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The IRS doesn't call you out of the blue

A voice mail I got today went a little something like this (in an indian accent so thick that, combined with the poor audio quality, I could only make out every other word):

"This is IRS, calling with issue of your tax filing. You have a violation, and if this violation is not resolved by 23rd February this will be enforced by IRS police office. Please contact us on our number 210-485-5143, repeat, 210-485-5143."

I called the number and got a voicemail box with an outgoing message fitting this script. Instead of my requested contact information I left a brief and slightly profane indictment of their operation.

(If you Google the number you'll see lots of similar stories.)

More: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Reiterates-Warning-of-Pervasive-Telephone-Scam

February 6th, 2015

Illegal Pyramid Schemes Disguised as Multi-Level Marketing Businesses

"In many illegal schemes the promoter spends little time explaining the product because the product is ancillary to the overall scheme. Recent schemes have involved products related to internet services, mobile marketing platforms, app sales, cloud computing services, and voice-over-internet applications. Often unsold products purchased by the investor may not be returned to the company. Instead, promoters emphasize that the way to make money is to recruit other people to sign up and purchase the starter package..."

More: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/sct/sctinv/pdf/Illegal_Pyramid_Schemes.pdf

November 3rd, 2014

Microsoft calling... calling me names

I got an odd call at home this evening. The caller ID said "MICROSOFT". I picked up, and a man on the other end said something like, "Hello, this is Microsoft, Windows support department." I knew this was bogus -- definitively so since I've never even owned computer that ran Windows. I immediately called bullshit. His response was, "How do you know? Who told you? " I restated my position and he began just yelling over me, "YOU ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT! YOU ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT! YOU ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT!" I have no idea what that was supposed to mean, but it made for a funny end to the call.

More: http://blogs.microsoft.com/cybertrust/2014/06/26/is-that-call-from-microsoft-a-scam/

October 15th, 2014

Microsoft's anti-phishing guide

Microsoft has a good page of basic info on avoiding phishing scams. The instructions for reporting are Microsoft-specific, but the core advice applies to everybody with email. Also check out the linked page on phone scams.

More: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/phishing-symptoms.aspx

September 15th, 2014

49 Hoaxes People Actually Believed

Fast-paced ten-minute video about big hoaxes through history that people were thoroughly suckered by.

More: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbX7vEIqAgY

March 31st, 2014

Clever DJ responds to domain name scammer

This "producer, remixer and DJ based in Brooklyn" received a domain name scam email, responded creatively, and shared the exchange with the world.

More: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/91865675/scam-full-scale.jpg

January 15th, 2014

Make sure it really is the power company

Consumer empowerer Clark Howard has a warning about a scammers who call you posing as a utility company that is about to shut off your service. They scare you into giving them credit card or checking account information to "pay your bill" -- then run off with it, of course.

Always call the company directly to check!

More: http://www.clarkhoward.com/videos/clark-howard/scams-rip-offs/new-power-company-telephone-scam/vqr2w/

March 1st, 2013

Help shape the new mashup feature

Here's a preview of the new mashup feature: http://purportal.com/mashup/

Please try it out and share your thoughts here:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YLM87BX

More: http://purportal.com/mashup/

December 15th, 2012

QR Code Malware

Inventive scammers have started to experiment with QR codes.

"QR codes typically appear on posters. Once scanned with a mobile phone and opened with a QR reader, app users can get access to a range of content. Train stations, for example, use QR codes to allow passengers to download timetables. But cybercriminals are exploiting their popularity by placing their own stickers on top of the QR codes to take people to more nefarious sites."

Lots more to read on this:

More: http://www.darkreading.com/mobile-security/167901113/security/news/232301147/qr-code-malware-picks-up-steam.html

December 11th, 2012

Who says there isn't money in the arts?

Former employee accused of stealing more than $1.4 million from Woodruff Arts Center

"...officials said Tuesday that a former employee submitted $1.438 million in fraudulent invoices over the last five years... In the meantime, officials are seeking to reassure donors their money is being used responsibly... the culprit easily exploited what were gaping holes in the arts center’s oversight processes, officials said."

More: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/employee-accused-of-stealing-more-than-14-million-/nTGdM/

November 27th, 2012