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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , FTC Scam Bingo, insurance fraud, , staged accident   

    Phony relief checks and more coronavirus scams 

    Phony relief checks and more coronavirus scams

    Scams related to the current coronavirus pandemic have not subsided in the least. If anything, they’re ramping up with old scams getting a new coat of paint with a coronavirus slant. Here are some more scams that we have found in the news dealing with covid-19.

    The US Attorney’s Office and the IRS are warning about scams related to the coronavirus relief payments. We’ve already covered some of those scams at this link. More recently, these offices have also mentioned that fake checks may be sent out by scammers designed to look like authentic checks. They warn that fake checks may be made out in an unusual amount. Actual government relief payments should be at a rounded dollar amount and not have any cents in the payment. These phony checks may also ask you to call a number or go to a website to verify the check. This is also a scam designed to steal your personal and financial information. As has been noted previously, most of the relief payments will be deposited directly into your bank account.

    Coronavirus scams have gotten so out of hand that the Federal Trade Commission is asking people to make a game out of it but one that can teach others about the scams. On their website, the FTC has what they’re calling an FTC Scam Bingo Card. They’re asking that if you’ve been approached in one or more of these scams to mark it off on their bingo card and share it to social media using the hashtag #FTCScamBingo. The more people who know about these scams the less likely they are to become a victim.

    A copy of the FTC Scam Bingo Card (click for larger)

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning about various insurance frauds related to coronavirus but one particular one caught our eye that is related to social distancing and it’s the staged accident scam. The most common one is known as the ‘Swoop and Squat’. This is when there are a pair of cars and one gets beside you while the other one gets in front of you and stops suddenly causing a rear-end collision. With social distancing and quarantines put in place the scammers are hoping that they’ll be fewer victims for these accidents. The best way to protect yourself against these scammers is to get a dashboard camera and to always get the police involved in any vehicular collision that warrants it.

    If you see a coronavirus testing site that has popped up overnight, it may not be legitimate. The City of Louisville, Kentucky recently had to deal with three popup testing sites that the city classified as scams. These testing sites were not working with the state and could have potentially been committing health insurance fraud. If you see one of these testing sites, contact your local city government to see if they’re legitimate or not.

    Lastly, in South Carolina college students were contacted and asked to take place in a vaccine trial for the coronavirus. While pharmaceutical trials are a real procedure done in conjunction with medical facilities, there are currently no trials going on for a coronavirus vaccine. We imagine this may have been another scam designed to steal personal information.

    Again, we’d like to remind you that this has been a boom period for scammers. Please don’t let the fears surrounding coronavirus push you into making bad decisions that you’ll regret later.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Cash App scams are on the rise 

    Cash App scams are on the rise

    If you’ve never heard of Cash App, it’s a payment app in the vein of other apps like PayPal and Venmo. It’s generally supposed to be used between friends and family to easily send them money. In order to better market their business, Cash App has giveaways that they call ‘Cash App Friday’ that use the hashtag #CashAppFridays on social media. The giveaways from Cash App and their parent company Square have been reported as being from around $100-$500. Many Cash App users have been bailed out of some serious financial situations from Cash App’s giveaways but whenever someone does good there are always those looking to take advantage of the situation.

    With the current ongoing crisis, many people are finding themselves in dire straits financially. Some are willing to grasp at any glimpse of hope for a way out of their circumstance. That’s where the Cash App scammers come in. On social media, they’ll post that they’ll give you money through Cash App if you just pay them a lesser amount. For example, a scammer may promise to pay you $500 if you give them $50 through Cash App. As you might expect, once the scammer has your money the victim receives nothing in return. This practice is known as ‘cash flipping’ but in reality, nothing is flipped. The scammers will use the #CashAppFridays hashtag to find victims for their scam. To make matters worse, the Cash App scammers are now using hashtags related to the coronavirus pandemic to try to lure in even more victims.

    As we have said before, this scam is akin to handing your money to a stranger on the street who promised you $50 for $5. You wouldn’t do it then so why give your money to strangers on the internet? As much as we’d like to believe that there are wealthy good samaritans online looking to help the little guy, the reality is there aren’t. While the amounts lost by victims may seem small, that might have been their next meal for their family or gas in their car. These apps should only be used for exchanging money between friends and family and not random people online promising you money.

    (H/T Quartz)

  • Geebo 7:19 am on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Nextdoor, ,   

    Romance scams are not just for dating sites 

    Romance scams are not just for dating sites

    With everyone social distancing more people are turning to online methods of communication to stay in touch with each other. Some are even going online to make new friends that could assist them during the current crisis. Once again, the scammers are there looking to take advantage of people’s emotions during this trying time. They’re also using new avenues to achieve this.

