Click for Free
Calendar
Event Submission


Click here for your
Every Hill Country organization can have a free listing on the Portal
basic Portal listing!


Click to see very cost-effective advertising opportunities on the Portal



"Anything PC"
by George
PC &
TECHNOLOGY HELP

PC slowed down?
We can tune it up
& do anything PC
281-300-7177
Johnson City

info@cofran.com
www.cofran.com


"The Web Guy"
WEB SITE DESIGN
& MAINTENANCE

Economical
& Effective

281-300-7177
Johnson City, TX
info@cofran.com
www.cofran.com




"Business Coach"

COST CONTROLS,
EFFICIENCY &
BETTER STRATEGIES
= MORE PROFIT !!

Economical
& Effective

281-300-7177
Johnson City, TX

info@cofran.com
www.cofran.com




Cofran's Texas . . .
Hill Country Portal


A Powerful Information Database & Gateway Service for the Texas Hill Country


pointer Use above MENU To Find "All Things In The Texas Hill Country"

Horizontal Line

Focus Topic Profile For:

SCAMS

The good folks in the Texas Hill Country, like everywhere else, are vulnerable to immoral, deceptive people who want your assets and will take extraordinary steps to extract money from you. Blatant trickery of the highest order is used. Many people fall victim to such untoward and nefarious acts. So, as always, be careful especially recognizing that most of these scams are very clever and catch many folks off guard.

The following scams are highlighted for your benefit to learn what is happening around you and what might signal a con artist's attempt against you. Hope this resource page helps to lessen the carnage.

If you are aware of other scams, please let us know in as much detail as you have. Simply send an email to us.

We welcome inquiries, comments and submission of updates, additions, corrections & digital photos,
without compensation. Send to Editor at:
editor@HillCountryPortal.com






QUICK INDEX TO CATEGORIES (pointerclick choice)


CAN YOU HEAR ME? THE SAY "YES" PHONE SCAM . . . CALLED "CRAMMING"



The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an alert about a scam seeking to get victims to say the word "yes" during a phone call and later use a recording of your response to authorize unwanted charges to accounts.

According to complaints the FCC has received and public news reports, the fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organizations that provide a service and may be familiar to the person receiving the call (such as a mortgage lender) to establish a legitimate reason for trying to reach the consumer.

The scam begins when a consumer answers a call and the person at the end of the line asks, “Can you hear me?” The caller then records the consumer's "Yes" response and thus obtains a voice signature. This signature can later be used by the scammers to pretend to be the consumer and authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.

If you receive this type of call, immediately hang up. If you have already responded to this type of call, review all of your statements such as those from your bank or credit card lender for unauthorized charges. If you notice unauthorized charges on these and other types of statements, you have likely been a victim of "cramming".

Anyone who believes they have been targeted by this scam should immediately report the incident to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker and to the FCC Consumer Help Center.

Tips to help ward off such unwanted calls and scams:
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, working phone numbers and live respondents.
  • If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC so as to help identify and take action to help consumers targeted by illegal callers. https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us. The FCC Consumer Complaint Center will serve your complaint on your provider. Your provider has 30 days to send you a response to your complaint.
  • Visit the FCC’s website for information and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls. https://www.fcc.gov/unwanted-calls
  • Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one. Web addresses for major phone carriers are listed at above FCC website.
  • Register all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry: www.donotcall.gov
  • On cell phones, use a "Call Blocker" app to stop the calls.

BOGUS BANK & CREDIT CARD LETTERS -
GIVING UP YOUR USER NAME & PASSWORD ID




The scammer sends you a postal letter alleging the need for you to confirm the "changes" made to your account. The letter directs you to call the number shown, and a legitimately sounding customer service person or machine asks you to enter or state your full card number and pin and name. Problem is the phone number does not below to your bank/credit card company. Bam! Now they have your vital ID information and will start using it to charge purchases to your account.

Tips to help ward off such unwanted calls and scams:
  • Hang up without entering or stating anything.
  • Call the phone number on the back of your card or on your statement and explain.
  • Most such banks and credit card companies have a "Fraud Department" that will help you through the situation. They deal with such matters all day long and will guide you on what to do.

FAKE CALL CLAIMING TO BE FROM MICROSOFT



You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the Windows help desk. The typical ruses include:
  • "Good morning, there is a problem with your computer. Your Windows computer is infected!"
  • "Your Windows operating system reported an issue and I need to access it to assist you."
  • "Your computer is interfering with our Microsoft’s servers and is causing them to be shut down."
They ask you to go to a web address and log in, and then the carnage begins. Once logged into their web site, they take over control of your computer. But you can't see what they are doing to your computer. They will likely flash a screen message that says your computer is infected.

Here is how they make their fortune:
  • First, they lock your computer with an encrypted password (and soon will "find the problem" and offer to fix it for a huge fee.
  • Second, they encrypt all of your files, and then request another huge payment to release them.
  • Third, they might install a "keystroke logger" or other malicious software on your computer without your knowledge.
Beware! There is no "Windows Helpdesk" monitoring and guarding over unknown computers. Their mission is to get your credit card number over the phone.

