To protect your money and personal information, you need to be cautious online. Here are some tips on how to stay safe:
Text Message SIM Swap Scam:
Scammers have been using T-Mobile to send out requests through text message initiated by the scammer to switch your SIM card on your phone. If you click Yes on the link in the text message then T-Mobile will switch your phone number over to the suspect’s phone.
Then, the suspect will be able to access your 2-factor authentication accounts like online bank accounts, email and crypto-currency.
If you have not requested to change your SIM card on your phone and receive a text message to switch it then delete that text message and do not click the link.
Text Message Delivery Scam:
There has been a number of people who have been receiving fraudulent text messages either about items to be shipped or items won by completing fraudulent online surveys.
The scammer will then ask you to enter your debit or credit card number to pay to ship the item to you.
The scammer will use your card number to make as many online purchases as they can before you notice.
Facebook and Instagram Scams:
Be careful when receiving investment advice from friends on Facebook. Scammers have been taking over Facebook accounts and using them to send fake investment scams to their friends. You will lose your money in these scams.
Most investments on Facebook and Instagram are scams. If it seems to good to be true then it is probably a scam.
You can report scam sites for Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/help/reportlinks
You can report account takeovers for Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/hacked
Cyber criminals will attempt to get the Seed Words for your crypto-wallet. Never disclose the seed words to anyone. Recently there has been numerous online and over the phone scams where scammers will pretend to be from Ledger or other crypto companies and will ask you to provide your seed words for your wallet. If you provide the seed words, they will take all of your cryptocurrency.
We have received numerous reports related to fraudulent online crypto-currency investors. Basically, the victim responds to an ad on social media for cypto-currency investments. The victim is then told to transfer crypto-currency to a new wallet. Once the suspect receives the crypt-currency they will ask for more or cut off communications. In the end, you will lose all of the crypto-currency that you sent.
If the suspect cashes out your crypto-currency through Binance then you can contact them with a Police Report number and they can freeze the funds so that they can be recovered. You must do this within 24 hours of the transaction. For more information, please visit Binance’s website here: https://www.binance.com/en/support/faq/360000006051
Electronic Payment Apps:
Never use Venmo to send money to strangers or for Facebook / Twitter / Instagram make money quick “investments” – There have been many victim’s in Honolulu that have fallen for these schemes. Venmo is designed to send money to people you know, not to buy things online or for investments. Refer to Venmo’s website for more information: https://help.venmo.com/hc/en-us/articles/360048404533-Common-Scams-on-Venmo
The above information applies to all other payment apps like Zelle. According to Zelle’s website, if you were tricked into sending someone a payment you will not be reimbursed because you authorized the payment. Refer to Zelle’s website for more information: https://www.zellepay.com/pay-it-safe/understanding-fraud-and-scams
You should use traditional credit cards for online purchases because they may be able to reimburse you in the case of fraud. Some credit cards will offer special temporary numbers to use for online purchases were you can set the amount. Refer to your credit card’s website for information.
NEVER give out you Payment App or Online Banking username or password: This seems obvious but we received many cases where the victim willingly gave out there information because the scammer told them that they were going to put money into their account (usually online fake loans or investments)
- Never click a link in an email and then enter personal information, username or a password
- If you receive an email from a company like Google or Microsoft Outlook and it states that you must click the link and log in, then it is most likely a phishing scam to get your login information
- You click a link and see a page that looks like a Google or Outlook login page, but when you enter your username and password, the information is recorded by hackers and used to access your real account
- Instead, go to the website directly by typing the address in your browser: www.google.com or https://outlook.live.com and enter the site directly
- Always verify who is asking you to send money. The suspect impersonates the manager of a company by sending an email to the company’s accountant and requests that money is sent to a person or business.
- Check the email address of the sender. The Display name might show your manager’s name but the email address may belong to the suspect. When you hit reply to the email it might show the manager’s name (e.g.<[email protected]> ) but make sure that the email belongs to your company and not an outside email that someone could create to trick you.
