#AceNewsReport – June.11: Scammers may say your tax returns must be done differently because of a name change — and they need your Social Security number to fix it. For recently married people, or someone going through gender reassignment and a name change, the excuses scammers use might make sense. But wait right there. Scammers are just phishing for personal information they can use to steal your identity or take your money:
SCAM ALERT: How to spot a government impersonator scam: For Pride Month, the FTC wants the LGBTQ+ community to know about government imposter scams and how to avoid them: Government imposters may call to “verify your Social Security number,” or say your Social Security number or Medicare benefits have been “suspended” due to a mix-up.
June 9, 2021by
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
So how do you spot it and stop it? Here’s what to know:
Scammers call, email, or text you for money or information. But the government won’t. Anyone who calls, emails, or texts, asking for money or personal information and claims to be from the government is a scammer. Hang up and don’t respond to messages.
Scammers tell you how to pay — usually by wiring money, cryptocurrency, or gift card. Nobody legit will ever tell you to pay in any of those ways. If they call, hang up the phone. If they email, text, or message you, don’t click on any links. It’s a scam.
Even if your caller ID says it’s from the government, it could be a scam. Caller ID can be faked. Even if it shows the government agency’s real phone number, or even if it says something like “Social Security Administration,” it could be anyone calling from anywhere in the world. Don’t trust it.
#AceNewsReport – May.29: But some activities might require you to show that you’ve been vaccinated or had a recent negative #COVID19 test. How you do that may depend on the activity and where you live.
FTC SCAM ALERT: Scammers cash in on confusion over vaccine verification methods: Right now, there’s no standard way to prove you’ve been vaccinated or tested negative. Sure, there are those CDC #COVID19 vaccination cards people get when they get their vaccine.
May 28, 2021by
Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
But they were never designed to prove your vaccination status and they may not be enough. Some states, companies, colleges, and other organizations are creating their own verification products and services, including apps and digital passports or certificates. Some connect to state immunization databases while others rely on individual self-report. The patchwork approach gives scammers an opportunity to cash in on the confusion.
Besides not sharing your COVID-19 vaccination card online because of the risk for identity theft, here are a few other ways to help stay ahead of the scammers.
Be skeptical of anyone contacting you from the federal government. Right now, there are no official plans to create a national vaccine verification app or certificate or passport. If you get a call, email, or text from someone saying they’re from the federal government, and asking you for personal information or money to get a national vaccine certificate or passport, that’s a scam.
Check with airlines, cruise lines, and event venues about their requirements. Don’t rely on information from someone who calls, texts, or emails you out of the blue.
Contact your state governmentabout its vaccine verification plans and requirements.
Don’t share your information with just anyone. Scammers often set up real-looking websites to sell fake goods and services, so why not vaccine verification certificates or passports? Before you share any information online, check out who’s asking for it. Search online for the company or organization’s name with words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” Think long and hard before you share personal information, like your Social Security, Medicare, credit card, or bank account numbers. Scammers can steal your information to commit fraud and identity theft.
If you know about a COVID-19 vaccine scam, tell the FTC about it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Or, file a complaint with your state or territory attorney general at consumerresources.org, the consumer website of the National Association of Attorneys General.
#AceNewsReport – May.26: You receive a fraudulent text claiming to be from a trusted organisation or individual being impersonated by criminals, including the following:
Your bank, informing you that there is a ‘problem with your account’ such as irregular activity or lack of funds.
A retailer, offering ‘vouchers’ or ‘gift cards’.
A technology provider such as Apple or Google, notifying that you ‘need to validate an account’.
A parcel delivery company, notifying you that you need to ‘confirm that you want a parcel to be delivered’.
HMRC, informing you that you are ‘due a tax refund’.
SCAM ALERT: #Smishing Report: In common with both phishing, which uses email as an initial approach, and vishing, which uses phone calls, smishing uses your mobile phone (either a smartphone or traditional non-internet connected handset). Like the other methods mentioned, it manipulates innocent people into taking various actions which lead to being defrauded:
What all smishing messages have in common is: This list is not exhaustive.
They instruct you to either go to a website or make a phone call to a specified number.
They play on your basic human emotions and needs, such as trust, safety, fear of losing money, getting something for nothing, eagerness to find a bargain or desire to find love or popularity/status.
They generally state or imply the need for your urgent action to either avoid an issue or take advantage of an offer.
Websites you visit via smishing messages generally either request confidential details or cause your internet-connected mobile device to be infected with malware. Phone calls you make in response can either result in confidential details being requested, or be to a premium rate number resulting in exorbitant charges being added to your phone bill.
How to avoid becoming a victim of smishing:
Do not click on links in text messages unless you are 100% certain that they are genuine and well-intentioned.
Take time to consider your actions before responding to text messages.
Ask yourself if the sender, if genuine, would really contact you via this text.
Recognise threats of financial issues or offers that seem too good to be true, for what they really are.
If in doubt, call the correct number of the organisation or individual from whom the text claims to have been sent, to check its authenticity.
