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Hacker’s Brief | County 17

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This week’s Hacker’s Brief from CyberWyoming is sponsored by Campco Federal Credit Union.

 

Nazi Germany Email Scam: A series of emails were reported by a Wyoming citizen from erney@erney.im/.in, .pw, sch, .es, and .at. The subject lines ranged from “Cry from Germany: Innocent Jew is in danger of death in German Jail!” to “Make a list of corrupt officials, judges, prosecutors, police officers from Germany.” Some of the messages are also about NATO, but all emails have been verified by Google as scams.

Hotmail Scam: A Wyoming citizen reported a scam that seems to be targeting Hotmail.com accounts. Using the subject line “Transfer Summ $9124.52 Here,” the email includes a malicious attachment designed to steal personal information. Do not click on the attachment and delete email.

ADP Payroll Security Scam: A Wyoming resident reported receiving anemail from ADP, LLC e.rmi.n.i.osiciliani@gmail.com with the subject line ‘ADP PAYROLL SECURITY.’ The email offers to upgrade your account security and avoid payment cancellation, but is really an attempt to get your payroll account information.

A Reminder About Physical Security: Another resident reported that his laptop and Xbox were stolen out of his car and his bank and credit card information was breached. These devices can be gold mines for would-be scammers, so be sure to protect them from being stolen.

MS-ISAC Patch Now Alert: The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) has published two patch now (update your software) alerts for Microsoft products and one for Apple products. If you use these products, make sure the software updated.

Scam Phone Call Alert: Remember this advice: hang up, look up the number and call back. Don’t rely on caller ID, which can be spoofed.  Also, even if your phone number is on the FTC’s Do Not Call registry, it doesn’t mean a caller is legitimate. If it is a recorded call and you press the number, you may receive even more recorded calls.

Top Name Retailer Alert: If you receive an advertisement on social media for COVID coupons, grants, or food relief from retailers like Walmart or Target, these are not real. Scammers are impersonating these organizations to get you to click on a link, so they can steal your personal information.

How to Tell a Genuine Census Official: In the coming days as Census workers go door to door, remember that genuine census officials will not ask you for any confidential information like a social security number, Medicare number or banking information. They will not ask for any kind of payment and will have a watermarked ID.

Predatory Lending Alert: If you have a lot of value locked into your house but need cash, beware of predatory lending crooks. Fraudsters offer high loan interest rates with your home as the collateral. When you fall behind on your payments on the loan, you lose your house. Talk to your own banking institution and be sure to read the fine print. These scammers advertise with legitimate media outlets to look legitimate. Here are some tips from the American Bankers Association:

  • Watch out for harassing phone calls or solicitations from lenders offering easy, next-day approval or “guaranteed” low payments as long as you commit right now.
  • Always shop around for the best deal and compare the bottom line for each one as well as total costs.
  • Beware of high, upfront fees and percentage points, which can turn a loan with low monthly payments into one that actually costs you more in the long run.
  • Beware of telemarketers and TV ads offering loans or rates that seem too good to be true.
  • Always read all the fine print both on initial documentation and any forms you’re required to sign.
  • Avoid lenders who say that a bad credit record is not a problem.

 

If you want to report a phone, email or text scam and let your friends and neighbors know about it, forward it, or send a description of the scam, to phishing@cyberwyoming.org.

Other ways to report a scam:
·       Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker
·       File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
·       Report your scam to the FBI
·       Report unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registration or call 1 (888) 382-1222, and select Option 3
·       Office of the Inspector General

 

Information provided by CyberWyoming Alliance, a 501c3 nonprofit affiliate of CyberWyoming. 




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New program to help Black-owned online businesses | Technology

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ATLANTA _ Many Black entrepreneurs struggle to get bank loans and professional help to launch new businesses. A new program aims to remove those stumbling blocks.

An Atlanta nonprofit and another business have committed $150 million to the 1 Million Black Businesses effort, which will make loans and provide financial and business advice to Black-owned startups and established small businesses. Atlanta-based nonprofit Operation Hope, which helps consumers improve credit scores, is kicking in $20 million, and Shopify, the online e-commerce is adding another $130 million for the loans and website-hosting services.

Other services firms providing expertise or help include Aprio, an Atlanta-based accounting firm, and First Horizon Bank.

It’s a package of products that many Black entrepreneurs couldn’t get through a bank or credit union, said John Hope Bryant, CEO of Operation Hope.

“A bank won’t lend you money unless you can prove that you don’t need it,” Bryant said. “That’s especially true with minority-owned small businesses.”

Small businesses with Black owners were half as likely to obtain business loans as whites, according to a Federal Reserve survey published earlier this year.

The initiative is the latest effort to help Black consumers and businesses enter the financial mainstream. Earlier this month, a group that includes rapper Killer Mike opened a digital bank aimed at Black and Latino consumers.

Banks and credit unions have tried for years to help Black consumers open checking and savings accounts. The efforts helped, as the number of U.S. households without bank accounts fell to 5.4% in 2019 from 6.5% in 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Monday.

Consumers who own checking and savings accounts typically have access loans with better rates and a wider variety of financial services.

The federal government’s $660 billion loan initiative for businesses hit by COVID-19, the Paycheck Protection Program, also helped few Black-owned businesses, Bryant said. PPP loans were based on a company’s number of employees and its rent obligations. many Black-owned small businesses typically didn’t have enough workers to qualify and are based out of the owner’s residence.

