[On-going Scams - Post them here]

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ketanco
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[On-going Scams - Post them here]

Post by ketanco » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:51 pm

[Title was "scam caller asking SSN"]
Scam discussions are now permitted in this thread only. Please see my post here.

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Hello,
I by mistake provided my SSN to a scam caller. They also asked my bank username (they pretended to call from my bank) but at that point I said wait a minute and did not provide it. So what they have is my SSN, phone number and probably my name and last name too. What can they do with this? What should I do now? I called the bank and they said to call credit reporting companies, which I can do but they also said to put alert on my SSN. what does this mean? If I put this alert then will I experience any inconveniences myself later?

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by LookinAround » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:32 pm

Immediately: put a freeze on your credit report. You have to do it for each of TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Google each name with the word freeze to find where you can do it online. Each one has to be done separately.

If they ask you to create a PIN be sure to save it so you can temporarily unfreeze if/when needed.

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ketanco
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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by ketanco » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:41 pm

I put a fraud alert with transunion. They said they will notify the other two.
But that is not enough? I must do credit freeze?
I live in foreign country now. I can not get sms messages to my US phone, only voice mail . I gave my transunion my US voice mail number. I mean if with credit freeze that PIN is something with SMS, someone needs to send me sms messages with this i can not receive sms to where I am, and they did not accept my foreign phone number. but I will not apply any credit in the US when I am overseas anyway though
Last edited by ketanco on Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by samsoes » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:47 pm

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:41 pm
I put a fraud alert with transunion. They said they will notify the other two.
But that is not enough? I must do credit freeze?
I live in foreign country now. I can not get sms messages to my US phone, only voice mail . I gave my transunion my US voice mail number. I mean if with credit freeze that PIN is something with SMS, someone needs to send me sms messages with this i can not receive sms to where I am, and they did not accept my foreign phone number.
Yes, absolutely. Do it now! :!:
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ketanco
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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by ketanco » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:53 pm

ok but if they will call me anyway by fraud alert, and I wlil not answer it anyway, then what is the advantage of credit freeze?

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by samsoes » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:03 pm

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:53 pm
ok but if they will call me anyway by fraud alert, and I wlil not answer it anyway, then what is the advantage of credit freeze?
It's a matter of visibility.

With an alert, a potential creditor sees your credit full report with one sentence indicating there is an alert. Alerts are so commonplace these days, potential creditors don't pay much attention to them and evaluate your credit anyway since they still have the full report.

With a freeze, the potential creditors don't get your credit information at all: -zero-. With no credit data available to them, no credit is granted.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

LookinAround
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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by LookinAround » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:04 pm

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:41 pm
I put a fraud alert with transunion. They said they will notify the other two.
But that is not enough? I must do credit freeze?
I live in foreign country now. I can not get sms messages to my US phone, only voice mail . I gave my transunion my US voice mail number. I mean if with credit freeze that PIN is something with SMS, someone needs to send me sms messages with this i can not receive sms to where I am, and they did not accept my foreign phone number. but I will not apply any credit in the US when I am overseas anyway though
Do the credit freeze. It's more secure and prevents anyone access to your credit report. It's a bit more inconvenient as you must temporarily unfreeze when someone needs access (and you want to provide them access), but the inconvenience is much better then the alternative. Putting your SSN "on alert" is a good step by IMHO actually freezing / controlling access yourself is safest. Effective Sept 21, 2018 freezing / unfreezing your credit report is free.

I believe the PIN becomes your password should you want to unfreeze. You can unfreeze temporarily (like saying unfreeze today and then give a re-freeze date). Best to go through the process with each. I don't recall if they want to SMS your phone. They might offer a voice call back. If in doubt, call them to ask
Last edited by LookinAround on Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by samsoes » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:05 pm

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:53 pm
ok but if they will call me anyway by fraud alert, and I wlil not answer it anyway, then what is the advantage of credit freeze?
It's a matter of visibility.

