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Police Say Scammers Are Stealing Deposits from Homeowners

The police in Port St. Lucie Florida have claimed that scammers are now posting homes as available for rent or purchase. You rent/purchase the home by putting a deposit down on the house, but you’re never given any keys.

The scammers are getting their victims to the property and even a tour of the house, but when it comes time to move in, the victim is left without any options. The tour aspect of the scam is important here. This legitimizes the fake agent as real.

Local realtors say that there are a few things you can look for to ensure that your money gets to the right person and you have a place to live.

If the price doesn’t feel right or the deal is too good to be true, you should be very wary. Of course, the seller or renter might also ask way too many questions or require too much information upfront, which is also indicative of a scam.

Scammers tend to post ads on Craigslist and actually use houses that are for sale. Then, they ask the victim to tour the house and the scammer provides the lockbox pin code to get inside. The question is, how do the scammers get that information?

The only way to get access to the system is if you are a real estate agent. If they aren’t stealing the agent’s information, there are seemingly endless hoops to jump through before gaining access to that piece of information.The victims are told by the Fake Agent the keycode for the lockbox which allows them entry;

  • The keycode is either told to the scammer by the real real estate agent via phone or email
  • The real estate agents email is hacked and the code lies in the hacked email somewhere.
  • The scammer poses as another real estate agent and scams the code via phone or email

Once the victim sees the place and has some trust in the scammer, the scammer can ask for a security deposit or down payment on the home. Police officers claim that scammers take your money but don’t give you the keys.

How can you make sure the listing is legitimate? If they ask you to call a number that isn’t local or send you to a website that looks off or isn’t recognizable, it’s best to double-check the information. You can call the real estate company, search the address of the property and seek other listings. Along with such, realtors do not give pin or lock-box codes to anyone for safety purposes.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Beware of Conference Invitation Scams

Conference invitation scams are those that involve a scammer sending invitations out to events with the intention of scamming the invitees. These might be real events or fake events, and the scammers target people including business professionals, lecturers, CEOs, researchers, philanthropists, and more. The goal here is to steal the identities of these people, and eventually get money by taking advantage of their victims.

Spotting a Scam

There are usually some pretty clear signs that you could be dealing with a scam involving a conference invitation. Here are some things to look for:

  • The invitation has typos or bad grammar
  • The invitation seems very random or out of no where
  • The conference name sounds like a conference you might be family with, such as Tech Crunch, but it’s spelled differently, like TekCrunch
  • The invitation asks that you pay a premium price to attend, which includes accommodation and transportation
  • Payment options don’t include credit cards
  • The invitation is overly flattering
  • There is a sense of urgency pushing you to send personal information
  • The greeting on the invitation is questionable, i.e. “Salutations.”
  • The invitation asks for sensitive information in return for “covering” your conference cost, accommodations, and transportation.
  • The conference is held in a different country, i.e. Asia or the Middle East
  • The landing page doesn’t have a physical address or landline number
  • The invitation sounds too good to be true

How Do These Scams Work?

In general, the scammer begins the scam by sending an email to a target victim and invited them to attend or speak at a conference. The scammer usually uses the victim’s social media pages to get information about them, which helps them to create a more personalized email.

The victim is told to register for the conference, which involves giving personal information. Additionally, they could be asked to pay a fee to attend, which could be over $1,000, depending on how long the conference is said to last. Usually, this is where the sense of urgency comes into play, as the scammer will say the conference is filling up or they need to know if they can count on the victim to speak. If not, of course, they must find another speaker, so the victim must confirm as soon as possible.

If the targeted victim complies with this and sends their information, the scammer may have enough information to steal the victim’s identity. Additionally, the scammer can use the name of the victim to promote the conference, especially if it is someone well-known in the industry.

If the victim goes through with all of this, they will quickly find out that they have been scammed. A scammer might also try scamming people who are actually going to a legitimate conference. They claim that they are part of the organization running the conference, and they need information and to collect fees. Of course, since the victim already signed up for the conference, it is easy to believe this scam without giving it a second thought.

