Be Ready For When The Cybercriminal That Misrepresents Microsoft Calls You

November 17, 2014

I want to start off this post by stating something I tell people, especially the elderly, who came from a generation that trusted other people.

“If you receive an unsolicited telephone call, whether it be a charity, a politician, an alarm company, your grandson is locked up in a jail in Canada, etc… where the caller is wanting money, PLEASE disconnect the call”.

What I am finding is once you get hooked by these calls you are placed on a call list that is sold to others AND the calls will perpetuate into more calls. It is like getting spammed by telephone and it gets so bad that you do not know what is real and what is not. My general rule of thumb is, when I get a phone call at my house and there is a delay of 3 seconds, GUESS WHAT? You just got disconnected.

 

One of my favorite blogging sites is TCAT Shelbyville – Technical Blog. Recently they posted an article (that I reblogged) titled, “No, you are not a Microsoft employee, no I don’t have a virus and by the way, you are definitely talking to the wrong people” that really hit home with me personally. I actually know several people, including members of my immediate family, where this fraudulent activity occurred.

The fraudulent activity I refer to is where a person (usually with a foreign accent) will randomly call you and tell you that they are a Microsoft Tech and will offer to fix your computer problems or sell you a software license. They will convince you into taking over your computer remotely and then they will go to work attempting one or all of the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like http://www.ammyy.com) to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there

After reading the TCAT-Shelbyville article, I started wondering if Microsoft is aware that they are being misrepresented in this manner. What I discovered is that they do know and actually have a page up on their Safety & Security Site that focuses specifically on this matter. I strongly encourage you to visit Microsoft and read, “Avoid Tech Support Phone Scams” where you will learn the following:

  • Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know
  • How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams
  • What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person
  • Will Microsoft ever call me?

How to report this crime:

The CyberCriminals that initiate these calls know that most people will not report the crime. I suggest that if you are victim of a call such as this, especially if you find your credit card has been compromised, that you report the matter to the local authorities and contact your credit card company immediately to be issued another card.

Microsoft also encourages you to contact them, as well:

Whenever you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, don’t take the risk. Reach out directly to one of their technical support experts dedicated to helping you at the Microsoft Answer Desk. Or you can simply call Microsoft at 1-800-426-9400 or one of their customer service phone numbers for people located around the world.

Report phone scams 

In the United States, use the FTC Complaint Assistant form.

In Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can provide support.

In the United Kingdom, you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls.

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A Craigslist Scam Hits Home

August 8, 2011

When it comes to selling (or buying) on Craigslist, I am personally finding that it is an environment where scams are very common; however, using some common sense to sidestep these scams will keep you out of the midst of a troubling situation.

Recently a friend of mine posted a high valued item on Craigslist and within hours he received the response reflected below. Ultimately his common sense kicked in and he had me take a look at it. I immediately knew it was a scam.

The Scam (or the Bait)

Hello,

I really appreciate your response to my email, i am completely satisfied with the advert and do consider it sold to me, i agreed with the price but i need you to withdraw the advert from Craigslist to avoid disturbance. I would love to come and check it myself but I am getting married next week and am very busy at the moment. but youdon’t need to bother yourself with the Shipment, I’ll be responsible with the pick up, I’ll send a Certified check to you which you can Easily Cash in your Bank or any Cashing Store around you. my secretary will mail across to you IMMEDIATELY.and after my check have been Cleared in your bank then i will arrange for the pick up. The check will be delivered to you via United Parcel Service (UPS), or FEDEX. Kindly provide me the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check to your location.

1. Full name to write on the check
2. Full Physical address to post the check
3. City, State and Zip Code
4. Cell Phone to contact you

*** Note that the payment will be shipped to your address via
UPS/FEDEX SERVICE. and i will make arrangements for the Pick up as
Soon as you have my Check Cashed ***

NOTE: { UPS / FEDEX do not Deliver to P.O Box }
Hope to read from you soon..
Thanks

HOW THE SCAM WORKS

What these crooks do is send you a certified check for more money than what the item was listed for; then, they will follow-up with another email indicating that the “Secretary” made a mistake in the check amount. They will then instruct you cash the certified check at your local bank, purchase a bank money order for the difference and have you send the money order back to them. The crook will further sweeten the pot by telling you to keep a couple hundred dollars for the trouble they caused you.

WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN SCAMMED

Well, let me tell you, if you follow this through with these instructions, your troubles are only beginning. The certified check they sent you will be completely FAKE and the crook knows that many banks will not question the integrity of the certified check and will cash it. The crook will take the bank money order you sent them and immediately cash it and run. And get this, you the innocent party could ultimately face some jail time for bank fraud; however, most banks and law enforcement are NOW aware of these scams.

REPORTING THE SCAM

The problem is that this crime is such an overwhelming problem, law enforcement does not have the time to expend in tracking down these crooks who can be as far away as Nigeria. Craigslist, does however have a page up [CLICK HERE] with links to various Federal (and Canadian) agencies where you can try and make your case.

COMMON SENSE RULES TO SIDESTEP THESE SCAMS

DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON – follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts on craigslist.

NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.

FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON, and BANKS WILL CASH THEM AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.

CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer “buyer protection” or “seller certification”

NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)

AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.

DO NOT RENT HOUSING WITHOUT SEEING THE INTERIOR, OR PURCHASE EXPENSIVE ITEMS SIGHT-UNSEEN – in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.

DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT CHECKS OR BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR A JOB OR FOR HOUSING UNTIL YOU HAVE MET THE INTERVIEWER OR LANDLORD/AGENT IN PERSON.

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Cramming – Unauthorized and Deceptive Charges on Phone Bill

August 10, 2010

This is a repost and reminder to my readers…  Back in 2008 I posted an article called: “Beware! Telephone Bill Ripoff…”

I strongly encourage everyone to read that article [click here] and take necessary action to block any miscellaneous charges being added to your phone bill. A third party company can take basic identity information (name, phone number, address, email) that is easily obtainable, and subscribe you to a “tele” service without your consent and apply a monthly charge to your phone bill under “Miscellaneous Charges”. You do not even have to be a user of the internet to have this happen to you.

How serious is this problem?

It did not take me long to learn, after this happened to me, that there was people all around me being victimized. In one case I called the phone carrier and the customer rep chuckled and said this has been going on for about 7 years… If you call the company that is actually charging you, they are more than agreeable to help you get credited for the charges, but it can take 30 to 90 days. In my case a block was put into place by the company that was processing the charges and by my telephone carrier to prevent future charges.

Upon further research of this matter, I learned from the Federal Communication Commission that this practice is very common; so common in fact that if you call their complaint number it is one of the selections on the teleprompt; so common in fact that this practice has been given a a “name” (called cramming); and so common in fact that they have a web page exclusively devoted to “cramming” [click here].

Cramming

“Cramming” is the practice of placing unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on your telephone bill. Crammers rely on confusing telephone bills in an attempt to trick consumers into paying for services they did not authorize or receive, or that cost more than the consumer was led to believe.”

While cramming charges typically appear on consumers’ local telephone bills, they may also be included with bills issued by long distance telephone companies and companies providing other types of services, including wireless telephone, beeper, and pager services.

Where to file complaints, if you have been crammed…

Federal Communications Commission

For charges related to telephone service between states or internationally, you can file your complaint with the FCC. There is no charge for filing a complaint. You can file a complaint using an FCC on-line complaint form found at esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm. You can also file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Center by e-mailingfccinfo@fcc.gov; calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

Federal Trade Commission

For charges on your telephone bill for non-telephone services, file your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can file a complaint with the FTC online at: www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.  You can also submit a complaint by calling the FTC toll-free at 1-877-382-4357 (voice) or 1-866-653-4261 (TTY), or writing to:

Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580

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An Example of a Fraudulent Email

May 27, 2010

It never ceases to amaze me the degree that the cybercriminal will go to… This post appears rather lengthy; however, the content reflected is an actual email I received (in my Gmail) from the FBI; the Director himself.  Wow! Remember the recent article about “Common Sense – You Cannot Install This”? Here is a prime example where your common sense (I hope) should dictate.

