FTC Alerts Consumers: If Scammers Had You Pay Them Via Western Union, You Can Now File a Claim to Get Money Back

FTC Alerts Consumers: If Scammers Had You Pay Them Via Western Union, You Can Now File a Claim to Get Money Back
Company paid $586 million to settle charges

The Federal Trade Commission is alerting consumers who lost money to scammers who told them to pay via Western Union’s money transfer system between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, that they can now file a claim to get their money back by going to FTC.gov/WU before February 12, 2018.

The refund program follows a settlement with the Western Union Company, which in January 2017 agreed to pay $586 million to resolve charges brought by the FTC and the U. S. Department of Justice. The FTC alleged that fraudsters were able to use Western Union’s money transfer system to get payments from their victims, even though the company was aware of the problem and received hundreds of thousands of complaints about fraud-induced money transfers made for fraudulent lottery and prizes, family emergencies, advance-fee loans, online dating and other scams. The company also allegedly failed to promptly discipline problem Western Union agents, and failed to have effective anti-fraud policies and procedures.

Affected consumers should go to FTC.gov/WU to file claims, learn more, or get updates on the claims process – this infographic describes the process for filing a claim.

Some people who have already reported their losses to Western Union, the FTC, or another government agency will receive a form in the mail from the claims administrator, Gilardi & Co. The form will have a Claim ID and a PIN number to use when filing a claim online via FTC.gov/WU. Gilardi was hired by Justice Department, which is responsible for returning victims’ money as part of its settlement with Western Union.

Filing a claim is free, so consumers should not pay anyone to file a claim on their behalf. No one associated with the claims process will call to ask for consumers’ bank account or credit card number.

The FTC’s case was investigated with the assistance of the U. S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Toronto Police Service Financial Crimes Unit, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Spanish National Police, and the Offices of the Attorney General for Arizona, Minnesota, and Vermont.

DON’T Miss this Opportunity! Financial Education Trainer Convening, Resource Fair and Workshop in San Diego

Event Flyer at http://www.dbo.ca.gov/Consumers/Education_Outreach/pdf/Financial%20Resource%20Fair%20Nov%202017%20edited.pdf

AGENDA

DBO Financial Education Trainer Convening, Resource Fair and Workshop in San Diego
Friday, November 17, 2017 – 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
State of California
1350 Front Street, Eshleman Auditorium, Room 6003
San Diego, CA 92101

RSVP on Eventbrite!
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dbo-financial-education-trainer-convening-resource-fair-and-workshop-in-san-diego-tickets-38769693196

Join Department of Business Oversight (DBO) for a convening on Friday, November 17 to discuss new campaigns, initiatives and resources regarding saving, credit and debt, homeownership, retirement planning, elder financial abuse, and financial fraud prevention. This convening will provide an opportunity for local community-based organizations, financial institutions and government agencies to collaborate regarding financial education, consumer protection and community outreach in San Diego.

Welcome!

8:00-8:30 – Registration, Refreshments, Networking

8:30-9:30
• California Department of Business Oversight (DBO)
• California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE)

9:30-11:00 – Introductions and Updates by Community Partners (local community-based organizations, financial institutions and government agencies):

• Arnexa
• CalHR SavingsPlus
• Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA)
• Keep Your Home California
• ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan
• Dept. of Tax and Fee Administration – formerly the BOE
• and others…

11:00-12:00 – Interactive/Hands-on Interpersonal Communications TuneUp
Cath DeStefano, Human TuneUp Company, San Diego CA

12:00 -1:00 – CalHR Savings Plus 401k/457 Retirement Workshop: Saving for the Future
Register on the CalHR website https://checkappointments.net/appts/ZKabIRDahe

Alana Golden, Director for Education and Outreach
alana.golden@dbo.ca.gov
916-323-7012

Help for Victims of the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Attack


Help for Victims of the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Attack

The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) can help pay bills and expenses that resulting from violent crime. Victims of crime who have been injured or have been threatened with injury may be eligible for help.

