Monday, August 30, 2010

Work at home scams

The ads are everywhere, on the Internet, in the mail, posted on trees or at the local grocery store, telling you that you can work at home making money typing on your computer, or stuffing envelopes.  All you have to do is send in a start up fee and they will send you all of the supplies. 
When the supplies arrive they are not forms to type up, or envelopes to stuff.  It is a packet of information that tells you how to place ads to recruit others to do the same thing.  Some people just lose the initial start up fee, and those who try and make it work will most likely end up losing more than they make.

How to Protect Yourself

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Victims - Tell your story!

I will OFTEN get requests from media people for victims to share their story (on radio, tv or in print).  If you are a victim who would be willing to share your story, please contact me via email with your name, state you live in, and the type of scam you were a victim of (counterfeit check, romance, roommate, credit card fraud, 419, ID theft, etc.)

This can be a wonderful way for you to share your story and help to warn and educate other people about scams!

You can also find me at

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LifeLock Receives Top 10 Ranking on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 List

I think that it is wonderful to see a company that is doing something to help protect people get awarded and recognized for the things they are doing.  That is why I was happy to see this press release.

Identity Theft Protection Leader Ranks 8th As One of Nation’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies
TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Inc. magazine today ranked LifeLock (, an industry leader in proactive identity theft protection, eighth on its 29th Annual Inc. 500 List, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. In addition, LifeLock is recognized as No. 1 in the Inc. 500’s Security category. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. Companies such as Microsoft, Visa, Zappos, Go Daddy, Under Armour, Jamba Juice, American Apparel, Oracle and hundreds of other powerhouses gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 500.
“This is an enormous milestone in the history of our organization”
“This is an enormous milestone in the history of our organization,” said Todd Davis, LifeLock Chairman and CEO. “I truly see this recognition as a testament to our employees’ never ending commitment to provide consumers with the means necessary to help fight the fast growing crime of identity theft. Despite a down economy, the pressure of creating an industry and unwanted distractions, we have been able to stay focused on our overall mission and deliver the most innovative products and world-class customer service.”
The 2010 Inc. 500 measures revenue growth from 2006 through 2009; LifeLock’s growth was more than 11,474 percent. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by the first week of 2006, and therefore able to show four full calendar years of sales. Additionally, they had to be U.S. based, privately held, for profit and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2009. The minimum revenue required for 2006 was $100,000; the minimum for 2009 was $2 million. Of the top 10 ranked companies, LifeLock’s 2009 revenue ranked third with $131.4 million.
In the 29-year history of the Inc. 500 list, there have been only two other Arizona companies ranked higher than LifeLock. In 1992, Insight Direct was ranked fifth, and in 1983, Forever Living Products was ranked sixth. The Go Daddy Group also had a ranking of eighth in 2004.
According to a study released August 12, 2010, by ID Analytics, a leader in consumer risk management, more than 20 million Americans have multiple Social Security numbers (SSNs) associated with their name in commercial records. The research shows that SSNs may not uniquely identify an individual, and organizations can expose themselves and their customers to risk if they solely rely on the SSN to verify an individual. Proactive identity theft protection can help combat the crime and protect the good name of consumers whose personal information could already be readily available to criminals. LifeLock works relentlessly to help protect its members from identity theft before it happens.

Lottery Scam

A typical Lottery or Sweepstakes Scam begins with an email telling you that you have won a large amount of money, and giving you the name of a contact person or agent that you are supposed to work with in order to claim your money. The “lottery winner” will be told that they need to pay a processing fee in order to claim their winnings. For some, these scams become an addiction much like gambling. There is the promise of a large amount of money, and it feels like it is so close, that they continue to send the “agent” more and more money to cover all of the fictional fees and transfer charges.

In other variations, the “winner” will receive a check from the fake lottery agent. They will be told that the check is a partial payment on their winnings, and that to receive the remainder of the winnings they must cash the check and wire a portion of that check, for fees or charges, to the agent. From here, this variation follows the path of a typical Counterfeit Cashier’s Check Scam. The scam victim takes the check to the bank, deposits it and waits for the bank to tell them that the check is clear. Once they believe that the check is clear and has been verified as legitimate, the scam victim then wires the “fees” on to the agent. In about a week, the scam victim is contacted by their bank and told that the check is counterfeit and that they must return the money and are fully liable for the entire amount of the check.