    When we talk about romance scams, they usually start on dating sites or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It seems that some romance scammers are taking to unconventional platforms to find victims. For example, the New York Times is reporting about an attempted romance scam that started on If you’re unfamiliar with Nextdoor, it’s a platform that helps people stay informed with what’s going on in their own neighborhood. Local residents can post questions or concerns about what’s happening in their neck of the woods. In many cases, cities also use Nextdoor to get important news out to citizens.

    In at least one woman’s case, a scammer used Nextdoor to try to ensnare his victim in a romance scam. The scammer told the woman that he lived on a specific street in her neighborhood and started pouring on the charm. It wasn’t too long that the scammer asked if they could communicate outside of Nextdoor. Soon after, the scammer started making excuses for why he couldn’t meet the woman in person. Then the pitch finally came.

    At first, the scammer started small asking the woman for a $100 Netflix gift card. The scammer claimed that he was on assignment in Europe. Then the scam ramped up rather quickly with the scammer asking for $2600 for tools that he had supposedly lost for his job. It was at this point that the woman realized she was being scammed and blocked the scammer. She was only out $100 but others have not been so lucky usually losing thousands of dollars.

    Anybody can pretend to be somebody else online. In most romance scams, the picture the scammers use will have been taken from someone else. If you suspect a scammer, try doing a reverse image search to see if the picture is being used elsewhere. If someone claims to be working overseas, they probably live there. And if they ask for money without meeting then it’s definitely a scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corona Antivirus, , , , medical fraud, , , quarantine,   

    Kickbacks and more coronavirus scams

    We thought by now that we might be seeing a decline in new scams related to the coronavirus pandemic but we are woefully mistaken. With more recent news, it seems like the scams are still on the rise.

    Medical fraud is one of the more common scams in the United States. Often, many dishonest medical providers will order unnecessary tests in order to either defraud healthcare insurance carriers or get kickbacks from the testing facilities. A Georgia man who ran a marketing company was recently arrested by the FBI for accepting kickbacks from medical testing companies for referring people to these companies to get unnecessary covid-19 testing. We keep hearing about how testing materials are scarce and are only available for the worst cases yet here is a man wasting them for the sake of greed.

    If this next scam didn’t involve covid-19 it might have almost been funny. However, leading antimalware maker Malwarebytes is reporting that there is a fake app out there calling itself ‘Corona Antivirus’. The fake app claims that if you install this app on your computer it will protect you from the actual coronavirus. If only it were that easy. Corona Antivirus is actually a piece of malware that could do a number of unpleasant things to your device.

    In the state of Washington, at least one police department is warning residents of a quarantine scam. Residents there have complained they’ve been getting calls from someone claiming to be the local police. The scammer tells the victim that they’ve been reported for violating the quarantine and must pay a fine over the phone before asking for your financial information. Police will never call you to ask you to pay for a fine over the phone.

    If you see images on social media that look like tweets from President Obama or President Trump stating that you’re eligible for $1,000 from PayPal, it’s a fake. The images had been circulating on Instagram before the accounts posting the images were pulled. Neither PayPal nor any other payment app is offering free money.

    In Illinois, a woman had her home robbed after she let a man into her house claiming to be an inspector. The man claimed he was a plumber and said he needed to check the water because people in the area contracted covid-19 form the water supply. The CDC states that covid-19 has not been detected in drinking water.

    Lastly. we’d like to remind you that if you’re receiving a coronavirus relief payment, you do not have to sign up for anything. If you filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019 and received your refund through direct deposit, the relief payment will be deposited into the bank account that the IRS has on file. There is nothing anyone can do to make the payment get to you faster. So if someone claims that they can get you the payment faster, they’re trying to scam you. Please do not give out any of your financial information to people you don’t know.

    Again, this has become a boom period for scammers. Don’t let the fear of coronavirus push you into making bad decisions that could cost you later.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    What you need to know about coronavirus relief checks 

    What you need to know about coronavirus relief checks

    This past week, the US Government finally approved economic relief checks for most Americans to help them financially through the current pandemic. While there is still no timetable for receiving the checks, there has been a lot of clarification about other details regarding the payments.

    Thie big question is outside of the date of the payment is how much am I getting? If you make $75,000 or less you should receive the full payment of $1200. Couples who file a joint tax return and made less than $150,000 combined will receive $2400. For every $100 you make over the $75,000 threshold, your payment will be reduced by $5. If you make more than $99,000 as an individual or more than $198,000 as a couple, you will not be receiving a payment.

    If your last tax refund was sent to your bank account through a direct deposit, you’ll receive the relief payment the same way. If you receive any Social Security benefits, your payment will be received the same way. There is no form to submit and you don’t have to sign up for anything else. If you meet neither of these requirements, a paper check will be sent to your last known address. Keep in mind that paper checks may take significantly longer to get to you than direct deposit. If you’re homeless or a disabled vet, you’ll still be eligible for a relief payment but the details on how to receive your payment have not been ironed out yet. For future updates on the relief payments, you can go to the Coronavirus Tax Relief website that’s run by the IRS.

    Remember, we’ve already seen scams when it comes to getting your payment. Keep in mind that the IRS will not call you about your payment and you do not have to make any payment to get your check. Anybody who says that they can get your check to you faster than usual is trying to scam you in order to get your personal information for identity theft or your financial information to steal from you. If you receive one of these phone calls, do not engage with the scammer and do not give them any information.

    For most taxpayers, all you’ll have to do for your relief payment is wait.

    (H/T NBC News)

    • Susan 3:53 am on April 2, 2020 Permalink

      If receiving Social Security Disability will it go on the card they have issued you ??

    • Geebo 8:24 am on April 2, 2020 Permalink

      All the announcements that we have read concerning the relief payments say that the payment will go to the recipient’s bank account. However, you may want to keep an eye on for further information.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bills, DoNotPay, rent   

    Does this app help you get extensions on late bills? 

    Does this app help you get extensions on late bills?

    With the current crisis, many people have found themselves struggling to make ends meet. While many companies and landlords have taken the current economic climate into account many others have not. This has left a lot of people not only fearing for their well-being but also leaving them feeling like they have no recourse in the matter. A lot of people can’t afford legal representation in the best of times but now that seems so out of reach. That’s where an app for your smartphone can possibly help you navigate the rough legal waters you may now be facing.

    DoNotPay is an app that is an AI-assisted program that offers legal counseling for $3 a month. It was originally designed to help people fight parking tickets but has since added services that include canceling free trials for you, dealing with robocalls, getting the best deals on airline tickets, and initializing lawsuits in small claims court. Now, the app is offering a service that will reach out to companies or landlords and ask for extensions if you fall behind in your bills due to the pandemic. If the first request is denied, DoNotPay will send out a second request citing state and local laws if they apply.

    While DoNotPay may offer hope in a time where hope seems to be in short supply, it is not a guarantee that it will be successful in getting you any extensions. However, it may be a very good start for people who need such help. Unfortunately, it’s only available on Apple’s iOS operating system. If you do not own an Apple device, try reaching out to a relative or friend who may own an iPad or iPhone who would be willing to let you borrow the device or who will run the app for you.

    (H/T to The Verge)

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams 

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams

    We think it goes without saying that the global coronavirus pandemic has launched a new boom period for scammers. Not only have old scams increased with new coronavirus twists, but new scams are popping up all the time now. Scammers and con artists are now taking every opportunity they can to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty that comes with this crisis.

    With the current travel restrictions and advisories in place, many people are finding it difficult to shop for their weekly groceries. Some scammers are posing as good samaritans offering grocery delivery service. The majority of these scammers are targeting senior citizens. The scammers will then ask for your payment information before making off with it. Many supermarkets and delivery services are now offering free delivery to seniors. You can check with your local retailers to see what services may be available to you.

    Speaking of groceries, many people are now without jobs because of the pandemic are finding it difficult to even pay for groceries for themselves or their families. Now, a text message scam is taking advantage of that desperation. Reports say that there are text messages going around claiming to offer recipients emergency money for groceries. As with most text messaging scams, the text contains a link that if you click on it, you’ll be taken to a website that could either steal your personal information or inject malware into your device. Never click on links sent from strangers no matter how tempting the offer may be. We know it’s cliche at this point but if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Previously, we’ve discussed scammers going door to door offering home covid-19 inspections. Now, more scammers are going door to door posing as workers from either the Red Cross or the Centers for Disease Control offering covid-19 testing. Some of these scammers are even dressed in lab coats to further perpetrate the scam. Neither of these organizations are testing people at their homes. The scammers want you to simply pay a fee for a phony test that could actually put you in danger.

    To keep up with the latest coronavirus scams you can see our previous posts on the matter or check with the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

  • Geebo 8:10 am on March 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mail fraud, ,   

    Social Security Office warns of new scam 

    Social Security Office warns of new scam

    It’s difficult to find a scam these days that isn’t somehow related to today’s global crisis. Many of these scams have been targeting either the elderly or the underprivileged. The scam we’re discussing today does both.