Remember that even if the text message seems to come from someone you trust, their number may have been hacked or spoofed.
Do not respond to the text message. Doing so could result in your details being added to a ‘suckers’ list’ and you will be inundated with similar messages.
Dial 7726 (or for Vodafone subscribers, 87726). This will enable your mobile network provider to take early action to block numbers that are generating spam – including scam texts – on their networks, and report them to the regulators.
Report spam text messages directly to your mobile phone provider free of charge by forwarding them to 7726 from the device they are received on.
‘Which’ also operates an online reporting service for scam texts and phone calls, here: www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-deal-with-spam-text-messages.
If you have lost money as a result of a smishing text, or via any other fraudulent activity
Report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, contact Police Scotland on 101.
#AceNewsReport – May.25: The men were arrested in Birmingham, Coventry, London and Colchester, Essex, a specialist unit of the City of London and Metropolitan Police said:
U.K. …Eight arrests in Royal Mail text scam investigation: ‘The suspects were allegedly involved in sending fake messages, primarily posing as Royal Mail and asking people to pay a fee to retrieve a parcel’ Such messages, known as “smishing” texts, steal a victim’s personal and bank details by getting them to follow a link to a fake version of a trusted website.
20 hours ago
A man from London was charged with three offences and the others were released under investigation.
The charged man, from Enfield, will appear at Inner London Crown Court on 21 June.
He faces charges of fraud by false representation; possession of articles for use in fraud; possession of criminal property (money laundering), a spokeswoman for the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) said.
The unit added the arrests were made as part of a week of action against scam messages.
Det Ch Insp Gary Robinson, head of the DCPCU, said it was working with Royal Mail, the financial services sector and mobile phone networks to fight the crime.
“Ongoing investigations are now under way and we will continue to work together to bring those committing smishing scams to justice,” he said.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
#AceNewsReport – May.14: Some of the most common unwanted calls the FTC sees currently include pretend Social Security Administration, Medicare, and IRS calls, fake Amazon or Apple Computer support calls, and fake auto warranty and credit card calls.
AMERICA: SCAM ALERT: Unwanted calls: Just block ’em and report ’em ……..So this week, as part of Older Americans Month, we’re talking about how to block unwanted calls — for yourself, and for your friends and family. To get started, check out this video:
May 12, 2021by
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
But no matter what type of unwanted calls you get (and everyone is getting them) your best defense is a good offense. Here are three universal truths to live by:
Don’t trust your caller ID
Hang up on robocalls
Use call blocking
Visit FTC.gov/calls to learn to block calls on your cell phone and home phone.
The FTC continues to go after the companies and scammers behind these calls, so please report unwanted calls at donotcall.gov. If you’ve lost money to a scam call, tell us at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your reports help us take action against scammers and illegal robocallers — just like we did in Operation Call It Quits. In this law enforcement sweep, the FTC and its state and federal partners brought 94 actions against illegal robocallers. But there’s more: we also take the phone numbers you report and release them publicly each business day. That helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call-blocking and call-labeling solutions.
So share these videos and this call blocking news with your friends and family. Sharing will help protect someone you care about from a scam — and it’ll help them get fewer unwanted calls, too!
#AceNewsReport – May.05: This has led to a rise in demand for vessels to aid migrant Channel crossings, with demand likely to continue as weather conditions improve through spring and summer:
‘UK law enforcement detected in excess of eight thousand migrant arrivals throughout 2020’
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – NCA Issue a warning to maritime industry over organised crime links to small boats: ‘The alert warns that since global #COVID19 lockdown measures were imposed in March 2020 the number of migrants attempting to enter the UK using small boats has increased significantly’
Organised crime groups are known to target legitimate sellers of vessels and equipment such as outboard motors and life jackets, both in person and online. There are also incidents recorded of boats and equipment being stolen: The NCA have conducted a number of operations targeting those who supply boats to people smugglers, but the Agency is asking those in the industry to report concerns or suspicious activity relating to the purchase of boat equipment:
NCA Head of Organised Immigration Crime Operations, Miles Bonfield, said: “Today we are directly appealing to those within the marine and maritime industries to help us stop those involved in organised people smuggling: “ Crossing the channel in vessels like these is extremely dangerous and life threatening – but the organised crime groups involved don’t care about safety or welfare, they just see migrants as a commodity to be exploited: “ We’re already working closely with a range of partners in the UK and on the continent to target the supply of these vessels, but we are now asking that the UK industry helps us and report any suspicions they may have.”
The NCA alert outlines a number of examples of potentially suspicious activity, including:
Cash being used in large sums to make payment;
Unusual combination of boats and equipment in one transaction;
Enquiries about bulk purchase of equipment i.e. life jackets;
Repeat purchasing of boats and/or equipment from the same retailer;
Lack of concern about the condition of the boat or equipment being purchased, or an indication that it may not be for the buyers’ use;
Customers wanting to complete their transaction and collection as quickly as possible.