- If you receive a request to send money and it looks suspicious, call the person to verify that he/she is really are sending the request.
- NEVER WIRE MONEY: unless you know whom you are wiring money to.
- Most online scams will request that you wire money. The suspects will receive the money and then remove it from the account before you realize that you have been scammed
- You can attempt to reverse a wire if the money is still in the suspect’s account. You will need to contact your bank for details on how to do this
- NEVER PAY IN GIFT CARDS: If someone is asking to be paid in gift cards then it is most likely a scam.
- Use your credit card for all online purchases. The credit card company can reverse the payment if there is fraud, and will cover the loss most of the time.
- Never use your password for more than one website or program.
- Pick a password that has at least eight characters and includes numbers, symbols, and capitol letters.
- You may have personal information in your email account, so you should protect it.
- Enable 2-Factor Authentication on your email and bank accounts.
How to Detect Voice Over IP Phone (VOIP) Phone Number:
Scammers will often use a Voice over IP Phone (VOIP) for calls or text message communications. This allows the scammer to create a temporary phone number starting with 808 so it will appear they are in Hawaii.
- Visit this site or a similar site: https://www.phonevalidator.com/
- Enter the Phone Number
- The results will show VOIP:
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SCAMS:
Online Extortion Scam
Scam: You meet someone on Instagram or a similar online platform. The person asks you to video chat in the nude.
Outcome: The suspect then uses the video chat to extort you by demanding money or else they will release the video to all of your family and friends.
How to Avoid: Do not video chat with people that you do not know. We have also had reports of people video chatting with unknown people online and then the suspect edits the video to make it look like you are engaging in sexual conduct in order to extort you.
Scam: The scammers are placing ads on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Market Place for puppies for sale.
- The suspect asks you to send money for shipping.
- The suspect are sometime pretending to be in Hawaii but want the money to hold the puppy for you.
Outcome: After the suspect receives your money, they will cut contact and you will never receive the puppy. They may continue to ask for money and give reasons why you need to send it to them.
How to Avoid: Never send money for a puppy. Only pay a legitimate breeder or store in person after you have received the puppy.
Scam: Received a phone call or clicked a link for Apple or Microsoft tech support saying that your iCloud account or computer has been compromised.
- Suspect asks for remote access into your computer
- Suspect sometimes ask for credit card for payment
Outcome: They will steal information off of your computer and will use your credit card.
How to Avoid: No company will every contact you about problems with your computer. A website or popup add on your computer will never be a legitimate tech support. If you have computer problems then bring your computer to an in-store repair.
Scam: Received an email that a subscription has expired and that you will be billed if you do not call a phone number listed in the email.
- Suspect asks for remote access into your computer (the suspect may trick you into giving them access to your computer by asking for a code on your computer)
- Suspect then uses your computer to access your bank account
- Sometimes the suspect will show you a page that appears like you have been over-paid and then will ask you to wire the money back to them.
Outcome: They will steal information off of your computer, steal your money or will trick you into sending your money to them.
How to Avoid: Look at the company name in the email (ex. Norton). Then, search the internet for Norton’s actual website. Contact that company directly using a phone number from their website to see if the email is legitimate. Never trust links or phone numbers listed in emails.
Scam: Trying to rent a property online through Craigslist or a Similar site.
- Suspect asks for payment through wiring money or an App like Zelle.
- Suspect used a Voice over IP Phone (VOIP) for calls or text message communications
Outcome: You will send your money and the rental property is not owned by the suspect. They just took the pictures from another website.
How to Avoid: It is safest to use known Realtors or Realty Websites which hold your money until you have successfully checked into the rental property before they release the money to the poster. You should also pay using a credit card because you can cancel the transaction if it is fraudulent. Never wire money or send gift cards to reserve a property or pay a down deposit. Be wary if the person is using a VOIP Phone.
Scam: You receive a call from a suspect that your family member or friend is kidnapped and they demand that you send money.
Outcome: You will lose your money.
