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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , nursing,   

    Familiar scam targets nurses 

    Familiar scam targets nurses

    There’s a prevalent Social Security scam that’s been going around the country for a while. Scammers will call Social Security recipients and tell them that their Social Security Number has been used in a crime. Usually, the scammers will say that a car was rented using the Social Security Number of the person the scammer has called. The phony rental car is almost always said to be found in Texas.

    The scammers will then claim that drugs were found in the car. Because of this, the Social Security recipient will be told they’re in danger of losing their benefits because of the crime unless they pay a fine. Of course, none of what the scammer says is real but it hasn’t stopped scammers from preying on the elderly.

    A similar scam is said to be preying upon those in the nursing profession. Nurses in Missouri have reported receiving calls from scammers who spoof the phone number of the Missouri State Board of Nursing. The scammers will tell the nurses that someone in Texas has used their nursing license number to write illicit prescriptions in Texas.

    The scammer threatens that the nurse’s license will be suspended if they don’t pay a fine. One scammer tried to collect a fine of over $17,000. Since the report advises against paying anyone over the phone in gift cards we’re going to assume that’s how the scammer asked for the imaginary fine.

    In another version of the nurse’s scam, official-looking letters are sent out making the same threats.

    What the scammers don’t seem to know is that’s not how infractions are dealt with by the state Nurse’s Board. In reality, nurses in Missouri have an appeals process that they can go through if something like this were to truly happen. The State Board does not have the authority to issue fines.

    Now you may not be a nurse in Missouri. You could be a nurse from another state. When a scam like this hits one state, it’s not usually long before it starts hitting others. So please be wary if you receive a phone call or letter that accuses your license of being used in criminal activity.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fake check, , ,   

    The original fake check scam resurfaces 

    The original fake check scam resurfaces

    The fake check scam has been around as long as items have been sold on the internet. As we have shown, there are many variations on the fake check scam, but to our knowledge, this one was the first. We even used to call it the Craigslist check scam since it was so prevalent on their platform.

    This scam happens when you try to sell something online no matter what platform you may choose to use. You’ll receive a check from a prospective buyer for more than the amount you were asking for. The buyer will give some excuse why the check was written like that. They’ll then ask you to deposit the check and just return the overage.

    The problem occurs when your bank finds out it’s a fake check after you’ve already returned the overage to the phony buyer. Even though you’ve been the victim of a scam, your bank will hold you responsible for the full amount of the fake check you deposited along with any associated fees.

    This recently happened to a woman from New Jersey. She had lost her job because of COVID and was selling some of her personal belongings on the OfferUp app. She listed some furniture for sale and it wasn’t long before a prospective buyer contacted her on OfferUp. The buyer then moved all communications to text messaging.

    The buyer even had a sob story all ready to go to get the seller’s defenses to go down. The buyer claimed that her grandmother was ill in the hospital and that the buyer’s secretary accidentally sent a check for the wrong amount. The check received was for over $2600 when the seller was only asking $900.

    The seller offered to have the check destroyed so the buyer could send a new one. Instead, the buyer insisted the check be deposited and the seller could send $1000 of the overage back through payment app Zelle and the rest through Venmo which the seller did. The check turned out to be a fake cashier’s check and now the unemployed seller has to pay at least $1700 back to her bank.

    When you’re selling on any online marketplace, any time you receive a check that’s more than your asking amount it’s almost guaranteed to be a fake. Also, be aware of any kind of sob story attached to an irregular payment like this. You should also be aware of any transactions that are offered to be done over payment apps like Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App as scammers can block you after taking your money.

    We always recommend only doing business locally and only with cash. Also, you should do any exchanges of items and money at a local police station as many stations now have areas set up for such occasions. While it may not be the perfect solution, it does go a long way in discouraging criminal behavior from happening.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The police often can’t help with online fraud 

    The police often can't help with online fraud

    A man from Glendale, Arizona really had his heart set on buying a Tesla. He even went to a car classifieds site that has a pretty stellar reputation. However, even the best sites can have a scammer or two in their midst and the victim of this story happened to run into one of them.

    The car supposedly being put up for sale was not local to Glendale. The Tesla was also listed at a bargain of a price. Of course, the reduced price had a story to go along with it. The seller claimed he was getting rid of the car because he was a pilot and moving to Canada for training. Unfortunately, the victim wired $30,000 to the scammer and never received the Tesla of his dreams.

    This man was not to be undaunted though. Even with his financial loss, he still had it in his mind that he was still going to purchase a Tesla. He either ran into the same scammer online or another scammer who using the same Canadian pilot story.

    Both times, the victim notified his local police and was rather abruptly told “We do not have the time or resources to go out and proactively pursue other fraud schemes on the internet.”

    While the Glendale Police have since apologized to the man for their reaction to his request, that is, unfortunately, the case for most people who are defrauded on the internet. The majority of these fraudsters live and operate overseas which leaves U.S. law enforcement little power to apprehend these scammers. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t report online fraud to your local police so they could at least warn the local community of fraud happening in their area.

