Tag Archives: Washington

Department of Motor Vehicles warns customers of past due ticket phishing scam in DC

Phishing Scam Related to DC Photo Enforcement Tickets

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles is warning customers about a phishing scam to collect money from past due tickets. In an email from  info@localmailserver.info, customers are being told that they have a Notice of Unsatisfied Photo Enforcement Ticket. The notice also directs customs to click the link to “Lost Traffic Tickets.”  Anyone receiving this email should not click the link or reply with personal information.

Photo Enforcement tickets are mailed through the United States Postal Service to the address of record based on the tag number. Also, DC DMV mails the Notice of Unsatisfied Photo Enforcement Ticket, and it contains specific information on how to contest the ticket by submitting a request for adjudication. DC DMV only contacts customers via email if they have registered for DC DMV’s email ticket alert system. Then, they will receive an email notifying them to log into their account when there is a ticket update.

Customers who receive this email notice should report it to the Federal Trade Commission, which has detailed information for consumers on how to handle phishing scams.



California's top tech officer: Don't click on phishing links

To: California state workers

Subject: Watch what you click

The state’s top technology officer is reminding California public employees to protect their workplaces from hackers as she seeks to shore up cyber security weaknesses that were revealed in a harsh audit a year ago.

That education campaign, coupled with a new cyber security threat monitoring center, are at the heart of Department of Technology Director Amy Tong’s response to a report that warned state databases were “vulnerable to unauthorized use, disclosure or disruption.”

In some cases, the way to protect those sources may be as “rudimentary” advising employees not to “click on the phishing email that opens the door” to a hacker, said Tong, a 22-year veteran of state government who was appointed to her post in June.

“The remediation we’re talking about is training people better,” she said.

Her reminder follows an August 2015 report from state Auditor Elaine Howle that found 73 of 77 state departments indicated in a survey that they were not in compliance with cyber security standards, a finding that suggested medical records and Social Security numbers in state databases could be at risk.

Several large departments that maintain sensitive data, including CalPERS and CalSTRS, did not respond to the survey. Eight departments told auditors they would need at least until 2020 to bring their employees up to speed with the latest standards.

The state attorney general’s office, meanwhile, highlighted the stakes in February when it released a report that documented more than 650 breaches of state databases since 2012. The agency reported those breaches affected records pertaining to as many as 24 million Californians in 2015.

Tong in a roundtable with reporters on Wednesday said she’s aiming to help different state agencies become “more self-sufficient” in protecting themselves from cyber attacks.

“It is the top priority I’m going to be working in leading the department of technology,” she said.

Her department is one of four that are participating in a new cyber security threat monitoring center that opened in June, 10 months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order calling for its creation.

The California Cybersecurity Integration Center also draws from the Office of Emergency Services, California Highway Patrol and National Guard soldiers on active-duty assignments. It mirrors a similar program in Washington state, where National Guard soldiers have audited cyber security weaknesses for local governments.

At the center, Tong said officers are able to watch different networks and respond quickly if they see a threat that could compromise a government agency and pursue a criminal investigation if they can identify a culprit. They also collaborate with federal agents at the Department of Homeland Security.



IRS tax cons, phishing and how to avoid getting scammed

WASHINGTON — You just returned from a busy day at the office, when you receive a threatening voicemail.  Your caller ID says it’s the IRS, and someone filed a fake tax return on your behalf, wanting to claim your refund.

They ask you to call back with your Social Security number to verify your identity before discussing further.  What do you do?

If you recognized that the person on the phone is more likely an identity thief than an IRS agent, you’re right.  Tax scams are on the rise, with phishing up 400 percent in the 2016.

Here’s what to watch out for and how to protect yourself:

IRS phone scams

Aggressive phone calls by criminals pretending to be IRS agents are a common scam.  They will often pretend to verify your tax information over the phone to glean more personal information about you, which they will then use against you.

There are various ways in which they do this.  They may say that they need to verify some personal details in order to process your tax refund.  Or they could read back your personal information, which they obtained elsewhere, to add credibility before asking for personal or bank information.  They may even claim that you owe taxes, and threaten court action, arrests, deportations and fines if you don’t pay up and send money.

Scammers now have the ability to “spoof” a caller ID to appear as if the call is coming directly from the IRS.

Remember: The IRS will never call, text, email, or contact you by social media to ask for personal information or demand immediate payment.  Nor will they ask for your credit, debit or bank information on the phone.

If the “IRS” calls you and you haven’t received any official notice in the mail stating that you owe taxes, hang up immediately.  When in doubt, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040, and they can help clarify your situation.

Tax email phishing scams 

Taxpayers are being targeted with emails that look and feel like they’re direct from the IRS or an IRS official.  These may include an IRS logo or even a spoofed email address that looks like it’s from a @irs.gov domain.  It may appear similar to this.

Individuals are even reporting emails that appear to be from third-party, legitimate organizations (like TurboTax or other tax software companies) with “unclaimed tax refunds,” trying to trick victims into providing their personal, Social Security numbers or financial information.  These emails normally contain a link where individuals are directed to go and input their info.

These sites could also contain malware or computer viruses that could otherwise infiltrate your system and compromise your information.

Remember: Never click on links or attachments you receive via email that could compromise your personal information, or emails that come from an unconfirmed source.  If you receive a suspicious-looking email regarding your tax situation, forward it to phishing@irs.gov to report it.

What to do if you’re scammed

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS, or receive fraudulent emails requesting personal information that could compromise your tax situation, there are a few things you can do:

  • Forward any phishing emails to phishing@irs.gov, and delete the email immediately.
  • Call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 to determine if they have a legitimate need to contact you.
  • If you receive a letter in the mail, go to the IRS home page and search for the form number referenced on the letter. If it’s legitimate, you will find instructions on how to contact the IRS directly: if that information is different from the letter, contact the IRS immediately to notify them.
  • Go to the IRS site for more information.

If you are victim of tax identity theft, notify your CPA immediately so they can help with notifying the IRS.  The Federal Trade Commission also has great resources and a step-by-step guide on their website for how to recover from identity theft.

Read more about tax identity theft on Glassman Wealth Services’ website.

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