Every week, the ITRC works with Scam Detector to spread the word about the internet scams and cybercrimes that are making the biggest impact. By warning citizens about the criminal activity that identity thieves and scammers are engaging in, more people can be aware of the danger and stay on top of their identity security.
#1 – Facebook Work from Home Program
This week’s top scam is another work from home trick, this time inviting users to join Facebook’s team of home-based support personnel. Just like hundreds of other work from home scams over the years, this one requires the users to make an initial purchase—a “real bargain” at only $4—in order to download the materials they will need to complete the job. Of course, the fine print on the program says that they’ll continue to charge your credit card $94 a month for access, and good luck getting that recurring charge to stop.
First of all, Facebook doesn’t have a work from home program, so this scam is completely bogus. But more importantly, always remember that no legitimate employment opportunity will require you to make a payment to buy your materials or to secure access to the information you’ll need to do the job. Companies that sell you a product in order to hire you are the only ones making money in that deal.
To avoid this scam and others like it, remember the age-old rule: if it seems too good to be true, then it is.
#2 – One-Ring Calls
This scam is making the rounds in a big way, with numerous reports of people being lured in. Essentially, callers use autodialer equipment to dial phone numbers and then hang up after only one ring. Knowing that you probably have caller ID and that you’ll call back to see who it was, you’re now hit with international calling rates while you sit on hold at the request of the recorded “operator.”
This scam works because the numbers that pop up look like legitimate US phone numbers with a three-digit area code. When you return the call, you’re actually calling a foreign number and incurring hefty international fees.
Many smartphones and home phones now display the city and state of the area code that is calling, but in this case, it can’t. It will simply be blank. If you receive a missed call from a number you don’t recognize and that doesn’t list its location, you can do one of two things. You can first Google the phone number and see where it originates; there are actually websites now that track these fraudulent phone numbers, so you can also see if this number has been associated with hang-ups.
Of course, your other option is to do nothing. If it was a legitimate phone call and it was really important, they’ll call back.
#3 – Ice Bucket Challenge Scam
This one is just so sad. Yes, probably only a matter of minutes after the first person conceived of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and funds for research and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, some scammer figured out how to make a buck off of people’s generous natures.
There are two ways this scam is currently operating. The first is through fraudulent websites and accounts that scammers have set up to receive your donations, and there are often even contests associated with these webpages that encourage even more viral participation. The second method is through splashy headlines that promise the chance to see celebrities’ ice bucket videos to viewers who “click here,” only the link takes them to malicious websites that may download harmful software to their computers.
As with any charitable giving, whether it’s through the internet, phone, or mail, always double check your sources and make sure that you’re giving your donation to a reputable company. Just because it sounds like a name you know, it might be intentionally misleading, so verify the name of the company before you give.
For the rest of this week’s Top Ten Scams, check out Scam-Detector.com or go to the ITRC website and read up on the latest attempts at nabbing your personally identifiable information.
If you found this information helpful, you may want to consider taking part in the Identity Theft Resource Center's Anyone3 fundraising campaign. For more information or to donate please visit http://www.idtheftcenter.org/anyone-3.