Fraud Watch Network
Home Updates for the Week Bulletin Board News Around Lynnhaven Lost & Found Special Requests The Marketplace Rentals Lynnhaven Neighbors Lynnhaven Ladies Ladies Book Club Crime Watch You and Your Computer Useful Information Useful Internet Links Residents Recommend Contributors

Home
Updates for the Week
Bulletin Board
News Around Lynnhaven
Lost & Found
Special Requests
The Marketplace
Rentals
Lynnhaven Neighbors
Lynnhaven Ladies
Ladies Book Club
Crime Watch
You and Your Computer
Useful Information
Useful Internet Links
Residents Recommend
Contributors

Contact Webmaster
(Right click on Webmaster link to get email address)
to:

Include an announcement, group activity, or feature article

Report broken links or to correct information

Report your changed
e-mail address or phone #


Click on a link
(blue & underlined
) to go to that spot on the website or for an email address;
Click the Back button (top of screen) to return to the previous view or place.

AARP Fraud Watch
    
Special Alert: 3 Things to Protect Your Information From Scammers New
     How Cyber Secure are You? New
     New Law Makes Credit Freezes Free
    
Fake Veteran Charities
     Scammers Targeting Medicare Beneficiaries
     Scammers Are Going After Your Social Security
Benefits
    
Tech Support Scams

AARP Fraud Watch Network
     Sign Up for Watchdog Alerts


3 Things To Protect Your Information From Scammers

Special alert! Data breaches are now so commonplace that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. But even if your personal information is out there, you can protect your identity with these simple but important steps.

Rethink Your Passwords:

Use unique passwords for each of your online accounts. That way, if one account is hacked, it doesn’t put your other accounts at risk. A good way to manage all of those different passwords is to use a digital password manager. These services can help keep all your passwords secure and help you create strong passwords for each of your online accounts.

Set Up Digital Access to Your Financial Accounts:

Scammers can easily use your personal data to open up accounts in your name — making it difficult to recover your accounts and hard-earned money. It’s important to set up online access to all of your financial accounts — bank accounts, credit cards, 401(k)s, etc. That way you can regularly monitor the accounts so you can stay up-to-date on all transactions and quickly spot and report any fraudulent activity.

Freeze Your Credit:

Put a security freeze in place with each of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. That way no one can access your credit file or open a new credit account with your information. For a guide to the process, visit www.aarp.org/CreditFreeze. Traditionally there has been a fee for freezing (and unfreezing) your credit, but thanks to legislation passed by Congress in May 2018, the process will now be free as of September 21.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kathy Stokes
Fraud Watch Network

P.S. Spotted a scam?  Tell us about it.  Our scam-tracking map gives you information about the latest scams targeting people in your state.  You’ll also find first-hand accounts from scam-spotters who are sharing their experiences so you know how to protect yourself and your family.


How Cyber Secure Are You?

Here are some tips to help you stay cyber secure:

  1. Make sure your passwords are strong. Don't just stick to the minimum requirements. Passwords should be unique to you, but at the same time, easy to remember. In fact, instead of a password, consider creating a passphrase. Make it something unique to you and easy to remember. For example, if you’re a cake lover, your passphrase could be Ilovechocolatecake. Like to golf? How about Golfismyfavoritesport. Think of something that would be easy for you to remember, but hard for a thief to crack. And make sure you use a unique password for each and every website that you use. That way a data breach on one site doesn’t put you at risk on others. An alternative is to use a password manager (Google “password manager” for options), through which a tool creates and stores your passwords for you.
     
  2. Think before you connect. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot — such as those in an airport, hotel, train/bus station, or café — be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Many fake networks have seemingly legitimate names.
     
  3. Never conduct sensitive activities in public. This type of work can include online shopping, banking, or other sensitive financial and personal work. Never conduct these activities using a public wireless network or a public computer, even if the network appears secure.
     
  4. Enable stronger authentication. Stronger authentication (also known as two-factor or multi-factor authentication) adds an extra layer of security beyond using a password to access your accounts. An example of this would be, when you try to log on to your account using your bank’s mobile app, they may send you a text message with a code to verify it is really you. Most major e-mail, social media, and financial platforms offer multi-factor authentication to their users. If you are going to be traveling, be sure to ask your service provider if you can activate this feature before departing on your trip. To learn more, visit www.lockdownyourlogin.com.
     
  5. Turn off your Bluetooth when not in use. Bluetooth enables your device to connect to other devices — for example, it’s what allows you to operate your smart phone hands-free while you are in the car. When it’s on, it can open you up to vulnerabilities.
     
  6. Keep your software updated. Keep your operating system and other software strong by installing updates to improve your device’s ability to defend against malicious software, also known as ‘malware’. Don’t ignore the prompts to update your operating system. Often times, those updates specifically address a known vulnerability and will offer added protection from it.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kathy Stokes
Fraud Watch Network


New Law Makes Credit Freezes Free

The battle to protect your identity is getting a little easier — or at least cheaper. A new law goes into effect September 21st that will make it free to lock your credit file by freezing it with the three major credit rating companies.

In the past, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion have charged fees to freeze your credit reports to help protect against fraud. In states that have not already outlawed the fees, the freezes had cost from $2 to $10, and you needed to pay it to each credit-rating agency separately. You also had to pay to unfreeze and refreeze your credit reports.

How It Works:

  • A credit freeze locks your credit file, which makes it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. You will get a PIN to use so you can unfreeze your account to apply for new credit, and then freeze it again.
     