If you see the above "infected" pop-up scare message, you need to press ctl alt del keys at the same time and release the keys. Choose task manager and "End Process" on your internet browser. (For Mac users, you need to click the Apple logo and do a force close on your internet browser). If this fails, hold the power key down until the machine turns off. There is a good chance that no infection has taken place if you quickly follow these directions.

This process is a SCAM. Microsoft says they never make unsolicited phone calls. Just like the IRS. There is no known IT service or computer/software company that operates in this manner making unsolicited service calls. They don't call anyone! Hang up immediately. Don't encourage these pirates by being polite. Just hang up.

Be even more suspicious if the anonymous caller with an foreign accent. Typically it is a male caller.

If you want to be sporty after taking above shut-down steps, ask the caller:
  • "Your name and a call back phone number in case we get disconnected." Note: they try and hurry you into making you think your computer is being hacked. They want your serial numbers. Note: Use the phone number in any complaints/reports you might send.
  • "Be sure to stay on the phone for at least 30 more seconds so that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security can get a good trace on this phone call." You are likely to hear CLICK and the line go dead.
  • "My computer was stolen . . . are you the one who stole it?"
  • "Well, my computer is a Mac".
  • And, "My computer screen is blank".
Likewise, do not call back unsolicited numbers appearing in your messaging accounts.

There are reports from people saying the caller was claiming to be with Apple Care and needed a code off the back of their laptop.


FACEBOOK ACCOUNT TAKEOVER SCAM



Facebook Accounts are being hacked. A nefarious person will copy your FB profile picture and your name, and then create a fake FB account. Then they send Friend Requests to your friends to add "you" (but actually the new fake account). Your friends think it's you and accept the invitation. From that moment, the pirates can write whatever they want under your name. They can then see your friends' full profiles and they may possibly start sending messages to your friends posing as you. Typically the scammer will message your FB friends and carefully and via numerous exchanges lead to the scammer attempting to lure your friend into a bogus monetary scheme.

Fake friend requests are even coming via Messenger. Almost all the accounts are being cloned. Your profile picture and your name are used to create a new FB account. And then they want your friends to add them, your friends think it's you and accept the invitation.

Facebook pages are being hacked by scammers in (Nigeria, etc.) looking for you and your friends to send them money. So, hackers may be just a nuisance, but most have a serious monetary motive, So, be very careful.

If you receive a private FB message from an old friend saying he/she needs money for a shipment of clothes (or anything, like they lost wallet, lost money/credit cards, they are in jail and need bond money). Other ruses include them telling you they will send you money, all you have to do is ....

Steps to regain control of your situation:
  • Change your FB password ASAP!
  • Do not forward or press share.
  • Report this to Facebook ASAP.
  • Go to your FB settings and click on the "Notify FB"
  • Copy then paste the following text to your FB wall/timeline so that all your friends will be warned: "A copy of my facebook account is being used in attempt to trick my friends into re-friending with the new fake account. Do not accept any new friend requests from me. I have NO plans to open a new account, so please do not agree to a 2nd invitation from "me"!! Someone has hacked my FB account."
  • If a true friend reports back to you that they were tricked and they accepted the fake request, tell them to "unfriend" the fake account. Almost always the fake account has very little of your personal content in it, although what is there may be accurately copied. You can even put some new unique content in your account to temporarily distinguish it.

TELEPHONE SERVICE CHARGES



EXPENSIVE LONG DISTANCE CALLS TO INTERNATIONAL AREA CODES THAT DECEPTIVELY LOOK LIKE AMERICAN AREA CODES - THE "ONE-RING" ENTICER:

A practice that now seems common place goes as follows: The bad guys leave you a voicemail or text message or "one ring" call, with an area code based outside the US, but with a familiar looking 3 digit, US-style area code format. You return the call, which is then automatically forwarded to a pay-per-call or pay-per-minute service that invoices through a local carrier billing service arrangement in that country. They in turn bill your carrier through whom you have your landline or cell phone service from which you made the call, who then charges you for the call. You then are stuck paying for the expensive international call on your local/cell phone bill. You can't easily chase these out-of-country bandits, and the carriers are unsympathetic and refuse to remove the charge, often $25 to $100. This "enticer" call plants the seed of curiosity which, if the scammer is successful, will cause you to call the number back. That is when the scam starts.

Beware of strange area codes and compelling messages (your relative was injured in a wreck, your relative lost his wallet or is jail, etc.)

The most common area code is 268 (Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda). Other such area codes include: 809, 876, 284 and 473. They come from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, and Grenada respectively.

Even if you don’t get connected and don't talk to one of these pay-per-call or pay-per-minute lines, you could still be charged for making/receiving an expensive international phone call.

Some of the bolder scammers might even answer the phone and try to convince you to sign up for some sort of expensive service. If someone is asking for any personal information, such as credit card information or your address, do not give it out. This is a red flag! You can almost guarantee you are being scammed if that happens.

Be on the look out for suspicious calls! The best way to avoid this One-Ring scam is to simply ignore the calls. They may call multiple times, or even leave a robotic voicemail, but remember, there is no need to call them back.