With an alert, a potential creditor sees your credit full report with one sentence indicating there is an alert. Alerts are so commonplace these days, potential creditors don't pay much attention to them and evaluate your credit anyway since they still have the full report. If the alert causes them to question the credit application before them, it just takes some counterfeit credentials and social engineering to assuage their concern. They still have the full report.

With a freeze, the potential creditors don't get your credit information at all: -zero-. With no credit data available to them, no credit is granted.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by Katietsu » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:17 pm

I did a freeze for a family member using only the online process and email. The ability to receive SMS messages is not required. Don’t know if you will run into any other issues but I would give it a try.

You should periodically review your credit report as well.

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by LookinAround » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:39 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:17 pm
You should periodically review your credit report as well.
Agreed. As an aside, you can pull a free copy of your credit report once a year. Annual Free Credit Report. I put a reminder in my calendar.

Instead of pulling all 3 at once, i stagger them so i pull one a different one every 4 months. IMHO let's you catch something quicker as it's likely if something questionable is going on, it will make to all 3 for your credit reports. IMHO Good practice to check a different one every four months then all three at once annuallly.

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ketanco
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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by ketanco » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:44 pm

are there any other instances that having a freeze may create inconvenience, if , assuming worst case, due to being in foreign country I can not remove it immediately somehow? or, the credit freeze is only for creditors anyway, and unless I apply for some type of credit in the US (which I will not do while I am overseas anyway), that freeze being there doesn't matter?

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by LookinAround » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:48 pm

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:44 pm
are there any other instances that having a freeze may create inconvenience, if , assuming worst case, due to being in foreign country I can not remove it immediately somehow? or, the credit freeze is only for creditors anyway, and unless I apply for some type of credit in the US (which I will not do while I am overseas anyway), that freeze being there doesn't matter?
No one should be pulling your credit report unless you expect someone to. So e.g. if you shop at a retailer that offers you an incentive if you open a credit card on the spot - you can't. If you want new credit, then you;d have to unfreeze first. So sounds like no inconvenience for you

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by samsoes » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:51 pm

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:44 pm
are there any other instances that having a freeze may create inconvenience, if , assuming worst case, due to being in foreign country I can not remove it immediately somehow? or, the credit freeze is only for creditors anyway, and unless I apply for some type of credit in the US (which I will not do while I am overseas anyway), that freeze being there doesn't matter?
Sounds correct.

My credit has been frozen since 2008. I had to temporarily thaw it once or twice over the years for a mortgage and new employer background check. Quite quick and easy, if I recall correctly.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by michaelingp » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:17 am

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:44 pm
are there any other instances that having a freeze may create inconvenience, if , assuming worst case, due to being in foreign country I can not remove it immediately somehow? or, the credit freeze is only for creditors anyway, and unless I apply for some type of credit in the US (which I will not do while I am overseas anyway), that freeze being there doesn't matter?
There are some transactions that we don't usually consider as "applying for credit" but businesses do consider it. For example, I had to unfreeze my report to get a Verizon cell phone account (I didn't get a "free" phone or anything). However, I've found that most businesses will tell you which credit bureau they use, so you don't have to unfreeze all of them. If you keep really good records, it's actually not much of a hassle to unfreeze, and you can do it for a limited amount of time, so it gets re-frozen automatically. Note, also, that if you're married, that's twice as many freezes even though all your accounts are jointly owned.

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by F150HD » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:16 am

ketanco wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:41 pm
I put a fraud alert with transunion. They said they will notify the other two.
But that is not enough? I must do credit freeze?
IMO a fraud alert is about useless. Not difficult to do a freeze online. Hit at least the big 3.
Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.

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Re: scam caller asking SSN

Post by whodidntante » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:49 am

I've mentioned before that I churn bank accounts for extra money. Occasionally a bank will really surprise me by calling me out of the blue and asking deeply personal, identity thefty questions after I open an account online. True online banks tend to know better, but the B&M bank/CU that plastered a McWebsite over a COBOL backend may not. Sadly, one bank that called and asked too much was a major bank, assuming the call was legit. In that case the person calling said my account would be closed if I didn't answer her questions! I said "I've explained my position and I'm ending the call now" and I did. The account wasn't closed after all.

