Apr 16, 2014

We All Want Our IRS Tax Refunds Quickly, But Watch Out For The Slew Of Scams That Prey On You During IRS Season

HEMU’S BOTTOM LINE: We All Want Our IRS Tax Refunds Quickly, But Watch Out For The Slew Of Scams That Prey On You During IRS Season

With tax season here, be aware of the scams that come along with it. Treat phone calls, emails, and advice from friends with caution. You may receive a phone call or email saying they, or someone in their family, is in trouble with the IRS, followed by a request to send money. It’s easy to fall into the trap if you do not understand how the IRS works, so be sure to keep a wary eye and ear concerning suspicious threats and accusations from the IRS.

Read these articles to learn about the reported scams in Oregon involving warrants for arrest and Georgia where people have received ‘urgent calls’ after having filed their taxes.
In terms of the articles under the bottom line — are there articles written by major news outlets versus small or local outlets that we can use?

Apr 16, 2014

YouTube Is Providing Instructional Videos For Drugs And Fake IDs

HEMU’S BOTTOM LINE: YouTube Is Providing Instructional Videos For Drugs And Fake IDs

The Digital Citizens Alliance has recently targeted Google and YouTube for the recurring issue of hosting videos instructing users of illegal activity such as buying prescription drugs online without prescriptions. Google has an efficient setup to identify inappropriate content, and to prevent advertisements from appearing on videos that should not be promoted. However, Google hesitates to outright censor these topics. Executive direction of the Digital Citizens Alliance, Tom Galvin, comments on the fact that more can still be done, such as flagging key terms that contain “buying prescription drugs without prescription.” Hemanshu Nigam says that Google needs to confront the issue directly, because as a private company they can increase their censorship restrictions.

Read more on the Washington Post

Jul 24, 2013

Fourth of July means more to Internet scammers than fireworks and barbeques

The Fourth of July means more to Internet scammers than fireworks and barbeques.  Scambook, the leading consumer complaint resolution platform, published a new advisory statement to warn Internet users against a series of holiday-related scams sweeping across the U.S. this week.

Contained within three general categories, the recent Independence Day scams include phishing schemes, counterfeit tickets and misleading sales pitches.  Scammers use holiday eCards, videos and links to entice consumers to download attachments embedded with malware and viruses that damage computers or provide access to Internet activities and account information from hijacked systems, which may allow hackers to steal financial information, social security numbers and other private data.

Scambook also warns against sales campaigns aimed at driving holiday spending based on deceptive or ambiguous information.  Marketing campaigns that pressure buyers with holiday time limits and unknown no-return restrictions or contract fees may encourage holiday shoppers to spend too much and too quickly without examining all of the purchasing details.  Inauthentic retail websites also scam Independence Day shoppers through fraudulent websites that offer unbelievable savings on popular items in order to obtain financial data.

Lastly, the site alerts consumers to event swindlers who may sell fake tickets for fireworks shows and other specialty events to obtain credit card information and money.  These scammers prey upon the holiday frenzy of last-minute event seekers who miss out on sold-out offerings.

Maintaining a scam-free summer requires Internet users to stay informed about recent scamming trends and how to best protect computers and financial data from hackers and online fraud.  By following the few tips below, consumers may avoid the hazards of Internet scammers waving the all-too alluring flag of deceptive offerings this holiday:

  • Use current antivirus software from a trusted and reputable source and keep this software turned on at all times
  • Access the Internet using secure networks with stringent password settings
  • Never open emails from unknown individual and always avoid questionable downloads
  • Review all sales details before making purchasing decisions and avoid providing financial information to unknown websites
  • Conduct thorough Internet searches on events and retailers before purchasing tickets to holiday events
  • Make purchases on secure websites (sites that begin with HTTPS rather than HTTP or show the lock icon in the address bar)