Download Application

If you or a family member were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival attack on Sunday, October 1, we may be able to help you pay for expenses such as medical bills, funeral expenses, mental health treatment, or lost wages. You may apply for help whether or not you were injured in the attack. Even if you have no expenses today, we encourage you to apply now in case you incur expenses in the future, such as counseling.

Call CalVCB at 1-800-777-9229 for assistance.

Learn about common reactions after trauma. Stay informed and get the help you need.

This application has two signature pages, one for the California program and one for the Nevada program. When you submit this application to CalVCB, you will be applying to both programs, and CalVCB will work directly with the Nevada compensation program to assist you. You do not need to fill out another application for Nevada.

You can contact any local victim advocate for help with the application, or you can simply fill it out, print it, sign it, and send it to CalVCB via fax or regular mail:

California Victim Compensation Board
P.O. Box 3036
Sacramento, CA 95812-3036

Fax: (833) CALVCB-0 (225-8220)

Learn how you can help the investigation into the attack and find more resources for victims on the FBI’s page on the Las Vegas attack.

California Survivors of Las Vegas Mass Shooting Can Apply To State for Help

California Survivors of Las Vegas Mass Shooting Can Apply To State for Help

Residents Eligible for Mental Health Treatment, Medical Expenses, Funeral and Burial and More

Sacramento, CA — mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Sunday, October 1 in Las Vegas to contact them at 1-800-777-9229 for assistance, guidance and aid.

Help is available for survivors of those who were killed, anyone who was injured and those in attendance at the concert, as well as their immediate family members.

CalVCB can help pay for funeral expenses, medical bills, mental health treatment, lost wages and more. Applications are available on CalVCB’s website.

CalVCB can also help victims and their families apply to both the California Victim Compensation Program and the Nevada Victim Compensation Program, in order to maximize the benefits available in each state.

Survivors and family members are encouraged to apply now, regardless of whether or not expenses have been incurred.

For those who would like assistance in applying, or want to know more about resources available, contact your local victim advocate.

###

The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) provides compensation for victims of violent crime who are injured or threatened with injury. Among the crimes covered are domestic violence, child abuse, sexual and physical assault, homicide, robbery, and vehicular manslaughter. Last fiscal year, the program received nearly 52,000 applications and provided over $53 million in compensation to crime victims.

If a person meets eligibility criteria, CalVCB will compensate many types of services when the costs are not covered by other sources. Eligible expenses include medical and dental care, mental health services, income loss, funeral expenses, rehabilitation and relocation. Funding for CalVCB comes from restitution fines and orders, penalty assessments levied on persons convicted of crimes, traffic offenses and federal funds.

FDIC Money Smart for Young People


Money Smart for Young People

Vea esta página en español https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmartsp/young.html

The FDIC’s new instructor-led Money Smart for Young People series consists of four free individual grade-level curriculum available for immediate download below. The materials are available for immediate download.

Video Overview https://youtu.be/1_0Z99U3m8Q

Grades Pre-K-2
Download https://catalog.fdic.gov/money-smart-young-people-pre-k-grade-2-downloadable

Grades 3-5
Download https://catalog.fdic.gov/money-smart-young-people-grades-3-5-downloadable

Grades 6-8
Download https://catalog.fdic.gov/money-smart-young-people-grades-6-8-downloadable

Grades 9-12
Download https://catalog.fdic.gov/money-smart-young-people-grades-9-12-downloadable

The innovative standards-aligned curriculums can be incorporated into subjects such as English language arts, Mathematics and Social Studies.
Special features of each curriculum are:
Multiple lessons that can be taught alone or in combination;
Ideas for grade-level modification;
Real-life exercises and examples;
Suggestions for optional books or online games/tools that can reinforce student understanding; and
Parent and Caregiver guides to engage parents.
Additional Resources for Educators:

The Teacher Online Resource Center offers teachers videos and other resources from the FDIC and the CFPB to help teach children from Pre-K through age 20 about money and other financial topics.