How to Avoid: Hang up the phone and call the friend or family member directly using their known phone number. The suspect sometimes will spoof their phone number so the call appears to be coming from the friend or family member’s phone.
Law Enforcement or IRS Scam:
Scam: You receive a call from Law Enforcement, IRS, FBI, Secret Service, ect. stating that your bank account or phone was used for illegal activities and you must send money to rectify this.
Outcome: You will lose your money.
How to Avoid: None of these agencies will ever ask you to send money. If you are unsure then hang up the phone and call the agency directly from their known phone number.
Scam: You are contacted or you click a link on Facebook, Instagram, ect. for an opportunity to make money fast. Sometimes the scammers will take over or make accounts that look like your friend’s account and will contact you. Then, they ask you to send them money to invest through money wiring, gift cards, Zelle, Cash App.
Outcome: You will never get any money in return.
How to Avoid: Most if not all make money quick opportunities are scams. Never send money to someone you don’t know and don’t wire the money, send gift cards or any wire type app like Zelle or Cash app to send money to people for investments.
- You are contacted or you click a link on Facebook, Instagram, ect. for an opportunity to make money fast. Sometimes the scammers will take over or make accounts that look like your friend’s account and will contact you.
- You click a link for an online loan.
- The suspect asks you to provide your bank account information.
- The suspect places a check deposit into your account
- The suspect asks you to send back some of the money either to verify it or they say they sent to much money.
Outcome: The checks that are deposited into your account are either forged checks or stolen checks. The bank will reverse the deposit and you will be out of the money that you sent.
How to Avoid: Use known loan companies or banks for loans. Never send money back to verify it or if they say they sent too much. Look at the check to see if it is from the company that it is supposed to be from and not another company or person. NEVER GIVE OUT YOU ONLINE BANK USER NAME AND PASSWORD – THIS IS ALWAYS A SCAM
Lottery Winning Scam:
Scam: You are contacted by the suspect and told that you won the lottery. You are asked to pay money for the taxes.
Outcome: You never receive any winnings and will be out of the money that you sent. Sometimes the suspect will then threaten you to get you to send more money.
How to Avoid: Never send money to someone saying you won the lottery. A legitimate lottery will never ask you to pay taxes directly.
Online Love Scam:
Scam: You meet someone online and they ask you to send them money to help for medical bills, taxes, ect… They will continue to ask for money and pretend that they are coming to see you will money to pay you back.
Outcome: You never receive your money back and the suspect is using images of a different person that they found online.
How to Avoid: Don’t send money to people you have never met in person.
Craigslist or Online Selling Items Scam:
Scam: You are selling an item on Craigslist or a similar site. The suspect wants to purchase the item unseen and sends you a check.
Outcome: You deposit the check and it turns out that it is a stolen or forged check. The suspect may ask you to send money back because they sent too much money. The bank will reverse the deposit and you will be out of the money that you sent.
How to Avoid: Only sell to people in person. Do not accept checks, use cash only.
Business Email Compromise Scam:
Scam: You receive an email from your boss or manager asking to either wire money to another company or purchase Gift Cards.
Outcome: Your boss or manager’s email may have been hacked by the suspect or they may be using an email that is similar to your boss or manager’s email.
How to Avoid: Always call a known phone number to verify wire payment requests. Otherwise, if the boss is asking you to purchase Gift Cards then NEVER text or email the gift card numbers back to them.
Paycheck Direct Deposit Scam:
Scam: You receive an email request to change the direct deposit information for an employee.
Outcome: The money is sent to a suspect or money mule and not the employee.
How to Avoid: Never accept direct deposit change requests through email. Have your employee submit the request in person.
Working from Home Scam:
Scam: You are hired to work from home from some online ad. You are told that you will receive money and that you should keep part of it and send the rest out through wire or gift cards.
Outcome: You are a money mule and being used by the suspect to launder stolen money. You may be arrested if the stolen money is traced back to you.
How to Avoid: Don’t take a job were you are receiving money and are instructed to send part of the money out once received.