This email with the subject "Scamdex, Internet Scambusters Newsletter #315, 12-24-08" was received in one of Scamdex's honeypot email accounts on Wed, 24 Dec 2008 01:03:34 -0800 and has been classified as a Generic Scam.
The sender was "Scambusters Editors" <email@example.com>, although it may have been spoofed.
<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<> Internet Scambusters (tm) The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud http://www.scambusters.org By Audri and Jim Lanford Issue #315 December 24, 2008 <>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<> Note 1: Easily change your subscription information by clicking the link at the very bottom of this newsletter. Note 2: Please share this newsletter with 3 or 4 of your friends or colleagues who you think will benefit from it. Hi Scamdex, Today's issue is about cell phone scams. Cell phone technology, and its cheap availability, have made a huge difference in the way we communicate and the speed with which we can get and stay in touch. But it provides a lucrative channel for scammers and snoopers, who use the technology to steal our money or our identity, and even to track our movements and listen to our conversations. In today's issue, we explain the 10 most common cell phone scams and show you the steps you can take to protect yourself. Before we begin, we recommend you check out this week's issue of Scamlines -- What's New in Scams? -- here. http://www.scambusters.org/scamlines/37.html Next, you may want to spend a moment looking at this week's most popular articles from our other sites: Do You Really Need a Business Credit Card? http://www.creditcardwhizkid.com/2008/12/do-you-really-need-a-business-credit-card.html Can a Chimney Log Really Replace a Chimney Sweep? http://www.consumersavvytips.org/your_annual_chimney_sweep_checkup_is_it_something_you_can_do.html Does Four-Wheel Drive Give You An Advantage In The Snow? http://www.consumertipsreports.org/does_four-wheel_drive_give_you_an_advantage_in_the_snow.html Holiday articles: Bah Humbug! The Importance of Christmas Stories http://www.christmaslore.com/bah_humbug_the_importance_of_christmas_stories.html Is Re-Gifting Really the Bane of Christmas Etiquette? http://www.christmasrants.com/is_regifting_really_the_bane_of_christmas_etiquette.html Christmas Coloring Pages -- and What to Do With Them http://www.aboutchristmascrafts.com/christmas_coloring_pages_--_and_what_to_do_with_them.html Now, here we go... <>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<> The 10 Most Common Cell Phone Scams and How to Avoid Them <>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<>~<> Cell phones have changed our lives, but so have cell phone scams... This clever technology that keeps us constantly in touch with friends, relatives and even the Internet may be a boon, but it has also opened up more of the airwaves to crooks and snoopers. In some cases, further technological advances have made it tougher for certain cell phone scams to work, but elsewhere the crooks are having a field day. In this Scambusters issue, we identify 10 of the most common cell phone scams and the action you can take to avoid or reduce the risk of them. 1. Subscriber fraud Subscriber fraud is simply an offshoot of identity theft. It is far and away the biggest cell phone scam, costing the industry an estimated $150m a year and causing untold anguish to the victims. How it works: Someone steals your personal details and opens a cell phone account in your name, racking up huge bills that may land in your mailbox. Action: Take all possible steps to protect yourself against identity theft. You can find more about identity theft in this Scambusters article. http://www.scambusters.org/identitytheft.html 2. Stolen or lost phones An estimated three million cell phones are stolen or lost in the US every year! In the wrong hands they can be used to make unauthorized calls -- one recent victim faced a $26,000 bill. Alternatively, they can be mined for any personal and contact details stored on them. In other words, loss of your phone can be just a prelude for costly identity theft. Action: Look after your cell phone as carefully as you care for your wallet. If you must use it to store confidential information, use password protection. See this article on cell phone theft and passwords. http://www.scambusters.org/cellphonetheft.html 3. Cloning Crooks use scanners to read your cell phone identity, including the number and its unique serial number. Then they program another phone with the same details and make calls at your expense. Action: This is one area where the crime fighters have made progress, with new technology that makes it more difficult to scan for the number. There's nothing more you can do other than keep a close eye on your bill. 4. Eavesdropping Cell phone scam merchants may find it more difficult to scan for your phone ID but they can do potentially much more dangerous things -- like listening in to your calls and downloading your phone usage records. They can even track your phone to know where you are or where you have been at a particular time. One piece of perfectly legal software can be secretly installed on someone else's cell phone, then the crook -- or concerned spouse -- can dial in and snoop. They can listen to your phone calls, download copies of text messages and numbers dialed, or even just silently activate the phone and use its microphone to monitor any nearby sounds or conversations. And people who use Bluetooth short-range radio to connect a hands-free headset to their cell phone can be targeted by nearby scammers using Bluetooth to eavesdrop. Action: If you don't let your phone out of your sight and always password protect it, people can't install software on it. But, to be on the safe side, always switch the phone fully off so it can't be activated when confidentiality could be compromised. Bluetooth users should un-select the "discoverable" option on their devices. See this Scambusters article for more info. http://www.scambusters.org/travelscams4.html 5. Ringtone cell phone scams Apart from driving nearby people crazy with their awful sounds, users of downloaded ringtones could be exposing