Other Money Smart Products for Youth

The FDIC’s Money Smart for Young Adults curriculum helps youth ages 12-20 learn the basics of handling their money and finances, including how to create positive relationships with financial institutions. Each of the eight instructor-led modules includes a fully scripted instructor guide, participant guide, and overhead slides. The materials are fully scripted to allow you to pick up the guides and begin teaching without having previous teaching experience or extensive subject matter expertise. The curriculum is available for Download and distributed on CD.

Money Smart for Elementary School Students introduces key personal finance concepts to children ages 5-8. This resource includes age-appropriate activities designed to teach children about “paying yourself first,” “wants versus needs,” and other important lessons. Money Smart for Elementary School Students offers a manual for use by anyone leading a discussion with a group of youngsters and a coloring/activity book for the students. This resource was created to meet the needs of bankers and their community partners and is for use in the classroom or at home. The Instructor Guide (1MB) and Student Activity Book (5MB) are available for immediate download.

For questions or comments about the content of the Money Smart curriculum contact communityaffairs@fdic.gov. For information on how the curriculum can be used within your community, please contact your FDIC Community Affairs Officer.

FTC:The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

FTC: The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

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If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.

There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.

  • Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection anytime you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
  • Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017, to enroll.
  • You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.

Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.

Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

 

 What To Do After a Data Breach
Did you get a notice that says your personal information was exposed in a data breach? Visit IdentityTheft.gov/databreach to learn what you can do to protect your identity.

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month marks an opportunity for you to help your community.

Help spread the word about reporting fraud, talking about scams, and the resources available to everyone to help stop it.

For tools and tips in Spanish, visit:

CA Department of Business Oversight’s (DBO) Protect Yourself From Fraud Booklet in Spanish

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consumer education information in Spanish, order publications

Financial Planning Days coming to cities near you!

Financial Planning Days coming to cities near you!

“WE GREATLY ENJOYED TALKING TO FINANCIAL PLANNERS ONE-ON-ONE IN A NO-PRESSURE ENVIRONMENT.”

Costa Mesa, CA
Orange County Financial Planning Day
October 14, 2017

San Rafael, CA
Marin Financial Planning Day
November 4, 2017

Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Financial Planning Day
October 28, 2017

Rosemead, CA
Rosemead Financial Planning Day
October 14, 2017

San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Financial Planning Day
October 28, 2017

West Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Financial Planning Day
October 21, 2017

Find details including location and time and how to register at http://financialplanningdays.org/find-an-event

“I JUST WENT WITH SOME GENERAL QUESTIONS AND GOT SOME GREAT
INSIGHT. I LIKED THAT THERE WERE NO PUSHY SALES PEOPLE.”

CFPB SAVING TAX TIME DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION – Interested Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs

CFPB SAVING TAX TIME DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION FOR
Interested Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Programs

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will provide educational materials,
training, and technical assistance to approximately 50 Volunteer Income Tax
Assistance (VITA) programs across the country that are committed to promoting
saving during the 2018 tax season. This is not an opportunity for a grant, contract,
sub-contract, or funding. This is an opportunity to receive consumer education
materials, training for staff and volunteers, and technical assistance to integrate
savings promotion into their tax campaigns.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/201708_cfpb_tax-time-savings-application-form.pdf

10 Scams Targeting Bank Customers

10 Scams Targeting Bank Customers
The basics on how to protect your personal information and your money

En Español https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/esp/cnsum17/scams.html

The FDIC often hears from bank customers who believe they may be the victims of financial fraud or theft, and our staff members provide information on where and how to report suspicious activity. To help further, FDIC Consumer News includes crime prevention tips in practically every issue. As part of that coverage, we feature here a list of 10 scams that you should be aware of, plus key defenses to remember.
1.Government “imposter” frauds: These schemes often start with a phone call, a letter, an email, a text message or a fax supposedly from a government agency, requiring an upfront payment or personal financial information, such as Social Security or bank account numbers.