  • Alternatively, you can place a "fraud alert" on your reports that will require any business that runs your credit to contact you before opening a new account. These alerts used to last 90 days, but the new law extends them to one year.

What You Should Know:

  • A credit freeze is an important tool to deter scammers from opening future accounts in your name, but it doesn’t stop thieves from getting into your current financial accounts and wreaking havoc.
     
  • To keep close tabs on banking, credit and other financial accounts, set up online access (on the Internet or through the institution’s app if you have a smart phone) to monitor your accounts regularly.

What You Should Do:

  • Follow the steps here (click on link for steps to follow) to freeze your credit and the credit of each adult in your household. If you have children under the age of 16, consider freezing their credit, too, until they are old enough to use credit.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kathy Stokes
Fraud Watch Network

P.S. Spotted a scam?  Tell us about it.  Our scam-tracking map gives you information about the latest scams targeting people in your state.  You’ll also find first-hand accounts from scam-spotters who are sharing their experiences so you know how to protect yourself and your family.


Fake Veteran Charities

All charity scams are deplorable, but those pretending to raise funds to support our nation’s veterans are particularly shameful. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission, along with state charities regulators, announced a major takedown of fake veteran charities. Let’s hope these actions put a big dent in these scams, but chances are more will pop up. Here’s what you should know.

How It Works:

  • Fake charities use the same techniques as trusted charities to reach you — in person, by mail, over the phone, online, by text, or by e-mail — so be mindful across all of these methods.
  • The name of the fake veteran charity may closely resemble the name of a real charity.
  • The fake charity might ask you to wire money, donate by gift card or give cash—see this as a red flag.

What You Should Know:

  • Real veteran charities need your support, and they, like us, lose out when a scammer steals our donation and diverts resources away from legitimate organizations.
  • Scammers will put pressure on you to act quickly, before you have a chance to think through your decision or do any research.

What You Should Do:

  • When you do donate to a charity, use a check or credit card and keep records.
  • If you are approached in person, ask for identification and details about the charity, including its full name and address, and how they will use the funds. If the person cannot furnish this information, close your door or walk away.
  • Easily check out a charity before you give money to one. See how at www.ftc.gov/charity.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kathy Stokes
Fraud Watch Network

Scammers Target Medicare Beneficiaries

A law passed in 2015 requires Medicare to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. Beneficiaries will begin to receive their new cards in May, and the rollout will continue into 2019. This is a good move, since Social Security numbers are the key to identity theft, and having them displayed on Medicare cards has long presented risk. Unfortunately, scammers have come up with ways to take advantage of this change.
 

How It Works:

  • Scammers claiming to be from Medicare call and ask you to verify your Social Security number in order to receive your new card.
  • Scammers call to collect a “processing fee” in order for you to receive your new Medicare card.

What You Should Know:

  • Medicare will NEVER ask beneficiaries to confirm their Social Security number or ask for money in order to receive the new Medicare card.

What You Should Do:

  • If you receive a call like this, hang up and report it to Medicare at 1-800-633-4427.
  • If your address has changed, you’ll need to report it in order to receive your new card. Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or www.ssa.gov/myaccount.  

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.  

Sincerely,

Kathy Stokes
Fraud Watch Network


P.S. Spotted a scam?  Tell us about it.  Our scam-tracking map gives you information about the latest scams targeting people in your state.  You’ll also find first-hand accounts from scam-spotters who are sharing their experiences so you know how to protect yourself and your family.


Scammers Are Going After Your Social Security Benefits

Scammers are now going to the Social Security Administration website and setting up “my Social Security” accounts of workers that are of retirement age in an attempt to steal their retirement benefits. People age 62 and older face the highest risk of this scam.

How It Works:

  • Scammers get a hold of personal information, including Social Security numbers, and head to www.ssa.gov to open a “my Social Security” account in victims’ names.
  • They apply for funds, requesting a lump sum payout for any amount due to the victim, and direct the automatic deposit to their own bank account.
  • The scammer then withdraws the stolen funds and closes out the bank account, then transfers the funds to gift cards (so they can’t be tracked).

What You Should Know:

  • Only one “my Social Security” account is permitted for each Social Security number, so signing up early is key.
  • While it’s important to set up your account before a scammer can, it’s also a useful resource. Through it, you can view your estimated benefits (retirement, disability, and family benefits), review your earnings record and order replacement documents.

What You Should Do:

  • If you are a victim of this scam, you will probably have to visit your local Social Security Administration office to resolve it. You can find contact information at https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.

Sincerely,

Kristin Keckeisen
Fraud Watch Network


Tech Support Scams

techsupporttwt (2).pngWe’ve talked about them before, but tech support scams are still going strong. Since May 2014, Microsoft has heard from more than 65,000 customers about fraudulent tech support cons. And it’s one of the top scams we hear about through the Fraud Watch Network scam-tracking map.

How It Works

They call and claim to work for well-known companies like Microsoft, Norton or McAfee. They say your computer is infected with malware and then ask for remote access, or money, so they can “fix” it. Or they place ads in online search engines to trick you into calling them.

What can you do to avoid tech support scams?

  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer. 
     
  • Never provide your credit card information, financial information, or passwords to someone who claims to be from “tech support”.
     
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
     
  • If possible, take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of technical support scam, please contact:


AARP Fraud Watch Network

The AARP Fraud Watch Network connects you to the latest information about ID theft and fraud so you can safeguard your personal information and your pocketbook. Sign up for Watchdog Alerts, which are free to everyone.


Return to Top of Page