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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Victim scammed by fake Cash App website 

    Victim scammed by fake Cash App website

    By Greg Collier

    Cash App has an advantage over its competitors like PayPal and Zelle. A Cash App user doesn’t need to have a bank account linked to their Cash App account. This is a great benefit to many Cash App users who are underserved by banks in their communities. However, that advantage comes at a cost. Cash App doesn’t offer the same protections that a bank might when it comes to scams, and unfortunately, Cash App is probably the most popular mobile payment app used by scammers. One of the more common Cash App scams is the fake customer service number scam. This is where scammers take out ads on popular search engines claiming to be Cash App’s official customer service number, but instead you’re directed to a scammer.

    Something similar recently happened to a woman from Arizona. She used Cash App exclusively and did not have a bank account. She recently purchased a new phone and wasn’t sure how to transfer her Cash App account to her new phone. Just because smartphones are commonplace now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone knows all the ins and outs of them, and purchasing a new phone can be a daunting task for some. The woman and her son looked on the internet for instructions on how to do this and came across a website that looked like an official Cash App site.

    The phony website even listed the correct customer service number for Cash App. However, when they clicked on the phone number, it redirected them to a scam call center. The phony rep asked for her account information and transferred all of her entire paycheck to a bank account controlled by the scammers. Another drawback to Cash App is that once a transfer is made, the account who received the money can block the account that sent the money. Or, in this case, the account that had money stolen from it.

    With payment apps like Cash App, your account isn’t permanently tied to the phone you first started using it on. As long as you haven’t changed your phone number, you should be able to redownload the app to your new phone and enter your login information and everything should be on the new phone.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , twitter bots, twitter scam,   

    Twitter bots are scamming PayPal and Venmo users 

    Twitter bots are scamming PayPal and Venmo users

    By Greg Collier

    We didn’t intend to write three stories in a row about payment app scams, yet here we are. Apps like PayPal and Venmo have become so common, it’s almost expected for scammers to try and weasel their way into our electronic wallets. We have documented quite a number of scams that involve not only PayPal and Venmo, but Cash App, Zelle, and other platforms as well. Those scams usually involve some kind of fraudulent transaction, but it seems at least one group of scammers have stepped up their game when it comes to finding new targets.

    Scammers have recently set up bots to look for any mention of the names PayPal or Venmo. For example, if someone were to ask another person on Twitter if they had a PayPal, so they could pay them for an item or support a content creator for example, the bot picks up on that mention. What happens next borders on evil genius territory.

    The bot will then make an almost duplicate Twitter account of the person being asked if they have PayPal. They’ll block the account they’ve cloned, then respond to the person who asked about their PayPal account with a link that goes to the scammers account. So the person who is supposed to be receiving the money doesn’t even see the fake account responding to the person who asked them about their PayPal account. In a normal Twitter conversation, it would go something like this.

    Person 1: Hey, I like your content. Do you have a PayPal?

    Impersonated Account: I sure do. (With attached link to scammer’s PayPal)

    Meanwhile, Person 2 never sees the impersonated account respond, and loses out on a sale or support.

    If you feel the need to discuss someone’s PayPal or Venmo account with them on social media, make sure to do it through private messages and not in a way where everyone can see it. Also, if you’re someone who solicits donations for their work through PayPal, it’s best not to list your PayPal details in your public profile as bots could be targeting you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    PayPal scam targets the elderly 

    PayPal scam targets the elderly

    By Greg Collier

    Yesterday, we talked about Venmo has been used in various scams, but today is all about Venmo’s big brother, PayPal. For those who may not know, Venmo is owned by PayPal. Anyway, PayPal is also no stranger to scams. Scammers have been fleecing PayPal users before Venmo was even a thing. Historically, PayPal was used as a scamming tool by shady eBay sellers. This was around the time when eBay owned PayPal, but has since spun off the payment app. We’re not saying that PayPal is responsible for the scams, but since PayPal has become so common in internet commerce, it has become a major avenue of scammers.

    A report out of Southern California says that there is a PayPal scam going around targeting elderly users of the platform. Most PayPal users get an email every time they make a purchase using PayPal. PayPal users will be most familiar with the email that comes with the PayPal logo that tells you where you made the purchase and how much the purchase was. A 67-year-old woman from San Diego received one of these emails, but it was for a purchase she didn’t make that was for an exorbitant amount. Legitimate PayPal emails also contain PayPal’s customer service number. This scam email also contained a phone number, but it went to a scam call center instead of PayPal.

    The phony customer service representative asked to log into the woman’s account in order to reverse the charge. The woman was also asked for banking information, since PayPal accounts are required to be linked to a bank account. Thankfully, the woman caught on that this was a scam and did not give up any of her information.

