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  • Geebo 8:04 am on March 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Woman thwarts virtual kidnapping scam 

    Woman thwarts virtual kidnapping scam

    By Greg Collier

    We often talk about how someone gets taken advantage of in a scam and use it as a way to educate our readers on how to avoid scams. It’s not very often we discuss someone who realized it was a scam before they end up losing thousands of dollars, but that’s the story we have today.

    A woman in Spokane, Washington received a phone call with someone claiming that her sister had been injured and that the woman needed to come get her. She asked the person on the other line if police had been involved yet and the caller’s disposition quickly changed.

    The caller then said that the woman’s sister ‘stuck her nose where it didn’t belong’ and that he needed to ‘rough her up a little’. The caller then demanded a $10,000 ransom, or he was going to sell the woman’s sister to a human trafficking ring overseas. Then the caller threatened violence against the woman if she didn’t cooperate.

    The Spokane woman asked to speak to her sister and a woman got on the line and mentioned the woman’s name, but that was about it. The woman wasn’t convinced that was her sister. She asked to talk to her some more to verify a few things, but the caller refused. She told the caller that they wouldn’t get any money unless she saw her sister. It was when the caller asked her to wire money to them, she realized it was a scam.

    We have to applaud this woman for being so tenacious about getting proof that this was actually her sister or not. In addition, she did the right things when confronted with a scam like this. She demanded verifiable proof and when she didn’t get it she stood up to the scammers.

    If you encounter this situation, there are also a few other things you can do. One is to ask the person who’s supposedly kidnapped a question that only they would know. Additionally, you can set up a safe word in advance. However, the first thing you should do, if you can, is try to contact the person they’ve supposedly kidnapped. In most if not all cases, you’ll find that the person is safe and sound.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Victim loses $16,000 in Amazon scam 

    Victim loses $16,000 in Amazon scam

    By Greg Collier

    Amazon scams are nothing new. To be clear, we’re not talking about scams perpetrated by the online retailer giant. Instead, we’re talking about scams that use the Amazon name. The most infamous of these scams is the brushing scam. The brushing scam is when you get sent packages to your home of things you didn’t order. Usually, these packages come from Amazon and contain low-cost items. This is done so third-party vendors that sell through Amazon can give themselves good online reviews in your name, and the review shows up on Amazon as a verified purchase giving the phony review more legitimacy. In turn, this leads to these products being more recommended by Amazon. Sometimes, these items are charged to someone’s Amazon account.

    Today, we’re going to talk about what we’re going to call the false order scam. In this scam, the victim receives an email that looks like it came from Amazon. The email claims that expensive and high-end items have been charged to you. It then conveniently goes on to say that if you didn’t order these items, call the toll-free number contained in the email. The phone number goes to a phony customer service department that will either try to steal your personal and financial information or your money.

    Recently, a woman in North Carolina fell victim to this scam and lost $16,000. She received a scam email and when she called the fake customer service number she was instructed that she needed to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards to cancel the phony purchase. What made this scam particularly egregious was when the scammer stayed on the phone with the woman the entire time she went from store to store buying multiple gift cards. When she started suspecting this was a scam the scammer allegedly said that “You called us, scammers call you.”

    This is nowhere near being true. Scammers often set up phony customer service numbers for popular platforms. The Cash App customer service scam is one that immediately comes to mind.

    There are several ways to protect yourself from this kind of scam. The first is to check the email address from the sender. If it’s not from Amazon.com, it’s a scam. Also, before you go calling anyone suggested by the email, you can go into your Amazon account and check your order history to see if the order is real or not. Lastly, if you actually need to call Amazon, you can click on the Customer Service tab at the top of Amazon’s website for more information.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , medical expenses, , ,   

    Family dealing with cancer plagued by scammers 

    Family dealing with cancer plagued by scammers

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve been writing about scams and scammers for a while now. You’d think we wouldn’t be surprised by any type of scam anymore or how pervasive they’ve become. Yet, we’re about to tell you about one of the most disheartening scams we’ve ever heard of.

