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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: change of address, , , , vehicle history reports   

    Three new scams to watch out for 

    Three new scams to watch out for

    We just recently came across three new scams that we hadn’t heard of before. While we’re not the ultimate authority on scams, we have been keeping our eyes on scams for a long time now.

    The first scam we have for you today involves change of address forms. If you’re moving soon you’ll have to notify the U.S. Postal Service of your new address. You can do this at your local Post Office or online. If you’re going to complete your change of address online make sure that you’re only using the official USPS website. If you were to do a web search for ‘address change’ it may direct you to a website that has no affiliation with the USPS. Instead, if you enter your information on the non-USPS site you could potentially be giving your information to identity thieves. Also, a change of address with the USPS is free. If a site tries to charge you for this, it’s definitely a scam.

    In our next scam, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about receiving a text message that says you’ve been overcharged. The texts try to appear as if they’re coming from your bank, your credit card company, or somewhere you shop often. The scammers will then tell you that they need more information to process your ‘refund’ like your mother’s maiden name or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. These are actually answers to security questions used to access your online accounts. If you receive a text or call asking for this information do not answer them. Instead, call your bank directly to make sure that your accounts are in order.

    Lastly for today, if you’re looking to sell your vehicle online, you’ll often be asked to provide a vehicle history report for the vehicle. The most commonly used vehicle history reports are Carfax and AutoCheck. Some car sellers have reported that they’ve been getting messages from people posing as interested customers asking for vehicle history reports that they’ve never heard of before. The scammers will then direct the sellers to a certain website. These websites are mostly designed to try to get your money for a bogus car history or could be used for identity theft or infect your device with malware. As a seller, you’re not required to provide a vehicle history from a specified website. The ones that we’ve already mentioned are not only legitimate but should satisfy most legitimate buyers.

     
  • Geebo 8:02 am on June 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    NJ couple conned victims out of $6M in romance scam 

    NJ couple conned victims out of $6M in romance scam

    A married couple from New Jersey are accused of conning 33 people out of $6 million collectively in a series of romance scams. That averages out to close to $200,000 per victim. The couple are said to have made $3 million for themselves while the rest went to an overseas romance scam ring that operated out of Nigeria and Turkey. The couple allegedly ran the scam for almost 4 years before being apprehended by authorities.

    Like most romance scams, the pair were said to have approached their victims through social media or dating websites. Once their victims were fooled enough into believing that they were in an actual romantic relationship, the scammers would then request money from their victims. The requests would often be disguised as emergency medical expenses or for business purposes.

    One particular victim found themselves in trouble with the law after she embezzled money from the company she worked for. Prior to that she had given the scammers her entire life savings, maxed out her credit cards, and even took out a loan to give money to someone she thought she was in a romantic relationship with. That victim is facing a jail sentence after pleading guilty to embezzlement.

    This not only shows that just about anyone can be taken for a ride in a romance scam but also shows how expensive and devastating it can be for the victims.

    If you or someone you know is involved with someone online that you haven’t met face to face yet, you should be very suspicious if they start asking for money. If you think someone you know may be the target of a romance scam, please show them the FTC’s website about romance scams and/or our posts about romance scams.

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

    Job scams affect college students too 

    Job scams affect college students too

    When we think of scams, we often think of the elderly being the targets of scammers. However, college-age people are just as susceptible to scams as older generations. Some reports say it’s due to their lack of experience in dealing with such scams while others say it’s because their generation is more trusting. Either way, they have become very lucrative for various types of scammers.

    For example, a young college student who lives in Arizona was recently taken for over $3000 in a job scam. The student attends college at a Midwestern University but is currently home for the summer and was looking for a job. She received a job offer from someone that appeared to be a faculty member at her university. The email address was even said to have the .edu identifier in it.

    The job they offered her is a familiar one when it comes to scams. They would send her a check, she would deposit it in her own bank account, then buy supplies from a designated supplier. She was then instructed to keep $400 of the check as her payment.