Protecting Yourself from Invitation Scams

Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to protect yourself from these types of scams:

  • If you get an email similar to ones described here, don’t respond.
  • You should investigate any invitation that you are not sure of.
  • Do not agree to send money, and only pay with a credit card.
  • Don’t agree to give any personal information; a conference organizer doesn’t need to know your Social Security Number
  • Research the event and try to match up the information that you were given in the invitation email.
  • Copy and paste some of the email into Google to see if others have reported that this is a scam.

What to Do if You are a Victim If you have become a victim of a conference invitation scam, there are steps you should take immediately. First, get in touch with your financial institutions, like banks and credit card companies, and make them aware of this. Next, you should contact the location police and authorities in the area where the conference is allegedly supposed to be held. You should also get in touch with the Better Business Bureau about the company, and you can report the scam online via the BBB’s Scam Tracker or the Federal Trade Commission’s Online Complaint Assistant.  Finally, you can also report the scam to the FBI through its Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

WARNING: You or Your Members Could be Targets of List Scams

There are scammers out there targeting conference exhibitors and attendee. What are they looking for? Credit card numbers, money wires and personal information that they can use to steal identities. One of the ways that scammers get this information is by using invitation or list scams. Basically, if you are registered for a conference, speaking at a conference, a conference vendor or just “in the business”, you might get an email…or several emails…that invite you to a conference or offer to sell you a list of attendees, and their contact information, which may be beneficial to you…but is it too good to be true? Definitely.

Robert Siciliano, CSP, SAFR.ME

These Lists are Lies

Along with conference invitation scams, many associations are targets of list scams. A quick search of “Attendee List Sales Scam” pulls up numerous associations whose members and anyone interested in marketing to these members are being targeted by criminals to purchase non-existent lists.

Though it might sound great to get a list of all attendees of a conference, including their contact information, you might be surprised to know that these lists are lies. On top of that, getting this information might not even be legal.

Think about it for a second. When you signed up for a conference, did you choose to opt-in to have your personal information shared with others? Probably not, and that also means that most of the other attendees did not do this either.

To find out if the list is possibly legit, take a look at the show’s policies. Do they give information to third parties? Do they rent or sell lists of attendees? Is the name of the company that contacted you on the list of their third-party vendors? If this checks out, the list could be legitimate. If not, it’s probably a lie.

If you think you are dealing with a liar, the first thing you should do is plug the company that contacted you into the Better Business Bureau’s website. If it is a scam, you should certainly see information proving that. If not, but you aren’t interested, just unsubscribe. If you think that you are dealing with a scammer, don’t reply or even unsubscribe. Instead, just delete the email and don’t take any action. Many of these scammers are simply looking for active email addresses.

More Conference Invitation Scams

Another scam involves telling attendees about exhibitors that don’t even exist. This can push you into wanting to sign up for the conference, but in reality, the conference, itself, might not even exist, and in this case, you could just be giving your hard-earned money to a scammer.

So, if you find yourself in this situation, the first thing you want to do is research. One step is to look up the person who contacted you online, such as on LinkedIn, and see if they are who they say they are. Another thing to do is to contact the conference venue and ask if the event is being held there. You can also check the contract for refund or cancellation information. You also should do some research about the reputation of the contactor company. Finally, always make sure that you pay for any conference with a credit card. This way, with zero liability policy’s, you can get your money back, and every legitimate conference company is happy to accept credit cards. 

But Wait…There’s More

Another scam associated with trade shows and conferences is to contact attendees about hotel reservations, but once you pay…it’s all a scam. Usually, these scammers will contact the attendees and say that they represent the hotel for the conference. They will tell you that rates are significantly rising or that it is sold out, so you must act immediately…however, they will say that they need the full amount up front.

When in doubt about this type of scam, you should always contact the trade show organizers yourself, and then ask who the booking rep is. You should also give them the name of the company that you believe is scamming you so they can advise others of the scam.

Know Your Options

  • It is very important when you are signed up to present or attend a conference that you only engage with the company that is running the conference
  • If in doubt, confirm with the company that the offers from third-party claims are correct.
  • You can also get an official exhibitor list of official vendors.
  • Keep in mind that these legitimate companies might have your personal information, but they would not release your personal contact information with third-parties.
  • Some exhibitors might get the mailing address of attendees, which you can opt out of. Most of this is harmless, of course, but that doesn’t mean that all of these lists are.

