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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Don’t buy a sick pet for Christmas 

    Don't buy a sick pet for Christmas

    With the holiday shopping season upon us, many people are probably thinking about purchasing a pet for their family for Christmas. This decision should not be taken lightly. Pets should only be bought for immediate family members after a long discussion about pet ownership. Buying a pet for someone who might not want one could saddle someone with a decades-long burden they may not want. For example, you may not want to buy a rambunctious puppy for your elderly grandmother. That could result in disaster. Sadly, there’s an even more heartbreaking reason you may want to reconsider buying a pet for Christmas.

    We can’t stress this enough but never buy a pet online. Usually, there are two types of scams that involve buying pets online. The first one is where the scammer takes your money and the pet doesn’t really exist. The second is the even more heartbreaking one where backyard breeders or puppy mills sell you a terminally ill puppy. A quite disturbing report recently surfaced out of Southern California where a pair of people were selling puppies on various online marketplaces. Many of the puppies they ended up selling allegedly had already contracted the deadly parvovirus. This left many families devastated and in debt after having to pay for expensive emergency veterinarian services.

    As always, when it comes to buying a new pet, we always recommend going to your local shelter first. Not only will you be bringing your family a new member but you’ll also be giving an abandoned pet a new and loving home. If you have your heart set on a purebred dog there are shelters that do have them. However, if you’re going to the professional breeder route try sticking to licensed and local breeders. Anyone claiming to be a breeder and offering you a purebred pet at a too good to be true rate probably doesn’t have the pet’s best interest at heart.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Always check your charity 

    Always check your charity

    This time of year, many charities see increases in donations due to the giving spirit of the holidays. However, there are some organizations posing as charities that might not help who they claim to. Recently, police in North Carolina have been warning residents about a charity they believe to be a scam. To make matters even worse, the charity claims to assist the homeless and victims of domestic violence. These are people who are at their most vulnerable and probably need our donations the most. Yet there are those who are willing to exploit their plight in order to make a profit.

    Residents of Cornelius, North Carolina, which is just outside of Charlotte, have been reporting that they’ve found pink bags stuck in their doors. The bags are said to be for clothing donations that would help the homeless and domestic violence victims. It’s not just North Carolina where these bags have popped up either. Other reports have shown the bags showing up all over the Southeast. Some reports have gone as far as to say that the charity is selling the donations for profit. There have also been other accusations saying the charity is actually exploiting those they’re supposed to be helping by making them work in a call center to solicit more donations. The Better Business Bureau has said that this group is a charity but not a very good one.

    While researching this story all it took was a quick web search to find out many of the problems various states have had with this charity. Anytime you’re solicited by a charity that you haven’t heard of, it’s always best if you research them first before donating any money or goods. There are many families who are homeless or in domestic violence shelters at any time of the year. However, this time of the year is especially bad for them. If you feel the need to help them during the holidays, please contact your local shelters to see how you can help.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    The secret shopper scam returns in time for Christmas 

    The secret shopper scam returns in time for Christmas

    Another potential scam that we see return around the holidays is the secret shopper scam. While many retail outlets do have positions for secret shoppers, there are more chances of you being scammed then getting a legitimate job. The Delaware State Police are warning that the scam has appeared in their area. Considering that Delaware has no sales tax, they are a prime target for such a scam. With most secret shopper scams, the scammers will either try to get you to pay a fee to become one. Or they’ll send you a phony check to deposit in your account then use it for shopping before wiring them back the balance. These are the hallmarks of a scam.

    In other scam news, police in Richland, Washington are warning that the rental scam is occurring in their area through Facebook Marketplace. The rental scam is one of the oldest online scams there is. The scammers will post a home or apartment for rent at a below-market rate. They’ll then try to get you to rent the property without seeing it and pressure you into wiring them a deposit. If you’re looking to rent a property, always be suspicious of any of these signs.

    Lastly, in Southern California, a water department there is warning customers about a company that is claiming their water is potentially contaminated. While the news article about the claims doesn’t mention it, this could potentially be a high-pressure way of trying to get residents to buy expensive equipment for their home that they may not need. Any company can put an official-sounding prefix in their name like American or National, but that doesn’t mean they’re not out to take your money.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Secret Sister Gift Exchange   

    The Secret Sister gift exchange scam is back 

    The Secret Sister gift exchange scam is back

    With the holiday season fast approaching, so are holiday scams. We recently reminded our readers about the potential abuses of gift cards, now it’s time to remind our readers of another holiday scam that turns up this time of year. The scam we’re referring to is the Secret Sister Gift Exchange. While there are some who swear by it and say that it’s not a scam, in reality, it’s just a pyramid scheme that could see you losing money and your personal information. You could also find yourself in trouble with the law if you participate in one of these gift exchanges.