    If you are a PayPal user, and you receive an email that claims you were billed for a purchase you didn’t make, the first thing you should do is log into your account. Then check the transactions to see if the fraudulent purchase is there or not. If it’s not there, you can delete the email and forget about it. If a fraudulent transaction is there, call the customer service number listed on PayPal’s website or the back of your PayPal debit card. Whatever you do, don’t Google for the phone number, as that could lead you to a fraudulent call center. Also, avoid using any phone numbers contained in emails, as they could also direct you to a group of scammers as well.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Did Venmo lead to a kidnapping scam? 

    Did Venmo lead to a kidnapping scam?

    By Greg Collier

    As we have said previously, payment apps like Venmo are a great convenience for consumers. Venmo allows its users to make payments to friends and family or make a purchase without having to carry cash. However, it has a peculiar feature that’s enabled by default, and that’s the user’s public feed. It allows just about anyone to see a user’s Venmo activity, such as whom they paid and how much. The feed can be made private, but many users don’t even know the feed even exists. The feed has been used in a number of Venmo-related scams, but this is the first time we can recall it being used in such a harrowing scam.

    A woman from Georgia received a phone call that came up in her caller ID as coming from her mother. Somehow, the scammers were able to ascertain her mother’s phone number and spoofed it. The scammers claimed they were in her mother’s house and were holding her mother hostage. They demanded $2500 to be paid through Venmo. She only had $500 in her account, and the scammers accepted that. Meanwhile, the woman’s boyfriend was on the phone with the woman’s brother, who was at the mother’s home at the time and verified no kidnapping was taking place. However, the woman had already sent the scammers the money, and Venmo makes it easy to block users once the transfer has been made. It’s believed that the scammers knew she was a Venmo user by guessing random usernames to see if that brings up a public feed. The woman had just used Venmo that day.

    As you may know, this is known as a virtual kidnapping scam, and it has become prevalent over the past few years. If you were to receive a phone call like this, your initial reaction may be to believe what you’re being told. However, kidnappings for money are actually very rare in the United States. What you should do is try to get in contact with the person who has been supposedly kidnapped, either through using a different phone to call them or some other means of communication. You can also ask to speak to the supposed hostage and ask them a question only they would know.

    Scammers often use fear as a tactic to get their victims to give them exorbitant amounts of money. However, if you have the knowledge to thwart them, you’ll have nothing to fear.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ProPublica, ,   

    Facebook marketplace is deadly 

    Facebook marketplace is deadly

    By Greg Collier

    Craigslist used to be the poster child for dangerous marketplace platforms. It was a reputation they earned through their unmoderated ad listings which led to countless scams, human trafficking, and a number of high-profile murders. However, within five years of launching, Facebook Marketplace has become the supposed industry leader. The reason Facebook Marketplace became so successful so fast is that Facebook already had a built-in audience of one billion users worldwide and for many of Facebook’s users, Facebook is their internet. And since Facebook doesn’t want their users to wander outside of Facebook’s walled garden, Facebook will implement features to try to keep users engaged. Marketplace is just one of those features.

    ProPublica is a non-profit organization that does investigative journalism. Recently, ProPublica did an extensive investigation into the problems with Facebook Marketplace. ProPublica claims in their report that Facebook Marketplace’s problems pale in comparison to the number of problems Craigslist had. They start off their report with a story about a man who was making a living selling cars on Facebook Marketplace. His Facebook account was hacked and scammers started selling cheap junk through his account. Since the account still has his name on it, he’s in fear for his life that a disgruntled customer will come looking for him. When the man tried to resolve the matter with Facebook, they just banned him from the platform with no answers given.

    But to Facebook, the fact that a Marketplace account is attached to a real person makes it safer for users. Except Facebook neglects to mention the part where just about anyone can open a Facebook account. And much like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is awash with stolen goods on their listings. Facebook says that they have precautions in place to prevent scams and stolen items from being listed but according to ProPublica who spoke with past and present Marketplace employees, Facebook only reacts to complaints and does little to prevent fraudulent listings from going live.

    While Facebook Marketplace hasn’t had the number or PR nightmare that Craigslist had, there have been a number of murders committed using Facebook Marketplace. Much like we posted about OfferUp, the majority of these murders come from armed robberies. We’ll spare you the gruesome details, but many of these murders were particularly disturbing.

    Our point is that just because Facebook may be your social network of choice, that doesn’t make Marketplace safe by any stretch of the imagination.

