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by Sandy

Yahoo alert and a reminder for all

February 24, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

This morning, I opened my email and read "YAHOO! Verification Alert" with a series of numbers designed to look like an account number. I opened the email and read that my Yahoo account would be turned off if I did not provide my full name, date of birth, and address to Yahoo. Failure to "verify" my account would result in my Yahoo account being closed.

I contacted Yahoo and (no surprise here) was told that Yahoo does not ask for personal information via email or any other method.

Fellow Exchangers, this is a classic method used by identity thefts.
If you get this type of message from Yahoo or any company, call that company and ask if they did, in fact, request this personal information. NEVER give out personal information over the Internet or on the phone with our first knowing who you are dealing with...the professional identity thief are very convincing.

Starting next week, I will be posting a series of blogs on identity theft and other non-violent crimes. If there is a topic that is of special concern to you, please let me know.

by Sandy

Safe Summer-part 2

February 24, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

Safety cialis super active begins when you pack . You have already made arrangements to have your mail stopped and your lawn best essay writing services mowed. Now it is time to get out the suit cases, remember these tips:
1. Don't pack anything that you don't want to loose. Leave your expensive and expensive looking clothes and jewelry at home.
2. Pack clothes that are suitable for the region you are going in, you never want to look like a rich lost tourist.
3. Make a photocopy of your driver's license, the ID page of your passport, your airline ticket, your itinerary, and your travelers checks serial numbers. Pack a copy away from the originals and leave a copy with a family member or friend.
4 Make sure your address is not on your bag tag. Talk about advertising the fact you will not be home! Put colored ribbon on the bag's handle for easy identification and put your personal information inside the suit case.
5. If you are traveling over seas, research your destinations local laws and customs. Make sure that the destination is not on the Department of State's Country Specific List of countries they deem unsafe for Americans to travel.
6. Keep all prescription medication in the original bottle. If the prescription contains a narcotic, get a letter from your physician stating your need to take this medicine.
7. Check the limit on your credit card, and only carry one. American's have been arrested over seas when they could not pay for dinner because they are over their limit.
8. Ladies, buy a purse with a wide strap that can be worn across your chest. Gentleman get a money belt to deter pick pockets and snatch thief's. Putting anything but bottled water in the outside pockets of a back pack is a bad idea.
9. Find out of your personal property insurance covers you for loss or theft abroad. Check on whether your health insurance covers you over seas, some companies do not cover your when you leave the good Ole USA.
10. Make up a fake wallet containing a expired credit card, a picture or two that mean nothing to you, and $2.00. If you should be approached or be the victim of a theft, the bad guys got nothing..ZIP. Keep the money and credit card in that money belt or in the purse.

Traveling is fun, and your trip will be even more fun if you pack with safety in mind.

by Sandy

Common Fraud Schemes-Part 1

February 24, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

Fraud is on the increase according cialis 5mg to the FBI, and there are many types of frauds to watch out for. In this series we will be examining the most common frauds and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Let's start with TELEMARKETING FRAUD:
When you send money to people you do not know or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.

WARNING SIGNS-WHAT YOU MAY HEAR FROM THE CALLER:

1. You must act now or the offer will expire.

2. You have won a 'free' gift (or vacation or other prize) but you must pay for shipping and handling.
3. To take advantage of this offer you must send money, provide a credit card or bank account number over the phone or to be picked up by courier( before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.)
4. Don't worry about checking us out, we have been in business for years. They will try to convince you of their "Great reputation" so you won't contact the Better Business Bureau, a consumer protection agency, or other source.
5. To cut cost, we don't have written information about our company.
6. You can't afford to miss out on this high profit or no risk offer.

If you hear these-or similar-"lines" just say " Thanks but no thanks!" and hang up. It is very difficult to get your money back if your have been cheated over the phone, and worse yet, many of the telemarketer thieves will steal your identity as well.

The solution, NEVER give out any financial or personal information to anyone over the phone or the Internet. Always ask for, and wait until you receive, written material about the company and offer, then check them out through the Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, National Fraud Information Center, or other watch group.
In addition, get information about the caller such as his/her name, address, phone number, business license then verify them. Don't pay for a "free prize" it is against for law for a caller to require any form of payments. Never respond to an offer you don't understand and have not thoroughly investigated. Take your time, it is never rude to be careful, and a legitimate company will understand and respect your request.