Wi-Fi Hacks

Finally, you want to watch out for wi-fi hacking. This is a common scam for conference goers. When you attend a conference or trade show, you probably just expect that you will get free wi-fi, right? This allows you to take care of business and ensure that your booth runs smoothly. Hackers know this, of course, so they set up nearby and create fake networks. Once you connect to these networks, they can come into your device, take your information, and even watch everything you are doing online.

Keep in mind that these fake networks look remarkably similar to the legitimate networks set up by the conference. So, always double check before connecting, and if you are ever in doubt, make sure to ask one of the conference or trade show organizers. They can confirm that you are on the right network. There are always going to be scammers out there, especially when you are attending a trade show or conference. There are just too many opportunities for scams, and they can’t say no. Fortunately, by following the advice above and by reporting any suspicious activity, you can not only make sure that you, yourself aren’t falling for these scams, but also help others to not fall for this type of nefarious scheme.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

Youra Sheethed: My Dalliance Scambaiting a Nigerian Con

I put an ad on Craigslist to sell a refrigerator that I no longer need. Within a few minutes I’m happy to report Micheal responded to buy it!

SCAMMER:Hi am Micheal I like to ask if this item is till available for sale and what the present condition it.

ME:Still for sale, someone is interested tho, its like new, 5 months. 

SCAMMER:Thanks for the  information Joshua I am interested in buying and closing this deal before anybody else  the easiest mode of payment  for me is by sending you a cashier check directly from my bank account  to you overnight via USPS , Kindly send me your full name and address to send the check out if you are interested . I also promise to handle the shipping myself once you have the cash at hand 

ME: Awesome! Thank you Michael! Please send the check to:

Youra Sheethed

15 Deerfield St #15145

Boston MA 02215

Sincerely with love respect hugs and kisses

Youra Sheethed 🙂

SCAMMER:The check will be mailed ASAP,please note that the amount on the check will be shipping and handling charges inclusive so you will have more than $640on   the check from which you will deduct $640for  the payment , will counting on you make the rest available to my shipper because I have other things he will be picking up for Me , I will notify you once the check is sent.kindly confirm the name.YouraSheethed

ME: Yup, that is correct.  Youra Sheethed.  It has been a pleasure to do business with such a professional person as yourself.

Few days later…….

SCAMMER:The Usps man just confirmed to me the check has delivered now and The amount i wrote is $2340,As our agreement that i have promised that iwont cause you any financial problem regarding the shipment, The extra fee payment on the check is to cover the shippers fee pick up for your item and they have other items they are picking up for me , So that can cover all fee..

SCAMMER: Have you received/deposited the check already??

Hey, it’s me Robert, so the SCAMMER didn’t get an immediate reply from me because I was on an airplane. In the course of an hour, probably in a panic, Scammer then sent another 8 messages and called another 12 times every, 2 minutes.

ME when I got off the plane: You seem to have ants in your pants.  You should have that checked.  They can bite you know.  Especially the red ones.  One time that happened to me. I was VERY ITCHY.  Are you itchy?

SCAMMER: Excuse me ?

ME: Ants in your pants.  You called and texted like 20 times.  Maybe it’s me but that tells me you have ants in your pants.

SCAMMER:The USPS confirmed to me check already delivered,so I wanted to be sure you’re in procession of it..i apologize for the inconvenience and would like to proceed

ME: I deposited it.  It’s a lot of money!!!!! Thank you for the big tip.  Youra said she will use the extra money for her hemorrhoid surgery.  She’s very itchy.

Hey, it’s me Robert, so the SCAMMER didn’t respond to this message at all, I think maybe he caught on??!! So I messaged him 2 days later….

ME: When are the movers coming?

SCAMMER: I HAVE YOUR COMPLETE NAME AND ADDRESS,I WILL BE TAKING A SERIOUS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST YOU…. you will be hearing from my lawyer soon!

ME: Why? I thought we were friends? I like you.  We have lots in common. We both are itchy!

SCAMMER:Oloriburuku!

Hey, it’s me Robert, so I didn’t know what Oloriburiku was, so I googled it. And the Urban Dictionary provided this definition: “Oloriburiku; Direct translation to bastard head meaning someone stupid or crazy with mad thoughts don’t use it around Nigerian parent unless u want to die”

Apparently I’m not selling a refrigerator to Micheal. But at least I have a nice big fat check!

