History repeats itself.
George Santayana once stated, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This fact holds true with every aspect of one’s life, especially in one’s financial life. And especially in the world of scams. If you’re not up to date and familiar with the latest scams and schemes circulating the financial world, chances are, you may be more susceptible to falling victim to fraud.
Last week I posted an article with the Better Business Bureau’s Top Ten Scams of 2011 which listed nine categories of scams and the BBB’s acclaimed “Scam of The Year” (which actually turned out to be the BBB phishing scam!). This week I bring to you more scams of the past year to help you keep your eyes pealed and your brain alert to scams and cons which could leave you out of money and with financial hardships.
AOL’s money and finance site, DailyFinance.com, published the following list of top scams and alerts of 2011 which you should familiarize yourself with to stay on top of the scam game for 2012:
“The (fake) tax man cometh:
Identity thieves last year targeted consumers with bogus e-mails, claiming a W-2 form was not submitted and providing a link to a site for them to input their information. Problem was, the link directed taxpayers to a malicious site that could harvest that information, such as Social Security numbers and addresses, which could later be useful in hacking their bank accounts – Source.
Hackers tweak an older thievery technique:
A phishing attack with a twist made the rounds in March, targeting users of eBay’s PayPal, Bank of America, Lloyds, and TSB customers. the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-Cert) sounded the alarm that the malicious Web page is stored on a user’s computer, rather than directing them to a Web page loaded with malicious software. As a result, the hackers are able to bypass common anti-phishing software – Source.
The FBI announced in November the arrest of six Estonian nationals, who were charged with running a major Internet fraud ring that infected millions of computers worldwide with a virus. That virus provided the window that alleged thieves needed to commandeer consumer’ computers and direct them to Web pages where advertisements were posted. Unbeknownst to the advertisers, they were paying the alleged thieves for website traffic that did not come willingly to the sites. The FBI claimed the Estonian nationals manipulated the multibillion-dollar Internet advertising industry to earn at least $14 million in illicit fees – Source.
Getting past the gatekeeper:
E-mail marketer Epsilon, which hosts databases of seven of the top 10 companies in the Fortune 500 and hundreds of others, suffered an attack by hackers in late March. The attack left customers of such major brands like Citigroup, Disney, and Marriott vulnerable to potential phishing scams, which attempt to steal valuable personal information such as bank account of social security numbers – Source.
Being used to unknowingly aid in medical fraud:
More than 80 medical-equipment companies received a less-than-merry notice right before the holidays when Allstate Insurance Company filed a $6.3 million lawsuit to recover money it paid out for durable medical equipment, supplies, and orthotic devices. According to the complaint, retailers (and their owners, in conspiracy with wholesalers) submitted misleading and fraudulent bills using customers’ personal-injury-protection benefits.
And in February, 20 individuals – including three doctors – were charged for allegedly bilking the government out of $200 million in Medicare costs for mental-health services. The elaborate scheme involved officials at community health centers paying kickbacks for patient referrals and billing Medicare for care that was not necessary, and in many instances, never provided. And Medicare wasn’t the only victim. The patients who unknowingly were used to bilk the government were from halfway houses and assisted-living facilities – Source.”
Your 2012 New Year's Resolution: Don't Get Scammed! by Amanda Miller
If you have been scammed and would like to file a scam report, please click here.