Online buyers travelling to collect the boat and/or avoiding providing a fixed delivery address.
Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, the trade association for the UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry, commented: “ We are pleased to be working with the NCA to help raise awareness of this concerning issue and to reduce criminal activity. The NCA plays a key role in supporting the security and safety of the marine industry, and today’s warning about organised crime linked to small boats in particular is ultimately a safety issue and one that British Marine and our members take very seriously.
“The UK leisure marine industry must always play it’s part and I am confident that British Marine members will take the lead in this area and share the warning and ‘red flags’ to be mindful of within their businesses.”
Miles Bonfield added: “ Essentially we want people to follow their gut feeling. They know their industry and their customers well. If they sense something isn’t quite right or seems unusual, then please report it to the charity Crimestoppers, either by phone on 0800 555 111 or online. You will remain anonymous.”
Following a number of attempted thefts boat and marine equipment owners are also being asked to pay particular attention to security guidelines, ensuring vessels and equipment are secured accordingly: They can also assist by being vigilant and reporting any strange activity or behaviour, and ensure thefts are promptly reported, particularly vessels or engines.
Those contacting Crimestoppers with information should quote the alert reference ‘0647-OIC’. Anyone who lives or works around our coastline, marinas, ports or waterways and witnesses something they believe to be suspicious can always call the police on 101, quoting Project KRAKEN, or visit gov.uk/report-border-crime.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.27: With criminal groups producing, distributing and selling fake vaccines, the risks to the public are clear: these can include buying a product which not only does not protect against #COVID19, but poses a serious health hazard if ingested or injected. Such products are not tested, regulated or safety-checked:
Legitimate vaccines are not for sale. They are strictly administered and distributed by national healthcare regulators.“Counterfeit vaccines threaten the health of consumers who are duped by nefarious actors seeking to exploit the pandemic situation for financial gain. HSI and its law enforcement partners will vigorously investigate and seek prosecution for criminals taking advantage of the public’s quest for COVID-19 vaccinations and those who endanger the lives of the very people the vaccines are intended to protect,” said HSI Assistant Director, and Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, Steve Francis.
Anyone buying these products online also runs the risk of potentially giving their money to organized criminals.
“From the very beginning of the pandemic, criminals have preyed on people’s fears in order to make fast cash. Fake vaccines are the latest in these scams, which is why INTERPOL and HSI are warning the public to be extra vigilant,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “Anyone ordering a vaccine online rather than obtaining it from their national provider, will be buying a fake product.”
“The networks behind these crimes have global ambitions. No country or region can fight this type of crime alone. INTERPOL is assisting law enforcement around the world to both identify criminal networks and to dismantle them,” added Secretary General Stock.
Following a global alert issued by INTERPOL in late 2020 the world police body recently announced the first internationally linked arrests and seizures in connection with fake vaccines after criminal networks were disrupted in China and South Africa.
INTERPOL has also been receiving additional information on fake vaccine distribution and scam attempts targeting health bodies, including nursing homes.
“HSI will continue to work with INTERPOL to coordinate investigations targeting every level of the transnational criminal organizations trafficking in counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines,” added Francis.
An emerging trend has seen cybercriminals set up illicit websites claiming to be legitimate national and/or world organizations offering pre-orders for vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. These websites offer payments in bitcoins and other payment processing methods.
Using trademark logos of major pharmaceutical companies producing approved COVID-19 vaccines, the fake websites are suspected of being used to conduct phishing attacks and/or dupe victims into giving charitable donations.
In addition to opening up their computer to cyberattacks when attempting to purchase alleged COVID-19 vaccines online, people also run the risk of having their identity stolen.
In December 2020, HSI seized two websites purporting to be those of biotechnology companies developing treatments for the COVID-19 virus. Instead they appeared to have been used to collect the personal information of individuals visiting the sites, in order to use the information for criminal purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware.
Ransomware attacks have also been conducted against hospitals, laboratories, local governments and other targets, remotely blocking computer systems and demanding a payment to release them.
Given the need for a global response against these types of cyber-enabled fraud and financial crime, INTERPOL created the Global Financial Crime Task Force (IGFCTF) in 2020 with member countries in order to enhance international cooperation and innovation with public and private sector partners.
To report suspected illicit criminal activity or fraudulent schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, email Covid19Fraud@dhs.gov.
#AceWorldNews says an empty Spanish cargo ship split in half on a breakwater near Bayonne on the Atlantic coast, and France has raised a maritime pollution alert, the BBC reported.
Drifting after its engine failed, the Luno crashed into the breakwater at Anglet. All 12 crew members were winched to safety by helicopter.
According to the BBC News tonight some of our dedicated politicians who serve the public, are serving themselves, with charging tax-payers for their gas and electricity! What makes it worst is the charges are for their “SECOND HOMES” and while people who are elderly and fuel poor struggle!
This reminds me of the days of “Scrooge” treating people as second class citizens, disgraceful!