PHISHING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

PHISHING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

Cybercriminals are hell-bent on Phishing for Social Security Numbers, (SSN) because it’s the fastest and most effective route to stealing your identity!

During the first half of year 2017, about 60 % of all data breaches involved the exposure of Social Security Numbers (SSN).  When a company or organization gets hacked, nearly half (47.7%) of these attacks involve Phishing. The grand prize of these phishing expeditions is to reel in as many Social Security Numbers as possible.

Email Phishing Social Security Numbers
Never Click on Unsolicited Email Links/Attachments

Phishing – Favorite Tool in a Cybercriminal Arsenal!

Phishing is mostly done via texts or email. Cybercriminals attempt to lure or entice their victim into clicking on a link or open an attachment in a text or email. Once the victim complies, they are directed to provide personal information, including their SSN. Malware may also be downloaded giving them access to all your files.

Similarly, Spear-Phishing, is a more laser-focused Phishing attempt. For example: Cybercriminals target a company’s Human Resources Department, seeking payroll information in order to steal the Social Security numbers of its employees.

Armed with your SSN – a Criminal can do a lot of damage!

Once your Social Security Number is gleaned via Phishing or a data breach, they will easily make you a victim of identity theft. They can establish new lines of credit, open bank accounts, apply for personal loans, open utilities or phone service, file a fraudulent tax return and even get a job, using your SSN.

Additionally, the medical ID number of most Medicare recipients is their SSN. Identity thieves are well aware of this fact. So, by phishing for the Medicare information of a recipient, the thief is able to gain access to their SSN too.

 

PREVENTION TIPS:

  • Never provide your SSN to anyone who requests it. Always ask if you are legally required to give it to them. Always offer some other form of ID, such as a Driver’s License or code number instead.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in emails, unless you are 110% sure it is safe to do so. Always check with whomever sent it to you first.
  • Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet, nor your Medicare card if it uses your SSN as your Medical ID number.

Ringless Voicemail Technology Helps Telemarketers

Ringless Voicemail Technology – A Telemarketers Dream-Come-True 

New technology, known as Ringless Voicemail, just might become a Telemarketer’s latest weapon. If it becomes a reality, telemarketers will gain the upper hand in their battle against the current Do-Not-Call list rules.

Ringless Voicemail technology allows a telemarketer to contact you without your phone ever even ringing at all! It enables a telemarketer to have their calls sent directly to your voicemail.

Telemarketers are making the argument that this technology (marketing calls that go straight to your voicemail), is NOT subject to the Do-Not-Call rules because the phone never rings.

Ringless Voicemail Phonecalls
File a complaint with the FCC – BEFORE it’s too late!

The FCC is currently soliciting public comment on whether consumers think telemarketers should be allowed to use this new technology.

(see below on how to comment)

 

Reminder – Consumers can avoid most legitimate telemarketing calls if they sign up and register their phone numbers on the “Do-Not-Call list”. The free federal Do-Not-Call list makes it illegal for telemarketers to contact you, if your number is registered.

Many people complain that the Do-Not-Call list doesn’t work. That’s because fraudster telemarketers blatantly ignore the rules. Here is a link if you want to register your number: https://donotcall.gov/

Additionally, it’s important to know that most Robocalls are illegal! These annoying recorded telemarketing calls, ignore the Do-Not-Call list rules too.

TIP: Don’t ever press any buttons instructing you to press “1” or “O” to stop these calls or speak to someone. If you do, you’ll get even more Robocalls!

 

FYI  ~  Exceptions to the Do-Not-Call list & Robocall rules:

Legitimate Charities ~ Debt Collectors ~ Doctor appointments confirmations  Political Organizations ~ Surveys ~ Airline flight info

 

HERE’S HOW TO COMMENT ON THIS RINGLESS VOICEMAIL ISSUE

At present, there is no way to block undesired voicemails and this new technology will almost certainly add more undesirable voicemails! So, if you want to have a say on this issue, you need to contact the FCC.  Here is the link to do so: https://fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express

Important: You will need to insert the following number of the proceeding, in the first line, as follows: 02-278.  Also, be sure to use the words “Ringless Voicemail” in the comment section. Your comments are public comments.

DID YOU WIN THE LOTTERY?

Did you really win the Lottery? Did you get a notice saying “Congratulations, you’re our new multi-million dollar winner”?  BUT WAIT, before you can collect your lottery winnings…you’ll first need to send them money.

Stacks of Money
               Are you really a Winner?

It’s rare to win the lottery, or a contest. But, it’s impossible to be a winner at all, if you never entered that contest or didn’t buy a lottery ticket in the first place. Yet, scam artists realized long ago, that the promise of big winnings is an easy way to con victims out of their own money!

As with many effective scams, the pitch seems legit and convincing. Your ‘greed’ button is pushed. All you can think about is “What am I going to buy or do with my winnings?”  While you’re busy fantasizing about all that money, you will not be thinking clearly. Therefore, you are now in a state-of-mind where you will not make rational decisions.

Remember – NO legitimate winner of a lottery, sweepstakes or contest, is required to send any of their own money, before receiving their winnings. If you truly are a winner, any monies owed would be deducted before your winnings are paid out.

Additionally, anyone claiming they are “legally authorized” to withhold tax money, on behalf of the IRS, is deceiving you. It is up to you to pay the IRS any taxes you owe on your winnings.

Lastly, here is another Red Flag to be aware of.  In most scams, con artists like to receive their money in untraceable ways. So, it’s more-than-likely a scam, if you are instructed to send money – via a bank wire, gift card or prepaid debit card. Once you send your money, using any of these methods, it’s impossible to stop the transaction, or trace it back to the con artist.

CELEBRITIES GET HACKED TOO!

Celebrities get hacked just as easily as anyone else. In fact, celebrities are often a hacker’s favorite target. Michelle Obama, Paris Hilton, Beyonce’, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates, Joe Biden, and Robert Mueller are just a few of many celebrities who had their info publicized on the internet – after their accounts were hacked.

Hacked on computer code

So how easily can celebrities get hacked and/or anyone else? It often happens during the login process. The flaw is with the authentication security questions – referred to as “Out of Wallet” questions. The answers to these questions can be successfully guessed. If the answers to your security questions are easy to guess, then you’re vulnerable to getting hacked!

Here’s an example: John Brennan (former CIA Director) had his personal email hacked 4 times before he terminated his account! Hackers did a reverse look up of his cellphone number. Then, posing as a Verizon technician, the hacker was able to get Brennan’s acct #, PIN, email address & last 4 digits of his bank card. Next they contacted his email provider and successfully answered the security questions. Once his account was accessed, the hacker was able to change his email password and then take over his email account.

ADVICE:

  • Use dual-factor authentication whenever available. This adds a second layer of security. A code is sent to your email or cell phone before can you successfully log in.
  • Make your answers to “Out of Wallet” questions hard to guess. Alternatively, use nonsensical answers – which only you would know the answer to. Example: Q: Mother’s Maiden Name – Answer = PIZZA.
  • Always be mindful – that whatever you or your family members post on social media is out there, ready to be exploited by hackers and scammers!