“They might tell you that you owe taxes or fines or that you have an unpaid debt. They might even threaten you with a lawsuit or arrest if you don’t pay,” said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC’s Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. “Remember that if you provide personal information it can be used to commit fraud or be sold to identity thieves. Also, federal government agencies won’t ask you to send money for prizes or unpaid loans, and they won’t ask you to wire money to pay for anything.”
2.Debt collection scams: Be on the lookout for fraudsters posing as debt collectors or law enforcement officials attempting to collect a debt that you don’t really owe. Red flags include a caller who won’t provide written proof of the debt you supposedly owe or who threatens you with arrest or violence for not paying.
3.Fraudulent job offers: Criminals pose online or in classified advertisements as employers or recruiters offering enticing opportunities, such as working from home. But if you’re required to pay money in advance to “help secure the job” or you must provide a great deal of personal financial information for a “background check,” those are red flags of a potential fraud.

Another variation on this scam involves fake offers of part-time jobs as “mystery shoppers,” who are people paid to visit retail locations and then submit confidential reports about the experience. In an example of the fraudulent version, your job might be to receive a $500 check, go “undercover” to your bank, deposit the check into your account there, and then report back about the service provided. But you also would be instructed to immediately wire your new “employer” $500 out of your bank account to cover the check you just deposited. Days later, the bank will inform you that the check you deposited is counterfeit and you just lost $500 to thieves. One warning sign of this type of scam is that the potential employer requires you to have a bank account.
4.“Phishing” emails: Scam artists send emails pretending to be from banks, popular merchants or other known entities, and they ask for personal information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other valuable details. The emails usually look legitimate because they include graphics copied from authentic websites and messages that appear valid.

“We have also seen emails with links to fake websites that are exact copies of real websites for FDIC-insured banks, except the web addresses are slightly different than the real ones,” said Doreen Eberley, director of the FDIC’s Division of Risk Management Supervision, which is in charge of the agency’s policies and programs related to financial crimes. “These sites are used to trick people into giving up valuable personal information that can be used to commit identity theft.”
5.Mortgage foreclosure rescue scams: Today, many homeowners who are struggling financially and risk losing their homes may be vulnerable to false promises to refinance a mortgage under better terms or rates. But borrowers should always be on the lookout for scammers who falsely claim to be lenders, loan servicers, financial counselors, mortgage consultants, loan brokers or representatives of government agencies who can help avoid a mortgage foreclosure and offer a great deal at the same time. These criminals will present homeowners with what sounds like the life-saving offer they need. Instead, the homeowner is required to pay significant upfront fees or, even worse, tricked into signing documents that, in the fine print, transfer the ownership of the property to the criminal involved. Common warning signs of fraudulent mortgage assistance offers include a “guarantee” that foreclosure will be avoided and pressure to act fast.
6.Lottery scams: You might be told you won a lottery (typically one that you never entered) and asked to first send money to the “lottery company” to cover certain taxes and fees. Similar examples involve bogus prize winnings and sweepstakes. “In one example, a scammer sent a letter to people using falsified FBI and FDIC letterhead telling them they won a popular, well-known lottery but that they needed to send money by wire transfer to a lottery ‘official’ in order to secure the winnings,” Benardo said. “The ‘official’ was really a crook hoping to trick people into sending money.”
7.Elder frauds: Thieves sometimes target older adults to try to cheat them out of some of their life savings. For example, telemarketing scams may involve sales of bogus products and services that will never be delivered. Warning signs include unsolicited phone calls asking for a large amount of money before receiving the goods or services, and special offers for senior citizens that seem too good to be true, like an investment “guaranteeing” a very high return. To help seniors and their caregivers avoid financial exploitation, the FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have developed Money Smart for Older Adults, a curriculum with information and resources (see News Briefs).
8.Overpayment scams: This popular scam starts when a stranger sends a consumer or a business a check for something, such as an item being sold on the internet, but the check is for far more than the agreed-upon sales price. The scammer then tells the consumer to deposit the check and wire the difference to someone else who is supposedly owed money by the same check writer. In a few days, the check is discovered to be a counterfeit, and the depositor may be held responsible for any money wired out of the bank account. Victims may end up owing thousands of dollars to the financial institution that wired the money, and sometimes they’ve also sent the merchandise to the fraud artists, too.
9.”Ransomware”: This term refers to malicious software that holds a computer, smartphone or other device hostage by restricting access until a ransom is paid. The most common way ransomware and other malicious software spreads is when someone clicks on an infected email attachment or a link in an email that leads to a contaminated file or website. Malware also can spread across a network of linked computers or be passed around on a contaminated storage device, such as a thumb drive.
10.Jury duty scams: A thief makes phone calls pretending to be a law enforcement official warning innocent people that they failed to appear for jury duty and threating an arrest unless a “fine” is paid immediately. And to pay up, the caller asks for debit account and PIN numbers, allowing the perpetrator to create a fake debit card and drain the account.

