Government Shutdown_Cyber Thieves and Scams_300Watch out for a deluge of online scams promising great deals as a result of the current Government shutdown. They’re promising anything from unbelievably cheap cars to cheap health care plans under the new Affordable Care Act commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”  Online scams are in the form of fake websites, email spammers, and even phone calls or text messages.  The cyber thieves’ goals can be to obtain personal information, credit cards numbers, and even so far as to attempt to con you into a wire transfer from your bank account.

Symantec’s security website issued a warning of spammers using fake headers to get past email filters and get seemingly official and legitimate offers to your inbox.  Watch out for emails promising deals as a result of the Government shutdown and clearance sales on fleet vehicles, cars and trucks.  For that matter it is wise to be suspicious of any offer involving special deals as a result of the shutdown.  Be cautious of anyone who emails you and question why they would have your email. Spammers are able to spoof commonly known email headers and even people you know personally.

Government Shutdown_Cyber Thieves and Scams_120As a general rule never give your personal information such as name, address or phone number let alone more private information such as social security number, family names and employment information to any stranger who calls you on the phone no matter how official they sound.  If it’s a company name you recognize, hang up and call them back at their listed number to verify the caller.

U.S. CapitolThe Government shutdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for those shopping for health insurance this week.  Starting October 1 the Health Insurance Exchange went live.  Scam artists are taking full advantage of the overwhelming response and confusion associated with this new provision of the Affordable Care Act.  Not only are the various exchanges inconsistent with their security protocols they are so new there that it’s easy for cyber thieves to take advantage of the confusion and lure people into a fake site to steal their personal information and even their money.

Trend Micro, a computer security company, has published warnings for consumers. The best way to avoid healthcare scams associated with the Affordable care Act is to head directly to the Federal Government website to either find the sites directly or verify the authenticity of sites you might find from a search engine such as Google or Bing.

Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Scam artists and cyber thieves will always jump in and take advantage of the confusion surrounding situations such as the Government shutdown and the newest provisions of the Affordable Care Act to make a quick buck at your expense. Be careful of such offers, verify the source and authenticity of anything that requires your personal or private information, and be suspicious of all emails that include links to websites or phone numbers with a too good to be true offer.