The website tells the story of a victim of one of these scams.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

ATM Scams

The FBI and police across the country are seeing cases of people having their entire bank accounts drained in ATM scams. The criminals will attach a face plate onto an existing ATM machine over the slot that you would swipe your card through. The face plate will record your account and pin number, and the scammers will just have to retrieve that information later.

In another version, the face plate covers the entire screen of the ATM. They will sometimes even create a sign that says that "We are testing out a new system, so your screen options may have changed" so that you are not quite as alarmed when the machine does not work like it should. When you enter your PIN number, the ATM will appear to reject and "eat" your card. The scammers will later come and retrieve both your card, and the PIN number you entered on their fake touch screen

How to Protect Yourself

If you notice that the ATM machine looks different than the last time you were at it, do not use it.
Run your finger along the card slot before you swipe the card. If you feel little prongs. which is how the scammers get the card back out, then do not use that ATM.
Use the ATM machines in bank lobbies. These are less likely to be targeted by scammers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Facebook "Dislike Button" Scam

If you are on Facebook you have seen the "Like" button underneath users's post, which is a cute way to let people know that you agree with or "like" what they said, without having to post a comment.  For years, people have been saying that they should also have a "Dislike" button, so many Facebook users eagerly download a recent program that said it loaded the new "Dislike" button to your profile. 

This program will ask you to download an application, which then brings up several surveys asking for personal information, and in the end you do get a "Dislike" button but you are also automatically signed up for a $5 per month cell phone charge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Old-School Scams We Still Fall For

Why do people still fall for the same old scams?  This article touches on that topic.
Old-School Scams We Still Fall For | Credit/Debt | Money/Investing | Mainstreet

Here is the thing, the scams are "the same old thing" to those of us who KNOW about them . . . to everyone else they are new and that is part of the reason that people believe the stories that they hear.  Why do scammers re-use the same old scams?  The same reason that some television channels play re-runs of old television shows . . . there is someone out there that has not seen/heard it before, so it is new to them . . . and THOSE are the people that they can suck into their scam.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ponzi Schemes

Are you interested in knowing

- What a Ponzi scheme is
- What you should look for to detect possible Ponzi activity
- Why some banks have been charged with "aiding and abetting" the accused Ponzi perpetrators
- What should I do when a Ponzi scheme is suspected

Then you should join Bank Law Stuff for their webinar on Ponzi Schemes on September 21st.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Top 10 Passwords You Should Never Use

We all know that we should not use our name, birthdate, pet's name or other information that can easily be found out by others as our password. So, what are some of the most common usernames and passwords used? You would be surprised.

A recent article Top 10 Passwords You Should Never Use talks about this topic.

The top 10 most common passwords:
1. Your user name
2. Your user name followed by 123
3. 123456
4. password
5. 1234
6. 12345
7. passwd
8. 123
9. test
10. 1

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Closing the door on Child Identity Theft

Just the other day I did a blog about how children are becoming the victims of Identity Theft, and now today I find another email on this topic in my email box from the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Years ago, the Identity Theft Resource Center envisioned a simple solution to this problem.  It is called the Minors 17-10 Database and ITRC has been talking with various government entities and legislators about this concept since July 2005.  With the growing popularity of so-called “credit protection numbers”, “credit privacy numbers (CPN)”, and now “secondary credit numbers” being sold online, this issue has become more urgent.  These dormant Social Security numbers, being sold as CPNs, frequently were issued to children.  The crime, identity theft, most likely will not be discovered until the teen reaches adulthood.
I am sure that we will here more on this topic.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Could your child become a victim of Identity Theft?

One of the golden rules of the world we live in today is to protect your Social Security number in order to protect yourself from becoming a victim of Identity Theft. But what about your children's social security numbers? I know that I have them in a safe spot, and have not really even thought about them until reading this article.

Hundreds of online businesses are using computers to find dormant Social Security numbers — usually those assigned to children who don't use them — then selling those numbers under another name to help people establish phony credit and run up huge debts they will never pay off.
 Experts say the fraud will be difficult to stop because it's so easily concealed and targets such vulnerable people. Other than checking with the credit bureaus to see if there is a credit file associated with your child's Social Security number, spokesmen at FICO, the Social Security Administration and the FTC said there are no specific tools for safeguarding the number.
"This is an invisible crime, with invisible victims who don't have enough support out there to help them," said Linda Foley of the ID Theft Resource Center in San Diego.