    It was after she made all the payments that the check she was sent turned out to be a fraudulent check. She was then responsible to her bank for the entire amount of the $3,550 check. As it turned out, her university’s email had been compromised and scammers were using it to lure several students into the scam.

    The fake check scam is at the heart of several different scams from job scams to purchase scams. No legitimate employer will ever ask you to donate a check into your personal bank account outside of your pay. If one does, it’s almost certain to be a scam. A scam that could very well leave you worse off than you might have already been.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: boat scam, , Georgia,   

    Anybody can be the victim of a scam 

    Anybody can be the victim of a scam

    Whenever we post about a victim of a scam we’ll inevitably get a comment from a reader that states that they would never fall victim to a scam. Sometimes, we’ll get less respectful comments like “How can someone be so dumb to fall for that?” The truth is that anyone can fall victim to a scam. It doesn’t matter what your education level is or your financial and social status. Scammers tend not to discriminate and will target just about anyone, from the poorest of the poor to the one percent.

    Recently, a successful professional man was scammed out of $13,000 after he attempted to purchase a boat he found on craigslist. The man lives in Georgia while the boat was said to be in Miami. The Georgia man took every precaution and then some when researching the boat and the people who claimed to be selling it. He even formed his own LLC in order to transfer the money for the boat to the purported sellers. However, like most online vehicle scams, the boat never arrived and the $13,000 was long gone. Investigators say that it’s highly unlikely the man will ever get any of his money back.

    Scammers will adjust their approach depending on their target. Considering this man was fairly educated the scammers employed many different tactics than they would if their target was a less financially well off person. Please keep in mind that whenever we discuss romance scams, the victims in those tend to be above the average when it comes to terms of wealth.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or if you have a vast stock portfolio. Anybody can be the victim of a scam and it can be just as devastating financially and emotionally no matter who you are.

     
  • Geebo 8:04 am on June 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Warnings issued about illegal job scam 

    Warnings issued about illegal job scam

    With so many Americans still looking for employment during this time of record job losses, the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about an employment scam that could land the victim in hot water. We’re, of course, referring to the reshipping or repackaging scam.

    The online job listing may say that the position is called ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse redistribution coordinator’, or something similar. In some cases, the scammers even pose as major retailers like Amazon or Walmart. The scammers will tell you that you can work at home and all you have to do is receive packages in the mail, inspect the contents for damages before shipping them to a different address.

    The problem with this is that the goods are usually purchased with stolen credit card information and you’re helping the scammers transfer stolen goods across the country. People who have been unknowingly conned into taking part in the scam have even faced jail time. For example, if you were instructed to lie on US Customs Service forms for packages leaving the country, you could be charged with fraud.

    If you do escape the long arm of the law, you could still find yourself the victim of identity theft or worse. Since the scammers are posing as legitimate employers, they will ask you for personal information including bank account information for phony direct deposits. Or they could disguise paying you by sending you a falsified check. This is when the scammers will say the check is for more than they meant to send you and will ask you to send the difference back. Of course, after you deposit the check and send the difference back to the scammers your bank will discover the check is a fake and you’ll be responsible for the amount of the check to your bank. So in the end, you’ll actually be deeper in debt than when you started the ‘job’.

    If you think you may be a victim in a reshipping scam there are steps you can take. If you’ve already received items don’t mail them. Instead, contact the USPS Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455.

     
  • Geebo 8:09 am on June 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The real-world effects of the tech support scam 

    The real-world effects of the tech support scam

    The tech support scam can take many forms. One of the more common versions of the scam is when your device will show a warning similar to the one above. It will say that your device has been infected by a virus and you’ll be directed to a phone number to call to have the virus removed. Another common version of the scam is when the scammers call random people up posing as a big tech company like Microsoft, Google, or Facebook and will tell the person they call that their computer has been infected with a virus.