    Also, always avoid any potential sale that comes with a story about why the item is at such a reduced price. You should also never buy a car without inspecting it yourself or by a trusted mechanic before making the purchase. And lastly, never pay for any item online with a form of payment that can’t be traced like gift cards or wire transfers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person 

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person

    We often discuss a lot of different scams. Sometimes we even discuss the same scam on a number of different occasions. While the advice we give about avoiding scams are often good rules to follow in general, sometimes they don’t apply to every situation. For example, when it comes to renting a property, we always say don’t rent a property where the supposed landlord either won’t meet you or refuses to show the property. While that is a good general rule to follow, what do you do when a scammer does show up to show you the property?

    This happened to a couple from Ohio recently. They found a rental property on Craigslist that appeared to be a bargain. They called the number on the Craigslist listing and the man on the other side of the call said he would meet them at the property. Instead, a woman showed up who claimed to be the landlord’s wife. The wife did not have the key to the property but was able to access a lockbox at the property that did contain the key.

    The couple signed an official-looking lease and gave the woman a $475 money order as a deposit. The couple started moving in their belongings and even had internet installed at the property.

    It was a few days later when the actual landlord showed up to tell the couple that they had been duped. The scammers had copied a legitimate rental ad and posted it to Craigslist while changing the rental amount and the phone number. It’s believed that the scammers even posed as potential renters to get the code to the lockbox. The current landlord is willing to work with the couple but not everyone who’s taken in a rental scam like this is that lucky. Too often victims of these scams find themselves out on the street.

    However, there are steps you can take to avoid falling for a scam like this. The first is that you may want to avoid using Craigslist barbecue it has become a haven for scammers of all sorts. If the listing has pictures, do a reverse image search to see if the pictures are being used on a realtor’s website. If the pictures appear on a realtor’s website and Craigslist simultaneously, it’s almost a guarantee that the Craigslist ad is a fake. Lastly, always check with the county assessor’s website or office to find who truly owns the property.

     
  • Geebo 8:03 am on October 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The tech support scam can strike more than once 

    The tech support scam can strike more than once

    The tech support scam usually finds its victims in one of two ways. Sometimes you’ll see a pop-up appear on your device telling you that you have some kind of virus and should call a phone number that appears on the pop-up. The other way is that you’ll receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from a large tech company like Microsoft or Apple telling you that you have a virus on your device. Both forms of the scam have the same purpose. These phony tech support agents want you to pay them to remove a virus that doesn’t exist. If you end up falling for the scam once, there’s a good chance that you could be targeted for subsequent scams.

    For example, the AARP is warning seniors that the phony tech support company will try to get you to sign up for a subscription service that will supposedly keep your device safe from viruses in the future. In reality, the company is just collecting a monthly payment from you for doing nothing.

    Later on, the scammers could call back to offer you a refund for their service. The scammers will ask for your bank account information to supposedly deposit the refund but instead will steal from your account.

    If you receive one of those pop-ups on your device and you can’t close any of the windows the pop-ups appear on, turn your device off by holding down the power button until it turns off completely. Once rebooted, check your device for malware. CNet has a helpful article on how to do that on Android devices. On Windows and iOS devices, it’s recommended to run a trusted malware scan program like Malwarebytes to see if your device is infected. Malwarebytes should remove the malware as well.

    If you receive one of these phone calls, hang up immediately. While companies like Microsoft and Google may know a lot about us, they don’t have the capabilities to know when you have a virus on your computer. That goes double for any company claiming to be a tech support company that you’ve never heard of.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Prime day brings plenty of scams 

    Prime day brings plenty of scams

    (The following post is not an endorsement for Amazon.com)

    Today, Tuesday, October 13, 2020, is the start of Amazon Prime Day. That’s when the online retail behemoth offers one-day exclusive deals to customers who pay for their annual Prime membership. Many view it as Amazon’s Black Friday. And just like Black Friday, many of the deals offered by Amazon can seem questionable at best. However, also like Black Friday, that’s not going to stop shoppers from making purchases they see as a good deal.

    Of course, there will be another Prime Day pitfall to look out for. Scammers will be out in full force looking to swindle you out of any savings you might have accrued.

    Reports are warning Amazon shoppers to be wary of any unsolicited phone calls you might receive that are claiming to be from Amazon. These calls will try to tell you that there’s been a fraudulent charge to your Amazon account or that something you ordered has been lost or damaged.

    If you receive one of these phone calls, it is recommended that you hang up without giving the caller any personal information. Instead, log in to your Amazon account and look at your order history to see if any of these claims are true.

    There may also be a resurgence of the phony delivery text message scam that we featured a few weeks ago. As always, never click a link on an unsolicited text message from someone you don’t know personally.

    In some extreme cases, phony Amazon reps will ask for remote access to your device in order to clear up any problems your account may have. Never allow a stranger to have remote access to your device as not only could they steal personal information but they could also install malware onto your device which would allow them to spy on your device at any time.

    Amazon’s customer support page can be found here.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Phishing scam targets voter registration 

    Phishing scam targets voter registration

    No matter which political party you may belong to, there has been a controversy over mail-in ballots. Some believe that this could lead to either voter fraud or voter suppression depending on which side of the political fence you’re on. However, there’s an apolitical scheme going on that doesn’t care what your ideology is.