    The Social Security Office of the Inspector General is warning recipients of a new scam. Due to the current pandemic, many local Social Security offices have been temporarily closed. Social Security itself is still open and functioning. However, scammers have been trying to take advantage of the possible confusion. The scammers have been sending official-looking letters in the mail claiming that Social Security benefits will be terminated or suspended unless they call a phone number contained in the letter. It’s during this call where the scammers will either try to get your personal information or try to get you to make some form of payment. Scammers will try to get victims to pay using such untraceable methods like gift cards, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, or even mailing cash.

    While using pandemic fears as a catalyst is new, this is a twist on a scam we’ve seen used before. Scammers are constantly looking for Social Security recipients to intimidate into thinking their benefits are about to be cut off. In the past, they’ve told victims that their benefits will be suspended because the victim’s Social Security number was used during a crime.

    According to the Social Security Office, they will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefits during the current crisis. Also please keep in mind that Social Security will never threaten you with arrest or ask you for a payment in any of the aforementioned ways. If you receive any kind of notice threatening suspension of benefits, it’s more than likely a scam. If someone were to receive one of these notices, you’re asked to report it to Social Security at their website.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Scammers threaten to shut off your power 

    Scammers threaten to shut off your power

    Leave it to the con artists to leave no stone unturned during these difficult times. With economic uncertainty looming over the nation, scammers are once again trying to prey upon that fear to try to steal your money. With so many people losing their jobs either temporarily or permanently there are many among us who legitimately have to worry about paying their utilities. The scammers have taken it upon themselves to try to leverage this fear to their financial advantage.

    Scammers have been calling people posing as a local utility company. They’re sophisticated enough that when they call it looks like the call is actually coming from the utility companies. They’ll then threaten that service will be terminated if payment isn’t made right then and there. They’ll call many random numbers hoping to get the homes that are actually concerned about their service. The scammers will even try to pressure their victims into making a payment by saying that the service will be shut off within 30 minutes. This way they can get their victims into a panic and not have them take a moment to think about what’s really going on.

    The majority of utility companies will not call you to tell you that service is being terminated. They will send several notices in the mail before service is terminated. However, with the trying time that we’re all in right now, many utility companies have suspended terminating any services during the current crisis. If you are concerned about a vital service to your home being cut off, check with your local utility company to see if they have a grace period in effect currently.

    We’re all a little scared right now. We shouldn’t have to live in fear of these scammers. Hopefully, with the information we provide you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cattle ranchers, , , , , ,   

    More coronavirus scams to watch out for 

    More coronavirus scams to watch out for

    Before we get started, we here at hope that you and your family are coping during these trying times. Unfortunately, we have several new scams that are trying to take advantage of all of us during this global pandemic.

    In the past week, there have been a number of reports claiming that some scammers have been going door to door offering to do home covid-19 inspections for a fee. In some cases, these scammers have even posed as hospital employees. These are not legitimate services and you could be allowing bad actors into your home. If you encounter a scammer like this it is recommended that you decline their services and contact your local police.

    Previously, we’ve discussed how phony coronavirus websites are on the rise. Now, there is at least one Android app that’s trying to capitalize on the recent wave of panic. At first, you’ll receive a random text offering you safety masks. The text message will contain a link that will download an app to your device. However, the app will hijack your contacts list and send texts with the same message to everyone in your contacts. There is also the probability that the app will install some form of malware to your device. Even in times of solace, you shouldn’t be clicking on random links sent to you by strangers through text messages or emails.

    Some scammers are still trying to push ‘miracle cures’ for the coronavirus onl9ine. One such scam purported to be a Fox News article claiming that a CBD oil treatment can be used to prevent coronavirus. While CBD oil may have benefits for certain conditions, there is no evidence to suggest that covid-19 is one of those conditions. While progress is being made, there is still currently no vaccine or cure for covid-19.

    Lastly, there is apparently no field or demographic that the coronavirus scammers won’t target. In this particular scam, even cattle ranchers are being scammed. These cattle farmers are being targeted by scammers with high-pressure tactics that now is the best time to sell their cattle because of the pandemic. The scammers will then send phony checks to the ranchers that are over the amount the ranchers were asking for. The scammers will then ask for the difference back once the rancher cashes the check. By the time the bank realizes the check is a fake, the scammers will have disappeared and the rancher will be responsible for the amount of the check to their bank.

    The scams have gotten so bad around the country that many state and federal task forces are being deployed to combat these scams.

    While we should be helping each other to the best of our abilities during this unprecedented crisis, you should also have the knowledge to protect yourself from scammers.

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