    There is a family in Warwick, Rhode Island who are dealing with one of the most challenging things a family can go through. Their two-year-old son is battling a rare form of cancer. The community has come together to support the family. Not only through a GoFundMe but the local police are also collecting donations for the child’s medical expenses.

    Unfortunately, these days wherever there is hardship there’s someone looking to take advantage of the situation. In this case, there have been a few someones who have been trying to profit from this family’s struggle. As we previously mentioned, the only two official places where donations are being collected are GoFundMe and the local police department. However, multiple scammers have used the toddler’s name to try to collect money for themselves. Scammers are said to be using both Instagram and Cash App to falsely claim they’re collecting money for the two-year-old.

    If that wasn’t bad enough, scammers even approached the two-year-old’s father. He says that he received a text message from someone posing as the child’s doctor asking for money for the child’s healthcare. No family should have to deal with the anguish of worrying about both a child with cancer and the expenses that entails let alone having to deal with scammers who are potentially taking money that could have gone to the boy’s medical bills.

    It’s sad that we have to be skeptical about charity, but that’s the world we live in today. I’m certain that has caused many people to stop donating to worthy causes because of the number of scammers who pose as charities. You can still give to charity, you just need to do a little research first.

    If you can afford it and find it in your heart you can donate to the boy’s treatment fund at this GoFundMe.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Why you shouldn’t use social media for unemployment problems 

    By Greg Collier

    Many internet users only use the internet to browse their favorite social networks. To them, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is their internet. This is what’s known as being in a walled garden. Why leave the confines of the garden when everything you need is right there. These users can talk to their friends, see what’s in the news, and watch videos in their social network of choice. So, it should come as no surprise when these users have a problem they need to resolve, they use social media. In some instances, this is perfectly acceptable as many companies have someone manning their social media accounts at all time. In other instances, using social media like this can open you up to fraud. One governmental agency recently found this out the hard way.

    The state of New Jersey recently had to close the comments on the Facebook page of the Department of Labor. People who were having issues with their unemployment were leaving comments on the NJDOL’s Facebook page. Then scammers would appear posing as state employees in an attempt to get personal information out of those who were having issues. The NJDOL issued a warning on their Twitter account that they closed comments on their Facebook page because of the deluge of scammers. They wanted to remind unemployment recipients that their agents will never reach out to them on social media.

    This is just the latest in a long line of unemployment scams that have plagued the country since the start of the pandemic. While there is light at the end of the tunnel, consumers should still be vigilant when it comes to sharing their personal information. If you’re dealing with an unemployment issue in New Jersey or any other state, you should always use the state’s official website that deals with unemployment. That’s usually the Department of Labor, but some states call it something else. These websites should always end in the .gov domain. Even if it’s the state’s official social media account, it’s always best to use their actual website to try to get unemployment issues resolved.

     
  • Geebo 9:19 am on March 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , icloud, , ,   

    Victim loses $15,000 in iCloud scam 

    By Greg Collier

    iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service that it supplies to its users for free up to 5 GB of storage. If you’re not an Apple or iOS user, iCloud is akin to Google Drive, Microsoft’s One Drive, or Dropbox. A few years ago, iCloud made the headlines when a number of celebrities had the contents of their iCloud accounts leaked to the internet. So, in theory, iCloud accounts can be hacked. Scammers know this and use this fear as a way to trick their victims who may not be that technically savvy as one woman in Missouri recently discovered.

    The 86-year-old woman was expecting an important call from her daughter when she answered her phone. The person on the other line claimed that the woman’s iCloud account had been hacked along with 42 other iCloud users. The scammer then told the woman that she would need to buy gift cards in order to protect her data. Since the woman used iCloud frequently she complied. She ended up buying 29 $500 gift cards for Walmart. When store clerks asked her what all the gift cards were for, she was instructed by the scammers to tell the clerks that the cards were for her grandchildren. The scammers told her that she would be reimbursed, but instead she was out $14,500.

    Tech support scams and their variants have been around since the dawn of the internet and continue to find victims. However, these scams are easy to thwart. All you need to keep in mind is that none of the big tech companies are ever going to call you out of the blue. That includes Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and the like. The best way to keep your personal storage accounts safe is to use a password that is difficult to guess. Password managers are a great tool to assist you with this. It also helps if you don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Again, this is where a password manager comes in handy.