I've never answered an unsolicited caller's sensitive questions without first identifying THEIR identity, such as by calling them on a number I find on their website (never one given to me by the caller).

Saying no without getting upset is a pretty useful skill in life.

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Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by dowse » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:11 pm

[Thread merged into here, see below Page 3) --admin LadyGeek]

I just got a call from an alert bank employee asking me whether I had applied for a credit card (I had not). It turns out that a fraudster applied for a credit card in my name and it was approved. The alert worker noticed some things that didn't quite add up, made a call to verify, and it didn't check out. She was able to stop the card before it was sent out. The fraudster has my ssn and enough other personal info to get a credit card application approved. They had my correct address, but my birth date was incorrect - off by one day. They had identified a former employer, but with an incorrect position. I have since frozen my credit inquiries. I should have done that a long time ago - my bad!

The role the USPS played in this is that she told me that they are very likely using a new USPS service called Informed Delivery, in which a postal customer may request images of all physical mail that gets delivered to them sent to an email that the postal customer provides. There is basically no security verification for initiating this service. I'm not sure what info they might have gotten that way, but the bank employee told me that this has become very common in recent scams they have seen. After initiating the service, the USPS sends a letter to confirm with a pin number that is needed to discontinue it, but that takes 4-6 weeks. I haven't received that letter yet. I have my local postmaster working on trying to find out if the service was activated and if so, discontinue it immediately. Doesn't sound like there is a way to prevent it up front.

Besides credit freezes, what other steps should I be taking to try and protect my identity? I have two-factor authorization on bank accounts.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by sunnywindy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:31 pm

thanks. good to know this.
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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by abner kravitz » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:32 pm

All Informed Delivery shows is the outside of the envelope, which I would think would be of limited use to scammers. I am interested in knowing how this could be used for fraud, since I have the service and find it useful.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:34 pm

We use Informed Delivery and some of this doesn't make sense. USPS has an identity verification process. My wife and I had to personally go to a post office to have our identity verified. Many people can be verified via an online process using credit agency data (answering correctly questions such as "which of the four addresses listed are places you have lived", that kind of thing). This info is pulled from the credit agencies. Since we have credit freezes on at all the agencies, we had to be personally identified by a USPS official. But again, even if you don't have a freeze, a thief would still need to answer some pretty personalized info about you. Maybe it could be better, but to say "basically there's no security" in the verification process just isn't accurate. In our case, with the freeze on, we had to personally go to a post office for verification. Another reason to credit freeze, right?

Moreover, this also doesn't make sense: Informed Delivery sends to your email Mon-Sat images of the outside of the address side of each piece of mail you'll be receiving that day. The postal service doesn't open your mail and image the contents. They can't see inside. Someone more creative than I will need to tell us what a thief will do with an image of the outside of your mail.
Last edited by SevenBridgesRoad on Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:35 pm

dowse wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:11 pm
I just got a call from an alert bank employee asking me whether I had applied for a credit card (I had not). It turns out that a fraudster applied for a credit card in my name and it was approved. The alert worker noticed some things that didn't quite add up, made a call to verify, and it didn't check out. She was able to stop the card before it was sent out. The fraudster has my ssn and enough other personal info to get a credit card application approved.
Do you know for sure that the call was actually from a bank employee?
dowse wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:11 pm
The role the USPS played in this is that she told me that they are very likely using a new USPS service called Informed Delivery, in which a postal customer may request images of all physical mail that gets delivered to them sent to an email that the postal customer provides. There is basically no security verification for initiating this service.
I signed up for that service when it was first mentioned here by someone -- Looking at my giant email archive, that would have been August 2017. As I recall, the signup required answering questions similar to the ones the credit bureaus ask when requesting your free annual credit report.

