Updates from January, 2021 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Driver’s license scams are happening all over 

    Driver's license scams are happening all over

    Recently, we’ve seen reports from different parts of the country about scams that involve driver’s licenses. Sometimes when we discuss scams, they come from smaller cities and towns in America. That doesn’t make those scams any less dangerous, but today we have scams that are being reported in major urban areas like Chicago and New York.

    In Chicago, residents are receiving text messages that claim to be from Illinois’ unemployment office. The texts ask residents to update their driver’s license information to comply with upcoming Real ID regulations. The messages contain a link that once you click on it, you’ll be asked for your personal information. Authorities in Illinois say that identity thieves are looking for new identities, so they can file false unemployment claims. The state’s unemployment office wants to remind residents that they’ll never communicate by text with claimants.

    In New York, residents there are receiving emails that purport to be from the New York Department of State. The emails ask you to validate your current ‘profile’ to avoid future delays in renewing your license. Much like the aforementioned Chicago scam, the emails contain a link that the senders want you to click on. Again, this is more than likely designed to steal your identity. New York authorities are urging residents to delete the emails if they receive them.

    Lastly in Phoenix, the Arizona Department of Transportation is warning their residents about text messages being sent that appear to be from their Motor Vehicle Division. These messages also claim that they need you to update your license information to meet new guidelines. The link in these text messages take you to a website where you’re asked for your name, birthdate, address and license plate number.

    No state government agency is ever going to contact residents through text message or email for things like license renewal. If a license renewal is required, you will receive any notification in the postal mail. Scammers use text messages in scams like this because they can say they’re being sent from anybody. You should never click on any link in a text message or email from people you don’t know personally.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , U.S. Trading Commission   

    New scam tries to take advantage of scam victims 

    New scam ties to take advantage of scam victims

    The Federal Trade Commission is usually the office of the government that deals with online scammers and returns money to victims. Ironically, the FTC has issued a warning about a website that is impersonating them to scam consumers.

    The scam website claims to be the U.S. Trading Commission. There is no such division of the U.S. Government, but the site fake uses the FTC’s seal and street address. The site claims that it is distributing a ‘personal data protection fund’ to victims of identity theft. It promises that you can receive money instantly on top of it.

    If you click on the link to obtain the money, you’re asked for your banking information, so you can receive the payment. Of course, this is just a ruse to gain access to your bank account, so the scammers can drain it. The FTC also says there’s a potential chance that going to the phony site could download malware to your device. Scammers could not only gain access to your personal information this way, but they could also spread the malware to people in your contacts list.

    Surprisingly, this phony website has claimed victims from all over the world and not just the US.

    If you were a victim of a scam that the FTC reclaimed money from, they would send you a check in the mail. They would not have a link that anybody could click on to try to claim money. The FTC would also not ask for personal identifying information like bank account information, credit card number, or Social Security number before they could deliver their payment.

    If you come across a phony FTC lookalike site, you’re asked to please report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Florida man falls victim to reshipping scam 

    Florida man falls victim to reshipping scam

    We’ve discussed the repackaging or reshipping scam previously. Traditionally, scammers will advertise this scam as a work from home position where your job is to inspect packages you receive from the scammers. Then you’d be instructed to send the contents of the packages to a third party. The third party is usually someone overseas. These positions are often advertised online with such titles as ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse distribution coordinator, or ‘local hub inspector’. More recently, a man from Florida was taken in by these scammers.

    The man had been out of work for months due to the pandemic. He spent months sending out resumes and applications to various employers. He received a job offer from a company for the position of ‘quality control inspector’. The man was asked to inspect 18 packages before sending them overseas. The victim started to become suspicious after he had not been paid for 30 days. He then received a letter from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service warning him that he may be the victim of a reshipping scam.

    This man is actually kind of lucky after being caught up in this scam. In most cases, scammers will pay their victims using phony checks. He could have potentially lost thousands of dollars to the scammers. However, this man is not out of the woods yet. He did send the scammers his personal and financial information for what he believed to be for direct deposit. He could potentially be open to identity theft if it hasn’t happened already.

    The most dangerous part of the reshipping scam is that victims could possibly find themselves in jail. Even if you’re a victim in this scam, if you knowingly falsify shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs, you could face some jail time.

    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 9:00 am on January 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Kidnapping scam threatens to sell your family’s organs 

    Kidnapping scam threatens to sell your family's organs

    The virtual kidnapping scam is probably one of the more disturbing scams we’ve discussed here. If you’re unfamiliar with the scam, the virtual kidnapping scam is when a scammer calls a victim and claims to have one of the victim’s loved ones held hostage. The scammers will usually embellish the scam by having someone screaming in the background. Then a ransom will be demanded for the release of the loved one. Usually, the payment is requested in some form of untraceable payment like gift cards or a money transfer. Meanwhile, the supposed hostage is safe and unaware of what’s going on.