    These gift exchanges start when someone posts on social media asking you to add your name and address to a list where you send in a small $10 gift. In return, you’re promised to receive up to 36 of the gifts. You’re also asked to recruit at least six more people into the gift exchange. Like most pyramid schemes, the people on the top receive all the gifts, while people at the bottom of the pyramid receive nothing. While $10 sounds like a small amount to lose, you could also be in danger of identity theft or worse by giving out your personal information.

    Also, we can’t stress this enough, these exchanges are illegal in the United States. As we mentioned, they are considered pyramid schemes under the eyes of the law and are also considered to be gambling. That’s not even taking into account that it could also be considered as mail fraud. While you may think you’re just sending a gift to a stranger to brighten up their day, you could actually face potential jail time. If you receive an invitation to a gift exchange like this, just ignore it. Instead, think about using that $10 to make a charitable donation.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Disney+, , , ,   

    Disney+ accounts are under attack 

    Disney+ accounts are under attack

    Disney+ is the home streaming service brought to you by the Walt Disney Company. It just recently launched and is already seen as a competitor to Netflix. It was hugely successful upon its recent launch and it’s easy to understand why. Not only do they provide the famous Disney catalog but they also own many other entertainment properties such as the Marvel movies and former Fox-owned shows like The Simpsons. That’s not even taking the entire Star Wars franchise into account along with the new Star Wars ongoing series The Mandalorian. Of course, where there’s an online success there are people looking to take advantage of that success and Disney+ is no different.

    Within hours of the launch of Disney+, users were already complaining that they had been locked out of their accounts. These compromised accounts are now up for sale on some of the seedier parts of the web. The accounts are going for as little as $3-$11. Many of these accounts were paid for years in advance leaving those affected with little to no recourse. Basically, hackers were gaining access to the accounts with previously compromised email and password combinations. The hackers then change the login information, locking the account’s owner out before putting the account up for sale.

    If you have a Disney+ account and you’re using a password that you’ve used elsewhere, change your password right away. In general, you should never use the same password twice. As always, we recommend using one of the many free password managers out there. If you were thinking about enabling two-factor authentication on your Disney+ account, unfortunately, you can’t. Disney has yet to offer that feature on Dinsey+. You may also want to do a malware scan on your computer as that’s another popular way that scammers and hackers can obtain your passwords.

    You should be enjoying this service and not having to spend hours with customer service trying to get the issue resolved even if you can.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Gift card scams in time for the holidays 

    Gift card scams in time for the holidays

    We’ve talked about gift cards a lot. Mostly how you should never pay anyone with gift cards who claim to be in some position of authority. That’s one of the biggest red flags that you’re being scammed. Gift cards have become the literal currency of con artists. However, that’s not the only type of scam that can be committed with gift cards. Since the shopping season for the holidays has already begun gift cards are being purchased more and more but that could lead to even more consumers being scammed.

    If you’re buying gift cards for your family this holiday season, there are some warning signs to look out for that require you to physically inspect the cards themselves. If you get a card with the PIN already being exposed it’s likely that card has been purchased already with the scammer putting the card back on the shelf hoping that someone will add additional funds to the card that the scammer could then use without your knowledge. Another variation of this scam is when a scammer will scratch the protective coating off of the card’s PIN then replace it with a sticker after writing down the number.

    Another prevalent gift card scam is the trading of gift cards. Scammers will post online that they have a certain brand of gift card that they supposedly have no use for. They’ll say they want to exchange it for a gift card they could use. Once the gift cards are exchanged, the victim finds out that they traded their actual gift card for one with little to no funds on it. While gift cards are incredibly convenient for gift giving and receiving, there are many pitfalls you need to look out for so you don’t have a complicated Christmas.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Kidnapping scam claims more victims 

    Kidnapping scam claims more victims

    We’ve discussed the virtual kidnapping scam before. While it’s an uncommon scam, it does seem to be becoming more prolific. It sounds like something out of a movie or TV show where you receive a call telling you that a loved one has been kidnapped and you need to pay the ransom. Actual kidnappings for ransom, no matter the amount asked, are incredibly rare. However, when you receive a phone call telling you that a family member has been kidnapped, you may not act in the most rational way since you believe that someone close to you is in danger.

    Recently, a woman in Alabama received such a phone call. The person on the other end claimed to be her grown son and that he was in trouble. Another person got on the phone and told the woman that her son’s friend owed a gang $5,000 and they were keeping her son hostage until she paid them the money. The scammers had her pay by making her purchase pre-paid debit cards, known as vanilla cards However, they didn’t stop there. The scammers also made her wire part of the phony ransom and made her send the rest in gift cards. The scammers even instructed her on what to say if any store employee got wise that this was part of a scam. In the end, her son was never in danger and the caller even admitted that they scammed her.

