In last month’s Scam Spotter, we wrote about back-to-school scams. I want to follow up with more information for parents about teens and scams. Surprisingly, the under 20-year-old age group is seeing the largest and fastest rise in online fraud. In fact, a study by the investigative service SocialCatfish.com found a 156% increase in people under the age of 20 falling for online scams over the past three years, specifically those targeted by cybercriminals with fake profiles. 

One reason for the increase may be that this age group is extremely comfortable with the internet, possibly even too comfortable. Their confidence may give them a false sense that they know what they are doing and that they are too internet savvy to be scammed. 

Being comfortable on the internet isn’t enough to keep this age group or any age group from being scammed. Make the effort to educate your teen on scams no matter how resistant they may be. I care deeply about protecting youth from the hazards and long-term effects of internet fraud and cyberbullying.



Here is a link that provides resources for teens and online education.  

 

As always, be safe. Feel free to send in any questions about fraud and scams to amc@denverda.org or call our Fraud Hotline if you think you may have been scammed at 720-913-9179.


Beth

SCAN OR SCAM?

 

Earlier this year in Austin, Texas scammers put QR code stickers over the legitimate parking meter QR code sticker. The fraudulent QR code took parkers to a site that allowed the scammer to make off with the person’s credit card information. 

 


Quick response codes, more commonly referred to as QR codes, are those square-shaped bar codes that once scanned using a phone’s camera, directs a person to a website. QR codes are becoming ubiquitous as a marketing tool. QR codes are being used on flyers, parking meters, and business cards and have replaced paper menus at restaurants. Great for businesses, QR codes allow consumers to access websites quickly and easily.  


Most QR codes are perfectly legitimate, but, as with all new technology, con artists use QR codes to scam consumers.

 

What are scammers trying to get? The same things they are always fishing for your personal information, linking you to malware and your financial information.  

QR stands for ‘quick response’ and that’s just what scammers are hoping you’ll do; take out your phone and scan without looking at the website that the QR code is directing you to. These fake codes will direct an unsuspecting victim to phishing websites, fake payment portals and possibly connect to malware to infect your device. The Better Business Bureau is warning folks to not be so quick to scan a quick response code.


TIPS

·    Think before you act. 

·    Do not open links from strangers – As a matter of fact, never open anything from a stranger. 

·    Confirm the QR code before scanning - If a friend sends you a code, check with them first before you scan. 

·    Be wary of being directed to short links – Hover over the QR code to see what website you are being directed to.  

·    Treat the link you are directed to like any other potential link, if the URL isn’t what you think it should be do not continue to the site. 

·    Check for tampering – is there a sticker over a sticker?

·    Once on a link you should not be asked for any personal information. 

 

Here are more tips from the Better Business Bureau and a Public Service Announcement from the FBI with their warnings about QR codes.

DENVER: Our Fraud Hotline (720-913-9179) recently received a call from a person reporting an ongoing scam that the Denver Sheriff’s Department first warned us about in May. The scam works like this: you get a call from a person who says that because you failed to appear in court after being served a subpoena, you now have a fine to pay. The scammer then instructs you to go to courthouse to meet the sheriff and pay the fee. It turns out that there have been numerous incidents of this scam. Read the Denver Sheriff warning here.

NATIONALLY: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reports that scammers are using employee’s names and imagery to try and steal consumer’s money. CFPB has heard from people who lost thousands of dollars to scammers pretending to be with the CFPB. If someone contacts you and says you’ve won a class-action lawsuit in a foreign country, or that you can receive large, unexpected amounts of money, they are lying.  

SAMSUNG reports that it suffered another data breach that exposed the names of customers and their demographic information such as birth dates. 

Learn more about the data breach here.

FROM A READER: A Scam Spotter reader told us that she received a recorded message, supposedly from Amazon, stating that there was a pending charge of $599 for a computer that our reader never purchased. The recording advised her to “press 1 now” if she did not make that purchase and to be connected with an Amazon representative. Luckily our reader knew this was a scam.  


Watch this story about an attempted Amazon scam.


Here is more information from Amazon on these bogus scams and what to do.



Report Something Suspicious - Amazon Customer Service.  

IMPOSTER SCAMS: Imposter scams take many forms. The bottom line is, scams are often initiated from someone pretending to be someone they aren't.  Be wary! 


READ ABOUT IMPOSTER SCAMS FROM THE FTC

Do you suspect you've been scammed or exploited? Report it to us by calling our Fraud Hotline.

Contact

The Denver DA's

FRAUD HOTLINE

720.913.9179

Denver District Attorney's Office | 303-913-9000 | 201 W. Colfax Ave. | DenverDA.org

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