    However, if someone calls you out of the blue to tell you that your account has been hacked or your computer has a virus, hang up on them. The tech companies will never call you and no one can remotely tell if you have a virus on your computer.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    New student loan forgiveness scam preys on confusion 

    Is student loan debt consolidation a scam?

    By Greg Collier

    Over the past several years, college tuition costs continue to rise while salaries for jobs that many graduates would fill have remained largely stagnant. This has resulted in one of the largest debt crises our country has faced. We may now have a generation of college graduates who may work their whole lives just to pay back their student loans. Not only has this made student loan debt forgiveness a contentious political issue, but it’s also allowed scammers to take advantage of the confusion and desperation of those who find themselves dealing with this debt.

    Over the past year, the government has approved a couple of economic impact payments due to the record unemployment. Even a third one was recently approved. Those payments came with a lot of confusion about how to get one and scammers swooped down on that confusion like a pack of hungry buzzards. Now, scammers are making up government relief programs to take advantage of those swimming in student loan debt.

    Scammers are now contacting their victims claiming they represent a student loan debt forgiveness program. Those programs exist, but they are difficult to find and even more difficult to get approved. These scammers are said to be using terms like ‘Biden student loan forgiveness’ and ‘stimulus forgiveness’. So far, there has been no student loan debt forgiveness legislation that has been approved by either Congress or President Biden. However, with the talk of an additional COVID-19 economic impact payment, someone could be tricked into believing that debt forgiveness is part of that package.

    As always, the scammers are looking for one of two things. Scammers will either ask you for some kind of ‘processing fee’, your personal information, or both. Anyone that contacts you out of the blue offering a too good to be true way of getting out of debt is not your friend. These calls should be ignored and reported to your local police and the Federal Trade Commission.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Why is Craigslist failing? 

    Why is Craigslist failing?

    By Greg Collier

    Since Craigslist is a privately owned company, they do not have to disclose their finances. However, the AIM Group recently asserted that Craigslist has lost close to 50% of their revenue in just two years. The AIM Group is a sort of watchdog organization that keeps tabs on the online marketplace space. They once famously referred to Craigslist as a cesspool of crime.

    Using what the AIM Group calls their proprietary methodology, Craigslist’s revenue dropped from $1 billion in 2018 to $565 million in 2020. Again, that’s an almost 50% drop in just two years. Part of the drop can absolutely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the decline started long before lockdown. Part of the drop can also be attributed to the number of competitors that have recently started occupying the marketplace space. Other niche sites like Airbnb have also taken a chunk out of Craigslist’s userbase. However, we think it’s because of poor business decisions Craigslist has been making for the past 20 years.

    For a large majority of Craigslist’s history, it was long rumored that they received the majority of their traffic from their erotic services section. Due to mounting legal pressure over human trafficking concerns, erotic/adult services was shuttered in 2010. Craigslist’s revenues took a slight dip in 2011 but continued to climb until 2018. So, what happened in 2018 to cause such a downward spiral? That’s when Craigslist shuttered their personals section over fears of the anti-sex trafficking laws FOSTA/SESTA. After Craigslist closed their erotic services section, traffickers would instead just post their ads selling women and girls to the personals section. By closing the personals after FOSTA/SESTA was signed into law, Craigslist virtually admitted that their platform had a sex trafficking problem.

    Craigslist’s problem is that in their 26 years, they’ve refused to moderate any section of their site to keep out criminals and scammers. Craigslist only seems to moderate content on their platform when threatened with legal action. Except moderation costs money and Craigslist has a reputation of maximizing profits above all else, even at the expense of the safety of their userbase. Geebo.com and several other platforms moderate their content and still manage to be profitable. The only security measures Craigslist has is a list of safety tips and unless they change their tune, they will continue to decline.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , job fairs, , , , , temp agency   

    Seven tips on finding a new job 

    Seven tips on finding a new job

    By Greg Collier

    There’s light at the end of the tunnel now. Job markets are starting to open up and slowly but surely several new positions are becoming available around the country. However, it’s not to the point yet where you can take the application process lightly. You need to compete for these positions and in order to achieve that you need an edge against your competition. We’ve found some tips that we think will give you better chances of finding that new position.