    The even more unfortunate part of this blog post is that a lot of our audience won’t see it, since Facebook would almost assuredly prevent it from being posted on its platform. But they can’t stop you from posting it on Facebook. So please consider sharing this post or the ProPublica article with people you know who use Facebook Marketplace.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Text message scams using big name companies 

    Text message scams using big name companies

    By Greg Collier

    We think it’s safe to assume that many mobile phone users would prefer to receive a text message than a phone call. Text message are just so much more convenient than stopping whatever you’re doing to take a call. Except, not every type of communication can be done through text messaging. For example, if you needed any kind of customer service, it would be painstakingly long to do that through text. That’s not even taking into account that text messages have become yet another domain where scammers thrive. Scammers love the anonymity that text messaging allows. This lets them pose as just about anyone, and lately, they’ve been posing as some of the best known companies in the country. We’ve recently read reports that say there a two text message-based scams that happening all over the country.

    The first text message scam we heard about recently is offering COVID-19-based discounts to customers of Verizon, one of the nation’s largest phone providers. Here is an example of what the text message says…

    “COVID-19 REFUND. VERIZON COMPANY is giving out $950 to all users of our Verizon service, If yes kindly text your Verizon.”

    As you can see, the text message isn’t very well written, which is a great indicator that the text message is a scam. The messages also contain a link that you shouldn’t click on as it could do untold damage to your device, or ask you for personal information you shouldn’t be sharing. Not only are scammers posing as Verizon, but they’ve also been posing as Netflix and Hulu, among other companies. As much as we’d like them to be, these companies aren’t in business by giving away money to their millions of customers.

    The other texting scam involves large national banks Chase and Bank of America. In this scam, victims have been receiving texts that say something along the lines of…

    Chase Bank Fraud. Did you attempt $5,000 Zelle-transfer? Reply yes/no/help.

    Or…

    “Bank of America fraud alert. Did you just attempt a Zelle transaction of $3,500? Please reply yes or no.”

    Most people would probably text no back to the sender. However, the senders are just scammers who are fishing for your banking information. Once someone replies to the text, it’s followed up with a phone call from a scammer posing as bank customer service. The scammers will then walk you through a process on Zelle that allows them access to your bank account. Before you know it, it’s been cleared out. What makes this scam so problematic is that banks do sometimes text their customers to let them know if there has been fraudulent activity on their account. In this case, it’s always best to call the customer service number on your debit card than responding to the text.

    A good way to protect yourself from such scams is to verify any text you receive about money with a phone call. Even if it’s from people you know because any phone number can be spoofed.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on September 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Counterfeit Cash, Timeshares, and more 

    Getting scammed after being scammed

    By Greg Collier

    Here we are bringing you another handful of scams that you should be aware of.

    ***

    We start off with a scam out of the state of Delaware. A restaurant in the state’s capital, Dover, received a call from someone posing as the U.S. Marshals Service. The caller told an employee that they received complaints that the restaurant had been giving out counterfeit money as change. The caller also said that they would be at the restaurant in 30 minutes to ‘inspect the cash’. The employee was even threatened by the caller, stating they were currently watching the restaurant. The employee called the actual police instead. We’re not sure what the endgame of this scam was, but keep in mind that law enforcement will never call you to tell you what they’re investigating.

    ***

    In the state of New York, the Attorney General’s office is having to deal with scam letters that were sent out posing as the AG’s office. The letters indicate that the recipient is entitled to money due to a debt settled over the sale of timeshares. The NY Division of Consumer Protection has come out to let the public know that these letters are fraudulent, even though they contain the state seal. If we had to hazard a guess, we’d say that the scammers were probably trying to get New York residents to pay a ‘service fee’ to get their supposed pay out. This is known as the advance fee scam. If you get a letter like this and have doubts to its authenticity, call the agency at a phone number on their website and not one that’s on the letter.

    ***

    Police in Grand Island, Nebraska, are warning residents about a number of complaints they’ve received about scammers posing as employees of Apple. The scammers are telling residents that there has been suspicious activity on their Apple accounts and that they need to remotely access your computer to resolve the problem. As you can guess, once scammers have access to your computer, they can take all the information from it, including your banking info if you use your computer for that. Monolithic companies like Apple will never call you to tell you there’s a problem. The same goes for Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. If you can’t even call some of these companies, they’re not going to call you. Anyone who asks you for remote access to your computer is almost always going to be a scammer.

    ***

    While these scams might not be happening to you now, they could in the future. Hopefully, you’re now prepared to recognize them.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Scam victim gets bullets in the mail 

    Scam victim gets bullets in the mail

    By Greg Collier

    From its name, the average person would assume that the reshipping scam isn’t that dangerous, but it’s actually one of the more risky scams. In the reshipping scam, victims looking to work from home are offered a job that usually has a title like ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse distribution coordinator, or ‘local hub inspector’. The victim is asked to ‘inspect’ packages that are sent to their home before repackaging the items and sending them to a third party. The items themselves are often purchased with a stolen credit card, but since they were delivered to a victim’s home, that’s where investigators may start looking for whoever stole the credit card to begin with.

