While this isn't necessarily "directly" related to riding and/or SCRC CA Chapters... We wanted to send out this public service announcement (PSA) in an effort to help Members avoid being scammed.
There are always scammers out there looking to separate people from their money. And, now it seems it's more prevelant than other years. Current scams use fear or desire to obtain your personal information. Some things to note are...
- The IRS will never call you, they send notifications through the mail. Since people are catching on to this, some scammers have been sending false notifications by mail. Regardless of a number left on your voicemail, received within an email or letter, always go to the IRS' main website and contact them through the current information there.
- Tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, etc. may send warnings to their customers that a virus is circulating. However, they will never email you to let you know that your computer/phone is actually infected and tell you to call them. Also, they will never lock your computer so you can't use it unless you call them, and more especially "while" you're speaking to them. Never give anyone access (aka "remote access") to your computer unless you've worked with that PERSON (not company) in the past. Your best bet is to contact Microsoft, Apple, etc. directly. They too have information on their websites that give you options to contact them.
- Have you been receiving calls from local phone numbers and you have no idea who they are? That could be a (relatively) new scammer tool that allows scammers to call your phone from a number that appears local, or close to your home. It's called "Caller ID Spoofing". Be careful of which phone numbers you answer, and make sure to verify who they are if they may seem even the slightest bit odd.
- Car warranty expired or expiring? Not necessarily! You may receive an automated voicemail (and they're pretty relentless), or phone call stating that your vehicles warranty may expire. I must admit, I enjoyed speaking to one scammer... I told them yes, I have a vehicle whose warranty is about to expire, it's a 2017 Ford Astro sedan. Which, doesn't exist, nor has it. They jumped on it and I very IMpolitely told them to move on. (It was just one of those days.) Always confirm which vehicle they are referring to, "they" should know since they're calling you about it. When speaking to another scammer, I kept asking, "Which vehicle? I own several." and never got an answer, they finally hung up.
- Did you click where you shouldn't have and now your computer is "locked"? That's a ransom-ware virus. Scammers implant ransom-ware virus' into websites, ads, pop-ups, and even emails. ALWAYS CLICK CAREFULLY. Never just click "OK" or "Go" to get rid of the window. Also, never just click the "X" in the corner of a pop-up. Make sure it's the correct "X", some windows have more than one. If you get one of these on your computer, don't bother calling to get your computer unlocked. That's not what they're there for. Your best bet is to shut down your computer from the main power switch (that's on the back of the computer) and have a knowledgeable friend or "real" Tech help you. If you don't know where your power switch is, just unplug your computer.
- Has your bank account been wiped out or money missing due to porn sites? Okay, calm down... it doesn't mean anyone has actually been to a porn site. Or, maybe you have and now there's different ones showing up on your bank statement. You could simply have been on a dating website. Or, how Paul and I met... on a website to find someone to ride your motorcycle with. -- First, did you know a lot of these types of websites share your information on other websites? Yep! They do! You may have signed up for -one-, but your post may actually show up on others. Or, worse yet, your information was obtained/purchased, and that includes your banking information. -- I was on a similar website (where Paul and I met) and my information ended up on other websites... and my bank drained but for a few dollars... right before the holidays. Luckily, my bank reversed the charges and informed me they obtain and/or purchase your information, create porn sites, and use your information to purchase memberships, video access, etc. They own the websites, and close them down when they get caught too many times. In any case... always make sure your information goes onto a "reputable" website.
- Did you know emails can contain virus'? They can! That's actually old technology. It's not just scammers that use it though. Marketers use a form of it to find out which email addresses are active, and sell your email address on lists. If an email doesn't come from someone you know, delete it. But then again, it might appear to come from someone you know. So, you might have to open it to find out. As I said before, click carefully.
- Stimulus payment and tax refund scams! Well, we knew this one was going to happen. Yes, scammers have found new and interesting ways to separate you from your money. You may get a voicemail, or email, stating that they need to confirm your information for you to receive your stimulus payment or tax return. The government is "never" going to call or email you to give you anything. Additionally, there are fake websites where you have to input your information to find out the status of your stimulus payment or tax refund... some of them appearing legitimate with ".gov" somewhere in the web-address. (This is actually true for other websites that appear legitimate with the company name somewhere in the address to make you believe it is legitimate.)
In summary... Confirm! Confirm! Confirm! Make sure who you're talking to is who you "really" want to talk to and/or the website you're looking for is "really" the website you want to be on. This could be by phone, email, regular mail, or even on a website. If you're not sure, don't call or click... and especially don't give out your information.
I hope this helps Members avoid some of the scams out there that seem legitimate.
La Dawn "PItbull" Garrison
SCRC CA ASTO
SCRC SD Secretary