COVID Student Loan Scams

Some businesses have been offering a variety of bogus COVID-19 preventatives, treatments and cures.  Authorities are attempting to eliminate such advertising and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has said they have received more than 49,000 claims, with victim losses of more than $35 million.

The newest scam involves CBD oil.  Besides regular advertising, you may receive e-mails or texts as part of the fraudulent marketing.  As you probably know, CBD oil and related products have been approved for treatment of certain types of anorexia and seizures, but none have been approved for preventing or treatment of COVID-19.  In fact, there is little evidence that such products have an antiviral properties at all.

Several websites promoting these products for COVID-19 have been taken down, but there will continue to be scammers trying to use virus fears to separate you from your money.  Be aware of legitimate-sounding names using such promotion and advertising – don’t be a victim!

Please copy and paste this onto your browser search line: lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.ca  for more information on how you can protect yourself and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

COVID Student Loan Scams

Scammers are doing their best to create new ways to get your money using some aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The newest one involves student loans.

Governments are announcing programs to help individuals with their student loans.  In response, there are offers appearing to come from companies offering to consolidate loans at a very low interest rate.  They may suggest that in some cases they may even be able to forgive the loan with money coming from the government.

They are offering to speak to your lender on your behalf if you simply complete a form.  They tell you they want to represent you and thousands of other students in negotiating with lenders.  What they want is the personal information you’re going to provide on that form.  If you need help with loans, contact your lender or your college or university.  The other source will be government representatives who can access information about available programs

Don’t be too quick to participate in such offers and never provide information when they come to you.  Apply directly to legitimate organizations.  And please tell everyone you know that criminals  are using these tactics.

Please copy and paste this onto your browser search line: lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.ca  for more information on how you can protect yourself and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

COVID-19 3

It seems appropriate to write another post on COVID-19 scams, since they continue to evolve.  So here’s a list, along with one simple rule to keep yourself safe.

1. Fraudulent websites, inviting you to click on malicious links so they can steal your information.

2. Links and websites that, if you click, install malicious programs on your computer.

3. E-mail messages of any kind inviting you to click on  a link, attachment or another website; all could be looking for your information and /or your money.

4. E-mails claiming to be from WHO, offering another link to get masks or sanitizers.

5. Fraudulent e-mails or websites made to look like a local church or other religious organization; even mimicking the pastor to solicit contributions or offer gift cards for COVID-19 victims.

Don’t be a victim!  Never provide information, money, or access to money (Bank or credit card information) when they contact you – by mail, in person, phone, text, e-mail, pop-up window or fraudulent website!  Only consider doing so after you verify their legitimacy.  If you’re a victim, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.  1-888-495-8501

Please tell everyone you know that these activities are scams.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect yourself and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

COVID-19 2

In the last post, we talked about scams involving e-mails, bogus prevention, treatment and cures, as well as fake websites.

Another scam to watch for now is this text message;

            In response to the recent shortage of surgical mask, the Red Cross will be giving one free box     per household.  Visit  http://RedCross-facemask.ca  to get yours.

First, the Red Cross does not have boxes of face masks to give away for free

Second, going to that site, which is fraudulent, will result in you being asked to make a donation (which goes to the scammer) or for you to pay for shipping and handling (of a product you won’t receive.)

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says you should immediately delete such text messages.

One more scam now going around is a phone call claiming to be from a public health agency.  In this call, the fraudster says the person has tested positive for the coronavirus and, to get a prescription, must provide the scammer with their credit card and health card numbers.  Hang up on these calls.  This scam reported by Nicole Brockbank, CBC, Toronto

  Please tell everyone you know that these activities are scams.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect yourself and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

COVID-19 Scams

Any major news story will attract the attention of criminals.  In March, 2020, nothing makes more headlines that the COVID-19 pandemic, so now is the time to watch for scammers.  Here are some of the scams already appearing, or you can expect to see.