The next in the series will be Nigerian Letter or 419 Fraud
Stay tuned

by Sandy

Common Fraud Schemes

February 24, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

Nigerian Letter Fraud or "419" Fraud: Nigerian letter fraud is a viagra tabs scheme in which a letter, or email, that originated in Nigeria offers best american essays the recipient the "opportunity" to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author, a self proclaimed government official, is trying to transfer out of Nigeria. The victim is given a "sob story" and is asked to send the author their bank account numbers and other identifying information via facsimile (or return email) to the address provided in the letter. The scheme relies playing of the victim's sympathy thus convincing the victim to send money to the author (in Nigeria) in several installments of increasing amounts for a various reasons such as they need to pay taxes, bribe government officials, and pay legal fees. The author promises that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are spirited out of Nigeria.
Once the victim stops sending money, the perpetrators use the victims personal information to drain the victims bank accounts and opening credit accounts using the victim's identity.
While most people consider this a laughable hoax, millions of dollars have been lost by these schemes annually. Some victims have actually been lured to Nigeria where they have been imprisoned. The Nigerian government is not sympathetic to victims of these schemes since the victim is actually conspiring to remove illegally move move funds from Nigeria in violation of Nigerian criminal code "419" Thus the name.

Some tips to avoid becoming a victim of Nigerian Letter or 419 Fraud:
If you receive such a letter, contact your local FBI office or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Do not respond in anyway. If you receive an email from someone you do not know, don't even open it, delete it. This is the only way to avoid becoming a victim.

by Sandy

Common Fraud Schemes-part 3. Impersonation/Identity Fraud

February 24, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

Impersonation fraud occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act. Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity from a variety of sources, such as theft of your wallet, stealing your trash, mail theft, the Internet...well the list is a long one. The sources of information about you are so numerous that you cannot prevent the theft of your identity, but you can minimize your risk of loss by following a few simple hints.

*Never throw away ATM receipts, credit card statements, credit cards, any bill or bank statement.

Invest in a shredder to make SURE the information contained on these documents is destroyed (NOTE: Used the shredded paper as packing materials or as emergency kitty litter.)

*NEVER give any personal information over the phone unless YOU make the call and KNOW who you are talking to.

* Reconcile your bank account monthly and notify your bank of any discrepancies immediately.

* Keep a list of telephone numbers you need to contact in case of a theft or unauthorized financial transactions. This would include your credit card companies, your bank, and these important numbers: The Federal Trade Commission. Under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, the FTC is responsible for receiving and processing complaints from victims of identity theft or fraud. To contact the FTC, call 1-877-438-4338 or TDD at 1-202-326-2502. The Credit Bureaus:
Equifax at 1-800-525-6285.
Experian at 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289

* Review your credit report at least every 6 months.

*When going out of town contact the post office to have mail delivery suspended for that period of time. Don't rely on a neighbor, they may forget.

*Beware of "shoulder surfers" These are people who will watch over your shoulder as you enter a PIN number or hang around air ports, car rental, or hotel lobbies-any place where you are likely to make a call where you give your credit card number.

*Never give any personal information over the Internet unless your initiate the transaction, and are online with a well known reputable company. We will be posting a blog about Internet fraud in the near future.

* Investigate personal identification protection companies such as Life Lock and consider joining. True, they can not stop ALL identity theft, but are good basic protection.

* NEVER leave your purse on the baby seat of a shopping cart or in the outside pocket of a backpack.

Your identity is yours to keep and protect, we hope these hints will help.

by Sandy

Healthcare Fraud and You

February 24, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

Healthcare is on the front page of newspapers all over the country and your can't turn on the news without hearing stories about it. True the healthcare system in the USA could be better, and one way to improve it is to reduce healthcare fraud. To illustrate the dollar amount involved, a fellow private investigator in California told me about an investigation she conducted on a pharmacy that was allegedly engaged in fraud. A pharmacy in the LA area who employees 5 people, including a delivery diver, and bills over $400,000 a month. When you enter the pharmacy, there are very few customers and the phones were silent. She compared that to a legal pharmacy that is open 24 hours a day and may bill Medi-cal between $44,000 and $46,000. Big difference.

But just what are they doing and how are they doing it? Fix yourself a glass of tea or something and read on. It could save you money and Americans millions.
TYPES OF FRAUD:
Providers bill for services not rendered. Patients are out of state, in prison, or unaware that their medical card number is being used to pay for medicine, lab test, or adult day care, Or, in many cases, the beneficiary is an accessory to the fraud and has been paid to see the doctor or visit a pharmacy. I guess you could say this is type of "health identity theft."

Cappers and Runners are individuals who gather prescriptions from low paid medical workers, beneficiaries or even doctors, and sell them to pharmacies, labs or other providers. They forge additional prescriptions, or have the doctors write out a prescription for what brings in the largest amount of money. Many are mid to low level street drug dealers who have a good knowledge of their area.

Providers and Doctors give the patient a "paper illness" such as diabetes, heart disease or a STD. Most of us were brought up believing that a doctor was nothing short of a god, but God knows there are bad apples in the barrel, and the medical profession is no exception. By claiming a beneficiary has serious illness, they can bill for medications in some cases costing over $10,000 a month and pocket the money.

Providers and Doctors have a kickback arrangement. Patients are allowed to fill their prescriptions at ONLY at one pharmacy. Doctors pay beneficiaries off in prescriptions and drugs. The current favorites are Codeine cough syrup, Viagra, Vicodin, and Valium.

Home Health Care. Some states, like California, pay relatives or friends of the patient to be home health aids. They are paid for running errands, shopping, or helping the elderly in any other way. There is almost no over sight and in California alone, the fraud is estimated in several millions of dollars.

Adult Day Health Care. This is when the government pays for special care for dependent adults and elderly. Here again, there is little regulation or accountability on the part of the center, according to the investigation. Many are understaffed, and they have "kickback" deals with the suppliers of food, medical equipment, and so forth.

Drug substitution. One drug is prescribed, but a higher priced one is billed to the governmental program while the patient receives a cheaper drug. This is most often found with Zyprexa 10 mg., a psychotropic drug that cost about 6 times more than other drugs in the same category.

Street Drug Sales and Smuggling. Prescriptions for a desirable street drug is forged by the pharmacists, the program that is in place is billed and the drug is then sold on the street often out of state. Texas and Louisiana are reportedly the states of choice for one pharmacy that was illegally exporting truckloads of Codeine Cough Syrup.

Lab Fraud. Lab work is ordered by less than scrupulous doctors for extensive, expensive, and not needed test, and the profits are split by the doctor and the lab.

These are but a few of the methods used to comment fraud in the American Healthcare system, but here are more. What can you do? First, know your doctor or healthcare provider. Do some research before your visit. Check out their credentials with the AMA and your state's regulatory board. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you aren't satisfied with the answer, tell the doctor. Get a second opinion. When you get your prescription filled, read the label right then. Make sure that what is in the bottle is what the doctor ordered. If you are faced with the decision to place a loved one in an assisted living facility or nursing home, do extensive research on all aspects of the facility. Make unscheduled visits, and, again, ask if something just doesn't seem right to you and don't stop until you are satisfied with the answer. Last but not least, email or write your elected officials about your concerns. It is the lawmakers who are responsible for passing laws that will reduce or eliminate fraud.

by Sandy

Common Fraud Schemes-part 4.. Advance Fee Scheme

February 24, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

Never heard of Advance Fee Scheme?

Let me explain what it is. An advance scheme happens when the victim pays money in hope of receiving something of greater value such as a contract, a loan, an investment, or a gift then receives nothing in return. The variety of advance fee schemes is only limited to the imagination of the thief behind the scheme. Some of the services offered are products or services, the offering of lottery winnings, found money, or other "opportunities. They may offer to pay a "finder fee"in advance. The victim is required to sign a contract in which they agree to pay the fee when they are introduced to the financing source. Unfortunately they are denied financing after they have paid the fee. Naturally it will be impossible for the victim to contact the " company" because they use a web of fake address, phone numbers, and email address.

Tips or Avoid the Advanced Fee Schemes:
*
If the offer sounds too good to be true, it is. Follow common sense business practice. Legitimate business don't conduct business on a street corner.
* Know who you are dealing with. If you have never heard of this person or business, do some research. Contact the Better Business Bureau, consult your bank, State Attorney's office, FBI, or many of the consumer protection web sites available to you. Get their physical address NOT a post office box. If it is local, go by there. If not contact the city hall of the city in their address to see if they actually have a valid business license.
* Make sure you fully understand ANY business agreement you inter into. If the terms are complex, have your attorney or banker look it over.DO NOT SIGN WHAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND!
* Going back to an address, do not do with a company that only has a post office or mail drop.
* Be very wary of business deals that require you to sign a nondisclosure or noncircumvention agreement that are designed to keep you from independently verifying the bona fides of the people with whom you intend to do business. Thieves often use noncircumvention agreements to threaten their victims with civil suit if they report their loss to law enforcement.

With the economy in the sad shape it is, there are more con artist than ever lurking out there, so be careful about who you are dealing with.

by Sandy

My favorite Ronald Reagan quote

February 22, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

"Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere."

by Sandy

Safe Summer-part 1

February 22, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

Summer is a time hitting the open road, but before you go, here are a few tips keeping the home safe:

* Make sure your home looks occupied. Stop delivery of mail and newspapers. Put a couple lights and a radio on automatic timers. The one room in the home that can be used 24/7 is the bathroom. If you have a bathroom with a window, put a lamp on a timer in that bathroom. Someone who may be watching the house will, no doubt, think you are home.
* Trim shrubs and bushes around the home where a burglar might hide.

* Don't put your address on you bag tags for anyone in the airport check in area to see.
* Get with your neighbors to form a "House Watch" group to watch each other's home this summer.
* Video, or photograph, the contacts of your home then store in a bank safety deposit box or other safe. This will provide your insurance company of documentation in the event of a break in, fire or other disaster.
* If possible, install motion sensitive lights on the outside of your home.
* Contact your local police department, tell them that you will be out of town, many departments have a "Patrol" list.

Next in the Safe Summer series is "Safety Begins When you Pack.

by Sandy

It’s That Time of Year Again

February 22, 2011 in Miscellaneous Chat

My gosh, the holidays are upon us! I felt compelled to publish a list of safety reminders because, the fact is, the number of reported theft is up nationwide. Please read and share so you, and your family, can have a safe and happy holiday season:

* When possible shop in pairs, it is safer and more fun.
* I know they are pretty, but don't wear expensive looking or expensive
jewelry. No need to advertise yourself.
* Carry a purse with a wide strap that you can wear across your chest.
Not a fashion statement, but hard for a purse snatcher to get.
* Don't put anything of value in the outside pocket of a backpack.
* Only carry the exact amount of money you think you will need and
as few credit cards as possible. Before you start shopping, write
down your credit card information and a contact number, put it in a safe
place in your car. If your card is stolen you can contact the card
company immediately.
* Carry a drop bill fold. Get a cheep bill fold, put a expired card and
a dollar of two, if you are approached, give the bad guy that. Believe
me he/she will not stop to check the expiration date.
* Park as close to the building as possible in a well lite place. You might
start your shopping trip in daylight, but remember it gets dark earlier.
* Be aware of who is around you. When you are returning to your car,
have your keys in hand and look, notice who is around you.
* If you are approached in the parking lot, throw your keys as far as you
can and yell, "FIRE!"
* Always check in your vehicle before you get in.
* If you purchase a gift card, watch the transaction. There were a
number of reported cases where the customer purchased a gift card,
the clerk swapped cards, the customer was given a worthless piece of
plastic while the clerk got to spend whatever the amount of the card was.
* Watch your credit card, likewise there were reported cases of credit
card swaps. If you have a custom card with your favorite NFL team or
grandchild's photo, you don't have to worry, but if you have the basic
card, make sure it is yours before you leave the check out lane. One
method was the clerk wrapped the receipt around the card. Cleaver! .

The bottom line is to be smart, don't make yourself vulnerable or give the bad guy an opportunity to take what is yours.

Happy Holiday Shopping

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