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video

Beware of these 4Scams

IRS

  • The e-mail (or phone call) says you owe money; if you don’t pay it immediately, you’ll be put in jail or fined.The scammer may know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
  • Caller ID will be spoofed to look like the call is from the IRS.9D
  • The e-mail will include an IRS logo and other nuances to make it look official.
  • The scammer may also have an accomplice call the victim pretending to be a police officer.
  • The victim is scared into sending the “owed” money—which goes to the thief. Or, the thief gets the victim to reveal credit card information.
  • Another version is that the IRS owes the victim. The victim is tricked into revealing bank account information to receive the refund.
  • Know that the IRS will never contact you via e-mail or phone; will never threaten jail time, a fine or other threats like a driver’s license revocation.
  • If you owe, the IRS will send you snail mail, certified.
  • The IRS will never threaten to have you arrested.
  • If the subject line of an e-mail appears to be from the IRS, delete it.
  • If a phone call appears to be from the IRS, hang up.

Bereavement

  • Scammers scan obituaries for prey.
  • They then contact someone related to the deceased and claim something against the estate or that they’ll reveal a family secret scandal unless they’re paid.
  • If one of these scams comes your way, request written documentation of the claim.
  • Tell the sender you’ll send this documentation to the executor.
  • If you’re blackmailed, contact a lawyer.
  • Never arrange to meet the sender.

Computer Hijack

  • This may come as a phone call: A person claiming to be a Microsoft rep informs you that your computer has been hacked and he’ll fix it—or you’ll lose everything.
  • He wants to convince you to let him have remote control or “sharing” of your computer…and from there he’ll try to get your credit card number…

Investment Scam

  • Someone halfway around the world has chosen YOU to handle a large amount of money, and you’ll be paid richly for this.
  • The sender often has a foreign sounding name, but even common names are used.
  • Often, there’s some smaltzy message in the e-mail subject line like “God bless you” or “Need your help.”
  • Delete e-mails with any subject lines relating to investments, inheritances, mentions of money, princes, barristers or other nonsense.
  • If you feel compelled to open one, don’t be surprised if there are typos or that it’s poorly written. Do NOT click any links!

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Bitdefender’s BOX: All-in-one Cybersecurity from one App

Gee, if your home is connected to lots of different devices, doesn’t it make sense that your cybersecurity integrates all your connected devices? Meet the Bitdefender BOX, a network bulletproofing hardware cybersecurity tool for the home that embraces smart home protection focusing on the Internet of Things with remote device management offering next generation privacy protection.

boxBOX description:

  • One complete security solution for connected homes
  • Sets up to a router
  • Is controlled by the user’s mobile device and hence, can be controlled anywhere
  • Everything is protected: not just your computer, but all of your connected devices, like your baby monitor, TV, thermostat, garage door opener and house alarm system. You name it; it’s protected from hackers.
  • BOX works with an annual subscription much like most cyber security “security as a service” technologies.

Features:

  • Easy Setup. Just plug and play.
  • Advanced Threat Protection. In and outside your home network. You’re safe on the go as well!
  • Management and Control. All available in one app, at your fingertips, anywhere you are.

So, protection from hackers means that you can have peace of mind knowing that BOX is warding off attempts at ID theft, fraudulent activities, cyber snooping and other threats.

All you need to do is connect BOX to your router via one of its ethernet ports. Then get the BOX application going. Its user friendly and you just follow its easy instruction: all of a few minutes’ worth. BOX then goes to work to intercept cyber threats at the network level. And all from just one app.

So yes, you need a smartphone (Android or iOS) to take advantage of BOX. If you’ve been on the fence about getting a mobile device, move out of your cave, junk your Pinto, cut your mullet, and get the BOX.

Think of how great it would be to be alerted of network events through this does-it-all application that you can control no matter where you’re located. This means you can control all of your connected devices.

One of BOX’s features is the Private Line. This protects your Internet browsing experience, including making you anonymous. Other features:

  • Protection against hacking attempts including lures to malicious sites.
  • Protection against viruses, malware including downloads, phishing, etc.
  • Protection against anyone wanting to pry open your files and see what’s in them or steal them.
  • Protection occurs even when you’re using public Wi-Fi, such as at a hotel, airport or coffee house!

