Checking your credit rating, scams targeting the hearing impaired, and the Friday Notice: Internet ScamBusters #187
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud
By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
All rights reserved.
We haven't done a subscriber Q&A issue for awhile, so we'll do one for you today and answer these three questions:
- How do I check my credit rating without getting scammed or spammed?
- What scams are targeting the hearing impaired?
- Can I stop receiving the Friday Notice email?
First though, we recommend you check out the most popular articles from our other sites during the past week (especially the first one):
Five Steps to Credit Card Safety
How to Save Money on Electronics
Swipe and Go Credit Cards: Modern Convenience or another Identity Theft Risk?
An Odd Side Effect from Pepto-Bismol
On to today's Q&A from subscribers...
Internet ScamBusters Q&A
Question: I'm fortunately not the victim of a scam (as far as I know!) but I would like to check our credit rating. I've looked at a few Internet websites, and when it gets to the point of putting in our SSNs and hitting "OK" my blood runs cold!
Can you recommend a few good sites where my info won't be stolen and I won't be subjected to unending spam as a result?
Thanks! You guys are really great, and I really enjoy reading your information!
Answer: Thanks for your comments.
Unfortunately, in order to get your credit rating, you do need to give your Social Security number.
And of course, you are correct to be very concerned about doing that. There are many, many scam sites out there.
Here are a few suggestions:
- We assume you're talking about getting your credit score, not just getting a free credit report. If you do want to get a free credit report without getting scammed, you can find out how to do it here.
- We're not aware of any way to get your credit score for free -- you have to pay for getting a copy. And it's gotten much more complicated -- there are now different credit scores.
Here are two good ways to proceed:
1. If you haven't yet gotten your free report from each of the three credit reporting agencies this year, you can get a copy using AnnualCreditReport.com and then pay a few dollars to get your credit score as well:
2. If you have gotten a free copy of your credit report from each credit reporting agency already, you can go directly to one of the three agencies: Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. The cost depends on the state in which you live.
We personally use Equifax:
- There is a page called "What You Need to Know About Your Credit" on the FTC website that answers a lot of questions. It includes links to the three credit reporting agencies.
- Here's another page to check out from the FTC that provides additional useful information:
- Finally, if you'd like step-by-step instructions on how to get your credit score, what it means, how to improve it, and much more, we recommend the excellent ebook listed at the end of this newsletter:
Question: I am a fraud investigator for a bank in Maryland. I have at least three deaf customers who were contacted thru the impaired telephone relay system by Nigerians. The customers agreed to receive checks to clear thru their personal accts, keep a portion of the money and send the balance to Nigeria.
Each of these customers were very trusting and referred to their contacts as "their very good friends." I have seen several scam letters in the past where the perps refer to someone as "my dear friend."
Have you heard of this type of scam targeting the impaired before? If not, maybe we should get the word out to others.
Answer: Great question!
Yes, we've unfortunately seen lots of scams targeting the hearing impaired. As you mentioned, the scammers often use the special telephone lines for the hearing impaired.
These scams are definitely not limited to Nigerians.
If you are hearing impaired -- or are close to someone who is -- please spread the word that these scams are growing. Most of the scams we have written about in ScamBusters are now being targeted specifically at the hearing impaired.
Question: I am one of your subscribers who finds "ScamBusters Now Online" short announcement messages unnecessary.
Is there any chance you could use an alternate From address just for those, such as "email@example.com", so I can filter them into my spam folder automatically?
Answer: We've answered this question before, but we've had tens of thousands of new subscribers in the interim (and we get this question periodically), so we decided to answer it again.
We send the main complete issue out on Wednesdays, and a follow-up on Fridays to let you know when each issue is posted online. Each is labeled clearly.
The reason we're doing this is because so many subscribers who are not getting ScamBusters (because of the filters) requested we do this.
Since so much of the information we discuss is scam-related, our newsletters are very frequently captured by the filters.
Unfortunately, we have no good way of only sending these notices to only some subscribers.
Although we cannot easily send Friday issues from a different address, you can accomplish the same thing in a different way -- see the following paragraph for instructions.
For more advanced subscribers: If you regularly get the main issue and you want to file or delete the Friday notices in your email program, you can use the phrase 'ScamBusters Now Online' in the Subject Field of the short notice to filter it and set for auto-delete (but please don't flag it as spam).
Time to close -- we're off to enjoy a walk through the mountains. See you next week.