Simply delete these emails and if for some reason your inner curiousity gets the best of you, for “God’s Sake” do not click on any links contained in the email. This particular type of email has been out there for some time and is not new; however, purpose of this article is to heighten your awareness.

To learn more about these types of scams and hoaxes, and to get real life examples, visit the FBI website “Investigative Programs – Cyber Investigations”.

Same Email Alert

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FBI.WASHINGTON DC.
WASHINGTON D.C ROOM,7367
J. EDGAR HOOVER FBI BUILDING
935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,
NW WASHINGTON, DC 20535,RE: FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION SEEKING TO WIRETAP THE INTERNET

We hope this notification arrives meeting your good health and mind. We the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) Washington, DC in conjunction with some other relevant investigation agencies here in the United STATES of America have recently been informed through our Global intelligence monitoring network that you are presently have a transaction going on with the CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN) as regards to your over-due contract payment which was fully endorsed in your favor accordingly by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA.

It might interest you to know that we have taken our time in screening through this project as stipulated on our protocol of operation and have finally confirmed that your contract payment is 100% genuine and hitch free from all facets and of which you have the lawful right to claim your fund without any further delay. Having said all this, we will further advise that you go ahead in dealing with the central bank office accordingly as we will be monitoring all their activities with you as well as your correspondence at all levels.

We recently had a meeting with the Executive Governor in the person of Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi along with some of the top officials of the ministry regarding your case and they made sure we understand that your file has been held in abase depending on when you personally come for the claim. They also told us that the only problem they are facing right now is that some criminals are using this project as an avenue to scam innocent people.

We were also informed that another person has contacted them and she gave us proof of your claim prior to the release of your contract fund valued at about US$10,700,000.00 (Ten million Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars), but the central bank office did the right thing by insisting on hearing from you personally before they go ahead on wiring your fund to the bank information which was forwarded to them by the above lady, so that was the main reason why they contacted us so as to assist them in making the investigations.

They further advised that we should warn our dear citizens who have contract payments which was awarded to them from the central bank of Nigeria to be very careful prior to these irregularities so that they do not fall victim to this ugly circumstance anymore. And should incase you are already dealing with anybody or office claiming to be from the central bank of Nigeria, you are to STOP further contact with them immediately in your best interest and contact the real office of the central bank of Nigeria (CBN) only with the below information’s accordingly:

NAME:  Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (Executive Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria)
OFFICE ADDRESS: Central Bank of Nigeria, Tinubu Square Tinubu
Lagos – Nigeria.
TEL: +234-7069329526
Email: enquiry.centbnkng @ officeliveusers.com

NOTE: In your best interest, any message that does not come from the above official email address with phone number should be nullified and voided immediately for security reasons. Meanwhile, we will advise that you contact the central bank office immediately with the above email address and request that they attend to your payment file as directed so as to enable you receive your contract fund accordingly.

Ensure you follow all directives from CBN as this will further help hasten up the whole payment process in regards to the transfer of your fund to you as designated. Also have in mind that the central bank of Nigeria equally have their own protocol of operation as stipulated on their banking terms. All modalities has already been worked out before you were contacted and note that we will be monitoring all your dealings with them as you proceed so you don’t have anything to worry about. All we require from you henceforth is an update so as to enable us be on track with you and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Without wasting much time, we will want you to contact them immediately with the above email address so as to enable them attend to your case accordingly without any further delay as time is already running out.

Should in case you need any more information in regards to this notification, feel free to get back to us via email so that we can brief you more as we are here to guide you during and after this project has been completely perfected and you have received your contract fund as stated.