Who needs BOX?

Everyone who has connected devices at home and uses the Internet. This is like asking, who needs a lock on their home’s door? Anyone who lives in a home.

Think about a home and home security as an example. If you’re going to have a lock, it should be a good lock, right? But the lock is only effective if you actually lock it. You also need to lock up your windows and consider a home security system. These are all “layers of protection. Well, the BOX is multiple layers of protection for protecting your online experience as well as computer files.

BOX is designed for non-techy users, so if you’re one of those people who is “not good with computers,” you’ll still find BOX’s setup and navigation quite friendly. It also helps set up password-protected Wi-Fi network does for you and you can even let guests use a secured Wi-Fi network. This post is brought to you by Bitdefender BOX.

Beware of these 10 Job Hunting Scams

Just because a job recruiter says he’s from (fill in blank—any huge corporation) doesn’t mean the job can’t be a scam. Anyone could say they’re from Microsoft or Google. Impersonating a representative from a big-name company is one way to fool gullible job seekers.

9DAnother way is to advertise the scam jobs on radio because the scammer knows that listeners will think, “It has to be legit if it’s on the radio.” Scammers will post their job ads anywhere.

An article on consumer.ftc.gov lists the following signs of a fraudulent job advertisement:

  • There are plenty of totally legitimate jobs that involve money out of your pocket. And in some cases, this may be described as an application fee, reference check fee, background check, cost of training materials or anything else. Only pay when the site itself has been vetted by you and everyone else. Do your research!
  • The ad talks of “previously undisclosed” federal government positions. The scammer is banking that you have no idea that usajobs.gov lists all federal job openings to the public.
  • They want your bank account or credit card information. Be very aware.

Similarly, scammers may prey on people seeking a job placement service. The consumer.ftc.gov names the following red flags:

  1. Fictitious jobs are promoted.
  2. Payment is made but no job materializes—and the service suddenly falls off the radar.
  3. If the ad mentions a company, contact that company to verify they’re contracted with the job placement service before you make your next move.
  4. Never make major decisions without first getting everything in writing: cost, what it gets you, etc.
  5. Ask them what happens if they can’t place you in a compatible position. Then listen good. If the response doesn’t make sense or is vague, move on. If they assure you you’ll get a refund within a certain period of time, make sure this is in writing.
  6. But if you decide to go with them, read your contract word for word. If they show impatience with this, it’s a red flag.
  7. Beware of ads that sound like job openings, but actually are just worded to sound that way. These semi-scammers want you to pay them to give you information you can easily find online. A classic example is an ad for writing jobs. It’s worded to sound like the ad placer can connect you with clients—whom they are working for—who need a writer. Instead you’ll be paying for a list of freelance markets, such as some boating magazine seeking submissions—when you specialize in a completely unrelated niche.
  8. Make sure you know precisely what you’re getting into. Are you seeking help with job placement or looking for someone to construct your resume?
  9. See what the BBB says about the company and what a Google search pulls up.
  10. Just because you have to pay doesn’t mean it’s a scam. However…ask yourself why you need to pay someone thousands of dollars to find you a job, what with all the online (and legitimate) job postings and the ability to blast out hundreds of e-mail queries in just a few days with your resume attached?

By keeping your scam radar on high during a job search, job seekers can prevent their personal information and financial data pout of the hands of criminals.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

Beware of Vacation Rental Scams this Summer

Talk about getting taken to the cleaners: Imagine you spot a great summer rental property advertised online. Looks wonderful. The deal sounds too good to be true, but the owner tells you (via e-mail or even phone) that the fee is correct. You apply for the rent and send in the required upfront payment.

9DThen you head down there for the first time to see an empty lot. It then dawns on you that the owner was really a crook who used some photo he found online and advertised it for rent. And if losing your money isn’t bad enough, the thief now has other private information on you like your Social Security number.