    1. Craft a professional looking resume.

    A resume is your best way of getting your foot in the door with a new employer. However, not everyone knows how to write a resume. No matter what position you may be applying for, a well-crafted resume speaks volumes to a potential employer.

    Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word online have great templates that can help you craft your resume and their services are free. If you’d prefer and can afford it, there are services where people will craft a professional resume for you. Feel free to get creative with your resume’s appearance but not so creative that the resume is difficult to read or looks too unprofessional.

    In most cases, you’ll be able to send your resume electronically. However, you should have several copies of your resume printed out. Too many times people have gone to interviews where they’ve submitted their resume electronically only to have the interviewer ask for a hard copy. While most of don’t have printers at home anymore, you usually can get files printed at your local library relatively inexpensively. You can also print out your resume at retail delivery outlets like the UPS Store.

    Try to keep your resume down to one page. Multiple page resumes have the potential to get lost in the shuffle. While you may have a lengthy employment history, try to limit it to the past 5-10 years. If you’ve only held one job in that time then feel free to go back further in time.

    Whatever you do, don’t try any of the resume tricks that look like you’re trying to fool the employer. The most infamous one of these tricks is using keywords from the job ad on your resume in white font. When employers scan resumes they will find those supposedly invisible keywords and will discard your resume.

    2. Use social media to your advantage

    If there’s a particular company you’re eager to work for, follow them on social media. By doing so, you may gain an insight into their hiring cycles and practices. We’d recommend following them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Make LinkedIn a priority and then follow the company on whichever other platform the company is most active on. Don’t be afraid to interact with the company’s social media either. Leave a comment on their posts that you find interesting. This could go a long way in establishing yourself with the company. Just always remember to be professional when dealing with the company even on social media.

    You may also want to consider cleaning up your own social media. It’s an unfortunate fact that many employers will go through an applicant’s social media to make sure they’re hiring the right person. Employers don’t want to find a bunch of inappropriate posts on your social media profiles. For example, if you have a series of pictures on your social media where you have a drink in your hand in every picture, you may want to make those posts private. You may have had a great time on Spring Break in Cancun doing tequila shots for breakfast, but your prospective employer doesn’t need to know this. This goes double for that time you and your friends smoked the fattest joint you’ve ever seen. While cannabis may be legal in many states now, most employers still look down on that kind of recreational activity. Along those lines, try to limit which of your friends can tag you in posts as they may post an unflattering picture of you that could show up on your profile.

    Also consider making any political or off-color posts private as well.

    And while this next tip isn’t really related to social media, we’d thought we’d throw it in here. Always use a professional email address when applying for a job. While you may have had the same email address since grade school, employers don’t want to see an email address like StonerLord420@weedmail.com or babeegrrl@partymail.com. Stick with using an email address that just encompasses your name like JohnSmith@example.com, or even something like jsmith785@example.com.

    3. Reach out to friends and family

    If you’re currently looking for work, don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know. They might not know someone directly who’s looking for new employees, but someone they know might. Employers love getting referrals for new employees from existing employees.

    If you went to college, think about reaching out your college buddies or your former fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. Except for that one person who’s still in college on the ten-year plan. They’re going to need more help than you. Most universities also have career and alumni events you can attend to help get your name out.

    Speaking of universities, if you have a specialized degree in a certain field, but there’s not a lot of opportunities in that field right now, give teaching a try. You don’t have to do it forever, and it looks good on a resume.

    4. Attend job fairs

    This is where printing out multiple copies of your resume comes in handy. Job fairs are a great place where you can introduce yourself to multiple employers at one gathering. You can usually find ads for job fairs on job boards and in your local newspaper or their website. You can even try talking to employers who may be out of your field. Not only that, but you may be introduced to a new experience that you excel at. Just make sure you dress professionally because the adage about making a first impression is true even if it’s for a more casual position. And lastly, don’t hesitate to ask any questions about the employer or the position. That will not only show that you’re motivated but that you’re interested in the company as well.

