Amid the increasing sophistication of online scams, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the simplest tricks are the most effective. These involve a phone, a victim and a bit of social engineering. And they work best when people are silly, which is what the holiday season is all about.
WLUC TV6 reports from Michigan of a woman who gave out her bank account information over the phone after a company called her asking her to participate in a program where she would receive a $500 gift certificate. The company, Star Communications, has not yet been located because they only have a post office box and dummy telephone numbers, the piece says.
The Port Townsend Leader from Washington reports of a phone scam where a man calls “and claimed the Jefferson County Food Bank Association desperately needs money. The caller said he wanted to pick up a check right away.” The Leader reports “The savvy resident checked with the food bank before he wrote a check.” Smart fella. The Food Bank itself is concerned. Manager Helen Kullmann says: “It could give us a bad name if the phone scam continues.”
The Mohave Daily News in Arizona reports of a scam whereby victims are phoned by someone pretending to be from Reader’s Digest, where they’re asking people to go out to Circle K, or local stores in town here to [wire] $35 to somewhere in Fort Lauderdale, Florida … to either a person named Robert Adams or Paula Adams. The scam guarantees a large cash prize. The FBI’s advice? “If you give cash to someone who is just an individual who says they represent an organization, well, they may or may not represent that organization. It’s unfortunate.” Indeedy-o.