This week, it was scams, scams, scams...online scams, dating scams, and phishing scams. Read on to learn how to protect yourself from crooks eager to rip you off.
Older adults are more likely to be victimized by online scammers, right? Not so, according to a recent Federal Trade Commission report, which claims millennials — adults age 20 - 39 — are 25 percent more likely to report losing money to online fraud than adults age 40 and over. Fraud reports include complaints about items never delivered or not as advertised. This cohort also reports losing $71 million in online shopping fraud out of the nearly $450 million reported for all types of fraud during the last two years. Millennials are more likely than older Americans to report they've lost money to fake check scams, debt reduction scams, or get-rich schemes based on jobs, investments, and business opportunities.
Use This News: Remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Even when you keep that saying in mind, scam artists and fraudsters are scary smart, so you have to use your wits to stay one step ahead of them.
For example, if a stranger insists on paying you through a person-to-person (P2P) payment service like Venmo or Popmoney, remember that these services are meant to transfer money between family and friends, people you personally know and trust...not strangers on the internet.
Once that money is gone, it's gone, and you stand to lose not just money, but whatever it is you're selling. If you're the victim of a scam or fraud, report it to your financial institution; they can advise you if you have any recourse for recovery and how you can avoid further fraudulent activity.
In more news from the FTC, the Commission has filed suit against Match Group, Inc., which owns Match.com, Tinder, OKCupid, PlentyOfFish, and other dating sites, claiming that the company used fake love interest ads to encourage hundreds of thousands of people to pay for subscriptions. The suit alleges that the company encouraged potential subscribers to join by forwarding them messages and "likes" from members they knew to be scammers, telling consumers they could find out the identities of their admirers only if they joined. The complaint also charges that Match Group made false promises of guarantees and made it difficult for consumers to cancel memberships. Read the full complaint here.
Use This News: To riff off Shakespeare, the course of true love never did run smooth, and apparently online dating doesn't either. The Commission's Consumer Sentinel complaint database received more than 21,000 reports of romance scams, and a total of $143 million was reported lost through romance scams in 2018 alone. Scammers use online dating sites to contact and woo victims, using fake profiles and charm. Once trust is established, these crooks start asking for money and/or loans.
This scam news comes from our own information security officer here at Hanscom FCU, who warned employees about a new phishing scam hot on the heels of the Yahoo Data Breach settlement of a class action lawsuit. From 2012 through 2016, hackers got into Yahoo.com's email systems and stole billions of personal records. As a result, the company must offer 2 years of credit monitoring services and $100 to anyone who had data stolen by the crooks.
Enter more crooks, stage left. These folks are now trying to trick consumers by sending them legit-looking emails, which they hope the consumer will fill out with all their personal information, which can then be used to commit more fraud and identity theft. Ugh!
Use This News: Our information security officer says, "Don't fall for it! They’re sending phishing emails that look like they come from Yahoo. When you click on their phishing links, you wind up on a website that appears to be for Yahoo’s class action lawsuit. The website will steal your personal information instead."
If your Yahoo account was compromised and you want to claim your rights to this settlement, be certain you’re using an official resource. To submit your claim, visit https://yahoodatabreachsettlement.com.
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