themselves to a couple of potentially costly cell phone scams. Some tones -- usually free ones or those exchanged via peer-to-peer software -- have been hacked by scammers and can install a virus that either damages the phone or steals confidential information. Second, you may get a text message inviting you to download a ringtone by returning another message or calling a 1-800 number. But when you do this, you may incur a hefty charge and/or unwittingly sign up for a monthly charge for services you don't want. Action: Get your tones only from established, reputable companies. And don't return messages or calls from people or organizations you don't know. 6. Bogus text messages There are numerous variations of this cell phone scam but the bottom line is that you receive an unsolicited text message (which you may have to pay for!) which prompts you take some sort of action you'll later regret. Most common is what seems to be a message from your bank (this may also arrive as an automated voicemail) saying your account has been suspended and asking you to call a 1-800 number where your account number, PIN and other details may be requested. In reality, your identity is being stolen. Another variation is a "pump and dump" ruse, where you receive a tip urging you to buy stock in a particular company. If enough people fall for it, the share price goes up and the scammers offload their previously worthless stock for a profit. Action: If you get any message supposedly from your bank, call them on their normal number to check it out. And never buy stock on the basis of a single tip -- from any source. 7. The old switcheroo You get a call from what seems to be your cell phone company offering you what they claim is a better deal than your present one, or maybe even telling you your current deal is coming to an end and that you must switch. In reality, it's a competitor, another phone store, trying to switch you over to one of their packages, which may or may not be better than your current one. But since they're trying to deceive you, assume it's better not to do business with them. Action: Ask the caller to give you some info about your current phone usage. If they can't tell you when you made your last call or sent an SMS message, they're not who they say they are. 8. Catches in the small print Sometimes you find what seems to be a really sweet cell phone rental deal. You don't find out you've been ripped off till the bill arrives, showing all sorts of additional charges you didn't know about. In one travel scam case we reported previously, renters of temporary cell phones were taken in by a money-back deal, offering a refund of the rental fee when the phone was returned. But the credit card they provided was used to levy exorbitant charges for the calls themselves. http://www.scambusters.org/travelscams4.html Usually these deals are perfectly legitimate and the sting is hidden away in the small print of the Terms & Conditions. Action: Read the Terms & Conditions! 9. Vote with your phone During the recent presidential election, people received text or recorded messages offering them the chance to cast their vote by phone, simply by pressing a key for each of the candidates. Turned out this was a trick targeted at voters of one political persuasion or another, to stop victims from actually casting their vote for real. Action: You can't vote this way -- yet. It's also a Federal offense to trick people out of their votes. 10. Beware of these hoaxes Finally, there are a couple of hoaxes related to cell phone scams to look out for: * An email that warns against taking a call from a bogus engineer who asks you to key in 90# for a test of your cell phone. The message claims the caller can then use a scanner to collect ID numbers for cloning or to collect other confidential information. It's an urban legend and untrue. * You get a message warning you that cell phone companies will soon be releasing all mobile numbers to telemarketers and that to avoid them you must add your number to the "do not call" registry. Sometimes, this is just a bit of mischief; other times they ask you to call a bogus number for which you will be charged an excessive fee. Fact is, cell phone numbers are not publicly available for marketing in this way. OK, we said '10' but number 10 wasn't really a scam, was it? So, let's just add one more cell phone scam that applies to almost anything you want to buy -- the Too Good to Be True deal. You know the sort of thing -- the cell phone of your dreams, with all the latest gadgetry and doo-hickeys at an unbelievably low price. It's almost always a scam. Action: Don't even think about it... That's it for today -- we hope you enjoy your week! - Please Check Out These Offers - They Keep Scambusters Free - - - - - - We Highly Recommend All of These Products - - - - - ----------==========**********O**********==========---------- "Exclusive Car Buying Guide Exposes Insider Secrets and Turns Auto Sales Industry Upside Down... Saving You Up To $5,000 On Your New Or Used Car!" How you can pay less for your new or used car and avoid the typical car buying blunders almost everyone makes: ex-dealership manager tells all... 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Get the full story at: http://scambusters.org/a/rich.html ----------==========**********O**********==========---------- ===== About Internet Scambusters - Administrivia Copyright (c) Audri and Jim Lanford. All rights reserved. To subscribe, visit: http://www.scambusters.org/ To remove yourself or change address options visit: http://www.aweber.com/z/r/?TAwMjEyctMzsDKyMjAystEa0LIyMzBwcHA== (you might have to copy and paste it into your browser) This will take you off the Scambusters list. To send us feedback, do NOT click 'Reply.' Instead, please use our Feedback Form located at: http://www.scambusters.org/feedback.html The information we have on file is: Your name: Scamdex Your email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please do not send vacation notices or other autoresponders to us. This may take you off the Scambusters list. Scambusters is a public service from Jim and Audri Lanford. 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