Bryant said a bad credit history may not prevent applicants from receiving a loan.

He hopes more companies will contribute services such as insurance advice or software typically available only to well-established businesses.

Bryant noted that 1MBB is not a charitable organization, as participating companies like Shopify will likely get a pipeline of new business customers through the program.

“This is not pure philanthropy,” he said. “Shopify believes that Black-owned businesses are good businesses if they’re properly supported.”

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This Week’s Top Car Deals & Analysis – October 30, 2020

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The final days of October offer a chance to take advantage of outstanding model year-end deals. Most offers end November 2, which means there isn’t much time left to enjoy this month’s best lease deals and deepest new car discounts. We even found incentives that can help those with bad credit buy a new or used car.

2021 car deals. Interestingly, 2021 new car incentives are showing some surprises. For example, Audi is already offering up to $12,000 in savings when leasing the 2021 e-tron all-electric crossover. We even learned that the new Genesis GV80 SUV will debut with a $589/month lease deal plus special financing rates.

Believe it or not, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N could prove to be a great value despite a nearly $4,700 price increase compared to the previous year. That’s because our analysis finds that better incentives can make it just $10/month more expensive to lease than the 2020 model. Talk about getting more for your money.

Why are small cars bad to lease? Even though smaller cars typically come with lower price tags, that isn’t always the case when leasing. A mix of lower discounts, worse residual values, and smaller discounts can actually make a Nissan Altima cheaper than a Versa despite having an almost $10,000 difference in MSRP.

Shorter-mileage leases. More brands are offering shorter mileage allowances on car leases. Although this is typically used to offer consumers more flexibility, we’ve found cases in which you can end up getting less for your money. If you don’t read all the fine print, this could make comparison-shopping difficult.

Bad credit car deals. If you have subprime credit, you may find it harder to get financed. However, some manufacturers are offering special incentives to help make cars & trucks more affordable. For example, Chevy is offering $2,000 in down payment assistance plus 9.9% APR for 72 months on the 2020 Trax.

$0 down leases. If you’re adamant about now putting down any money on a lease, you’ll love Sign & Drive leases. In addition to requiring no money down, $0 down lease deals can cover your first month’s payment. Even hot sellers like the Honda CR-V Hybrid offer $0 down and as little as $330/month on a lease.

The high cost of safety? Even though most major automakers are offering more safety features than ever before, our analysis finds that the highest IIHS safety ratings still require costly options in 2020. That’s starting to change, but the cost of buying a car with the most bragging rights is still very high.

Disaster relief. Those affected by some of this year’s natural disasters should be aware that automakers are offering assistance. California wildfire assistance programs like Ford Employee Pricing can save thousands when replacing a car. Similarly, a 2020 hurricane relief program from GM offers $1,000 in savings.

Spooky loan situations. There are some scary scenarios you can avoid when getting a car loan. However, boosting your credit score is possible with some determination because negative items on your credit report fall off after 7 years. Our network of dealers is specially equipped to help those with bad credit.

Upcoming vehicles. Genesis finally revealed the new GV70, a small luxury crossover based on the highly-rated G70 sedan. Whether it’s a redesigned car, truck, or SUV, odds are you’ll find it on our Previews page. That said, as we reported last week, discounts ahead of a redesign can result in substantial savings.

This Month’s Cheapest Lease Deals »



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Why bad credit doesn’t have to be a life sentence

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No matter if they’re bad or good, credit scores affect everyone’s lives.

Still, for many people, by the time they’ve learned the importance of having good credit, it may be too late.

“If you’ve had late payments, it would take 24 months of on-time payments to rectify the situation,” Jax Federal Credit Union Interim President Mary Svoboda said.

Svoboda said paying someone who claims they can fix your credit quickly is a waste of money.

“It can cost you several hundred dollars, and you can do it yourself,” she said.

Svoboda says those quick-fix businesses check your credit report for discrepancies and then dispute them. She explains how you can do it on your own instead.

“Check your credit report,” she said. “If there is something, it’s very easy to dispute it directly with the lender or through the online process with the credit bureaus. So you don’t need to pay for that.”

If there is any silver lining from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that all three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and Transunion — allow anyone to check their credit every week without any penalties. Before, you could only do that three times a year.

Svoboda added that Experian now offers a credit boosting service that is free and can help boost your score.

“The credit report would be linked up to your bank account and through your bank account they could see you have regular deposits and you pay your utility bill and your mobile bill on time, things like that,” she said.

Svoboda said some of the most common pitfalls she sees when it comes to credit is people have too many credit cards. She said that should be avoided when you start building credit.

“Sometimes it’s horrible, you see people that have 20 or 30 credit cards, so that is not a good idea,” she said.

That should all be avoided when you start building credit.

If you want to build credit but need some help living within your means, Svoboda recommends getting what’s called a secured credit card. It’s like a debit card in that you can only spend what’s in your account. But unlike a debit card, a secured credit card builds credit.

What if you’re taking steps to fix your credit but can’t wait and need a loan now?

“Right now, what I would encourage someone to do is if you don’t really have any credit, bring me your bank statements and show me, ‘Look at this. I have made a $600 rent payment for the first of the month for a year.’ I’ll say, ‘Let’s do this loan,’” Svoboda said.

While you’re rebuilding your credit score, Svoboda says you should care about it, make it important, and check it. Because a bad credit score doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

We’d like to hear from you

Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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