An email with the subject “unsubscribe”:
A Nevada citizen received several emails from different addresses with the subject “unsubscribe” but no text in the body. This is the purest example of phishing – will the email recipient respond thus indicating the email address is active?
Email scams that have been reported in the Hacker’s Brief previously but are continuing to make the rounds (as reported by Wyoming, Colorado, and Nevada citizens):
- Free Covid tests - citizens are receiving fake offers for Covid tests. CyberWyoming note: Medicare will pay for eight free tests every month through participating pharmacies. See medicare.gov/coverage/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-diagnostic-laboratory-tests for more information. Also the FTC reports that each household, regardless of Medicare status, is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID tests covid.gov/tests.
- Odd emails with random words that happen to be images that are linked to scam websites (be very careful with these as any click in the body of the email will take you to an unwanted website).
- You have won <Le Creuset, a drill, exercise equipment, a knife set, cookware, etc.>. CyberWyoming note: These are enticing offers, but they are all scams.
Email with the subject “Up to 80% off! Need Stamps? $9.99 Shop All Designs”:
This scam started in 2021, and these offers are for counterfeit stamps. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service warns that any significant discount on Forever stamps is likely to be a scam. CyberWyoming note: If something seems too good to be true, it is. Some retail stores can sell stamps at a slight discount through agreements with the U.S. Post Office, but anything over 5% is a scam.
That Last-Minute Spring Break Deal Might Be a Scam:
How it works: exclusive vacation deals below market value, including luxury hotels or rental cars. In some cases, it’s a host on a vacation rental app that asks you to pay up front and off the books.
What You Should Know
- Scammers create bogus travel sites that often appear high in search rankings because they paid for promotion. These sites often use the same language, colors, and logos as legitimate sites.
- Criminals create fake vacation rental listings that are often stolen from real listings and altered. An unusually low price could be a sign that a listing is not legitimate.
- Shady rental car sites may look like those of real companies, but the deals are fake. The thieves who set them up will take your money, then disappear.
- A host who asks you to pay for your rental home outside the app is not someone you want to do business with.
What You Should Do
- Be skeptical of any pitch that offers steep discounts on travel and accommodations.
- Check travel reservation sites before you book. Conduct a web search on the company name (along with the word “scam” or “complaint” or “review”) to read about other people’s experiences.
- Pay for travel reservations and bookings with a credit card, which offers greater protections than other forms of payment.
- When renting a car online, type in the web address versus using a search engine. This will reduce the chance of accidentally landing on a look-alike site.
- When using a vacation rental app, be suspicious if the host wants you to pay off-platform. For example, Airbnb only allows this for certain fees (such as local taxes), and Vrbo states that payments outside its checkout form are not eligible for its “Book with Confidence” guarantee.
Brought to you by AARP Fraud Network
Tax Fraud Danger for Last-Minute Filers:
Nearly one-third of Americans haven't filed their taxes yet - putting them at a higher risk of losing their refund to tax fraudsters who got to the IRS first. If you're one of the late crowd, you likely won't know until your return is rejected and the IRS contacts you to say they previously received one in your name. The first sign may be an e-file rejection. If that happens, print out your return and send the paper version to the IRS. If you suspect you're a victim but don't know for sure yet, or if you have any questions, you can call the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. Be warned though, at this time of year the line is very busy! Brought to you by Scambusters.org.
MS-ISAC and CISA Patch Now Alert:
The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) or the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has published a patch now (update your software) alert for most Apple products. If you use these products, make sure the software (or firmware) is updated.
Data Breaches in the News:
Kroger prescription services. CyberWyoming Note: If you have an account with one of these companies, be sure to change your password and consider placing a credit freeze on your accounts through the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
Please report scams you may experience to email@example.com to alert your friends and neighbors.
Other ways to report a scam:
- Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker: bbb.org/scamtracker/us/reportscam
- Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection 307-777-6397, 800-438-5799 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov
- Report your scam to the FBI at www.ic3.gov/complaint
- Reported unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registration. Online at donotcall.gov/report.html or call 1-888-382-1222, option 3
- Office of the Inspector General: oig.ssa.gov
- AARP Fraud Watch Network (any age welcome) Helpline 877-908-3360
- IRS: report email scams impersonating the IRS to email@example.com
- Call the Wyoming Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) for assistance with potential Medicare fraud, abuse, or errors at 1 800 856-4398
- Victim Support: The AARP Fraud Watch Network and Volunteers of America (VOA) created a new, free program to provide emotional support for people impacted by a scam or fraud, called ReST. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudsupport to learn more about the free program and register