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  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Scammers are showing up at seniors’ doors 

    Scammers are showing up at seniors' doors

    If you’re not a senior citizen yourself, you may have an elderly relative. They may live alone and a great distance from you. Would you want strangers showing up to their door and taking thousands of dollars in your relative’s money? How upsetting to you would that be if it happened to someone in your family? Unfortunately, this is happening to many families around the country in this scary new twist on the grandparent scam.

    Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the grandparent scam it’s when a scammer calls a senior citizen and poses as one of their grandchildren or some other relative. The scammers will say that they’re in some kind of trouble. Usually, they’ll say that they’ve been arrested and need money for bail. Other times they’ll say that they’re in the hospital and need money for treatment. We’ve even seen some cases where they’ll say they’re overseas and they need money to get home.

    As you can see, the common goal of the scam is to get money from elderly victims. Scammers used to get money from their victims in this scam by having them buy gift cards and having the victims give the gift card numbers to the scammer over the phone. Just as an aside, we’d like to remind you that gift cards are commonly used in all sorts of scams, so please keep in mind that no legitimate company or agency will ask for payment over the phone in gift cards.

    Now, grandparent scammers have developed an increasingly worrying tactic. Instead of asking for gift cards over the phone, scammers are employing go-betweens who act as couriers to pick up the money personally. In at least one case in Ohio, a woman was scammed out of $15,000 when a scammer posed as her grandson in Florida claiming to need bail. The scammers had someone go to her home and physically collect the $15,000 in cash.

    While we haven’t heard of any of these scammers getting physical with their victims, the potential is always there.

    The best way to deal with these scams is to contact the person the scammers are claiming to be. Scammers may sound convincing due to the fact that they get a lot of their information from social media. However, even if the call is real no one is going to be sentenced to life in prison or thrown out of the hospital if you hang up on the phone call from the supposed grandchild.

    If you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam. Also, consider setting up a family password for just such emergencies so you can verify the person calling is who they say they are.

    • Dave Smith 8:45 pm on August 31, 2020 Permalink

      They sound convincing, one called me and sounded just like my grandson from of out state.
      When I ask him what his mother’s name was, what was my name, what was his father’s name he started acting like the phone connection was bad, I told him until he could answer my questions I wasnt sending him anything. He hung up the phone. They are very convincing,
      If I hadn’t worked in Security I would have believed the story. DO NOT DO ANY BUSINESS ON THE PHONE!

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    New twist on unemployment debit card scam 

    New twist on unemployment debit card scam

    As you may know, every state in the country has been assailed by overseas scammers looking to cash in on unemployment benefits. Due to the record amount of Americans who are currently unemployed, the scammers are overwhelming state unemployment systems by applying for benefits in other people’s names in hopes of making off with that money. To that extent, scammers will also apply for benefits in the names of people who are currently employed. The scam is far from perfect and many people have caught the scam being perpetrated on them before the scammers could get the money. Usually, the scammers would keep their scam within one state at a time. That now seems to be changing.

    A report out of the State of Washington says that a couple there received two unemployment debit cards in the mail. Not only are the couple employed but the cards were issued from the state of Colorado. Neither of them had ever worked or lived in Colorado. The belief here is that since the cards are from out of state, a scammer could call them pretending to be from that state’s unemployment department and then ask for the cards back. The scammer could instruct them to send the cards to an address where the scammers could claim the cards and use the benefits themselves.

    However, some states are already fighting back against the scammers. As we mentioned previously, West Virginia has a system in place to try to prevent fraud. Now, the Colorado cards that were sent to the Washington couple had instructions to follow if they received the cards but did not apply for unemployment.

    If you receive a card like this and you have not filed for unemployment or they’re from a state that you never lived or worked, try contacting the issuing bank to see what they would like to have you do.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Package delivery update text is a scam 

    Package delivery update text is a scam

    We first discussed the delivery update scam back in January of this year. Now, with even more people receiving deliveries at home, the scam seems to have returned with a vengeance. Various law enforcement agencies and consumer protection groups from all over the country have issued warnings about this scam recently.

    The way the scam works is that you’ll receive an unsolicited text message like the one above. It may claim to be from a delivery service like FedEx, DHL, or UPS. Other times they’ll claim to be from Amazon directly but they’ll all tell you t6he same thing. The messages state that you have an undelivered package that needs your preferred delivery option. Then at the very end of the message, a link will be provided for you to click on.

