The 12 Scams of Christmas
Year to date, the Better Business Bureau has tracked 45,806 distinct scams. Prepare yourself, as the holiday season intensifies scammers. In our opinion the most onerous three are….
Porting involves stealing your cell telephone number by getting your provider to transfer the number to the scammer’s telephone. The point is to be able to access your bank account by intercepting your bank’s two-factor authorization procedure – the confirmation text messages go to the scammer’s telephone. Scammers start by collecting your name, phone number and then gather any other information they can find about you such as your address, Social Security number, and date of birth and password. Once they have this information, they contact your cell provider and ask that the number be transferred to another device (ported). You’ll know this has happened to you if your your mobile device has lost service.
The good news is all of the carriers have taken steps to beef their porting authentication procedures. The simple solution is if you have a landline use it for most websites asking for this information. If you do not, limit as much as you can giving out your cell telephone number to non-secure websites. Another way to add two-factor authentication is to use a third party authentication app such as Google Authenticator or Authy for you most frequently used web-sites.
“Can You Hear Me?” and “Yes” Calls
This scam happens when you answer the phone, and the person on the other line asks: “Can you hear me?” and you respond, “Yes.” Your voice is being recorded to obtain a voice signature for scammers authorize fraudulent charges over the phone. You can visit the FCC website (see link below) to block any unwanted calls. The BBB Scam Tracker received more than 10,000 reports on the “Can you hear me?” scam, but none of the reports resulted in an actual loss of money.
Scammers posing as judicial officials and calling people to let them know they failed to report for jury duty and owe a fine. Scammers can spoof law enforcement phone numbers or names so people receiving the call may think that the call is legitimate. The calls and emails often will threaten fines and and or jail time: they are after your personal information. In the calls and emails, recipients are pressured to provide confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls and emails, which threaten recipients with fines and jail time if they do not comply, are fraudulent and are not connected with the U.S. courts.
“Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call or email. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.” *
If you get a call, thank them, hang-up, call your county’s Clerk of Courts and report the incident.
If you’re unlucky you may experience the full 12 scam of Christmas, we hope not, stay alert….
Take a look at our website, new tools….
And, the FCC’s Do Not Call Registry https://www.donotcall.gov/
Our portfolios are overweighted in domestic equities.
Carlos Dominguez – Portfolio Manager, RJFS
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The preceding information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Carlos Dominguez and not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Investing always involves risk. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.