Do you have a Yahoo account? You can get up to $358
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Do you have a Yahoo account? You can get up to $358

Do you have a Yahoo account? You may bay be able to get up to $358 from their data breach settlement

If you’ve had an active Yahoo account such as Yahoo email, Yahoo Fantasy Sports, Yahoo Finance, Tumblr and Flickr between 2012 and 2016, you can now file to receive up to $358 or two years of free credit monitoring as part of the $117.5 million class-action settlement. Are you wondering how this happened? It’s because Yahoo had multiple data breaches that leaked out your personal information. Those of you affected by the breach may also be eligible for up to $25,000 in reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses suffered due to having your information stolen.

The worst of the breaches happened in 2013 when 3 billion accounts worldwide were hacked. Names, emails, telephone numbers, birth dates, passwords and security questions and answers were accessed by “malicious actors.”

The details about what you can receive in compensation can be confusing, and while the $358 number may sound nice, now it’s pretty unlikely that’s what most people will get.

The Takeaway

Yahoo has encouraged victims of the breach to submit a claim to receive a minimum of two years of future Credit Monitoring Services. Now if you already have a Credit Monitoring Service, you can still sign up for this additional protection although it probably won’t help you all that much.

So here’s an alternative: if you can show that you already have a credit monitoring service that you will keep for at least one year, you can submit a claim for a cash payment. Now here’s where it gets vague. The amount they pay you for the claim may be up to but not exceed $358.80. It’s all going to depend on how many Settlement Class Members participate in the Settlement. In other words, the more people fill out the form on Yahoo’s data breach website requesting money, the less everyone will get.

But if you can prove that the breach affected you personally, you could receive up to $25,000 reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs. That being said, for that kind of money you’re probably going to need to hire an attorney. Either way, you have until July 20th of next year to fill out the form to let Yahoo know that you want to be a part of the settlement. The website is yahoodatabreachsettlement.com. I might recommend filling it out long before the deadline.

Stay safe out there.

Scam caller crackdown continues
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Scam caller crackdown continues

Hey guys, have you ever received a scam phone call? Well, if you haven’t then you probably don’t own a phone because I’ll tell you, in the United States we do receive billions of these calls every single year and unfortunately they are hard to stop. In fact, I just got one now while typing!

But, the Feds have recently stepped in. They just shut down three of the big alleged perpetrators based out of New York City and that’s good news because that cut down a little bit of this kind of phone traffic. Unfortunately we are still facing an uphill battle against these perpetrators who are usually hiding their operations overseas. For comparison, in the month of June alone 94 schemes were stopped by the Federal Trade Commission, resulting in a reduction of about 3 billion annoying phone calls. It sounds like a lot, but it’s a small number compared to the estimated 29 billion scam phone calls Americans receive each year, accounting for nearly half of total cell phone calls.

You can probably guess where these calls come from, places like the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala, Nigeria, India – outside of U.S. jurisdiction which makes them difficult to trace. They’re easy to operate and extremely lucrative and sometimes setting up shop simply means some guys getting together in an apartment with laptops and making millions of calls for practically nothing, using scripts and methods that are easy to find and learn on the Internet.

The Take Away

The good news is that like most things, there’s an “App for that!”

One of the best is called NoMoRobo (short for “no more robocallers”) that automatically blocks telemarketing and scam callers on your cell phone. The App is free and available for Android and Apple devices.

Since it’s so easy and lucrative, phone scammers are not going away any time soon. Use common sense to keep these guys out of your life and bank account. 

Stay safe out there.