    As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, you should not click on the link. Doing so will take you to a page that is designed to look like it’s an Amazon page. The fake Amazon page will then ask you to fill out a customer service survey in order to claim a prize. After you win the prize, you’ll be asked to pay for shipping by providing your financial information. From there, the scammers can do pretty much what they want with your financial information. In some instances, victims have been signed up for subscription services related to their ‘prize’ that ended up costing them $100 a month.

    While delivery services do have text messaging services that notify you about the arrival of your package, you need to sign up with these services first before the delivery company will text you. So, if you have not signed up for this service and receive one of these text messages, there are a couple of things you can do. The first is to just ignore it and delete it. The other thing you can do is copy the text of the message, paste it into a new text message, and text it to the Federal Trade Commission at 7726 (SPAM).

    Whatever you do, don’t click on the link or respond to the text. Even if you respond, scammers will know that your number is a working one which will just invite more scams.

  • Geebo 8:01 am on August 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads 

    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads

    In the Cleveland, Ohio area, owners of vacation homes have seen a recent increase in scams targeting their rental properties. This is hardly a new scam as it’s origins can be traced back to the early days of the commercial internet. This scam can also affect any property, not just vacation rentals.

    Several vacation rental owners have reported coming into contact with people who had been scammed into paying phony deposits to scammers posing as the landlords. Scammers had copied the ads from legitimate vacation rental websites and pasted the ad onto an unmoderated classifieds site almost word for word. The only thing the scammers changed was the contact information. Of course, the website in question is Craigslist.

    One of the vacation rental owners tried to get the ads taken down by Craigslist but they allegedly never received any feedback from Craigslist. It wasn’t until a local news channel got involved that the ads were finally pulled. When the station asked Craigslist why it took so long to remove the ads, they received no response.

    Craigslist still relies on what they call ‘community policing’. This means that they might pull an ad if enough users flag the ad. While some scam ads are obvious just by looking at them, that’s not the case with rental ads. In most cases, no one will know that a rental ad is a scam until victims start losing money to the scammers.

    There are many different ways you can protect yourself from falling prey to these scammers. One is using Geebo.com where our listings are reviewed for potential scams. You should also be wary of any landlord who can’t tell you anything about the property but is anxious to collect a deposit. If a landlord says they can’t show you the property even for COVID-19 reasons it’s probably a scam. If they ask for payment in untraceable ways like gift cards or wallet apps like Venmo and Cash App it’s more than likely a scam. You can also do a reverse image search to see if the pictures in the ad are being used somewhere else. You can even copy a snippet of the text and use that as a web search to help detect duplicate ads. Lastly, if you see duplicate ads on a rental website and Craigslist, it’s almost a sure bet that the ad on Craigslist is the fake.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Blessing Loom pyramid scheme is back 

    Blessing Loom pyramid scheme is back

    The last time we heard about the Blessing Loom pyramid scheme, scammers were trying to take advantage of people who had just received their economic impact payments. Now, we’re seeing reports of the pyramid scheme returning to social media if it ever left at all. With so many Americans having financial difficulty during the current crisis, the Blessing Loom could be finding new victims.

    While a Blessing Loom may be shaped like a circle, it’s essentially just window dressing for a pyramid scheme. In a Blessing Loom, someone will promise their victims that they can exponentially increase their initial ‘investment’ if they just recruit new people into the ‘loom’. In theory, once the outer circle of the loom is filled the person in the middle gets all the investments from that circle. Once you move to the center is when you’re supposed to get your big payout. Except, the only people who truly make money through these are the people who set it up in the first place. Once they receive the investment money through apps like Venmo or Cash App, your money is gone and you just made someone else richer for doing almost nothing.

    These pyramid schemes often go by other names as well with all of them designed to lull you into a false sense of security. Using such names as ‘Money Board’ or ‘Gifting Circle’, scammers will try to make these schemes appear as friendly as possible to try to recruit as many people as possible into their scheme.

    The other drawback to Blessing Looms besides losing your money is that they’re illegal. If you try to recruit someone into one of these circles, you could be held criminally responsible even if you’re not the initial organizer.

    As we’ve said before, you wouldn’t give a stranger on the street your money if they told you they’ll give you $500 if you give them $50, so why would you give it to someone on social media?

