I Tried to Join the Illuminati:
If you receive an email warning you not to believe the offer to join the Illuminati, it may be true. A Laramie citizen received an email with the saga of lighting three candles for the initiation in addition to sending a passport picture and birth certificate. CyberWyoming Note: Most legitimate clubs don’t ask for your birth certificate or passport. Yet, this could be an entertaining read. There are a lot of interesting “join the Illuminati” scams out there. Here’s a funny one that we found: vice.com/en/article/a3jgj8/i-tried-to-join-the-illuminati-and-got-scammed.
COVID-19 Testing Result Alert:
A Gillette citizen reported an email from Carolyn Lambert at [email protected] (note that the second s in business is missing and CyberWyoming checked – there is no such website) saying that you have been exposed to a coworker who tested positive for the OMICRON variant of COVID. The email has an attachment that Google reported as having a virus. CyberWyoming Note: Do not download or open the attachment.
Another dying widow:
When a stranger wants to donate millions of dollars to you, it is a scam. This email reported by a Laramie citizen says that Mrs. Kristina Eliane Lubke, who is dying, wants to donate a 4.6 million dollar fund to an honest person to support ‘disabilities and humanity’ because of the vow she made to her late husband. The email’s subject line is “Support Humanity” and it is from [email protected].
With the recent tornados in Kentucky, watch for fake charities running giving campaigns for the victims. Before donating, check the IRS’s Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool at apps.irs.gov/app/eos/ and then check Charity Watch at charitywatch.org/charities to see the charity’s rating factor.
What is Vishing?
Vishing is voice phishing. According to scambusters.org, smart devices now account for 85% of all phone scams. Wyomingites have reported Direct TV, AT&T, and Spectrum fake calls throughout the past month alone. Scammers use caller ID number spoofing so you can’t tell where the call is really coming from. They can also use software to disguise their voices and accents. Primarily they try to scare you into engaging with them. Scams often start with an urgent text where they impersonate government officials, like the IRS, and ask you to call them back. Remember that these agencies don’t text you, call you, or send unsolicited emails.
Vishing Advice from Scambusters.org
If you receive a call from an unknown number, let it go to voicemail and then ask yourself:
- Does the speaker sound real? Using computers to generate or disguise voice messages often sounds different from normal speaking, kind of robotic.
- Is it a recorded message? If so, and from someone you don't already do business with, it's almost certainly a scam since robocalls are illegal except for these existing relationships or from a charity or political party.
- Are you being asked for confidential information like account numbers and log-in details? Legitimate callers won't do this, especially if their call is unsolicited.
- Are you being urged to act immediately? This is one of the scammers' most popular tactics by threatening arrest or fines, or claiming money is being drained from your account. Again, legitimate organizations do not make calls like this.
How to Protect Yourself
Other steps you can take to protect yourself from vishing include:
- Installing a blocker app that uses a database of known vishing sources. The most popular one is said to be Truecaller.
- Ignoring caller ID. Because crooks use computer-based communications technology, they can pretend to be whomever they want.
- Don't press numbers on your phone if you're prompted to do so, even if the recording says you can block further calls by doing this.
- Ignore anyone who claims to be from tech support at companies like Microsoft, Apple or major computer manufacturers. If you didn't ask for support first, any call you get is a scam.
MS-ISAC Patch Now Alert:
The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) has published a patch now (update your software) alert for additional Apache Log4j products. If you use these products, make sure the software (or firmware) is updated.
Please report scams you may experience to [email protected] 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 [email protected]
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.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 protected]
- 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