1.  E-mails.  Usually in the form of phishing e-mails, where scammers impersonate various health agencies, insurers and other legitimate, government agencies.  They want your personal information.

2.  Prevention, treatment and cures.  These will be fraudulent products and services appealing to your sense of urgency to prevent or cure your illness.  They want your information and your money.

3.  Websites.  Here they create a new domain name that makes you think it’s part of a legitimate one.  An example might be walmart-deals.com.  You think it’s a department of Walmart, when in fact it is a fraudulent website.  They also want your personal information and your money.

Never fall for their “urgent” appeal – they want you to make a quick decision; do your homework.  For products, check with the legitimate supplier to see if the product and price are legitimate.  There are many approaches which will encourage you to open on an attachment, click on a link, provide information through a phone call or e-mail, or log into a website.

Legitimate health departments and agencies will not use those approaches and won’t ask for payments or Social Insurance Numbers.  Be careful – don’t be a victim!

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect yourself and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Information In Vehicles

Many of us spend a considerable amount of time in our vehicles.  That likely contributes to a certain “comfort level’, which may then lead to leaving information, or access to it, in the vehicle.  There are several opportunities there for criminals!

First, the vehicle itself – stolen, then shipped overseas, or stripped down in a “chop shop” somewhere.  Always lock your vehicle and in urban centres, use the button, not your remote lock.  (We’ will look at that situation in another issue in this series of articles.)

Second, the information in your vehicle.  Vehicle Registration and related documents can be used by criminals to identify information specifically about you.  If they steal your vehicle and in it you have documents which identify your home, they now know of a possible “break and enter” opportunity.  If you leave the garage door opener in the vehicle, they now have a convenient way to get inside at least some of your property.

Third, technology, the most common type involved is a laptop.  A significant portion of data breaches, second only to hacking into data files, is the theft of laptop computers, often from vehicles.  Some of those laptops contain vast quantities of personal information.

Fourth, and one of the newest risks, is GPS technology.  Many GPS owners leave the devices in their vehicle at all times – just waiting for a vehicle thief.  The biggest risk is for those who program their home address into the GPS device.  Now the vehicle thieves can be guided directly to the owner’s home.  A thief would feel especially fortunate if a vehicle contained both the GPS device programmed for the owner’s home, plus the garage door opener to let them in upon arrival!

Reduce the risk of losing your own personal information and that of those individuals who have information on your equipment, by not leaving the information or the devices containing that information, in unattended vehicles.  That is particularly important in long-term parking situations.  At an airport for example, a vehicle thief would have your vehicle, equipment and even the knowledge that there is likely no one in your home!

Remove that information and equipment from your vehicles- reduce your risk!

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield. Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Search Line

It will be surprising to many, but there are still a significant number of people browsing the internet and even doing some business by using only the “Search Line” on the monitor screen.

In our seminars, we use the Royal Bank as an example and demonstrate the result of keying an actual Royal Bank website address on the Search Line.  We get multiple website options and show that screen shot on a slide.  And that is only the first of many pages of website options, some of which are likely fraudulent, duplicated Royal Bank sites.  We then go back and show what happens when we key the same address on the “Address Line”.  That’s the line at the top of the screen that turns blue when you click on it before keying the desired website .  We show the screen shot of that result – only the real Royal Bank Home Page, with no other alternatives.

We keep mentioning how important it is to be pro-active in securing our personal information whenever we do have control over it.  This is a perfect example of control.  Imagine the damage that could be done if someone clicked on a site they thought was their bank and entered banking information and later finding it was criminals receiving and using that information.  The result may be the same as when clicking on a pop-up window.  We should never click on a pop-up window and then provide personal information of any kind.

Rarely will you find an easier way to take control and protect your personal information than by simple making a habit of verifying, by phone if necessary, the exact website address of your intended target organization.  Then keying that exact address on the “Address Line” at the top of the screen.  This is another situation where you should only provide information when you go to the desired website; never provide information when they come to you!