Thank you very much for your anticipated co-operation.

Best Regards,
ROBERT SWAN MUELLER III

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WOT now available for Google Chrome Web Browser

October 8, 2009

image (Web Of Trust) WOT –  a free Internet security add-on for your browser announced today that there is now a WOT add-on for Google Chrome (see Web Clip below). WOT, a very important level of protection, will keep you safe from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky website. It’s easy and it’s free. If you would like to test the WOT add-on for Google Chrome, you can download and learn more about it [ here ] . The add-on requires a current development version of Chrome (≥ 4.0.220.1). It’s been tested on the Windows version of Chrome, but should also work on Linux and Mac versions once their add-on support reaches the same level. To install the add-on, download the add-on using the Chrome browser.  The Chrome browser will automatically detect the download as an add-on and will prompt you for the installation.

webclip

A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!

Thu 08 Oct 2009 11:39:59 AM UTC — Deborah S.

Google Chrome Good news for all you early adopters: You can jump ahead of everyone else and try the first release of the WOT add-on for Google Chrome. This one is for the geeky among us, so if you’re game, all you need is a current development version of Chrome and the WOT add-on.

WOT icon in Chrome One small difference is where the icon is located. You’ll find it in the lower left corner. The rating window opens a bit differently too, but you’ll see it. Notice also that the add-on is released under the GNU GPL, so patches are most welcome.

[ Source: Web Of Trust ]

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BEWARE – IRS Stimulus Package Phlishing Scam

February 8, 2009

I grabbed this clip from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) that I feel is of great importance.  Do Not; and I repeat Do Not respond to or click on any links in email that is requesting personal information, no matter the source.

In this case, the phlishing scam involves fraudulent U.S. Internal Revenue Service Emails.  The IRS or any reputable entity, for that matter, is never going to request your personal information via email or via an internet browser link.

US-CERT clipped from www.us-cert.gov

IRS Stimulus Package Phishing Scam


added February 6, 2009 at 10:03 am | updated February 6, 2009 at 02:43 pm


US-CERT is aware of public reports indicating that phishing scams are circulating via fraudulent U.S. Internal Revenue Service emails offering users stimulus package payments. These emails include text that attempts to convince users to follow a link to a website or to complete an attached document. The website and document request the user to provide personal information.

Users receiving the fraudulent email messages are encouraged to send the email message and the website URL to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

US-CERT encourages users to do the following to help mitigate the risks:


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Cyber-Crooks are using jealousy to trick you…

January 15, 2009

Bill Mullins, who maintains the blog “Tech Thoughts”, wrote a very interesting article titled, Jealous?  Cyber-crooks have your number” (see clips below). For some reason this article, by Bill, really jumped out at me due to the deceptive tactic, he points out, that cyber-crooks are using to trick people. This one is a good one and is crafted in such a way that it could even trick a seasoned computer user. I strongly encourage all my readers to read the article to protect yourself from this deceptive tactic (click on any of the links below) and to learn from Bill simple safeguards you can put into place.  It demonstrates how cyber-crooks are using a “human emotion” to trick us.  As I always say, “believe nothing and verify everything”…

clipped from billmullins.wordpress.com

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts

Jealous? Cyber-crooks Have Your Number

Jealousy_by_EvilTelephone

Jealousy is a human emotion that surrounds us. Arguably, it is an experience with which we are all familiar.

It’s no surprise then, that Cyber-crooks are now using jealousy as a social engineering email hook, to entice potential victims to click on an email containing enclosed links which can lead to the installation of a banking Trojan on the computer.

“Hello,

I apologize for my frankness. I’m sorry for not being able to speak to you in person, but I can only talk to you via email and I feel obliged to notify you to open your eyes, you are being betrayed.

I know it is difficult to prove, but every picture tells a story, I’ll send you these pictures so that you can see it with your own eyes. Take care…big hug

From a good friend who is very fond of you

View photos here”

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