    A man in Michigan recently received one of these distressing calls. The man on the other end of the call said that the man’s son had been in a car accident and the caller was holding the teen hostage. Instead of falling for the scam, the Michigan man did the right thing by getting police involved. Local police were able to locate the boy at a friend’s home. Knowing that his son was safe, the man asked the caller to speak to his son. The caller then threatened the man by saying that he was going to take his son to the border and sell his organs. Even knowing that his son was safe, this had to be harrowing to hear from a total stranger.

    As we’ve discussed in the past, kidnappings for ransom are actually rare in the United States. However, your reaction to this scam should always be the same. Remain calm and locate the person the callers are claiming to have kidnapped. In cases like this where a car accident has been claimed, you can call police, and they’ll be able to tell you if a crash actually happened. Also, you should avoid giving the caller any personal information. If they say they have someone in your family, ask them who it is rather than asking if they have your 17-year-old daughter for example. The scammers will just use that information to their advantage. Lastly, you should always contact the police even if your loved one is safe to let them know this scam is making its way through your area.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Man loses $28,000 in Craigslist truck scam 

    A man in Lubbock, Texas recently found himself out of close to $29,000 after he bought a truck he found on Craigslist. The transaction had every indication of being a scam, but that’s only if you know what to look for.

    First off, the vehicle was being listed at $6,000 below market value. Scammers often list vehicles at these prices to lure in potential victims. The seller claimed that she was getting rid of the truck because it was owned by her son who passed away. Scammers often use some tale of heartbreak to not only prey on a victim’s emotion, but to also explain why the vehicle is being sold at such a loss.

    The seller was said to have provided the man with legitimate looking documentation that matched up with information he was given. The seller provided a title and other paperwork that appeared to correspond with the vehicle’s VIN. The man was even provided with a CARFAX report that made the vehicle appear as if it was being sold by the legitimate owner. The seller insisted that the man pay in cash.

    When the man went to the DMV to transfer the title, he was told that the truck was stolen and belonged to a rental car company in Houston. The truck had been rented with a stolen credit card and never returned. All the documentation that the man had been provided with were all legitimate looking counterfeits.

    If you’re going to buy a vehicle from an online listing, don’t be taken in by a too good to be true price. Do your research and make sure the car isn’t stolen or being misrepresented in any way. Taking the seller’s word at face value can often lead to a substantial loss of money.

    The best way to protect yourself in a situation like this is to meet the seller at the DMV and have them go with you to transfer the title. If the sale is legitimate, they should have no problem with extending this courtesy to you.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Dating site scam leads to death threat 

    When it comes to dating sites, the scam we normally have to warn people about is the romance scam. This is where scammers will cultivate a romantic type relationship with their victims before repeatedly asking their victims for money. However, we recently learned about a different type of scam taking place on a dating site that we wouldn’t have guessed. That would be the unemployment scam.

    While we call it the unemployment scam, it can actually take many forms. Essentially, overseas scammers are applying for unemployment benefits in the names of people who have had their identities stolen. One of the problems that unemployment scammers have is trying to get the money from these fraudulent claims sent to them. Too often the payments go to the people whose identities have been stolen.

    An Ohio woman signed up for a dating site where, to put it delicately, the male participants of the dating site are supposed to financially support the women they match up with. These men share a name with a somewhat famous candy bar.

    Anyway, the woman from Ohio matched with a man who claimed to be a businessman from Texas. He asked the woman to open a new bank account in her name, so he could send her money. However, after she opened the new account, there was a payment from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services pending. The amount was for $489, and she was told that she could keep $100 and send $389 to the supposed Texas businessman.

    The woman was hesitant to accept the money, but the scammer tried telling her that it wasn’t actually an unemployment payment but a payment from his private account. The woman didn’t fall for this. Not only did she refuse the payment, but she closed the account she was asked to open. It didn’t end there, though.

    After she closed the account, the scammers started sending her death threats which she took very seriously. More than likely, these scammers were from overseas which most unemployment scammers are. We doubt they had any real means of carrying out any threat.

    While it’s an unusual one, this is just one of the many dangers that dating sites hold. While we previously mentioned romance scams, there are also numerous predators and even human traffickers that use these sites and apps to find new victims.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    New email scam tries to get your stimulus money 

    New email scam tries to get your stimulus money

    With the second round of economic impacts in the process of being paid and a third round possibly on the horizon, you might think that taxpayers should now be pretty immune to stimulus scams. However, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to get their hands on yours. It also appears that the scams are becoming even more elaborate to try to steal from you.

    The Federal Trade Commission is warning taxpayers about emails that claim to be from their agency discussing the stimulus payments. The emails even claim to be sent directly from the outgoing chairman of the FTC. According to reports, the email demands that you pay money to receive your stimulus payment. It even includes an official looking ‘certificate of approval’.

    If you make any motions towards actually making a payment to the scammers, you’ll be told that the payment is for a State Department certificate that proves the funds are not related to any terrorist activity. That may sound made up, but the FTC is assuring us it isn’t.

    If you receive one of these emails it is recommended that you just delete it or mark it as spam.