Just one of many bizarre Facebook scams out there
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Just one of many bizarre Facebook scams out there

 

Hey there, good news! According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans reported losing only $143 million to shame and romance scams in 2018. Why is this good news you ask? Well, the numbers are down from $211 million in 2017 so the number of victims are dropping. So, as people get more wise, so do the scammers. With this latest bizarre Facebook scam however, it was political. Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard is now speaking out, pressuring Facebook to do more to combat fake accounts. Mr. Kinzinger’s has been battling scammers for years as they have frequently used his image in their schemes. This latest scam however is something we can all learn from. Recently Representative Kinzinger had an unusual visitor at his constituent office inside a bus station in Rockford, Ill. A woman from India had flown to meet Mr. Kinzinger, claiming that she had developed a relationship with him on Facebook. She waited in that bus station for two weeks for him to show up, and he never did (because he didn’t know about her!). She was a poor lady too, so it had  taken all of her money to fly from India to Illinois. This episode was just one of many bizarre interactions Mr. Kinzinger has had over the past decade with women around the world who believed they were dating him. After getting fed up, he sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, requesting more information and action about what the company was doing to prevent such fraud on its sites. Adam Kinzinger said that swindlers have posed as him to dupe women on Facebook and that the company should take steps to stop such scams. He feels that there needs to be accountability for this issue as it can destroy lives. Facebook has an immensely significant role to play in getting this situation under control as there are no signs of it slowing down. In an interview, Mr. Kinzinger said he is in the early stages of preparing legislation that would force social-media companies to do more to fight the problem.

 

The Take Away

Of course I don’t like telling you about a recent security issue without giving you some guidance. So here’s the deal: On-line scammers follow a pretty predictable 3-step process to get you to send them money.

 

Step 1: Get to know you

The first and most important step in the process is for the scammer to get to know their victim. I know this sounds obvious but I can tell you personally, from having interviewed countless people on the air, most people light up when talking about themselves and the kind of things that interest them. Scammers use this fundamental human trait to get people talking about themselves. Victims often don’t receive much attention from others, so you can see how just a little attention can make them easy prey.

 

Step 2: Get you to like them

So, after a victim has been sharing things about themselves, they’re going to naturally like the person listening on the other end of the line. After all, they listened to them. Who else listens to them like this mysterious person on Facebook? Add the fact that these fake profiles are often constructed with glamorous photos, achievements and interests, no wonder the victim is going to like them so much.

 

Step 3: Get you to trust them

Once the scammer has established knowing and liking, the last element is trust. The scammer can send messages personalized to the victim demonstrating empathy, information and guidance that are so enticing that the victim has no choice but to trust the person. Once trust is established, it’s when scammers usually start asking for money from the victim. It can be for school, a sick family member, to pay for an emergency trip, to fix a broken car they need to go to work – whatever they can think of, tailored to the information they have gathered about the victim. They will pull on the victims heart strings. If this sounds like you or someone you know, don’t fall for it. So now you know the secret formula scammers use every day to scam millions of Americans out of their hard earned money.

 

Stay safe out there.
New Venmo text message scam is out to get your money
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New Venmo text message scam is out to get your money

If you go out to dinner with friends, there is an app that I’m sure you’ve already heard of – it’s called VenmoVenmo is owned by PayPal and it allows you to send and receive money to others from your smartphone. So for instance, when you’re splitting a dinner bill with others at the table, you can Venmo whoever is paying the check your portion of the bill. It’s a great way to send money back and forth and as you probably guessed, whenever money is involved, scammers are there too. With this latest Venmo scam, here’s how it works:

You may receive a text message claiming to be from Venmo indicating that you’re about to be charged a service fee unless you log into your Venmo account and decline it. At the end of the message is a website url and if you click on it, you’ll be redirected to a very persuasive (but very phony) website that looks just like the real Venmo, same colors and everything else. If you enter your Venmo credentials into that phony website, the scammer will have your username and password that they can use to go into your real Venmo account and steal your money.

The Take Away

So, here’s the thing, Venmo and pretty much every other company on earth will not send you any sort of text message like this. If you do get one, it’s most definitely a scam. If you have received one (for Venmo or not) and want to be extra safe, feel free to contact to the company by phone and speak to a representative. They’ll probably tell you the same thing – that it’s a scam and not to fall for it!

Stay safe out there.

-A