Updates from November, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    How to avoid online Black Friday scams 

    How to avoid online Black Friday scams

    In the past, we’ve advised against going to brick and mortar retailers on Black Friday. Not just for safety reasons but also because many retailers engage in misleading business practices by using limited stock to try o get you to buy more expensive items. Usually, these so-called doorbuster deals can be found for the same price or lower later into the holiday shopping season. In the past few years, we’ve advised shopping online rather than braving the crowds on Black Friday. However, even online Black Friday shopping comes with its own pitfalls.

    While many of the big-name online retailers are safe to shop through, scammers will try to trick you into believing you’re using one of those retailers, but it reality you may not be. Scammers will send out phishing emails using the actual logos of famous shopping sites but will leave a link in the email that will take you to a phony site that resembles the real thing. They’ll then try to gain your financial information for possible identity theft and other potential abuses. Along the same vein, scammers will pose as retailers and send you an email asking you to download something in order to get a deal. This will instead infect your device with malware which could allow bad actors to access your device remotely and steal as much information as they want from it. Always go directly to a retailer’s website rather than clicking on anything in an email.

    As the video above mentions, if at all possible, use a credit card over a debit card when making purchases. While both debit and credit cards offer protection against scam purchases, credit cards have better protections and won’t take any money directly from your bank balance. Also, keep an eye on both your debit and credit card accounts to make sure that no unauthorized purchases have been made on them. Many of these services can be set up to send you a notification every time the account is used. While the notifications may be a bit annoying, they can go a long way in preventing fraud on your accounts.

    And as always, keep in mind that gift cards are the currency of scammers and you could be ripped off in a number of ways when buying gift cards. You can check our previous post here about what to look out for when buying gift cards.

    Once again, we wish you a happy and headache-free holiday season.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Some tips to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving 

    Some tips to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving

    With so many people cooking, traveling, or both for Thanksgiving, it’s time to once again for tips on how to keep your Thanksgiving safe. If you’re traveling by car this week, please drive carefully as Thanksgiving rivals New Year’s Eve and the 4th of July as far as alcohol-related accidents go. And even though it should go without saying, if you have too much to drink this week please make the proper arrangements so you don’t find yourself behind the wheel. Also, for your personal safety, you may want to let a friend or relative know your travel route in case something happens where you can’t get to a phone. If the unfortunate happens and you do have an accident, if the car can still move please move it to the side of the road to help prevent further accidents.

    As far as the kitchen goes, Thanksgiving is the worst day of the year for home fires. In general, you should always have a fire extinguisher in the home but you should especially have one for Thanksgiving. If a fire starts on the top of the stove, use a fire extinguisher to put it and out. Never use water as it could make a grease fire even worse. If a fire starts in the oven, close the oven door and dial 911. However, the biggest fire hazard for Thanksgiving seems to always be from deep frying turkeys.

    While deep-fried turkey may be delicious, it has the potential to be very dangerous if not done properly. Fires from deep frying turkey incidents have caused millions of dollars of damage to homes over the years and have the quickest potential to spread. Always make sure that the turkey is completely thawed before putting it in the deep fryer as the extra moisture will cause a hazardous situation. Deep frying should also be done outside and at least 20 feet from the home.

    With that please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Family with leukemia afflicted baby targeted in rental scam 

    Family with leukemia afflicted baby targeted in rental scam

    Further proving that scammers will stoop to any level, a family in Southern California is scrambling to find a new home after falling victim to an online rental scam. If you’ll recall, scammers will copy the online ads of homes for sale then post the ad in online marketplaces as a home for rent. The rent requested will often be well below market value. In most cases, the scammers will try to pressure you to make some kind of large payment without being able to see the property. In other cases, the scammers will also make you fill out a lengthy application they’ll use for identity theft.

    That’s what happened to the family from California. Their 14-month-old son has been diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. They are looking for a home closer to the hospital where the baby is being treated. In terms of Southern California travel, the hospital is too far away from their current residence. While looking for a new home, they found an online ad for the perfect place. They responded to the ad and filled out an application with all their personal information. It was after a friend looked into the property they found out that it wasn’t actually available for rent. Now, they’re busy trying to find a new home while worrying about not only their son but also having their personal information exposed like that.

    If you’re looking for a new home and you find one that’s too good to be true, it probably is. In order to avoid such scams always do a reverse image search on the photos in the ad to make sure the ad isn’t stolen from someplace else. You should also check with the county assessor’s website or office to verify who the true owner of the property is. And don’t be taken in by convoluted stories about why the property can’t be shown or why the supposed landlords can’t meet you. Lastly. never pay or wire money for any property sight unseen. If you would like to help the family mentioned in today’s story they have a GoFundMe page to help assist with the astronomical cost of childhood leukemia.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    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
    Tags: , , , ,   

    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
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    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
    Tags: , , ,   

    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
    Tags: , ,   

    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.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel