Tech Alert


SMS Phishing
SMS phishing (or SMiShing) uses cell phone text messages to deliver the bait to induce people to divulge their personal information. The hook (the method used to actually capture people's information) in the text message may be a website URL, but it has become more common to see a telephone number that connects to an automated voice response system.

The SMS phishing message usually contains something that demands the target's immediate attention. Examples include "We confirm that you have signed up for our dating service. You will be charged $2 a day unless you cancel your order on this URL: [URL]". Or (Name of popular online bank) confirms that you have purchased a computer from (name of popular computer company). Visit [URL] if you did not make this online purchase", and "(Name of a financial institution): Your account has been suspended. Call 555.###.#### immediately to reactivate".

The hook will be a seemingly legitimate website that asks you to "confirm" (enter) your personal financial information, such as your credit/debit card number, CVV code (on the back of your credit card), your ATM card PIN, SSN, email address, and other personal information. If the hook is a phone number, it normally directs to a legitimate-sounding automated voice response system, similar to the voice response systems used by many financial institutions, which will ask for the same personal information.

There has been a recent surge of this type of phishing scam in Arkansas, affecting several financial institutions. If you have fallen victim to this and provided your information to a scammer, contact your financial institution as soon as possible for instructions on how to protect yourself. You may report scams of this nature to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.


Loan Seekers...

 

Alert

Better Business Bureau

of

Arkansas

Questionable Company

Alert

 

June 4, 2015

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

BBB Investigates Questionable Loan Company

 

Fast Facts:

  • Company doesn't exist at Fayetteville address it is using
  • Promises a loan in exchange for an up-front fee wired to Canada

June 4, 2015 - Little Rock, AR - The BBB serving Arkansas is warning consumers about a company offering what appear to be personal loans with one stipulation - the customer must pay an up-front fee in order to receive the loan.  This type of loan is referred to as an Advanced Fee Loan and is illegal in Arkansas.

 

BBB has obtained copies of documents faxed to consumers that claim Bergenfield Financial Trust is located at 4058 N College Ave, Ste 204 Fayetteville, AR 72703.  According to Flake & Kelley Commercial, no such company leases space at that address.    No business license has been issued nor is the company registered with the Arkansas Secretary of State.  Mail sent to the business has been returned by the Post Office.

 

According to complaint details, consumers are given instructions to wire a "collateral fee" to secure the loan, via a person-to-person transfer to Canada.  This fee is usually paid by making several monthly payments.  A company document indicates that funds will be released within 1 business day from the time the loan agreement is executed and the collateral payment has been received.  However, according to customers, they have not received the promised funds.  When calling to inquire about the status of their loan, Bergenfield Financial Trust tells customers that additional money needs to be wired to Canada, for various reasons.   BBB's experience shows that this type of business does not issue a refund, nor do consumers receive the loan.

 

The BBB reminds loan seekers to keep the following tips in mind:

 

  • Check the reputation of any lender with the BBB and your state agency that regulates financial institutions prior to entering into a transaction with them.
  • Legitimate lenders will never guarantee or promise a loan before you apply for one, especially if you have a poor credit history or no credit record at all.
  • Be wary of giving financial information to a company you are unfamiliar with, via phone, email or other means.
  • Never wire money to someone you don't know.  You have little recourse if there is a problem with the transaction.
  • Keep in mind that it is against the law for a company to ask you to pay - or accept payment - for the company's services until you receive your loan.

 

If you believe you have been the victim of an advance fee loan scam, you are advised to contact:

 

 

Quick Links

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Information

 

 

 

 

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BBB of Arkansas

12521 Kanis Rd

Little Rock, AR 72211

(501) 664-4888 ext.121

 

 

 


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Fraud Scam...
Recently an unknown person contacted an area merchant by email requesting to set up services the merchant provides. The person requested a phone number to communicate but declined to speak on the phone, preferring to handle things by text message. The person gave the merchant a credit card number to pay for the services and overpaid by $1500.00, but told the merchant he would have to forward the $1500.00 to another person to cover some transportation costs. This raised red flags with the merchant and fortunately he did not complete any transactions. The phone number used by the person had a North Carolina area code (980). This seems to be a new twist to various credit card fraud schemes seen in the past. Be very wary of unknown persons with odd requests. Do not accept overpayments, especially when accompanied by a request to forward the balance to a third party. This is a huge red flag something is amiss. If you have any questions or concerns about the legitimacy of a transaction or payment, contact the Ft. Smith Police Dept. for assistance.

Fraud schemes like this should normally be reported to the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov.



IRS Phone Scam - IRS Reiterates Warning of Pervasive Telephone Scam
Ft. Smith residents have recently reported being targeted by the IRS phone scam described below. Be very wary of unsolicited phone calls from anyone demanding money. Always vet the source of the phone call and if you have any doubts at all, call the Ft. Smith Police Dept. for assistance.


IR-2014-53, April 14, 2014
WASHINGTON — As the 2014 filing season nears an end, the Internal Revenue Service today issued another strong warning for consumers to guard against sophisticated and aggressive phone scams targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, as reported incidents of this crime continue to rise nationwide. These scams won’t likely end with the filing season so the IRS urges everyone to remain on guard.

The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. For more information or to report a scam, go to www.irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.

People have reported a particularly aggressive phone scam in the last several months. Immigrants are frequently targeted. Potential victims are threatened with deportation, arrest, having their utilities shut off, or having their driver’s licenses revoked. Callers are frequently insulting or hostile - apparently to scare their potential victims.

Potential victims may be told they are entitled to big refunds, or that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.


Other characteristics of this scam include:
• Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
• Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.
• Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
• Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
• Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
• After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.



What To Do:
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

• If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.
• If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
• You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.



Other Scams:
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov.

More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov. You can reblog the IRS tax scam alert via Tumblr.