    Both scams will have you grant remote access to your computer or device to remove the virus. In reality, your device does not have a virus and the scammers will not only charge you for a phony virus solution but they could also plant any type of malware on your device.

    This unfortunately happened recently to a man in Wisconsin. The scammers posed as a well-known virus protection company, called told the man he had a virus on his computer. The scammers requested remote access to his computer and $900 in gift cards to ‘fix’ the problem.

    The man made the payment but after doing so he noticed that his bank account had an additional $300 taken out of it. This was done through malware that the scammers had left on his computer while they had remote access.

    If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ll know that anyone asking for payment in gift cards is a giant red flag indicating a scam. No legitimate company or agency will ask for remote payments through gift cards. Due to the fact the cards are virtually untraceable once their serial numbers are given out, they’ve become the de facto currency for scammers. Secondly, no company will ever call or contact you to tell you that you have a virus on your device or computer.

    If you receive one of these calls, you should hang up immediately. If you see a pop up like the one pictured above, close the window and run a malware scan on your device. For Windows PCs and laptops we recommend either using the Windows Security Scan built into Windows 10 or using a commercial malware detection tool like Malwarebytes. There is a free version of Malwarebytes that is available for download.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on June 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Unemployment scams continue on social media 

    Unemployment scams continue on social media

    Last week, we posted about how unemployment scams have spread to social media. In that post, we discussed how scammers were posing as government officials so they could steal personal information under the guise of assisting people with their unemployment claims. More recently, we’ve heard of a similar unemployment scam that tries to steal more than that.

    A man in New Jersey recently reported an unemployment scam to the state’s Department of labor. He says that he found a Facebook page of someone pretending to be a DOL employee. The man’s unemployment recently stopped and was looking for assistance on his claim. The scammer had a phone posted on his Facebook page so the NJ man decided to text the scammer.

    The scammer claimed to work for the ‘unemployment fund’ and asked the man for a lot of identifying information including name, address, date of birth, gender, and his unemployment claims number. The scammer then said the man would receive a six-digit code through text and once he received that he should give it to the scammer to set up a vague ‘confirmation code’.

    Thankfully, the New Jersey man realized that the text message was the verification code to reset his Facebook password. The scammer then asked the man if he received his unemployment benefits through a debit card or direct deposit. The scammer then said the man would have to pay $100 to start receiving his benefits again and that the man could make the payment with either eBay or Steam gift cards. Steam is a popular online gaming storefront.

    When the man told the scammer he didn’t have any money the scammer tried to pressure the man into making some kind of payment as quickly as possible. While this man escaped without being taken, not everyone who has encountered this scam has been so lucky.

    The reason the scammer probably wanted to steal the man’s Facebook account was so the scammer could pose as the man and send whatever scam messages he could to the man’s friends. Not only are the gift cards a dead giveaway for a scam but no state government is going to ask you for money to fix your unemployment claim.

    Please keep in mind, anyone can make a fake social media account claiming to be anyone they want. If you come across a phony social media account like this one, it is recommended that you contact your state’s fraud department. You may know it’s a scam but other people may not. You can be the difference it that person’s life that keeps them from losing what little money they may have.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Publishers Clearing House, , sweepstakes   

    Sweepstakes scammers show up at man’s door 

    Sweepstakes scammers show up at man's door

    Usually, today’s scammers like to be as far away from their victims as possible. Between the internet and cheap phone rates, scammers can target just about anyone anywhere around the globe. However, every once in awhile a scammer will take it to the next level to try to fool their victim.

    That happened to a man in New Jersey recently. Scammers targeted him in a sweepstakes or lottery scam. The way the scam normally works is scammers will contact random people to tell them that they’ve won a great deal of money in a contest that they didn’t actually enter. The scammers will then say that the ‘winner’ has to either pay taxes or some kind of transfer fee on their winnings before they can collect it. Even if the victim pays there are no winnings and the victim is usually out thousands of dollars.