What You Can Do: Plus the basics on how to protect your personal information and your money

While we have described many forms of financial scams, the red flags to look out for are often similar. And so are the things you can do to help protect yourself and your money. Here are some basic precautions to consider, especially when engaging in financial transactions with strangers through email, over the phone or on the internet.
Avoid offers that seem “too good to be true.” As Eberley noted: “If someone promises ‘opportunities’ that are free or with surprisingly low costs or high returns, it is probably a scam. Be especially suspicious if someone pressures you into making a quick decision or to keep a transaction a secret.”
No matter how legitimate an offer or request may look or sound, don’t give your personal information, such as bank account information, credit and debit card numbers, Social Security numbers and passwords, to anyone unless you initiate the contact and know the other party is reputable.
Remember that financial institutions will not send you an email or call to ask you to put account numbers, passwords or other sensitive information in your response because they already have this information. To verify the authenticity of an email, independently contact the supposed source by using an email address or telephone number that you know is valid.
Be cautious of unsolicited emails or text messages asking you to open an attachment or click on a link. This is a common way for cybercriminals to distribute malicious software, such as ransomware. Be especially cautious of emails that have typos or other obvious mistakes.
Use reputable anti-virus software that periodically runs on your computer to search for and remove malicious software. Be careful if anyone (even a friend) gives you a thumb drive because it could have undetected malware, such as ransomware, on it. If you still want to use a thumb drive from someone else, use the anti-virus software on your computer to scan the files before opening them.
Don’t cash or deposit any checks, cashier’s checks or money orders from strangers who ask you to wire any of that money back to them or an associate. If the check or money order proves to be a fake, the money you wired out of your account will be difficult to recover.
Be wary of unsolicited offers “guaranteeing” to rescue your home from foreclosure. If you need assistance, contact your loan servicer (the company that collects the monthly payment for your mortgage) to find out if you may qualify for any programs to prevent foreclosure or to modify your loan without having to pay a fee. Also consider consulting with a trained professional at a reputable counseling agency that provides free or low-cost help. Go to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website for a referral to a nearby housing counseling agency approved by HUD or call 1-800-569-4287.
Monitor credit card bills and bank statements for unauthorized purchases, withdrawals or anything else suspicious, and report them to your bank right away.
Periodically review your credit reports for signs of identity theft, such as someone obtaining a credit card or a loan in your name. By law, you are entitled to receive at least one free credit report every 12 months from each of the nation’s three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Start at AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. If you spot a potential problem, call the fraud department at the credit bureau that produced that credit report. If the account turns out to be fraudulent, ask for a “fraud alert” to be placed in your file at all three of the major credit bureaus. The alert tells lenders and other users of credit reports that you have been a victim of fraud and that they should verify any new accounts or changes to accounts in your name.
Contact the FDIC’s Consumer Response Center (CRC) if you have questions about possible scams or you are the victim of a scam experiencing difficulty resolving the issue with a financial institution. The CRC answers inquiries about consumer protection laws and regulations and conducts thorough investigations of complaints about FDIC-supervised institutions. If the situation involves a financial institution for which the FDIC is not the primary federal regulator, CRC staff will refer the matter to the appropriate regulator. Visit our webpage on submitting complaints or call 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342) Monday – Friday, 8am to 8pm (EST).