The emails I receive don't really provide a ton of information that would help a scammer. Just scans of the envelopes. Perhaps if you got paychecks in the mail, they could find out your employer, but that's perhaps also on your Linkedin profile.
After initiating the service, the USPS sends a letter to confirm with a pin number that is needed to discontinue it, but that takes 4-6 weeks.
I don't think I received a letter with a PIN.
I haven't received that letter yet. I have my local postmaster working on trying to find out if the service was activated and if so, discontinue it immediately. Doesn't sound like there is a way to prevent it up front.

Besides credit freezes, what other steps should I be taking to try and protect my identity? I have two-factor authorization on bank accounts.
Did you try to sign up yourself for Informed Delivery? Did it fail because your address was already registered by someone else?

Make sure your email accounts have sufficiently strong passwords and 2FA as well -- they are in many hacks the "entry point" because of password resets etc. going through email.
Last edited by TravelGeek on Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by dowse » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:35 pm

abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:32 pm
All Informed Delivery shows is the outside of the envelope, which I would think would be of limited use to scammers. I am interested in knowing how this could be used for fraud, since I have the service and find it useful.
Yes. Thanks for clarifying. I wondered this too. It would seem to be of only limited usefulness, although scammers could see what banks and brokerages are sending statements. That would narrow the range of targets. All the more reason to have 2-factor authorization wherever possible.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by djheini » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:36 pm

abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:32 pm
All Informed Delivery shows is the outside of the envelope, which I would think would be of limited use to scammers. I am interested in knowing how this could be used for fraud, since I have the service and find it useful.
They could use it to determine what day they should go and steal the mail from your mailbox, reducing their exposure from having to check every day the new card may come.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/11/u-s ... g-service/

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:38 pm

Agree that the Informed Delivery connection seems to be unfounded. And it is not new, started 2 years ago yesterday.
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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by abner kravitz » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:39 pm

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:34 pm
Moreover, this also doesn't make sense: Informed Delivery sends to your email Mon-Sat images of the outside of the address side of each piece of mail you'll be receiving that day. The postal service doesn't open your mail and image the contents. They can't see inside. Someone more creative than I will need to tell us what a thief will do with an image of the outside of your mail.
This was my thought also, but I guess if someone has access/proximity to your mailbox they could steal stuff (like a credit card) when they knew it was coming. That's really all I can think of.

EDIT: which djheini noted above
Last edited by abner kravitz on Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by LookinAround » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:40 pm

I believe the problem is for those whose mailbox isn't locked and someone else has access

Scammers can preview the mail you're receiving and either 1) intercept anything that looks like it contains personal info and/or 2) they apply for a credit card and can intercept it and remove it from your mailbox so you have no clue one was opened in your name (and scammers now have the card)

So if you have an unlocked mailbox either
> Lock it! or
> Contact USPS. There is a method to block Informed Delivery requests

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by dowse » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:42 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:38 pm
Agree that the Informed Delivery connection seems to be unfounded. And it is not new, started 2 years ago yesterday.
All I know is what the bank employee told me. She seemed to be quite concerned about the info they could use. Besides bank statements, I suppose they could figure out what health insurance plan you have. Perhaps building some kind of a profile helps them narrow the range of targets to those with a lot to lose.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by Kenkat » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:44 pm

abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:39 pm
SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:34 pm
Moreover, this also doesn't make sense: Informed Delivery sends to your email Mon-Sat images of the outside of the address side of each piece of mail you'll be receiving that day. The postal service doesn't open your mail and image the contents. They can't see inside. Someone more creative than I will need to tell us what a thief will do with an image of the outside of your mail.
This was my thought also, but I guess if someone has access/proximity to your mailbox they could steal stuff (like a credit card) when they knew it was coming. That's really all I can think of.

EDIT: which djheini noted above
Your wife Gladys would have seen them stealing your mail though :wink:

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by ohai » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:47 pm

So, presumably, you should freeze your credit and start credit monitoring.

How long is this supposed to last though? Your SSN and personal information is already in someone's hands. Can't they wait for a year until you unfreeze, and then scam you again?

