Fraud Is Becoming Increasingly Sophisticated
Ever wonder why we want to hear your voice when you are requesting money? We have had this “double authentication” practice since Blue Spark Financial began, for the safety of our clients, and we understand that sometimes it’s a pain to take the extra step to pick up the phone after an email. But it’s in place to protect against hackers – and they are getting more sophisticated. We know all our clients’ voices, and you can’t fake that.
We urge you to take the same care with all your transactions, not just Blue Spark. If you are asked to send money by anyone, double-check all the details by phone before you send. Even if you are expecting to send money to a person, make sure it’s the right account.
New email hacks
Just this week we heard about a spike in fraud related to money requests. Here are a few recent situations: People were working with a lawyer or real estate agent by email. They were given instructions on where to send funds for a closing or other transaction – only to find out later that the lawyer or real estate agent’s email was hacked and the email didn’t really come from them. There was no verbal confirmation, and people just sent the funds through the links provided in the email, which appeared to come from the people they were working with but were in fact fraudulent. Their funds were compromised and sent to an unknown third party. In another case, it was a fraudulent fax request to disburse funds.
Make sure you call as well as verify exact details before sending any money – by wire, Venmo, or any other electronic means – even if you know the person well.
Typo Fraud: Edit yourself online
We’ve heard that scammers love typos. Why is that so? Think about typing in a website (because you’ve heard that is better than clicking a link in an email, which is true!) but you mistype .com with .cm, or instead of .org it’s .ogg.
Scammers know that people make mistakes, and they are waiting. They have bought addresses with just one letter away from real websites to hijack unwitting Internet users. It’s a new hack called “typosquatting” intended to trick users, according to the National Consumers League.
The unintended website could ask you for personal information that you believe is secure. It could look just like the correct website and lures people to give Social Security numbers, account numbers, names and passwords.
The fake sites could also be selling knock-off imitation products, as well as gathering sensitive data, the National Consumers League said in an alert issued this month. This is just another reason to be very careful when using the Internet.
New Medicare Card Scam
Hang up on anyone who calls saying they are with Medicare. Scammers are phoning Medicare recipients and pretending to be representatives of the government healthcare program, AARP reports. The caller then tells the victim that they need personal identifiers are required to make the switch to the new Medicare card – including Social Security numbers and bank account information.
None of these are true, but the scammers are telling seniors that:
- You must pay for your new Medicare card or you’ll lose your Medicare benefits
- Medicare is updating its files and needs your bank and credit card numbers
- Medicare is confirming your Social Security number before you can receive your new card
- Medicare needs your bank information to send you a refund on your old card
Representatives of Medicare do not call consumers. Just hang up on anyone claiming to be from Medicare on the phone.
Medicare is indeed replacing its old cards – which had recipients’ Social Security numbers listed on them. It is doing this to try to reduce the opportunity for fraud and identity theft. It’s ironic that scammers are using that positive action for their own gain.
Once your new card arrives, destroy your old one. Shred it, don’t just put it in the trash!