Nobody will give you a free iPhone X for liking a Facebook page, so stop falling for these scams – BGR

I get it, the iPhone X is incredibly expensive at $999. And that’s just the starting price that gets you a measly 64GB of storage. But most buyers will not have to pay the price outright. There are plenty of financing option to help them deal with the wallet hit, including the iPhone Upgrade Program and various carrier offers.

But remember, iPhone fans, there’s no such thing as a free iPhone X. As a general rule of thumb, nothing in life is free. One way or another you’re going to pay for it. Falling for social scams that entice you to follow a Facebook page, YouTube channel or Instagram account, however, isn’t going to get you an iPhone X. Someone is taking advantage of you, and you won’t come away with a free phone.

There are many scammers out there looking to take advantage of the new iPhone release by promoting fake “free iPhone” offers. And the iPhone X could not be a better tool given that it’s the most expensive iPhone ever released.

According to ZeroFox, there are 532 fraudulent iPhone social accounts right now, and the number is going up.

What the purpose of these fake free iPhone offers on social media? The creators are looking to increase their follower counts. Some of the people looking to score a free iPhone X or iPhone 8 will follow, like, or share social content to have a chance of winning. However, the owners of these fraudulent social pages are only looking to quickly boost the number of followers, and then repurpose the page for something else.

Remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

Other free iPhone offers will actually instruct users to share personal information that may be then used to steal a person’s identity.

Remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

ZeroFox also says that free iPhones offers may also trick gullible users into clicking on malicious links and falling for phishing schemes. It goes without saying that you should never click on these links or install any apps if prompted to do so.

Remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

Oh, and while we’re at it, nobody is looking to ditch old iPhone stock, including Apple. One of the great things about the iPhone is that it’s a valuable device. Even older models retain their value, so nobody will “ditch” them.

That’s not to say there aren’t genuine iPhone promotions that offer free iPhone models. However, before trying your luck, make sure you’re dealing with a verified company rather than an impersonator or some random person. In many cases, there may be certain conditions that must be met to make you eligible to win a free iPhone. If you’ve been a sucker for one of these fake offers in the past, you might consider going through the entire ZeroFox article and sharing it with friends. You will not win a free iPhone X offer if you do, but there’s still plenty of value in helping people steer clear of scams.

Also, consider reporting the fake pages and websites to the appropriate companies. It’s effortless to do so if we’re talking about Facebook pages or other social media accounts.

Finally, remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

Don’t let eclipse-related scams compromise safety

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Big events draw crowds – and unscrupulous scammers looking to cash in at others’ expense. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse is no exception.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ECLIPSE

As thousands of consumers make plans to view the eclipse at parties and other gatherings across the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs reminds Tennesseans to check the authenticity of the merchandise they purchase to watch the eclipse, including viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers.

RELATED NASA issues safety alert regarding eclipse glasses

TDCI shares the following consumer tips regarding the purchase of eclipse merchandise:

• Before ordering online, always do your research before entering any personal or payment information. Search for reviews, check that phone numbers and addresses are legitimate, and be sure it’s a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol or https:/ at the beginning of the web address.
• If you plan to attend a viewing party, ask if merchandise will be offered at the event.
• If you’re planning to order the glasses yourself, it’s important to ensure that the ones you choose are manufactured according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) guidelines. NASA has noted that the following manufactures have certified their glasses meet ISO 12312-2 international standards: Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
• The glasses should have the manufacturer’s name and address printed on the product.
• If you place an order online but never receive it, attempt to reach out to the business first and if the issue can’t be resolved, notify your bank or credit card company and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistance.gov or by phone at (877) 382-4357.
• Consider paying with credit card when making online purchases. Credit card companies provide more fraud protection than any other payment method.

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TDCI urges Tennesseans to follow these NASA guidelines to safely view the solar eclipse:

• Do not use homemade filters or substitute with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun.
• Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
• Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun.
• After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
• Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
• If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.

For more consumer tips and resources, visit the TDCI Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer.

TDCI: Don’t let eclipse-related scams compromise safety

Department Encourages Consumers to Check Eclipse Glasses for Safety Certification
NASHILLE –Big events draw crowds – and unscrupulous scammers looking to cash in at others’ expense. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse is no exception. As thousands of consumers make plans to view the eclipse at parties and other gatherings across the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs reminds Tennesseans to check the authenticity of the merchandise they purchase to watch the eclipse, including viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers.