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Victim taken twice in Cash App scam 

    Victim taken twice in Cash App scam

    Cash App is a wallet app made by the company Square, who developed a popular system that allowed anyone to accept credit card payments on their smartphones. The Cash App allows users to make or receive online payments. With just about anything that involves money and the internet, Cash App has been used in a number of scams.

    One of the most common scams is called ‘money flipping’. Scammers will go on social media promising their victims a large amount of money if the victim just sends the scammer a small payment. For example, a scammer might promise $500 if you send them $50. As you might expect, the scammer just makes off with the small payment. However, that’s not the scam we’ll be discussing today.

    A woman in Pennsylvania received a request on Cash App from who she thought was her husband for $250. The person making the request appeared to have the same first name as her husband so she sent the money. It wasn’t until she got home and spoke to her husband that he told her he didn’t send the request. So now, the woman was out $250.

    To be fair, this could have just been a coincidence that the person making the request had her husband’s first name and made an erroneous request from the woman in Pennsylvania. However, we wouldn’t put it past scammers to either request money from random Cash App users, or stalk their victims on social media and pretend to be their spouses. The woman who lost the $250 did request a refund from the person who made the initial request but her refund request was denied meaning it could have been a scammer.

    Then the woman wanted to contact Cash App’s customer support and did a web search for their support phone number. She called the number that came up and was instructed to download another app called Quick Support and they would be able to get her money back. Cash App doesn’t have a customer support number, they can only be reached online. Instead of getting her refund, the customer support scammers were able to drain her account of over $4000.

    If you use any kind of wallet apps like Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App, use them judiciously as many of them are vulnerable to scammers. Always double-check that the person making a request for payment is actually someone you know.

    Also, never do a Google search for a company’s customer service number. Too many scammers take out ads on Google posing as legitimate customer service departments. Instead, go to the company’s website and look for a section that says ‘contact us’. It can be difficult to find sometimes and may be at the bottom of the website.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    How one state is trying to stop unemployment scammers 

    How one state is trying to stop unemployment scammers

    Like most states, West Virginia has also been dealing with a record number of unemployment scammers. The scammers have been using stolen identities gained in data breaches to apply for unemployment in benefits in the various states. This scam has been affecting all 50 states and the scammers are even applying for benefits in the names of people who are currently employed. In some cases, scammers have been able to change the address to where the payments are sent to.

    West Virginia says that over 100,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits but they believe half of those applicants to be scammers. However, The Mountain State seems to have a process in place to try to prevent the scammers from claiming the money.

    The acting commissioner of Workforce West Virginia has stated that even though debit cards are sent out to applicants, there is no money on them to start. In order for someone to receive payment on their debit card, the state needs to contact the recipient to verify their identity. So even if a scammer was able to get the debit card delivered to them, there are steps in place to try to prevent the scammers from stealing your unemployment benefits.

    If you live in West Virginia and have received a debit card from the state but have not applied for unemployment, you’re asked to report the fraud at Workforce West Virginia’s website. You can then go ahead and destroy the debit card. If you live outside of West Virginia and have received unemployment benefits you did not apply for, we recommend going to your state’s unemployment website to see if they have the capability to report the fraud. You should be able to find it by doing a web search with the name of your state along with the phrase ‘unemployment fraud’.

    Another step we recommend you take if you’ve received fraudulent benefits is to contact a credit bureau to have your credit put on a one-year fraud alert. You should also periodically review your credit report because if you’ve received fraudulent benefits it means your identity has been stolen.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    A new twist on the sweepstakes scam 

    A new twist on the sweepstakes scam

    Sweepstakes scams seem to be on the rise in the current uncertain economic climate. With so many people desperate for money to help make ends meet, it’s no surprise that this scam is proliferating. Normally in a sweepstakes scam, the scammer will contact a potential victim out of the blue and tell them that they’ve won some kind of monetary prize. Scammers will often claim to be from Publishers Clearing House since it’s such a popular sweepstake. If a scammer claims to be from PCH they have a pretty good chance that they’ll find a victim who actually entered the PCH sweepstakes.

    The hook of the sweepstakes scam is that the scammer will ask for some kind of payment before you can collect your prize. They’ll either say the payment is for taxes or processing. However, once you send the payment, the scammers disappear with your money.

    Recently, in Kansas the Brown County Sheriff has reported a sweepstakes scam where the scammers are trying to double dip their victims. In many cases, if a scammer finds a victim to give them money, the scammers will sometimes string the victim along to try to get the victim to make additional payments.

