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Identity Theft and Other Scams

Green Dot Money Card

Green Dot MoneyPak Cards are becoming more popular within the community and also among scammers. These cards are reloadable debit cards which can be purchased at Wal-Mart and other larger chains.

People can use the cards instead of having a bank account. Once the cards are purchased, the customer loads money onto the card at the retailer and then uses the card like a debit or credit card. The card can be reloaded at any time.

Each card has a 14 digit security code on it. This number is similar to an account number and should not be shared with anyone. If the number is given to anyone, the funds loaded on that card are available to the person that has been given that number.

Here are a couple of examples of a typical scam involving Green Dot MoneyPak Cards:

1. A person sees a job opportunity on the Internet or is contacted by a company that offers them employment. Typically these jobs are secret shopper jobs. Once the person applies and is accepted for the position they are mailed a check which they are instructed to deposit into their bank accounts. After depositing the money they are told to purchase some Green Dot MoneyPak Cards at various retailers. They are emailed a form to complete to evaluate each store they purchase the cards at. They are told this is to evaluate the stores for marketing and research purposes. The "employer" instructs them to scratch off the coating on each card to reveal the 14 digit security code and email that code along with the evaluation form back to them.

What the victim doesn't realize is once that code is given to the scammer, the money is transferred to another account or Green Dot MoneyPak Card where it is withdrawn at an ATM or used for a purchase. The victim's money is gone and recovery of the money is not likely. Some of the business names the “employer” uses are Kodak Survey Inc. of Atlanta Georgia, or North Atlanta Survey.

2. Another scam is the lottery or sweepstakes scam. Scammers will call a person and tell them that they've won a sweepstakes or lottery, and that they need to pay taxes or handling charges in order to collect their winnings. The scammer tells the person to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak Card and to load money onto the card. They tell the person they need the 14 digit security code for verification purposes and then their winnings will be sent to them. Once the scammer receives the code, the money is transferred to another card or account and immediately withdrawn or spent. The victim has lost their money and it is unlikely it will be recovered.

There are many more scams out there to target unsuspecting people. When dealing with someone who wants you to send money in any form, make sure you are dealing with a legitimate company. If in doubt research them on the Internet at sites like www.ripoffreport.com or www.scambusters.org or WWW.IC3.GOV

Story provided by NBC affiliate KHQ6 out of Spokane, Washington.

Microsoft Phone Scam

While this scam is not new, having been reported as far back as 2009, it is still prevalent. Below is an article by Matt Egan taken from a 2012 issue of PC Advisor Magazine.

Microsoft phone scam: don't be a victim

Avoid the Microsoft phone scam, what to do if you are hit

By Matt Egan | PC Advisor | 31 August 12

If you receive a phone call from a security 'expert' offering to fix your PC - it's a scam. Here's how to avoid the 'Microsoft phone scam', and what to do if you fear you have fallen victim to it. See all PC security advice. We're still getting reports in our Tech Helproom that people are falling victim to the Microsoft Phone Scam Recently I was asked to comment on a news story by a local TV station. There's nothing particularly unusual about that, but it struck me that this particular 'news' story was anything but new. It was in relation to a scam commonly known as the 'Microsoft phone scam'. This is something as a misnomer, as Microsoft has nothing to do with it, but the software giant's name is used by criminals in order to solicit money. Visit Security Advisor. A quick check on Google Insights for Search shows that the term 'Microsoft phone scam' first became popular in mid 2009, and peaked in September 2011. But the scam is still around, and my recent televisual experience suggests lots of people are being caught out. So here is how to avoid the 'Microsoft phone scam' in the first place, and what to do if you are a victim.

Microsoft phone scam: how it works

A scammer calls you, and asks for you by name. They say they are a computer security expert from Microsoft (or another legitimate tech company). The 'security expert' is plausible and polite, but officious. They say that your PC or laptop has been infected with malware, and that they can help you solve the problem. What happens now depends on the particular strain of scam with which you have been targeted. Some crooks will ask you to give them remote access to your PC or laptop, and then use the access to harness your personal data. Others get you to download malware that will do that task for you. A more straightforward scam is to simply ask for money in return for a lifetime of 'protection' from the malware they pretend is on your machine. Here's the important bit: no legitimate IT security pro is ever going to call you in this way.

For one thing, they can't tell that your PC is infected. They've got your name from the phone book, or any one of the thousands of marketing lists on which your details probably reside. They know nothing about your home computing set up - it's a fishing trip to see if they can hook some low-hanging fruit (forgive the torturous mixed metaphors). Basically, somebody is sitting in a room calling number after number hoping to find a victim. It's not personal, but it is ultimately dangerous to your financial and technological health.