    According to authorities in Arizona, emails are being sent out to look like they’re from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The emails say that your voter registration information is incomplete. Of course, the email contains a link for you to click on so you can provide your correct information. The link takes you to a legitimate-looking website where you’re asked for your personal information.

    This is what’s known as a phishing scam. The scammers aren’t planning to cast a vote in your name. That doesn’t make them any money. Instead, they’ll use your personal information for financial gains such as opening loans or lines of credit in your name.

    As always, you should never provide personal information to unsolicited emails no matter how official the email may look. Anyone with a modicum of computer knowledge can make an email look like it came from any organization they want.

    If you think that there may be an actual problem with your voter registration information, go to your county’s election office and bring several forms of ID with you.

    No matter which way you lean, make sure that your voice is heard.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Family loses puppy to illness in Craigslist scam 

    Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been warning consumers about one version of the puppy scam. This is where phony online dog breeders will sell you a puppy that doesn’t actually exist. After they’re paid, the scammers will start asking for more money in the form of things like shipping fees or special travel crates. Even though a victim may lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, at least an animal isn’t being actually abused.

    Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the second type of puppy scam. This is where people will breed puppies with little regard for the animal’s health and well-being. The animals are often bred in squalid conditions without receiving any medical care. The term backyard breeder is often used to describe these scammers as they are usually not certified to be actual breeders.

    One family in North Carolina recently purchased a puppy from a Craigslist seller for $300. When asked about shots, the sellers told the family that they did the shots themselves because they didn’t want to take the puppy to the vet due to COVID-19 concerns. Once the family got the puppy home it became obvious that something was wrong. The family took the puppy to the vet where it was diagnosed with hookworms, roundworms, and anemia. Within less than 24 hours of bringing the puppy home, the puppy had to be put down. When the family tried to contact the seller, the phone number had already been turned off.

    As always, when it comes to adding a new pet to your family we recommend adopting from your local shelter. More often than not, not only will the animals have had competent medical care but the odds are they’ll be with your family for quite some time. If you decide to buy from a breeder, make sure they are a licensed breeder that’s in your area.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: breast cancer awareness month, , pinkwashing   

    Beware of 'pink' scams this October 

    Even though our country is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean that other illnesses have taken a back seat. As we’re sure you’re aware of, October is officially recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, in one year, 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and roughly 42,170 women will die from breast cancer.

    It’s around this time of year that most of the major breast cancer charities and foundations make the majority of their donations. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take money out of the donation coffers.

    Now, we’re not talking about which charities are best when it comes to the actual goal of finding a cure. We’re talking more about the con artists who will try to fleece you into giving a phony donation.

    Any scammer or con artist can slap a pink ribbon on a coffee mug or t-shirt and claim the proceeds are going to breast cancer research, but are they? The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about scams like this that are called ‘pinkwashing’.

    While it might be easy to just buy the first thing that claims to be for breast cancer awareness, it might be better to research a charity that could do the most good. For example, we found a breast cancer charity on Charity Navigator that has a perfect four-star rating.

    However, you may want to consider donating your time or money to a charity that is more local to you. You can do a web search for ‘local breast cancer charities near me’ to find local charities but still do your research and look for reviews to make sure their goals align with yours.

    Wouldn’t you rather see your money go to someone who could use it instead of someplace just looking to make a buck?

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Cash App continues to be connected with scammers 

    Cash App continues to be connected with scammers

    Mobile payment service Cash App can’t seem to keep itself out of the headlines lately and those headlines continue to be about scams. Cash App is supposed to allow quick mobile payments between friends or vendors but has allowed an industry of scammers to flourish.

    Cash App scams usually work in one of two ways. In the first way, a scammer will be claiming to provide some good or service if you just send them payment through Cash App. However, once the payment goes through the scammer can then block the victim on Cash App. The only way to get a refund on Cash App is if the person you sent the money to agrees to send it back. The scammers can then close out their Cash App account after cashing out.

    The first Cash App scam usually leads to the second one which is a customer service scam. Cash App has no customer service number where you can reach a representative to dispute any charges. In order to contact Cash App’s customer service, you need to navigate through a rash of menus within the app and even then you probably won’t reach a real person.

    So some people will do a web search for Cash App’s customer service number. Just because Cash App doesn’t have one doesn’t mean that a Google search won’t bring one up. The thing is that these phone numbers belong to scammers and not Cash App. Just about anyone can take out a search engine ad claiming to be a customer service number. Once you call one of these phony customer service numbers, the scammers will lead you through a process that will drain your Cash App account of your money.

    Now, these customer service scammers aren’t even waiting for victims to call their fake customer service numbers. One victim says that she received an email that appeared to be from Cash App stating that $500 was about to be taken from her account if she didn’t call the attached number. The victim called the number and ended up losing $1600 to the scammers.

    To better protect its users maybe it would benefit Cash App if they set up an official customer service phone line that was easily accessible from the app.

     
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