    5. Call or email an employer directly

    Most employers these days will want you to fill out an application or submit a resume online. However, it can’t hurt to call them directly asking about potential openings, even if they don’t have any openings that fit your experience. You might end up making a contact within their HR department. Then that way you could be at the forefront when a suitable position opens.

    You may also want to research if the company has a public email where you can reach their hiring department directly. Again, even if they don’t have any positions open currently, they could be contacting you when they do.

    6. Apply at temp or staffing agencies

    Temp agencies seem to get a bad rap when it comes to finding a new job. In many cases, they are a great way to not only build up your reputation with the company you’ve been contracted to, but you may become one of the temp agency’s star temps to contract out.

    A lot of companies love to hire someone after having them a few weeks or months as a temp. I was hired on permanently at more than one job after working for the company as a temp. However, even if you’re not hired on permanently, the temp position could still provide invaluable experience that you can use in the future.

    7. Don’t forget the job boards

    Some of the most common ways are the best and this includes searching for a job on the various online job boards. Companies use these boards because they work. You can use these boards to filter out a job by location, salary, and field among other qualifications. You can also submit your resume for any employer to review. Most will even let you set up notifications for when a position in your field becomes available.

    Also, please keep in mind that Geebo.com has an extensive employment section as well.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    DEA issues warning about impersonation scam 

    DEA issues warning about impersonation scam

    By Greg Collier

    The Drug Enforcement Agency issued a warning about scammers posing as their agents and demanding money. One of the more popular versions of the scam has the scammers calling their victims and accusing the victims of being involved in a crime. The scammers will even spoof a DEA phone number while telling their victim that someone rented a car using the victim’s identity and the car was found to have drugs in it near the Mexican border.

    The phony agents will threaten the victim with arrest if the victim doesn’t pay a fine. As with the majority of scams, the scammers will ask for payment of the imaginary fine in nontraditional ways like gift cards or money transfer. This is because these methods of payment are largely untraceable.

    Another version of the scam has scammers calling their victims claiming that the victim’s bank account has been compromised by criminals. The scammers then instruct the victim to send them money in order to assist them with their investigation.

    These scammers will often target medical professionals as well. The scammers will threaten doctors and providers with arrest claiming that someone used the doctor’s identity to write illegal prescriptions.

    In their warning, the DEA states that they would never call someone demanding payment and threatening arrest. This also goes for virtually all law enforcement agencies.

    If you receive a call from one of these scammers, you’re asked to report it to the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov/.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alaska, , , , ,   

    Scammers use missing persons to commit fraud 

    Scammers use missing persons to commit fraud

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve often said that scammers will stoop to any lengths to try to get one over on their victims. We also say that scammers will try to take advantage of any kind of tragedy to make a quick buck. Now, think of one of the worst tragedies that can befall a family. Then imagine that family having to deal with a scammer that’s trying to take advantage of that tragedy. That’s what’s been happening to many families in Alaska.

    Due to the sheer amount of untamed wilderness that Alaska has, the state has an inordinate amount of missing persons cases per capita. This has led to scammers trying to extort money out of the families involved in these cases. Even we were taken aback when we read about this scam as it’s beyond cruel.

    The scammers take to social media looking for posts that deal with a missing person. They’ll then use that information to contact the missing person’s family. The scammers will say that they are holding the missing person hostage and that the missing person is now ill. The family will be instructed not to contact police and that their loved one will be released if they make a ransom payment. The ransom payment is then demanded to be paid through a payment app like PayPal or Cash App.

    This is a variation of the virtual kidnapping scam with the only difference being is that the person being used in the scam is actually missing. The reason this particular scam is doubly cruel is that not only are the scammers harassing an already distraught family but in some cases, it’s giving them a false sense of hope that they may be getting their family member back.

    Whenever one of these scams come up, we like to remind our readers that kidnapping for ransom is actually very rare in the US.

    We hope that anyone reading this never has to deal with a missing person in their family. However, if the unthinkable happens, and then you receive a scam call like this, you should contact your local police immediately.

     
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