How can you protect yourself if the property is too far away to check out in person? Limit yourself to only local rental properties that you can actually physically check out first? Whether or not you can do that, here are safeguards:

  • Copy and paste the rental description into a search engine. If it shows up elsewhere consider it a scam. However…a smart crook will alter the wording so that this doesn’t happen!
  • Google the listed address and see if it matches up. Google any other information connected with the ad, such as the landlord’s name.
  • If you locate the property on another site that lists it for sale, the rental ad is a scam.
  • Request a copy of the owner’s driver’s license to verify property records at your county assessor’s office.
  • If you can’t physically visit the property, use an online map to get a full view, including aerial, to make sure it actually exists. But this doesn’t rule out scam. The property may exist alright, but the ad you’re interested in was not placed by the owner, who’s either not renting at all or might be selling the place.
  • Conduct all communication by phone.
  • Never wire transfer an upfront payment or pay via prepaid debit card—two red flags for a scam. Pay via credit card.

Honest landlords can be scammed, too. They should search the information of responders to their ads to see what comes up.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to TheBestCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention.

Trusting too much brings Trouble

There will always be the person who lives on the Equator to whom you can sell an electric heater. As they say, there is a sucker born every minute.

12DThis is why cyber criminals will always have a field day, like the crook who posed as a tax man who got an elderly couple to send $100,000 to an offshore bank account after he tricked them.

This was a fear-based scam. The other two categories are compassion and self-interest. And just because a person can’t be frightened doesn’t mean that their heart strings can’t be tugged by a charity scam.

Elderly people and those with low income are more likely to be tricked. Other people…well, you just have to wonder what’s between their ears.

For example, the popular Microsoft scam involves a person calling the victim to tell them that their computer has a virus. The caller is a crook who wants to convince the victim to allow him remote access to the computer. Don’t the victims ever wonder how the heck Microsoft would even know their computer had a virus? Red flag, anyone?

Some say ask the caller for their number so you can call back–they’ll probably hang up. Probably. The scammer may have a number in place just to cover this possibility. Really, just hang up. It’s a scam.

Some people will just keep giving money out, again and again, to the same scammer; it’s not always a flash-in-the-pan payout. What compels them to behave this way? Perhaps it’s to continually convince themselves that they’re not dumb enough to be scammed.

Another way cons trap people is by asking for small amounts of money first; this lowers the victim’s guard.

More Popular Scams

  • Charity. These can range from natural disaster relief to donations for made-up charities, or those with names very similar to well-known ones.
  • Rental. The crook sends the landlord an overpayment by check of the first month’s rent before living there, then tells the landlord to wire back the difference. The check bounces.
  • IRS: Always hang up on callers identifying themselves as tax people claiming you underpaid or are owed a refund, even if the caller ID says “IRS.”

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

Beware of the Lottery Scam

“You have won!” Yippeeee! NOT! Let’s see if you’re in that percentage of the population who will fall for this lottery scam. The alert can be an e-mail, snail mail or phone call, claiming you won a bundle of money. But keep this alert a secret due to some “mix-up in names” and you must contact a “claims agent.” You then must pay “processing charges” or “transfer fees.” You then wait. And wait. And wait.

9DThere’s one born every minute. Many scammers use the names of valid lottery organizations, but this doesn’t mean the legit entities are involved.

The latest con is to tell someone they won a Powerball jackpot while planning on stealing their identity. This happened to Jim Shella, a newsman from Indianapolis. From a random number he received several texts mentioning his name and saying he won.

Deputy Attorney General Terry Tolliver knew this was a scam. A text requested Shella’s Facebook screen name for confirmation. The requests for personal information, in these scams, will escalate. Shella texted back asking for identification. The answer: “This is Agent Paul, the delivery consultant for Powerball.” When Shella said he had no winning ticket, Agent Paul said that none were necessary to collect the $26,500.

Shella said he was a reporter and asked Agent Paul if he wanted to be in a story. Agent Paul asked if Shella wanted his winnings. Tolliver warns that these scammers will attempt to suck enough information out of you to steal your identity. Though Shella was playing head games with the crook, it’s best to delete the first text message you get like this and never respond.

How to recognize a lottery scam

  • You can’t win without a ticket. Period. So if someone claims you won, and you didn’t buy a ticket, it’s a scam.
  • You must pay a fee. Legitimate operations subtract fees and taxes from the winnings rather than demand you pay an amount in order to collect the prize.
  • Scams almost always originate from free e-mail accounts like Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.