    One woman from Kentucky fell for this scam, but something she received made her realize something wasn’t right. She applied for the position of a quality inspector on a well-known job board, as scammers will often advertise these phony positions so they appear legitimate. The woman was shipping packages from her home with her home address as the return address. She didn’t think anything of it until she received a box of ammunition at her home and was asked to ship it somewhere else. It’s illegal to ship ammunition through the US Postal Service, and shipping services like UPS and FedEx require a number of precautions before shipping ammunition. It is also illegal to ship ammunition from the United States to another country. Reshipping scammers often have their victims send the items to other countries.

    What’s really scary about the reshipping scam is that even victims can be arrested. If the victim in this instance had reshipped the ammunition, and it was stopped by customs or postal inspectors, she would have almost definitely been arrested. However, that’s not the part that gets some reshipping scam victims arrested. If a victim knowingly falsifies shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs, they could potentially face a prison sentence.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Gabby Petito, , ,   

    Phony GoFundMe pages set up for missing woman 

    By Greg Collier

    One of our mantras here is that there is no tragedy that scammers won’t take care of. They don’t care who they hurt in order to make a quick buck. In this case, it’s the family of 22-year-old Gabby Petito who went missing in Grand Teton National Park. Sadly, at the time of this writing, investigators believe they found her body. Her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, is considered a person of interest.

    Scammers have used the tragedy to set up phony GoFundMe pages to solicit unsuspecting good Samaritans who just want to help. According to one news report, four different fake GoFundMe pages were set up using Gabby Petito’s name. According to Gabby’s family, the only verified donation sites are this GoFundMe and a donation page at the John MacNamara foundation. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we’ve posted about crime victims being used in GoFundMe scams. It’s horrible enough that these families are going through one of the worst tragedies that a family can endure, they don’t need these predatory scammers making things worse.

    We’re not saying that you shouldn’t donate to a charity or fundraiser to help out victims of a tragedy like this. What we are saying is to take a step back before you click that donate button. While it’s commendable that your heart wants you to help those in need as soon as possible, it’s an unfortunate fact that scammers will try to take advantage of that generosity. What you should do is make sure that GoFundMe page is legitimate by checking local news sources. Local news is great in getting the word out about legitimate crowdfunding accounts.

    At this time, we here at Geebo would like to extend our condolences to Gabby Petito’s family and friends.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: armed robbery, , , ,   

    String of armed robberies plague OfferUp users 

    By Greg Collier

    Too many people seem to think that marketplace app isn’t as dangerous as Craigslist just because it’s a modern looking app. While OfferUp doesn’t have the body count that Craigslist does, that only means that OfferUp hasn’t been around as long as Craigslist has. OfferUp has had its share of murders as well, but again, nowhere near the numbers that Craigslist. That’s not to say that OfferUp won’t catch up to Craigslist, given enough time. At least anecdotally, Craigslist related homicides seem to be on the way down, while OfferUp seems to be picking up the slack.

    The majority of OfferUp related homicides start out as armed robberies, then for some reason or another, the bullets start flying. These armed robberies have become such a problem that the police force of a major metropolitan city has issued a warning to its citizens. In Seattle, the police department has issued a warning to residents after a string of victims were robbed at gunpoint at what the victims thought were car sales.

    This is an old tactic that goes back to the Craigslist days. Thieves will post an ad for a car being for sale. Some thieves will use expensive cars as the lure, while others will offer a more affordable car being offered at a below-market price. The goal is to get the victims to bring large amounts of cash with them to the exchange. Victims are then robbed of this cash along with other valuables, including sometimes the car itself. As we stated previously, too many times these robberies easily can turn into murders.

    Most people will tell you that you’ll be safe if you just meet in a public place during the day. Those rules don’t apply anymore. People have been robbed and killed in broad daylight on busy streets. The best way to make any in-person marketplace exchange is at a local police department. While it’s not 100% effective, it goes a long way in discouraging bad actors from trying to get the jump on you. Many police departments even have areas set up for just such exchanges. Every ad on Geebo.com has a link to SafeTrade Stations, where you can find a police station near you.

    We also understand that there are segments of the population who may not feel comfortable going to a police station to make their exchanges. We understand your hesitation. For extra security and safety, we recommend still going to the police station, but take someone with you who can record the transaction on their phone.

    We wish the world wasn’t like this, that we could just go to a shopping center parking lot and make our exchanges. Unfortunately, too many people look to take advantage of the civility of their victims.

     
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