If you have been scammed from something like this, call your phone service provider and seek help. And, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission on their website.


BOGUS SERVICE INVOICE



Be careful of familiar looking invoices from companies who are cleverly disguised as providers of routine directory services, such as "Yellow Pages", XYZ Industry Registry, and similar directory titles. Same for copier services, web domains, etc.

The invoice appears like a renewal (suggesting it is a service you currently a paying subscriber, and you don't want previously made decisions to lapse). We have seen many invoices in the $195 to $995 range. The unsuspecting business owner, office manager or accounts payable clerk can easily be fooled by this scam. You can't get your money back.

Bogus web domain "renewals" are notorious in tricking the domain holder. Unfortunately, the invoice is deceptive in that is is actually from an company other than your current domain provider, and by checking the box and mailing payment, your have explicitly authorized them (in the fine print) to change your domain registration overt to them. This will likely totally upset your web presence and web maintenance process. If this happens to you, contact your current web domain provider and enlist their help in recovering the domain, which is not often successful, so beware.


FAKE POLICE OFFICER TRAFFIC STOPS



Too often we hear about dangerous situations where a motorist is pulled over by an apparent police office who is behind the motorist with flashing emergency lights. Soon the motorist may become suspicious when the "officer" appears but without recognizable uniform and with no markings or odd markings on their vehicle.

Aa a driver, if you are unsure about the legitimacy of a law enforcement traffic stop you should activate your emergency flashers and drive at the speed limit to the nearest lighted area. You should immediately call 911 to tell the dispatcher of your concerns, where you are stopping, and to seek confirmation of their awareness of this stop taking place as to whether it is being made by a legitimate law enforcement officer.

Law enforcement officers are required to carry official identification cards and can be asked to produce them whether the are in uniform or plain clothes.

This is an extremely dangerous situation, whether the "officer" is legitimate or not. If they are legitimate, they might escalate the situation (without realizing or appreciating your concern) to the extent of forcibly apprehending you because you evaded them.


NUISANCE ROBO PHONE CALLS



To best deal with those so annoying automatic robo calls:
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, working phone numbers and live respondents.
  • If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC so as to help identify and take action to help consumers targeted by illegal callers.
  • Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one.
  • Visit the FCC’s website for information and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls.
  • Register all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry: www.donotcall.gov
  • On cell phones, use a "Call Blocker" app to stop the calls.
  • Do not stay on the line.
  • Don't enter any numbers, such as to be put into the "Do not call back" list.

TREACHEROUS WEB LINKS WITHIN EMAILS & OTHER SOURCES



Scammers will try to get you to click on a link that looks legitimate, sending you to their website instead of the site you expected. Once there at the nefarious site, any of a multitude of very bad things can happen to your computer. Typical are infections with viruses, trogans, and worse.

Here are some tips on how to not be deceived and how to lessen resulting problems:
  • Examine the email address of the sender to see if it looks legimate. Examine it using your email software by right-clicking on the address to expose what the real address is, not just the address "label". Look to see if the address looks odd, such as a different name than what you would expect.
  • Do not click on any web links in suspicious emails, or on suspicious websites, or on Facebook. Instead, use your own private list (or favorites) of proven, valid, web addresses, especially to your bank, brokerage firm, credit card company, etc.
  • If you arrive at a website that looks suspicious, exit that page immediately from your browser. If the page won't delete, then close your browser. If the browser won't close, shut off your computer. Immediately.

RESOURCES TO HELP IN THE FIGHT



In addition to the above listed websites, the following may be helpful scam-related resources.

BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU: https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us. Report a scam, and search for scams.


Back To >> TOP OF PAGE & MAIN INDEX or BEGINNING OF DIRECTORY LISTINGS THIS PAGE


 
SANDY ROAD GUEST HAUS:
Click for more pictures and details at Sandy Road Guest HausUpscale Western-style Guest House Lodging
in a Beautiful Ranch Setting in the Gorgeous Texas Hill Country


Reservations & Information: 281-300-7177
9242 RR 1320 (Sandy Road), Johnson City, TX 78636

Web: www.SandyRoadGuestHaus.com Email: info@SandyRoadGuestHaus.com

Come Relax & Enjoy!








Back To >> TOP OF PAGE & MAIN INDEX or BEGINNING OF DIRECTORY LISTINGS THIS PAGE




Calendar

Click for Hill Country:
> FESTIVALS/MAJOR EVENTS
> LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
> MAPS
Great shopping bargains at the Portal Store!

Click to see very cost-effective advertising opportunities on the Portal
It's EASY to advertise on the Portal ~ We'll help you.
Affordable Pre-paid Emergency Air Transport Service
Air Evac Lifeteam

Click image for details
Protection starts at $65/yr
A great opportunity for creativity, fun & contribution. Click to send email & tell us about yourself

RV's, campers & boats
830-981-9543
29277 IH-10 W, Boerne

RV Sales (new & used),
parts, service, financing.
RV & Marine Showrooms
www.ronhoover.com

See full ad
in Boerne directory