ALERT: Toll Smishing Text Scam – Do Not Click!

ALERT: Toll Smishing Text Scam – Do Not Click!

The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, the FBI and SunPass are warning drivers of a text message smishing scam that requests payment for unpaid tolls. The FBI is recommending that if you receive a message like the one shown below, to take the following actions:

– Do not click the link in the text.

– Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3, at www.ic3.gov, and include the phone number the text came from and the website listed within the text.

– If you have an EZ-Pass or SunPass account, check it via their legitimate website and let them know about the text.

– Delete the smishing text you received.

– If for any reason you accidentally clicked the link in the text and made a payment, contact your financial institution immediately to help secure your personal information and financial accounts. Contact our Member Services team at 1.888.966.4827 (GUARD) or email [email protected].

Screenshot image of a sample scam on an iphone

Being informed of what steps you may need to take before a slip up happens can help ease the potential damage (and your stress level) if it does occur. Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family and your employees from the damages of identity theft. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help or have any questions or concerns. We are available for you 24/7/365 at 1.888.966.4827 (GUARD) and [email protected].

AI Voice Cloning is on the Rise

AI Voice Cloning is on the Rise

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a tool that can be used for beneficial purposes but it is also used to harm by scammers. Approximately one in ten adults have been targeted with a robocall claiming a family emergency and that a loved one needs money. These types of calls are set up through voice cloning and are also known as AI scam calls. All a scammer needs to do is find an audio clip of someone’s voice online and then upload it into a program that will replicate the voice.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends the following course of action if you get a concerning call from a loved one in trouble.

– Call the person who supposedly called you back at their regular phone number and verify the story.

– If you can’t reach the person, try to get in touch with them through family members or mutual friends.

– If the caller asks for money through channels that are hard to trace, such as cryptocurrency, gift cards and wiring, recognize that is a sign of a scam and end the call immediately.

– If you spot a scam, report it HERE.

We suggest that you consider setting up a safe word with your loved ones that can be used in the event that a real emergency occurs. Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Image courtesy credit: Israel Palacio via Unsplash.com

Keeping Kids Safe from Recruitment Scams

Keeping Kids Safe from Recruitment Scams

More than half of all workers worldwide are actively searching for another job or watching for openings. Are you one of them? Although it can be an exciting time to find a new career or income stream, the job search process can be very stressful, time-consuming and possibly full of disappointment. Scammers are taking advantage of these confusing feelings and are continuously creating recruitment scams. Unfortunately, they aren’t just targeting adults.

If you have children, they may be looking for their first ideal job, especially with summer approaching. In 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the youth labor force grew by 2.2 million (10.4%) over the previous year with a labor force participation rate for all youth being 60.2% in July, 2023. The number of individuals in the youth labor force, defined as 16-24 year olds, who are actively looking for work grows sharply between April and July each year when large numbers of high school and college students search for summer jobs and many graduates enter the labor market for permanent employment. LEARN MORE

As with all scams, the best weapon against recruitment scams is awareness and education. Scammers advertise jobs the same way honest employers do: online on job boards, social media, ads, radio and TV. Teens and adults are being targeted with work-from-home scams that include reshipping and/or reselling merchandise, mystery shopping and being a nanny. Adult caregiver and personal virtual assistant job scams are plentiful as well.

If you or a loved one is job searching, the Federal Trade Commission suggests to start with reliable resources:

– Search online for the name of the company or person who’s trying to hire you with the words “scam” “review” or “complaint.”

– Talk to someone you trust. Describe the offer and ask for their opinion.

– Never pay for the promise of a job. Honest placement firms do not typically charge a fee to job candidates. It is the hiring company that pays them a fee to find qualified candidates.

USAJobs.gov is the federal government’s official site with job openings nationwide.

CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and lists hundreds of thousands of jobs and links to employment and training programs in each state.

USA.gov is a website that finds local government websites which lists any open positions they may have.

Recruitment scams are now a global concern that span across all industries. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) has been targeted by scammers and has repeatedly been the victim of recruitment scams. The only official and legitimate domain for KIND is @supportkind.org. If you receive any communication concerning employment opportunities with the organization but it comes from an email domain other than @supportkind.org, the communication is not authorized by the KIND organization. LEARN MORE

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Image courtesy credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.

Investment Opportunity or Not? Keeping Eyes on Your 💰

Investment Opportunity or Not? Keeping Eyes on Your 💰

One of the top scams of the century involving investments is making a comeback in 2024. A fixed deposit, otherwise known as a term deposit, has traditionally been an investment plan that allows you to earn a safe guaranteed rate of interest for a lump sum over a fixed period of time. Funds can be withdrawn during the fixed term but there are fees to do so. Unfortunately, anyone with access to your personal identifying information and banking credentials can withdraw the money from these accounts.

Scammers desiring to cash in on anyone’s deal are offering fake investments that the masses are falling for. Here is how to get on the band wagon of what you need to know about fake fixed term deposit investment scams so you don’t fall victim:

– Understand that there is no such thing as easy money and it definitely doesn’t grow on trees.

– Every investment has some degree of risk. There is also risk in not investing at all so working with a reputable company registered with the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or your state securities regulator is imperative.

– Get it in writing. If there isn’t any documentation that can mean that the investment may not be registered with the SEC and is not legit.

– An unsolicited phone call, text or email promising guaranteed profits is a really good reason to block the number or sender. With artificial intelligence (AI) having entered the pictured the last couple of years, it is understandably confusing as to who is real and who isn’t.

– If you are rushed to make any type of investment decision so you ‘don’t lose out’ and your gut tells you this investment is smelling fishy, then it’s probably ‘phishy,’ a scam technique that isn’t going away anytime soon. To learn more about phishing scams, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s article on the subject HERE.

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Photo courtesy credit: Micheile Henderson on Unsplash.com

Scammers are Impersonating FTC Inspector General Katsaros

Scammers are Impersonating FTC Inspector General Katsaros

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released that scammers are using the names of their employees, including the Inspector General Andrew Katsaros to trick people into sending money or giving up their personal identifying information (PII).

What you need to know:

The FTC won’t threaten you or demand a payment. If you receive a phone call or mail with the name of the FTC Commissioner or staff member that threatens some dire consequence if you don’t pay immediately, it’s a scam. Don’t pay.

The FTC doesn’t give out prizes. If someone contacts you claiming that you need to pay to get your prize, it’s a scam. Don’t pay.

FTC employees won’t identify themselves with a badge number. If someone claiming to work for the FTC gives you a badge number, it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it and keep your PII safe!

Guard Well Identity Theft Solutions exists to provide you, your family, and your employees from the damages of identity theft. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Services team immediately. We are always available for you 24/7/365 at 888.966.4827 (GUARD).

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bermix Detail via unsplash.com