    In the Kansas scam, someone is claiming to be from PCH and is calling residents telling them that they’ve won. The victim is then instructed to send a money order to an address in Ohio before they can receive the check.

    Here’s what’s unusual about this scam. Once the victim sends the money order, they actually receive a check. The check that is sent to the victims ranges in value from $250,000 to $500,000. Then the scammer contacts the victim again and tells them that they need to send another payment to a different address in order to be able to cash the check. When the Sheriff’s Office investigated the check, it traced back to a bank in Africa.

    If you ever enter into any sweepstakes, please keep in mind that it is illegal for sweepstakes to ask you to pay anything before receiving your winnings. Even on PCH’s own website they state that if someone claims to be from PCH and asks you for money it is a scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    New scam targets seniors’ bank cards 

    New scam targets seniors' bank cards

    Through no fault of their own, senior citizens are often the targets in scams. This can often be attributed to the fact that in their day, phone calls were largely important communications. Today, it seems almost unthinkable to answer a phone call from a number we don’t recognize, but back then, people would rush to the answer the phone without even knowing who was on the other line. This could be why two senior Florida residents were taken in a very brazen scam recently.

    In Boynton Beach, Florida, two senior residents had their bank cards physically stolen by someone claiming to be a bank representative. In the first instance, a 77-year-old woman received a call from someone claiming to be from Chase Bank telling the woman that one of her cards had been used in a fraudulent transaction. She was then told that a bank representative would come to her house to take her old cards and give her new ones. A woman in a navy blue dress showed up to her home and took her cards. As you can suspect, the cards given to the woman in the navy dress were used in various fraudulent transactions and $2500 was taken out of the woman’s checking account. A similar incident happened to an 89-year-old man in the same area except he was told that it was Wells Fargo who was calling.

    A question we get often is who falls for scams like these. Scammers like to cast as wide a net as possible in order to trick a handful of victims. It only takes a small number of victims to make these scams profitable for scammers. We would imagine this scam or scammers called an inordinate amount of people just to find these two victims. While you may recognize this as a scam, not everyone would. We discuss these scams so you could potentially help someone who may be a vulnerable target for scammers.

    If you or someone you know receives a call like this, it’s advised that you hang up and report the call to police. If your bank suspects fraudulent activity on your account, they will call you to ask if you made the purchase or transaction. If one of your cards had been used fraudulently, your bank would more than likely cancel your current one and either send you a new one in the mail or have you pick up a temporary card at your local branch. They would also instruct you to destroy your current card. They would not ask to reclaim your old card.

    Also, please keep in mind that even though this scam may not have happened in your area, it could show up near you at any time.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam 

    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam

    Even though some restrictions have been lifted, scammers are still using the current COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. In the case of used car sales, they’re using it as an excuse to either not show the car or to not allow you to take a test drive.

    For example, a mother was recently looking for a car so she could shop for groceries and take her kids to the doctor. She was shopping for cars on craigslist. She says that she found a used 2008 Honda in her price range for $1200. Unbeknown to the mother of two, the red flags started almost immediately.

    First, the seller said that they were looking to sell the car as soon as possible because her son had passed away. The seller then added that they didn’t want to do any in-person transactions because of COVID-19.

    The woman was then instructed to go to a website that purported to be eBay Motors. The website instructed the woman to buy the car’s price in eBay gift cards to purchase the vehicle. The woman bought the $1200 in gift cards and gave the card numbers to the seller.

    As you might have already guessed, the seller made off with the woman’s money and the car never existed and the eBay Motors website was a phony website that was specifically designed for the scam.

    The red flags are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The first red flag was that the car was priced well below market value. This is how scammers lure you in at first. Then the scammer had a sob story as to why they were selling the car so cheaply. This often involves a story about a death, an illness, or someone shipping off to the military but it can take almost any form. This is used to tug on the buyer’s heartstrings to lull them further into a false sense of security.

    The use of COVID-19 in the scam is a believable cover as to why the buyer can’t see the car before purchase.

    Another common red flag was the use of eBay Motors. If you find a car on one platform and the seller directs you to eBay Motors saying that eBay are handling the shipping then it’s more than likely a scam. eBay Motors does not do any shipping of vehicles.

    Lastly, the final red flag was the use of gift cards as payment. Gift cards can be drained of their funds almost immediately with the scammers disappearing with the money.

    Hopefully, now you’re forewarned with knowledge on how to recognize such a scam so you don’t lose your money.

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