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by abner kravitz » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:48 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:44 pm
abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:39 pm
SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:34 pm
Moreover, this also doesn't make sense: Informed Delivery sends to your email Mon-Sat images of the outside of the address side of each piece of mail you'll be receiving that day. The postal service doesn't open your mail and image the contents. They can't see inside. Someone more creative than I will need to tell us what a thief will do with an image of the outside of your mail.
This was my thought also, but I guess if someone has access/proximity to your mailbox they could steal stuff (like a credit card) when they knew it was coming. That's really all I can think of.

EDIT: which djheini noted above
Your wife Gladys would have seen them stealing your mail though :wink:
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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:48 pm

djheini wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:36 pm
abner kravitz wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:32 pm
All Informed Delivery shows is the outside of the envelope, which I would think would be of limited use to scammers. I am interested in knowing how this could be used for fraud, since I have the service and find it useful.
They could use it to determine what day they should go and steal the mail from your mailbox, reducing their exposure from having to check every day the new card may come.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/11/u-s ... g-service/
Ok, I understand now.

Our neighborhood has locking cluster mailboxes, so we don't worry about mail being stolen from our box. So, the countermeasures are: have your mail delivered to a locked mailbox, and/or credit freeze. These are both good preventive steps anyway. And sign-up for Informed Delivery so no one else can, or use the process for blocking the service.
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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:49 pm

I am skeptical of this avenue as well.

Upon checking, I do have an online account set up with USPS with a Username and a Password (much more complex than a typical 4-digit PIN). I do not remember which service of USPS require me to set this up. The services that may have are: Mail hold, Informed Delivery, and Package Delivery (not sure of the name of this one but it required different registration than Informed Delivery). If I had to guess, the Package Delivery service would be my guess for having to register.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by dowse » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:52 pm

At first I was thinking the scammers might be offshore, but on second thought, if there is a local connection, they could use Informed Delivery to identify an envelope that likely contains a credit card after knowing that an approved card is on the way. They would then need to be able to steal it from the mailbox without getting caught, which wouldn't be hard in a lot of cases. In my case, most days I watch the mailman deliver, then go get it right away.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by celia » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:58 pm

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:34 pm
Many people can be verified via an online process using credit agency data (answering correctly questions such as "which of the four addresses listed are places you have lived", that kind of thing). This info is pulled from the credit agencies.
I've noticed this multiple choice question recently, but giving you 4 options makes it easy to just guess. You have a 1-in-4 chance of being right even it you don't look up the person's background (which you can find from those websites that collect public personal info on you, such as whitepages.com . Having you type in your current or past entire address would be a bigger check than a "guess" would be.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:03 pm

celia wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:58 pm
SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:34 pm
Many people can be verified via an online process using credit agency data (answering correctly questions such as "which of the four addresses listed are places you have lived", that kind of thing). This info is pulled from the credit agencies.
I've noticed this multiple choice question recently, but giving you 4 options makes it easy to just guess. You have a 1-in-4 chance of being right even it you don't look up the person's background (which you can find from those websites that collect public personal info on you, such as whitepages.com . Having you type in your current or past entire address would be a bigger check than a "guess" would be.
I think it might be 1 in 5.
Apparently "none of the above" is a "correct" answer sometimes.

The first time I encountered this type of "identity verification", quite some time ago, I was really confused, because I was *sure* that none of the choices were correct. And yup, that was the correct answer. I've since read about it (yup, "read about it online", so it must be true! :shock: )

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:08 pm

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:34 pm
We use Informed Delivery and some of this doesn't make sense. USPS has an identity verification process. My wife and I had to personally go to a post office to have our identity verified.
Same here. I tried to set up Informed Delivery for my PO box (so I could see if something was there that warranted a trip to the post office). I got to a certain point in the process, then I was informed that I had to have my identity verified. The method of this was for USPS to send a letter with a code to my PO box, and I would have to then log back on and enter the code.
"I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people; and if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you." (Aaron Sorkin)