Microsoft phone scam: what to do if you are called:

1. Number one: put the phone down. Get rid of the caller and move on with your life. It is not a legitimate call.

2. During your conversation, don't provide any personal information. This is a good rule for any unsolicited call. And certainly never hand over your credit card or bank details. Just don't do it.

3. If you've got this far, we can only reiterate point number 1: get off the phone. But whatever you do don't allow a stranger to guide you to a certain webpage, or instruct you to change a setting on your PC or download software.

4. If possible get the caller's details. You should certainly report any instance of this scam to the police.

5. Finally, change any passwords and usernames that could plausibly have been compromised, and run a scan with up-to-date security software. Then ensure that your firewall and antivirus are up to date and protecting your PC.

Microsoft phone scam: what to do if you have been a victim

First of all don't beat yourself up. This could happen to anyone (and does). First of all, you need to change all the personal data that you can change. As much as you might like to you can't change your date of birth, and changing your name and address seems extreme. But you can change all your passwords and usernames, starting with your main email account and any bank and credit card logins. Also, contact your bank to ask them to be on the look out for anything dodgy. Again, use up-to-date security software to scan and cleanse your PC, and if the scammer did get you to do something to your PC using System Restore to roll back the settings is always a good idea. And tell the police. If you have lost money, it's possible your credit card company or contents insurance will cover the loss.

Read more: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/security/3378798/microsoft-phone-scam-dont-be-victim/#ixzz2rA4lq8mW

Identity Theft is America's fastest growing crime.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft has been the No. 1 complaint from consumers for the last five years. It estimates 11 million people have been victimized.

Identity Theft occurs when a person uses the personal information of another to, or attempts to, obtain credit, goods, or services. Personal information can be a name and birthday, a Social Security number, driver's license number, credit card number, or PIN numbers, or any information that identifies one as a particular individual.

Go now! for more information on Identity Theft and other internet crime schemes.

The IC3 Crime Complaint Center gives victims of Internet crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism. They acccept online Internet crime complaints from either the person who believes they were defrauded or from a third party to the complainant.

For more information or to report Internet fraud, go to the
IC3 Crime Complaint Center.

To check out information and the latest reviews of identity theft protection services, visit:



Consumer Affairs.Com.

By following these simple tips, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

  • Do not carry your extra credit cards, Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport in your wallet or purse except when necessary. This practice minimizes the amount of information a thief can steal. Photocopy everything in your wallet so if it is stolen you know exactly who to call.

  • Do not click on links in any emails you receive from financial institutions - even if you're 100% sure they're legitimate. Instead, go to your browser and type in the domain name of the institution (e.g. www.wellsfargo.com or www.paypal.com) and then login to your account. Some emails you receive about your financial accounts are actually fake and are called "phishing" emails.

  • Make sure your computer is set to automatically download the latest patches and fixes. Any computer operating systems will have security holes. You will want to install a new fix once they are discovered and patched. Both Microsoft Windows and Mac have an easy method for doing this.

  • Install virus and spyware detection software and keep them updated.

  • Install a lockable mailbox at your residence to reduce mail theft.

  • Take credit card receipts with you. Never toss them in a public trash container.

  • Never leave your purse or wallet unattended at work or in church, restaurants, health fitness clubs, parties, or shopping carts. Never leave your purse or wallet in open view in your car, even when your car is locked.

  • Destroy all checks immediately after you close a checking account. Destroy or keep in a secure place any courtesy checks that your bank or credit card company sends to you.

  • Do not have your bank send your new checks to your home address. Tell the bank that you prefer to pick them up.

  • Reconcile your check and credit card statements in a timely fashion, and challenge any purchases you did not make.

  • Limit the number of credit cards you have, and cancel any inactive accounts.

  • Never give any credit card, bank, or Social Security information to anyone by telephone, even if you made the call, unless you can positively verify that the call is legitimate.

  • Minimize exposure of your Social Security and credit card numbers. If the numbers are requested for check-cashing purposes, ask if the business has alternative options such as a check-cashing card.

  • Do not allow your financial institution to print your Social Security number on your personal checks.

  • Safeguard your credit, debit, and ATM card receipts. Shred them before discarding.

  • Memorize your passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) so you do not have to write them down. Be aware of your surroundings to make sure no one is watching you input your PIN.

  • Keep a list of all your credit accounts and bank accounts in a secure place so you can quickly call the issuers to inform them about missing or stolen cards. Include account numbers, expiration dates, and telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments.

  • Do not toss pre-approved credit offers in your trash or recycling bin without first shredding them. Dumpster divers use these offers to order credit cards in your name and mail them to their address. Always do the same with other sensitive information like credit card receipts, phone bills, and such.

  • To protect our citizen's right to be free from criminal attack and be secure in their homes and possessions. The Everest Metropolitan Police Department will utilize all means at its disposal to accomplish this mission.

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