TDCI shares the following consumer tips regarding the purchase of eclipse merchandise:

  • Before ordering online, always do your research before entering any personal or payment information. Search for reviews, check that phone numbers and addresses are legitimate, and be sure it’s a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol or https:/ at the beginning of the web address.
  • If you plan to attend a viewing party, ask if merchandise will be offered at the event.
  • If you’re planning to order the glasses yourself, it’s important to ensure that the ones you choose are manufactured according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) guidelines. NASA has noted that the following manufactures have certified their glasses meet ISO 12312-2 international standards: Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
  • The glasses should have the manufacturer’s name and address printed on the product.
  • If you place an order online but never receive it, attempt to reach out to the business first and if the issue can’t be resolved, notify your bank or credit card company and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistance.gov or by phone at (877) 382-4357.
  • Consider paying with credit card when making online purchases. Credit card companies provide more fraud protection than any other payment method.

 

TDCI urges Tennesseans to follow these NASA guidelines to safely view the solar eclipse:

 

  • Do not use homemade filters or substitute with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun.
  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun.
  • After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.

For more consumer tips and resources, visit the TDCI Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer.

NASCAR

Facebook scams: When your “friends” are actually hackers

Scams cost Americans roughly $50 billion each year, and according to the Better Business Bureau, they affect one in four homes. The most frequently reported scams are delivered by phone. But more than half of victims say they were contacted online through websites, e-mail, social media and more.

Experts say more and more people, including millennials, are becoming victims on Facebook. So what happens when a person you think is a Facebook “friend” turns out to be someone else?

For Shellie Drummond, it started when she found the Facebook profile for a friend from years back, named Deborah Boyd.

“I was on Messenger and my friend’s name came up,” she told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

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Deborah Boyd’s Facebook profile was hacked; the scam artists then targeted her friends.

CBS News

Soon “Boyd” was telling her about a so-called government grant she’d gotten through an agent on Facebook. Sure enough, the agent then told Drummond she could get financial assistance from the government. All she had to do was provide some personal information, then send $1,500 in fees, to get up to $100,000 in grant money.

“The person that I was corresponding with that I thought was my friend had vouched for this foundation, and I believed her,” said Drummond.

So she wired the $1,500 to Florida, then waited for the delivery driver (like the one shown on Facebook) to deliver her $100,000 in cash.

But they never came.

And when Drummond tracked down her friend by phone, Deborah Boyd told her, “It wasn’t me. You got scammed.”

Turns out, Boyd’s Facebook account had been hacked by scammers who locked her out, then quickly reached out to try to con her family and friends, who she then had to warn: “Please do not send them anything, and delete yourself off that page. Because it’s not me.”

“They’re basically capturing that trust you have in this person and using it for their own gain,” said Emma Fletcher of the Better Business Bureau.

So we wondered: were the scammers still active?

To find out, “CBS This Morning” set up our own fake account on Facebook, and contacted Boyd’s imposter. Sure enough, she claimed she got a $50,000 grant and said we could get one, too: it wasn’t a loan, and we wouldn’t have to pay it back.

“She’s not wasting any time,” Fletcher said.

Werner showed Fletcher the conversation that progressed. “Is that typical of what you see happening?” Werner asked.

“Well, once you show an interest, you know, they’re going to go in for the kill,” Fletcher replied.

And it wasn’t just the fake Deborah Boyd account: we found what appears to be a network of fake Facebook profiles offering grants, from $50,000 to $1,000,000 — all while assuring us it wasn’t a scam. “Swear to God,” one said.

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More people are falling victim to schemes by con artists who hack Facebook profiles of friends and family and try to rip you off.

CBS News

But those photos of the “agents”? A quick search using Google Images turned up the truth: the photos are real, but those people don’t offer grants. One is a real estate agent from Vermont. The other? A professor at MIT.

So if those aren’t the real people, who’s really running those Facebook accounts? 

Computer expert Gary Miliefsky set up a way to track the scammers’ location: he built a page that looks like a money transfer company’s website, but really finds a computer’s unique IP location.

“This website is an IP tracker,” Miliefsky said. “So when they click the link thinking they’re going to a popular money transfer site, they are allowing us to track them.”

We got the scammers to click on it, and lo and behold … the scammers are in Lagos, Nigeria.

“Russians use malware, the Chinese use malware. The Nigerians, they use social engineering and they use social media,” said Miliefsky.

But if we were able to track them, what about Facebook?

The company told us it has “a dedicated team … helping to detect and block these kinds of scams,” and has “developed several techniques” to stop the abuse. But Boyd told us Facebook still hasn’t solved her problem, and the scammers still have a fake profile up with her name.

“These people should not still be contacting my friends and family,” Boyd said. “No way should they be. This is, what, six months later, nine months later? Come on!”

After Werner reached out to Facebook, it asked us for the URLs for the scam accounts, which we provided. Within hours, it appeared Facebook had blocked those accounts.

But Deborah Boyd says she has never been able to get back into her old profile, which has a lot of family photos and memories that she’d like to have back.

By the way, the people we mentioned whose photos were used? One declined to comment, but the other expressed shock when we told her. She had no idea her photo had been taken off her own website and used by fraudsters for a scam.