourages our Members to research all bill payment service(s) prior to providing any account information.
Rather than using a bill payment provider outside of DataNet or DataMobile, Kern Schools encourages you to make all payments using our Bill Pay service. Doing this will help avoid late payments or fees.