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by nalor511 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:12 pm

dowse wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:42 pm
RickBoglehead wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:38 pm
Agree that the Informed Delivery connection seems to be unfounded. And it is not new, started 2 years ago yesterday.
All I know is what the bank employee told me. She seemed to be quite concerned about the info they could use. Besides bank statements, I suppose they could figure out what health insurance plan you have. Perhaps building some kind of a profile helps them narrow the range of targets to those with a lot to lose.
How did the bank employee prove herself? I've never had a bank employee willing to give out my personal info (such as birth date) even to me (i.e. the fact that it was one day off), and I actually did have provable identity theft that I was trying to combat/fix. Is it possible she was a scammer fishing for information/confirmation? Just a thought.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by sport » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:13 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:35 pm
Do you know for sure that the call was actually from a bank employee?
This is a rather important question. :?:

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by Trader Joe » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:17 pm

dowse wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:11 pm
I just got a call from an alert bank employee asking me whether I had applied for a credit card (I had not). It turns out that a fraudster applied for a credit card in my name and it was approved. The alert worker noticed some things that didn't quite add up, made a call to verify, and it didn't check out. She was able to stop the card before it was sent out. The fraudster has my ssn and enough other personal info to get a credit card application approved. They had my correct address, but my birth date was incorrect - off by one day. They had identified a former employer, but with an incorrect position. I have since frozen my credit inquiries. I should have done that a long time ago - my bad!

The role the USPS played in this is that she told me that they are very likely using a new USPS service called Informed Delivery, in which a postal customer may request images of all physical mail that gets delivered to them sent to an email that the postal customer provides. There is basically no security verification for initiating this service. I'm not sure what info they might have gotten that way, but the bank employee told me that this has become very common in recent scams they have seen. After initiating the service, the USPS sends a letter to confirm with a pin number that is needed to discontinue it, but that takes 4-6 weeks. I haven't received that letter yet. I have my local postmaster working on trying to find out if the service was activated and if so, discontinue it immediately. Doesn't sound like there is a way to prevent it up front.

Besides credit freezes, what other steps should I be taking to try and protect my identity? I have two-factor authorization on bank accounts.
Since signing up for USPS I have received a ton of spam from non-USPS email addresses stating that it is from USPS. I have told everyone the USPS website has a massive security breach and to stay far, far away. Be warned.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by FlyAF » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:19 pm

sport wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:13 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:35 pm
Do you know for sure that the call was actually from a bank employee?
This is a rather important question. :?:
Exactly. A scam is being run on you for sure, you're just not sure what it is and it has nothing to do with informed delivery. Curious how much personal info you gave to this "bank employee" that called you up on your phone.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by fposte » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:22 pm

Trader Joe wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:17 pm
Since signing up for USPS I have received a ton of spam from non-USPS email addresses stating that it is from USPS. I have told everyone the USPS website has a massive security breach and to stay far, far away. Be warned.
I got that before I signed up, so it may not be related to USPS. Same with UPS MyChoice. I would guess that with such common services it's worth spamming random emails.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by Trader Joe » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:32 pm

fposte wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:22 pm
Trader Joe wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:17 pm
Since signing up for USPS I have received a ton of spam from non-USPS email addresses stating that it is from USPS. I have told everyone the USPS website has a massive security breach and to stay far, far away. Be warned.
I got that before I signed up, so it may not be related to USPS. Same with UPS MyChoice. I would guess that with such common services it's worth spamming random emails.
No this is not true for my experience. Beware.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by dowse » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:35 pm

sport wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:13 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:35 pm
Do you know for sure that the call was actually from a bank employee?
This is a rather important question. :?:
An important question of course, and one that I had. The initial contact came in the form of a call to my mobile phone. I didn't recognize the number, so I let it go to voicemail. The caller ID was the main number of the bank, and the message gave a different call back number. I googled both and they checked out as listed numbers for that bank and no scam reports against those numbers. I called the main number for the bank, and the auto-answer identfied as that bank. I did realize that a credit monitoring service had reported a credit inquiry from that bank. I had shrugged it off as probably another credit card offer. Sure, a clever scammer could have been trying to gain my trust and pump me for more personal information, but she did not ask for any. No foreign accent. Not sure what else I could have done.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:43 pm

I have Informed Delivery. There is a verification process to verify it is you and isn't that easy to work around. As others said, Informed Delivery could let the scammer know when to retrieve a credit card or statement from your mailbox.