    The indicators that this email is a scam are numerous. The first is that the FTC has nothing to do with economic impact payments. That is all handled by the IRS, and they’re not emailing anyone asking for money either. One of the other indicators is that you don’t have to pay for your stimulus payment. The majority of taxpayers just have to keep an eye on their bank account if they have direct deposit, or their mailbox if they don’t. Even if you’re a non-filer and received the initial stimulus payment, you should receive this one the same way.

    If you have any further questions about how the economic impact payments are being made, we recommend going to the IRS’s Get My Payment website.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Tacoma, ,   

    New scam poses as Border Protection 

    New scam poses as Border Protection

    A new police impersonation scam has emerged in the Tacoma area of Washington state. This time, the scammers aren’t just posing as any local law enforcement, though. The scammers are posing as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, so they can target a specific segment of the population.

    This scam works like most police impersonation scams. The scammers call their victims posing as law enforcement and tell the victim that they’ve been connected with some crime. The scammers will then ask for payment over the phone to magically clear up the situation. As with most scams, the scammers will ask for payment in untraceable means like gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or through wire services like MoneyGram or Western Union.

    In this particular scam, the scammers are posing as Border Protection agents and are specifically targeting Latino residents of Tacoma. The scammers are telling their victims that a box full of drugs and money has been intercepted at the border that has the victim’s name on it. Then the scammers ask for payment to rectify the situation.

    This scam is particularly disturbing as it further victimizes a group of people who may already feel marginalized. This is especially true for someone who may be undocumented. When faced with the threat of the current state of detention or being deported, a victim may pay the scammers out of fear. Then the scammers could capitalize on that fear by continually requesting payments from the victim. That essentially results in extortion.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stated that they do not call anyone to solicit money for any reason. No legitimate government agency will ever ask for payment through things like gift cards. If you receive one of these phone calls it is recommended that you hang up and not engage with the scammers.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Dream home becomes nightmare for one family 

    Dream home becomes nightmare for one family

    Recently, we mentioned how rent prices in the San Francisco Bay Area were dropping due to the pandemic and how rental scammers were using this to their advantage. The opposite can be said as well in markets where rent prices are climbing. A family in Tennessee unfortunately found this out the hard way.

    It started out like many rental scams do. They found a great listing for a property on Craigslist for an amount they could afford. The red flags that this listing was a fake appeared almost immediately. However, the family ignored them in their eagerness to find what they called a ‘forever home’.

    First, the person supposedly renting the home would only communicate with the family through text messaging. This makes it harder for victims to identify their scammers.

    Next, the scammers came up with a story about why the rent was so affordable. They told the family that they had just moved out of town and didn’t want the home to be empty in the winter.

    The family was then told they couldn’t tour the home or meet with the renters because of COVID-19. As you can imagine, social distancing has been a boon for scammers because they now have a reasonable explanation to avoid meeting their victims.

    There was even a for sale sign outside the property, but the scammers are said to have explained that away too.

    The last red flag came in the form of Cash App. The family paid the scammers $2400 through the mobile payment app. The family was then asked for an additional $1200, or they would lose the listing.

    The family contacted who they thought they were dealing with on Facebook who were actually previous victims of these particular scammers.

    It’s almost like this scammer wrote the book on rental scams as they had an answer for just about every red flag. Still, these red flags should not be ignored even if the deal seems to be sent from above.

    If a supposed landlord says they can’t meet you or show the home, walk away from the deal. That’s been a rental scammer staple even before the pandemic happened. Back then, they would give stories like they were doing missionary work overseas or were deployed in the military.

    With any big life choice like moving into a new home we always recommend doing as much research on the property as possible before making any financial commitment. Do a reverse image search to make sure the pictures on the listing aren’t stolen from a realtor; and always check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner or realtor is.

    Don’t let scammers pressure you into giving them your money with threats of losing the listing. Having all the information at hand will protect you against their tactics.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Romance scammers can have local accomplices 

    Romance scammers can have local accomplices

    When we think of romance scams, we tend to associate the scam with overseas scammers. That’s understandable considering the vast majority of romance scam are perpetrated by overseas scam rings. However, these scam rings can have operatives that could possibly be in your neighborhood. That’s what one community in Virginia recently found out.

    A 63-year-old man from Ashburn, Virginia was recently arrested for allegedly taking part in a romance scam. The victim was a 60-year-old woman from Nebraska who had met someone through a dating site. As with all romance scams, the person the victim thought she was having a romantic relationship with started asking her for money. The claim made by the scammer was that he was working outside of the country and needed money to help with a new business they were starting. The scam was so elaborate, the scammers had a website set up for the phony startup.

    The victim eventually determined that she was being scammed and contacted her local police. Investigators were able to determine that the money being sent was being sent to the suspect in Virginia. When police in Virginia began to investigate the suspect, they determined that the man was working as a money launderer for an overseas scamming ring. Essentially, money launderers take the money sent from the victims by gift card or what have you, and converts it into real money before sending it overseas.

    As we keep saying, this scam could happen to anyone regardless of age, education, or economic status. If you or someone you know is involved with someone online that they 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.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc