Bitcoin Blackmail May, 2020 Close/ Open
District Attorney's Office - 18th Judicial District
Released by DA Office, 18th Judicial District
Recently, the Consumer Fraud Protection Division of the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has fielded increasing numbers of complaints from concerned citizens. Several members of our community have received emails on their personal accounts from unknown sources stating that their computer has been hacked, their webcam is being monitored, and their contact list has been seized. In addition, the scammers state that they have recorded the complainant visiting adult websites and threaten to distribute the video within hours to family and friends unless they deposit $2000.00 in bitcoin into a specified account. These complaints seem to be consistent with similar incidents that are taking place across the state of Colorado and even on a national level. This is a scam!
The details and circumstances have been very similar, if not exact, with each complaint. The name of the sender varies. The email subject line may contain a previous or partially-correct email address and password used by the complainant. This leads the recipients to open the email, even though the sender was unknown to them. Most recipients suspect it is scam because of the emails reference non-existent cameras or non-existent social media accounts, but they still are concerned.Suggested Action:
Stop and set aside your emotional reaction! Do not open any other suspicious emails or attachments. Do not pay anything. Delete the message. Update and change your passwords (regularly chose strong ones).
If you or someone you know receives this email or one similar in nature, please report it to:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation – Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov
- Federal Trade Commission: www.FTC.gov/Compl
- Consumer Fraud Protection – 18th Judicial District Colorado: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you receive an email with threats or acts of extortion where the sender is unknown, it appears to be a large-scale or general message, or it may relate to a recently known data breach, start by filing a complaint with the FBI and FTC at the links above. These government agencies have expanded resources to probe further and determine if complaint is a regional or national matter. The more information they receive from a broad population base, the more effective they can be in identifying root sources and suppressing the scammers. Always feel free to contact our office to report the matter. We are here to support you.
Should you receive a threatening email or communication from a known individual or you feel a particular email is a direct personal threat against you, please report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and to our Consumer Fraud Protection Division. You may contact our hotline at (720) 847-8547 or email us at email@example.com.
18th Judicial Consumer Protection Line: 720-874-8547
Coronavirus Insight and Scams March, 2020 Close/ Open
Coronavirus Fears are Fueling Scams and Price Gouging
Criminals don't rest and they were quick to pounce on current events. Be wary of any unsolicited emails :
- Asking you to follow any unknown link.
- Offering vaccinations.
- Purporting to be from the CDC or other health organizations.
- Offering "Investment Opportunities."
Reliable Tips to Keep Safe from the Virus
There's always going to be false information out there. We recommend you go to reliable sources over social media or unsubstantiated sites. For more information, visit the CDC page here.
Reliable Disease Updates
Again, this is an enormously dangerous time for disinformation. Keep updated on Coronavirus developments from authentic sources only. For more information, visit the CDC Coronavirus page here.
Unlawful Robocalls February, 2020 Close/ Open
District Attorney's Office - 18th Judicial District
Unlawful Robocalls are Going Away
Good news! As of this year, phone companies now have the authority to legally stop fraudulent robocalls from being forwarded on to customers. This follows the creation of SHAKEN/STIR – multi-verification technology recently developed by the phone industry that can now accurately distinguish misleading robocall phone numbers from legitimate numbers associated with school closure notifications, medical appointment reminders, etc. This level of verification was necessary to assure the industry that vitally important calls which might otherwise be mistaken as scams would still go through to customers.
To further aid in the reduction of illegal calls, the federal TRACED Act was signed into law late last year to expand the detection of such perpetrators operating within the U.S. and from around the globe. Since the initiation of auto dialers, i.e., devices that send out thousands of calls simultaneously, Illegal robocalls have been difficult to control, especially those originating overseas, and which comprise the bulk of scam calls coming in to the U.S. Penalties upwards of $10,000 can now be imposed on those who are caught. Another big take-away as a result of these efforts will likely be a reduction in spoofing, i.e., fake numbers that show up on caller ID’s for the purpose of tricking consumers into picking up their phones.
Other important points:
- SHAKEN/STIR technology only interacts with digital communication devices, e.g., cell and internet-connected phones (VOIP). Unfortunately, older analog landline phones, considered outdated by today’s standards, cannot interface with wireless or digital phone systems. However, land-line users who also have cell phones should explore cell phone apps that can connect with and block unwanted calls left on their landlines at a distance. For more information, go to: www.Mymail.com., or contact your phone company.
- By law, phone companies cannot charge a fee to customers for this call-blocking service.
- Consumers are still encouraged to add their cell and landline numbers to the Federal and Colorado Do Not Call registries. Unlike typical scam calls that are deliberately placed to fool consumers into forking over money, legitimate businesses are still allowed to solicit consumers over the phone if the business has had dealings with that consumer within the past 18 months, and/or the consumer has given his/her expressed permission allowing such calls. Pollsters, political organizations and non-profit agencies are also allowed to call. Legitimate agencies who violate this law by not checking consumers’ numbers against the Do Not Call registry should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-382-1222; (TTY):1-866-290-4236. Such agencies can face significant fines if they violate consumers by calling to solicit them. A word of caution: Don’t expect a major reduction in robocalls overnight. It will take time.
Unclaimed Money Scams October 9th, 2019 Close/ Open
District Attorney's Office - 18th Judicial District
Avoid Unclaimed Money Scams
Could you be the recipient of unclaimed money? It’s true that you may have assets sitting in a forgotten or closed business account somewhere in your state, e.g., a financial institution, utility or insurance company, etc., or a safe deposit box at a bank. Businesses holding inactive accounts must notify current and former customers of the existence of these accounts, and by law, must turn over any unclaimed or inactive accounts to their state treasury or revenue departments if not claimed after a period of time. However, businesses often hire third-parties to locate such account holders first. Any consumer can search a state’s unclaimed property website to determine if they have money to be claimed, then request repayment if so.
There are also legitimate businesses that conduct extensive, and/or national unclaimed property searches for a fee, provided the customer has signed a contract. Typical payment for such services are based on a percentage of the assets that are recovered. Not surprisingly, variations of scams are floating out there to trick consumers into providing personal information, and/or, sending money under the lure of receiving assets that don’t actually exist.Signs of unclaimed money scams:
- You receive an official-looking letter notifying you of unclaimed property that has been located in your name and are asked to send money in exchange for your “unclaimed” funds. Oftentimes, the information must be kept confidential. But it takes a bit of sleuthing to determine if the notification is in fact, legitimate, or if it’s a scam. For verification, always check with the holding institution first, (their name should be referenced in the letter) to verify that the solicitor is working on behalf of that company. Legitimate companies won’t ask for money because they are already being paid by the holding company to locate you.
- Letters, emails or phone notifications of a sweepstakes “winnings” that you missed out on or didn’t know about, and are told the money was turned over to the state. In order to claim the alleged winnings, you are asked to send money, personal information, or both in order to receive the “payout”. In legitimate sweepstakes contests, there is a period of time in which to claim the winnings, or the money is returned to the state and often used to finance public amenity projects. Remember: you have to enter a sweepstakes in order to win!
The good news is that it's easy and doesn't cost a thing to conduct your own website search. Click on https://colorado.findyourunclaimedproperty.com to access Colorado's Great Colorado Payback program.
To see if you have unclaimed assets in other states, go to http://www.nupn.com/statedata
To search for unclaimed sources of government funds, i.e., back wages, tax refunds, pensions, etc., click here
18th Judicial Consumer Protection Line: 720-874-8547
Social Engineering Scams (Text Messages) October, 2019 Close/ Open
Criminals in possession of card details and other forms of personally identifiable information (PII) are spoofing credit union phone numbers in an effort to fool credit union members into thinking that text messages are actually from the fraud department of a particular credit union. Fraudsters are sending text messages under the guise of trying to validate recent card activity and are including hyperlinks within some text messages.
Fraudsters are also using text messaging to deceive credit union members into providing card related data and log in credentials. Instances have been reported of fraudsters impersonating members to request a change in contact information such as mobile numbers. Fraudsters have also contacted credit unions, impersonating members to report upcoming travel as a means of lowering the monitoring of debit and credit card transactions.
Attacks to obtain personal information from credit union members are known as SMishing (SMS text phishing) and Vishing (Voice phishing). A typical SMishing occurrence can begin with a member receiving a text message inquiring about a suspicious transaction on an account. In reality, the fraudster is looking to obtain other information from members such as debit card numbers, CV2 codes, expiration dates, PINs and other web login credentials.
Below is a summary of items included on a valid fraud text message from CO-OP on behalf of a credit union and what items will not appear on a legitimate outbound message.
SMS/Text will include:
- CU abbreviated name
- Last 4 of Card #
- $ Amount in question (with dollar sign)
- Merchant Name
- Reply Options: YES, NO, STOP(to opt out)
SMS/Text will not include:
- Requests for CH data, such as card numbers, PINs, CV2 Codes, Expiration Dates
- Vague reference of "Merchant" Transaction details should be included
- Hyperlinks to unknown websites
- Phone Numbers as Hyperlinks
Capitol One Breach August, 2019 Close/ Open
July 19, 2019
Capital One Breach Highlights Risks to Millions of Account Holders
Late last month, news broke regarding a massive data breach, possibly the largest ever, at Capital One Financial Corporation. At present time, they have identified over 100 million consumers who have been impacted, including current credit customers, and consumers and businesses who applied for Capital One credit products (more information can be found here). While cooperation with local and national law enforcement has helped stop much of the sensitive information from being distributed, this illustrates a very real threat to consumers.
Am I protected from this type of breach?
At Arapahoe Credit Union, we take the loss of personal information seriously. That’s why we have products and services available that can help protect you against Identity Theft. This means that if you have been impacted by this breach, you have protections to help you recover your identity and related expenses. ACU has Identity Safe available to members. A comprehensive recovery program to help, if you believe you may have experience theft, or your identity may have been comprised. Find out more information here.
Any questions please feel free to contact the credit union and we can help.
One-Ring Scam Calls July, 2019 Close/ Open
District Attorney’s Office - 18th Judicial District
One Ring Scam Calls are Back in Circulation
There has been a sudden spike in the number of complaints from area residents who are receiving one-ring phone calls over their landline and cell phones. The phone rings once then abruptly cuts off before the person has a chance to answer, leaving only a missed call notification on the phone. The call is then followed by repeated phone calls that happen either in short sequence - usually overnight, or over the course of a day. These calls always display the same call-back number.
Victims may be tempted out of sheer curiosity to answer, or they may assume the caller is trying to get through but is being cut off. Those who do call back are put on hold by an operator where they wait, often a minute or longer before realizing that no one is coming on the line. In fact, they have just put forth an international call to a scammer who collects the long distance fees that are billed to the consumer. Fees usually include a connection charge in the range of $35.00 - $40.00, in addition to fee-per-minute charges. The scam is usually not discovered until the victim gets the phone bill but fortunately, these fees can be deducted if it is reported to the phone carrier when the bill comes in. As with other robocalls, scammers are using auto-dialers to send these out to thousands of consumers a minute which accounts for the excessive volume of robocalls that consumers receive every day.
To remove charges:
DA – 18th Consumer Protection Line: 720-874-8547
Credit Review Reminder April, 2019 Close/ Open
The last few years have seen data compromise after data compromise. Equifax was far and away the worst (more on that below, but there have been several others. We absolutely recommend you take a moment or two to review yours.)
Pro-tip: You can pull your report from one bureau now, and another in four months. Then, pull your report from the third bureau in another four months to maintain the most constant, year-round monitoring.
You will want to use AnnualCreditReport.com to pull your information. Beware, the site may ask you to purchase your actual credit score. You most likely don't need this information as it is available elsewhere for free. Once you have your report, let us know if we can help you read it or if you have any questions.
Pull your credit report, for free, annually.
Please note that ACU does not own or operate this site, however.