I am surprised someone at a bank actually processes credit card applications manually and even noticed this discrepancy. Must be a small bank.

The bigger question is how did the scammer know your ssn, approximate DOB and former employer?
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by downshiftme » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:53 pm

I do not have informed delivery, but I did get a "confirmation" letter for someone else trying to sign up to get informed delivery for my address. I blocked that, but was told by USPS that anyone anywhere can sign up for informed delivery, up to 5 per address, and that the postal service can lock your address but cannot otherwise stop people from signing up if they can pass the verification tests. The postal agent I spoke to said that use of the service for fraud was not anticipated in the design of the system and the lock feature was the only way to prevent others from getting notification of my postal mail.

In my case, I can either lock my address or I can enroll in informed delivery. If my address is enrolled, then up to 4 more email addresses can enroll themselves if they can pass the verification test. I cannot both enroll in the service and lock others out.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by dowse » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:55 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:43 pm
I have Informed Delivery. There is a verification process to verify it is you and isn't that easy to work around. As others said, that could let the scammer know when to retrieve a credit card or statement from your mailbox.

I am surprised someone at a bank actually processes credit card applications manually and even noticed this discrepancy. Must be a small bank.

The bigger question is how did the scammer know your ssn, approximate DOB and former employer?
Yes, it is a smaller bank. In fact, the worker mentioned that if it had been with a big bank, it would probably not have been noticed. As far as getting the info, there have been several breaches that could have been the source, most notably the infamous Equifax one. There are a few ways of cross-referencing to get the other info, I suppose. Some of the personal mail I've recieved say something about getting free stuff or coupons for my birthday on the outside of the envelope. I trying to remember if I have received anything from my former employer recently, but I may have gotten something. The application had me listed as the CEO - ha - not quite!

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by yohac » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:01 pm

There have been so many horrendous data breaches that most scammers don't bother with Informed Delivery or breaking into mailboxes anymore. That's too much work. They just buy your data online. Everyone should freeze their credit reports.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by dowse » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:04 pm

yohac wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:01 pm
There have been so many horrendous data breaches that most scammers don't bother with Informed Delivery or breaking into mailboxes anymore. That's too much work. They just buy your data online. Everyone should freeze their credit reports.
Totally agree everyone should freeze. Open up only when necessary. The process has been made very easy and free. It took me all of about 10 minutes.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by fru-gal » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:06 pm

Trader Joe wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:17 pm

Since signing up for USPS I have received a ton of spam from non-USPS email addresses stating that it is from USPS. I have told everyone the USPS website has a massive security breach and to stay far, far away. Be warned.
I have Unformed Delivery which I find useful, and I have seen no spam from fake "USPS."

As to letting people know when they could steal stuff from your mailbox, the delivery day notices are not exact.

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Re: Scam alert - USPS new feature playing a role

Post by GerryL » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:10 pm

nalor511 wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:12 pm
dowse wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:42 pm
RickBoglehead wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:38 pm
Agree that the Informed Delivery connection seems to be unfounded. And it is not new, started 2 years ago yesterday.
All I know is what the bank employee told me. She seemed to be quite concerned about the info they could use. Besides bank statements, I suppose they could figure out what health insurance plan you have. Perhaps building some kind of a profile helps them narrow the range of targets to those with a lot to lose.
How did the bank employee prove herself? I've never had a bank employee willing to give out my personal info (such as birth date) even to me (i.e. the fact that it was one day off), and I actually did have provable identity theft that I was trying to combat/fix. Is it possible she was a scammer fishing for information/confirmation? Just a thought.
This was my thought, too. Is this some sort of meta scam? OP, have you called your bank directly to verify?

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