(Publisher’s note: This column covers a variety of digital scams reported throughout Wyoming and is being printed to help residents identify potential scams before they occur.)
Anthem Blue Cross Fake Email: An email claiming to be from Anthem Blue Cross encourages you to open an encrypted message about an invoice. The email is from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and the subject line is EFT Enrollment Form – Approved. Similar messages have been used to steal people’s personal information. It was followed up by a second email with a one-time passcode to view the invoice. This second email’s subject line is mis-spelled as ‘Invoice Remmited’ and is a clue that this is a fake. The citizen also received a third email that looked the same, but was from a different sender at fLfemail@example.com. Do not click on the link, any attachments, or the fake invoice. Reported by a Wyoming citizen.
PayPal and Geek Computers Fake Email: A Wyoming citizen reported a phishing email from PayPal and Geek Computers LLC. The email had a lot of grammatical mistakes, but it did have well designed graphics and looked legitimate at first glance. The email is from PAYING DESK or firstname.lastname@example.org and the subject line is “Your Order has been processed sucessfully with GEEK Computers llc.” (See attached – Note the mis-spellings and mis-capitalizations). The Wyoming citizen did not purchase any equipment.
Credit Card Fraud Advice from a Wyoming Citizen: Always call the phone number on the back of your credit card if you get unexpected communications from your credit card company. A Wyoming citizen received a fraud alert text from a credit card. He had not signed up for fraud alerts with this card, so he was suspicious. Although the text alert was real, after calling the credit card company, the customer service representative said that there was ‘no way’ to really tell if the text alert was real or a scam. Thus the Wyoming citizen shared, always call the phone number on the back of your credit card because if you initiate the contact, you will know you are talking to a real credit card representative.
Spoofing of SBA’s COVID-19 Loan Relief Website: A Wyoming citizen reported an alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) stating that there is a malicious cyber fraudster who is spoofing (imitating) the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 relief webpage and directing victims to the fake webpage via phishing emails.
The fake webpage is used to steal credentials. For a picture of the email and more information check out https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ncas/alerts/aa20-225a
MS-ISAC Patch Now Alert: The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) has published a patch now (update your software) alert for SAP products (software to manage business operations and customer relations), Microsoft products, Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader. If you use these products, make sure the software updated.
Scambusters.org Unclaimed Property Scam Alert: If you receive a phone call, email or text message saying you are entitled to claim funds held in your name but need to pay a fee or provide personal information to claim those funds, then don’t believe it. Instead, check with the Wyoming State Treasurer’s office.
CharityWatch.org Hall of Shame: With so many in need in the US and the world, charity scams are resurfacing. Before you donate to a charity, be sure to check charitywatch.org and be especially wary of any charity you are unfamiliar with that is raising funds for a current situation, such as the COVID pandemic. Even if they claim to have a celebrity or well-known spokesperson, the charity could be a fake or at least low rated for ethical use of funds. https://www.charitywatch.org/charity-donating-articles/charitywatch-hall-of-shame
Data Breaches in the News: UtahGunExchange.com, Pace Center for Girls (Florida), SANS Institute, Kent State, Purdue, ISC2.org, Brotherhood Mutual, Zagg, Myriad Genetics, Freedom Forum Institute, Illinois Healthcare System, Michigan State University’s Online Store (credit card info only), ProctorU, Walgreens, and Brown-Forman (makes Jack Daniels).
Seeds from China Alert: Some Wyoming households are receiving unsolicited packages of seeds. Do not plant them. Do not open the sealed package. Keep the seeds and contact the USDA at 307-432-7979 or email@example.com for instructions. How did you get on this mysterious address list? You could have made a purchase from a third party seller related to the seed scammers or it could be a data breach. Be sure to monitor your credit cards.
FBI Alert: The FBI has observed cyber criminals targeting computer network infrastructure after an operating system achieves end of life status. Continuing to use Windows 7 within an enterprise may provide cyber criminals access into computer systems. As time passes, Windows 7 becomes more vulnerable to exploitation due to lack of security updates and new vulnerabilities discovered. Microsoft and other industry professionals strongly recommend upgrading computer systems to an actively supported operating system. (CyberWyoming note: if you still have a Windows 7 PC and can’t replace it or upgrade it, unplug it from the internet to continue to use it.)
MS-ISAC Patch Now Alert: The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) has published a patch now (update your software) alert for Google’s operating system, Apple products, and Team Viewer. If you use these products, make sure the software updated.
Lafayette Colorado Attacked by Ransomware: Lafayette officials said hacker’s disabled network services that shut down email, phones, online payments and reservation systems. They paid $45,000 to get the data back and are rebuilding the computer systems.
Scambusters.org Facebook Fake-out: Victims of a recent scam on Facebook were tricked into buying a pair of attractive law seats for a great price. The seats turned out to be just a few inches high, for dolls. Be sure to check the specifications of anything you are buying.
Beware of Old Friends on Facebook: Fraudsters are posing as long-lost friends on Facebook, start up a conversation, then after trust is built, try to get your cell phone number to text you about an offer. The offer consists of paying an up-front fee to get information on a grant, prize or government money. Scammers ask for gift cards or wire transfers, which are clues that this is not your long-lost friend. (fraud.org)
Beware of Copy and Paste Requests on Facebook: If you come across a message in Facebook, even if it is from a friend, that urges you to copy and paste the message instead of using the Facebook ‘share’ function then beware. You may be helping illegitimate marketers build lists of people to contact later with friend requests or other messages. Please ignore any requests to ‘copy and paste’ information on Facebook. (fraud.org)
Social Security Administration Issues Warning About Phone Scams: SSA officials will never call and threaten you about being arrested or ask you for personal information. They will not ask you for money in any form. https://www.ssa.gov/antifraudfacts/
FTC Releases Video on Scams: The video shows how scammers tell you to pay and the tactics they use to get you into an emotional state where you are vulnerable (you’ve won a prize, you owe a debt, or your family member is in an emergency). To watch the video, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/08/video-shows-how-scammers-tell-you-pay
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) Alert: Since the unprecedented increase in Unemployment Insurance claims began in mid-March, DWS has discovered over 1500 fraudulent unemployment claims including stolen personal information (even from State employees) to file an unemployment claim.
If you have not filed an unemployment claim but receive a letter or a US Bank debit card from the DWS Unemployment Insurance division, please report it to the State at wyomingworforce.org under UI Fraud Reporting.
Ways to report a scam:
• Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker: http://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us/reportscam
• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint
• Report your scam to the FBI at https://www.ic3.gov/complaint
• Reported unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registration. Online at https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx or call 1-888-382-1222, option 3
• Office of the Inspector General: https://oig.ssa.gov/
• AARP Fraud Watch Network (any age welcome) Helpline 877-908-3360
• IRS: report email scams impersonating the IRS to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Call the Wyoming Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) for assistance with potential Medicare fraud, abuse, or errors at 1 800 856-4398