    The scammers in this case posed as the most famous sweepstakes in America, the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. We’ve all seen the commercials over the years of PCH delivering oversized novelty checks to their winners. The scammers, in this case, called the man repeatedly to tell him that he had won one of their renowned prizes. They told him a representative would show up at his door with the prize. A woman actually showed up to his home claiming to be from PCH and was said to be holding a bouquet of flowers to make the illusion seem more authentic. Thankfully, the man was on to the scam and threatened to call the police if they did not leave his property. The woman got into a waiting car and left.

    No legitimate sweepstakes or lottery will ask you for tax money or fees in advance if you win as that is illegal in the United States. There’s also no such thing as winning a contest that you didn’t even enter.

    While we all dream of winning a giant jackpot to relieve our financial woes, don’t let the dream cloud your common sense.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Rental scammer posed as military member 

    Rental scammer posed as military member

    Rental scammers are always looking for new excuses to give their victims as to why they can’t meet them face to face. Most recently, rental scammers used the excuse of social distancing to explain their reluctance to meet. In the past, a popular excuse with scammers was that they claimed to be working overseas on a religious mission. All the excuses are used to achieve the same effect. They do this to try to avoid suspicion in the fact that they don’t have the authority to rent the property they claim to own and to get you to make a payment sight unseen. One of the classic excuses seems to be making a comeback and that’s the scammers posing as members of the military.

    San Diego, California is a huge military town, especially for naval forces. The city has seven military bases mostly for the Navy and Marines with a single Coast Guard base. Scammers will try to use the city’s relationship with the military to their advantage. Unfortunately, it worked against one family in San Diego who were looking for a new place to live. They had found a listing on craigslist that appeared to be a really good deal. The person who claimed to own the property also claimed that they were stationed overseas with the Navy. The family wired $1600 to the scammer before they found out the listing was a fake. The scammers had even used the picture of a real serviceman who passed away a few years ago. This scam isn’t limited to just military towns as it has been used all over the country.

    If a prospective landlord ever says that they can’t meet you in person for whatever reason, it’s almost assuredly a scam. Also, if the landlord requests payment through unconventional means like wire transfer or gift cards, it is also almost assuredly a scam. If they claim to be currently overseas for whatever reason, they are almost assuredly a scammer.

    While you may be in a rush to find a new home it’s always worth taking the time to research the property. You should always do a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. Lastly, you should also check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. This research may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it to avoid finding yourself in a situation like this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    New scam promises money if you stay home 

    New scam promises money to stay home

    Just when we thought COVID-19 scams were on the decline, we read about one that we would consider impressive if it wasn’t so reprehensible.

    The Florida Attorney General’s office has warned residents of the Sunshine State about this new and elaborate scam. At the heart of the scam is a promise of receiving grant money from the U.S. Treasury if you just stay home during the current pandemic. The scam seems to be mostly targeted at senior citizens. The scammers were even said to have created a phony website that appeared as if it was an official U.S. Treasury website. The phony website was said to be so convincing that it even had phony video testimonials.

    Victims of the scam would often be directed to the phony website by messages from their friends on Facebook. These messages were often sent through hacked Facebook accounts by the scammers themselves.

    The fake website would ask people for their personal information including Social Security numbers and banking information. It would also ask for payment to insure the grant delivery that will actually never come.

    The website has since been removed, however, as the Miami Herald points out, it could reappear at any time.

    In order to prevent falling victim to a scam like this always make sure any federal website address ends in .gov. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not authentic. If anytime a Facebook friend messages you about getting grant money, the odds are more likely that their account has been hacked. Grant scams similar to this one have been spread around Facebook for years.

    If you’ve fallen victim to this website in Florida it’s recommended that you contact the Attorney General’s office. If you’re not in Florida we recommend contacting the Federal Trade Commission.

     
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