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect yourself  and your family through IDShield and LegalShield. Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca

Property Titles

Criminals stealing property by taking over land titles without the original owner’s knowledge is nothing new.  It often starts with  Identity Theft and for several years it has been more common in  hot real estate markets.  That happens when financial institutions don’t have the manpower to verify buyers adequately and the criminals use stolen personal information at the Land Titles Office, to impersonate the original owner.  And the property theft is much easier if the owner has a clear title to the property.  People have been known to apply for a new mortgage as the first step to downsizing, only to find they don’t own the home they are living in.  In fact, the new owner, a criminal, has already taken out a mortgage on the property and disappeared with the money.

So the question becomes, what can you do as a property owner, to prevent such activities?  First, once every 6 to 12 months, simply go to a Registry Office, spend the $25.00 or so, and order a copy of your title, so you can see if there are details listed that aren’t legitimate. 

Second, set up a large Line Of Credit, using the property as collateral.  The financial institution will register that on the title.  If you don’t use the Line of Credit, it doesn’t cost anything for interest.  But someone attempting to take over the title will have to obtain clearance of the Line Of Credit first, which will raise red flags.  If you presently have a mortgage, you could set up the Line Of Credit quite easily when you renew your mortgage.  The Line Of Credit could be viewed as a type of “poison pill” against would-be property thieves.

Title Theft – another Identity Theft risk  and  another example of a crime for which we can take some simple steps to significantly reduce our risk.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield. Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Capital One Breach

Capital One Financial Corporation announced on July 29, 2019, they had determined that there was unauthorized access to the personal information of Capital One credit card customers.

The perpetrator has been caught, but the event affected approximately 100 million individuals in the United States and 6 million in Canada. 

The primary breach involved credit card application information; the perpetrator also obtained portions of credit card customer data, including:           

  –  Customer status data, e.g., credit scores, credit limits, balances, payment history, contact information                                        
  –  Fragments of transaction data from a total of 23 days during 2016, 2017 and 2018.

No bank account numbers or Social Security numbers were compromised, other than:                              
–  About 140,000 Social Security numbers of credit card customers                                                   
–  About 80,000 linked bank account numbers of secured credit card customers

For Canadian credit card customers, approximately 1 million Social Insurance Numbers were compromised in this incident.

They will notify affected individuals through a variety of channels and will make free credit monitoring and identity protection available to everyone affected.

The investigation is ongoing and analysis is subject to change.

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how to protect yourself and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.

Texting

There is no doubt that texting has a number of advantages – speed, convenience and visible text are some important features.  However, there is one huge issue in that all is fine until the smart phone is lost or stolen.

Let’s look at a real life story.  A woman had her purse stolen while shopping. Her purse contained her bank card and her cell phone and the cell phone had “Hubby” listed under “Contacts”.  That would be handy whenever she needed to text her husband about something.  In the case of her lost purse, she had to quit shopping and subsequently went home.  When she got home she called her husband to tell him her purse had been stolen at a store.  He was surprised, because he thought she was at the bank.  He had received a text from her saying she was at the bank and had forgotten their PIN.  He had texted the PIN back to her.

By now you already know what happened!  The Thief had texted “Hubby” for the PIN using the phone in the stolen purse and hubby texted the PIN as requested.  The couple went directly to the bank, but found the maximum withdrawal had already been made.

Once again, a simple step would reduce the risk of such losses significantly; NEVER exchange such information without first verifying the need with a direct phone call first.  In the story we shared here, the husband wouldn’t have provided the PIN because his wife did not confirm the need in a phone call.

You can probably think of many situations where there would be considerable risk to personal information if texting was the only form of communication being used.  Please share this tip with others!

Please go to lloydkenney.wearelegalshield.com for more information on how you can protect you and your family through IDShield and LegalShield.  Contact us at callcraft@shaw.ca.

For information on other services we have available, please visit performanceplanning.ca.

Please share this information to help keep others safe.