Stay away from student loan spam and dishonest ads

Many scammers occupy the Internet with spam and fake ads promising renegotiation of any student loan.

No matter if you are a student or not, you cannot avoid them. Student loan spam is reaching every day your mailbox. You probably don’t pay attention to those e-mails expect may be if you are a student struggling with your loans. Or if you are a student close to a student loan default.

Spam leading to phishing

On the image below, you can see an example of what this spam looks like.

student loan spam
credit : 1sc.org

If you click on one of the proposed links, you will be redirected to a website asking for questions about you and your loan status. Then, you are invited to check your credit score on another website, which appears to be a classical credit card phishing attempt.

credit : 1sc.org
credit : 1sc.org

Spam leading to undue fees

One alternative for scammers about student loan spam is to pretend to be able to propose a renegotiated loan to student. By before getting a new loan, the scammer pretend you must pay application fees.

If a student loan renegotiation website seems professional and trusty, run away immediately when they ask you to pay fees ! During any loan process, the borrowers will never be asked to give money in order to receive money.

If you pay those advanced fees, the scammer will disappeared with your money. Or he will find a reason to ask you for more fees. In both cases you will not get a new loan. And you will get in deeper trouble as you will lose money whereas you probably don’t have a lot if you need a loan…

Dishonest ads

Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), sent letters to major internet companies Google, Yahoo and Bing to do something to prevent student loan scams. Especially about dishonest ads targeting students and leading them to scams.

Do not trust the e-mails you receive or the ads you see on the Internet promising to renegotiate your loan. Those are scams !

PCS mastercard. Why do scammers love them ?

Scammers often ask their victims to send money in the form of  PCS mastercard refill coupon.

pcs mastercard
pcs mastercard

Many of you come to 1sc.org after a request concerning the PCS MasterCard in your Internet search engine. Most of the time, you had never heard of PCS mastercard before.

What is behind that name? And why has it become the preferred tool for scammers to make you sending money to them ?

The PCS mastercard is a payment tool, which looks like a credit card. It also has much in common with a classic credit card as your traditional bank can deliver you. With a PCS mastercard, it is both possible to pay any merchant that accepts credit cards and withdraw money in from the whole affiliated Mastercard network, i.e. almost all ATM machines.

Benefits the crooks have clearly understood

The main difference between a credit card from your bank and a PCS mastercard is that the former is not connected to any bank account and then is completely anonymous. You can buy it in any PCS sales point worldwide without having to provide any identity.

This is already a great advantage for those who want to remain discreet under some barely lawful operations. But this is not the only advantage. PCS mastercards are being credited by PCS refill coupons, also easily available worldwide.

In the manner of a gift card or phone recharge, a PCS card refill coupon is credited with a certain amount. The PCS card is recharged by entering the code on the refill coupon. This is convenient for honest users who have a way to get a payment card with expense limited by the amount credited through those refill coupons. No way to make an overdraft.

But it is also a very interesting aspect for scammers. Indeed, in correspondence with their victims, scammers ask their targets to buy refill coupons and send them the code. In this way, scammers credit their PCS card with money from their victims. This is anonymous and irreversible, it is then impossible for victims to get refunded or find the crooks afterwards

A PCS mastercard can be a great payment tool for honest users, but is also a good tool for scammers to receive money during Internet scams. Our best advice is to run away as soon as a person met on the Internet asks you to send money via PCS card refill coupons.

Google launch Password Alert against phishing attempts

A new extension called “password alert” warns the internet user when entering a gmail password on a phishing webpage.

password alert from Google

To fight against phishing attempts, Google has released an extension for its Chrome browser called “password alert”

People often think that hacking is the prerogative of computer nerds who implement highly technical computer codes to enter secure servers. But the reality is much simpler.

The most effective way to know a password is still… to ask for it

This is called phishing. Who has never received an e-mail from someone pretending to be your bank, your tax, or your Internet Service Provider, asking you to send your password?

And it works! Recent hacking of Sony website is a very good example of spear phishing. Spear phishing is an alternative of the usual phishing attempt with personalized emails targeting some specific people inside the company.

To fight against this scourge, Google has just created an extension available only for Chrome. Chrome being the homemade browser of the famous search engine.

During the installation of “password alert”, a “scrambled version of your password is stored on your computer”. This is what is stated in the presentation of the extension. Then “password alert” compares it with what you may type during your stay on the internet.

In other words, if you enter your gmail password on a web page that is not authenticated as a login page to the Google services, the extension “password alert” will show on your screen a message, similar to the image of the article. The extension then prompts you to change your gmail password before it can be used fraudulently.

Although the extension “password alert” appears, at least theoretically, a new step against phishing attempts, it presents some limitations. It only works on Chrome and it only works with your gmail password, it will not work if you use another email service.