    If you receive one of these phone calls, you should hang up and call police. If you end up engaging the caller, don’t say the name of the person they’ve claimed to kidnap. If you are concerned about your loved one’s safety, try texting or emailing them while you’re on the phone with the supposed kidnappers. A similar occurrence happened recently in Kentucky as well. The scammers are hoping to capitalize on you being in an emotional state, but if you just stay calm you can prevent these scammers from terrorizing you.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Getting scammed after being scammed 

    Getting scammed after being scammed

    If you’ve ever been scammed you may have reported the scam to your local police, the Better Business Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While you should report scams to the FTC, if you have, you may want to be on the lookout for a scam that comes from reporting the scam. According to reports, people who report scams to the FTC are sometimes targeted by a new set of scammers. These scammers claim to be a company that can help you get your money back from the original scammers. While a service like this sounds great, sadly, it’s just another scam.

    Residents of the Denver area have been reporting they’ve been getting calls from people posing as the Denver Police Department. The scammers will tell their victims that they’ve been the victim of identity theft then ask for their banking information. Once the information was given the scammers would just hang up. If police discover that you’ve been an actual victim of identity theft, they will send an officer to your home rather than call you. And as always, you should never give your financial information over the phone to any stranger, even if they claim to be the police.

    In Greenville, South Carolina, authorities there have warned elderly residents to be aware of various scams that have affected the area. At least two elderly residents were taken for a combined total of $80,000. One of the victims gave control of her computer remotely to a scammer who claimed to be helping process an unexpected refund. This led to the scammer advising the victim to buy a number of gift cards in order to receive the phony refund. Control of your computer should never be given over to strangers even with the promise of money as this could lead to ransomware or malware being placed on your computer or your personal information being stolen. And as always, no legitimate service, business, or agency will request payment by gift cards.

    Please always keep in mind just because these scams aren’t happening in your area doesn’t mean they’re not on their way.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jamaica, lottery scam,   

    Victim fights back in lottery scam 

    Victim fights back in lottery scam

    A 90-year-old woman from a small town in North Dakota was taken for $400,000 in a foreign lottery scam. A scammer called the woman to tell her that she had won millions of dollars in a lottery. The catch was that she would have to pay advance fees in order to claim the winnings. This woman ended up paying $400,000 to scammers by sending them checks, cashing out a life insurance policy, and even borrowing money from family members. The woman’s children were finally able to discover what was happening and explained to the woman what was really going on.

    The victim, in this case, didn’t take the losses lying down and helped launch a federal investigation into this particular scam. Federal investigators have been able to apprehend 31 suspects allegedly involved in the scam. Most of the suspects were captured in the United States but a number of them were extradited from Jamaica. It’s believed this scam ring was able to bilk its elderly victims out of $6 million. While federal prosecutors have pledged to get the woman’s money back, so far she’s only been able to collect $287 out of the $400,000 she lost.

    With most scams, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. Even if you play your state lottery the lottery commission isn’t going to call you by phone. In that case, you need to contact them to claim any winnings if there over a certain amount. While you may be in a desperate situation where the money would be a welcome relief, take a moment to think about wahts’ going on. Why would someone call you to give you money for a lottery that you didn’t even enter? There are no mystery lotteries giving out money to random winners. While it may sound like a gift from above, it’s actually a deal with the devil.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Scams that veterans should be aware of 

    Scams that veterans should be aware of

    With today being Veterans Day it only seems fitting that we should look out for those who have given so much for our country. It seems that veterans are often targeted in government impostor scams. Since veterans often have to deal with several government agencies about benefits and services hearing from the government may not seem that out of the ordinary. Scammers will try to take advantage of the frequency that veterans deal with the government in hopes that the victim of their scam will believe that they are calling from the government. However, most of the scams they try to commit are also some of the same scams civilians have to deal with.

    The most common scam reported by veterans is the IRS impersonation scam. This is where scammers will pose as IRS agents and try to persuade their victims into believing that they owe back taxes. The scammers will try to pressure their victims into making a payment as soon as possible either through wire transfer or gift cards. The next common scam for veterans is the grant scam where the victim will receive a message on social media from a friend’s compromised account telling the victim they can get federal grant money. The scammers will then say that in order to get the grant the victim will need to pay a processing fee which will disappear as soon as it’s paid. And lastly, scammers will pose as being from the VA in order to try to get medical and healthcare information from the victim.

    As with most government scams, the ways of prevention remain the same. If the government really needs to get a hold of you they will more than likely contact you by mail. The government will also never ask for payment over the phone through wire transfer or gift cards. Those are tools of choice used in most scams today. And as always, if you receive one of these calls and you may believe that there is an issue with one of these agencies, hang up and call the agency back at their proper phone number.

     
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