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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    It’s the season for more scams against seniors 

    It's the season for more scams against seniors

    By Greg Collier

    Senior citizens are often the targets of scams because of a perceived unfamiliarity with technology. This is a recurring theme throughout the year. However, until December 7th, seniors will be the target of even more scams. That’s because now is the open enrollment period for Medicare. Until December 7th, Medicare recipients will be able to decide if they want to stay with their current Medicare coverage or switch to a new insurer. Unfortunately, open enrollment is also open season for Medicare scammers.

    The most prevalent scam seniors will have to look out for are identity theft schemes. Scammers will call their senior victims, posing as either Medicare or some other insurer. The scammers will try to get their victims to give them their personal information by asking the victim to verify their identity. In some instances, scammers will try to get the victim’s personal information by promising them better benefits at a lower cost.

    It’s not just identity theft the scammers are after, either. Medicare fraud has been a growing problem for years. Medicare scammers could use their victim’s Medicare information to file for fraudulent benefits. Not only does this make Medicare more expensive, but could also limit a recipient’s benefits in the future.

    Please keep in mind that Medicare or some other insurer is probably not calling you. Even if the number shows up on your phone as Medicare, the odds are the call isn’t from them. Phone numbers can be easily spoofed to make the call appear like it’s coming from Medicare.

    In the majority of cases, if you feel the need to change your coverage, you need to call Medicare or your insurer. If someone calls you claiming to be from Medicare during open enrollment, you can hang up the call. You are not required to take any calls that appear to be from Medicare. Then call Medicare or your insurer from the number on the back of your insurance card.

    And always remember to never give your Medicare or insurance ID number to any strangers over the phone.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Grim donation scam plagues intersections 

    Grim donation scam plagues intersections

    By Greg Collier

    If you’ve driven any amount of time in the US, you’ve undoubtedly seen roadside donations taking place at a certain intersection. Often you’ll see the local fire department out collecting donations to help combat childhood diseases. They’re usually easy to identify since it’s clear who they are from their uniforms. Sometimes you might see a local civic group having a collection drive for any number of reasons. Again, they usually have plenty of signage identifying their organization and what they’re collecting for. But what if you saw a group of people collecting donations for a child’s funeral? Would you toss them a couple of bucks? If you answered yes, you may want to reconsider that donation.

    Recently, we’ve seen reports from various parts of the country where scammers are allegedly setting up shop in busy intersections. They’re said to be holding signs asking for donations to help pay for a teenage girl’s funeral. Or it could also be for the funeral of a young boy. However, the constant theme among all of the scams is the scammers have claimed they need money for a child’s funeral.

    And when we say, it’s happening in different parts of the country, we mean it. We have reports from Western Massachusetts, Southern California, Missouri, and another report from Southern California. While we don’t think the scammers are connected, it can’t be coincidence that these scams have sprung up all around the same time. It’s reminiscent of all the fake violinists who started appearing in parking lots across the country.

    Scammers will use every dirty trick in the book to either lull you into a sense of panic or pull on your heartstrings to try to get your money. And there’s nothing sadder than a funeral for a child to elicit a few donations on the street. However, a funeral scam is probably one of the lowest scams that someone can pull.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Displaced family fall victim to rental scam 

    Displaced family fall victim to rental scam

    By Greg Collier

    A Florid family of three recently moved out of the mobile home they were living in. They needed a larger living space due to medical concerns. They were driving through Jacksonville when they came upon an open house for a home that was for rent. There were other potential renters touring the home, while the event was hosted by a man who appeared to be from a realty agency. That man was professionally dressed while wearing a badge with his name and picture that carried a local realtor’s logo. He was also said to be handing out rental applications.

    The family filled one out, and two weeks later the man visited them at their mobile home. The family was told their application was approved, and they paid a $2300 deposit. The man even had a card reader with him, so he could take the payment from their debit card immediately. They were even given a key to the home. After they moved in, they used their remaining savings to have the power turned on.

    Three weeks later, the family’s nightmare began. A security guard who worked for the realtor told the family they had been scammed and had 72 hours to move out. They couldn’t even go back to the mobile home they were living in previously because it had been damaged by Hurricane Ian. They’re currently having trouble finding a home due to a previous eviction.

    Just about anybody who walked into this situation could have been scammed. The scammer went to extreme lengths to scam families looking for a home. First, the scammer probably toured the home himself through the realtor, which gave him access to the realtor’s lockbox that holds the key to the home. Many realtors do not change the combinations on their lock boxes after a family tours a home.

    Then he held his own open house for the property while posing as one of the realtors. There’s a reason why the ‘con’ in con artist is short for ‘confidence’. Who knows how many other victims this person has allegedly scammed using the same tricks?

    According to local realtors, if you meet a real estate agent away from their office, get their business address and verify they work for the realtor they claim to work for.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Anatomy of a job scam 

    By Greg Collier

    When we discuss the reshipping or repackaging scam, we often have to give generic descriptions of it. For example, the reshipping is a job scam that sounds like a real work from home job, but doesn’t actually exist in the workforce. Scammers will often post a work at home position online, that’s supposed to pay really well. The job entails receiving goods at the employee’s home, who inspects the good for damages. The employee is then supposed to ship the goods to a third party.

    As previously stated, this is not a real job. This is a way for scammers to send goods bought with stolen credit cards to a location that can’t be easily traced. More often than not, the employee/victim of the scam is often caught off guard when police show up at their home.

    However, thanks to the Better Business Bureau of Connecticut, we have the specifics of how one scam ring allegedly operated. A company that went by multiple names kept claiming they were based in Connecticut, while offering positions of a ‘shipping and packaging specialist’ or a ‘picker packer specialist’. This company offered $2400 a month for these phony positions. Employees were even required to log in to a company dashboard to report their hours. Victims didn’t even know they were being scammed until it came time to get paid, and the companies would just disappear.

    This scam can hurt its victims in a number of ways. The first way is that the victims are making plans for the money they think they’re going to be paid, such as paying their bills or rent. When that money doesn’t come, victims could now even be more in debt. Secondly, the scammers probably had their victims fill out legitimate looking applications and tax forms. Scammers could now easily steal the identity of their victims. Lastly, and most importantly, this scam could actually land a victim in jail. If a victim of the scam knowingly falsifies shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs, they could face 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 8:01 am on October 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Scammers and spammers plague online marketplace 

    Scammers and spammers plague online marketplace

    By Greg Collier

    If you like to sell items online to declutter your home, you may pick the online marketplace that is most convenient to you. Possibly, one that is already integrated into your favorite social network. Unfortunately, that convenience and prevalence often lead to many scams and frauds. In some instances, you’ll get more responses from scammers than actual buyers on a certain marketplace platform. However, one man has discovered an almost universal sign that a potential online buyer is trying to scam you.

    According to a local news report from the Cleveland, Ohio area, scammers have increased their activity on that area’s Facebook Marketplace. The one scam that is being reported the most is the Google Voice Scam. In this scam, scammers will pose as online buyers interested in whatever you’re selling online. They’ll say they want to send the seller a verification code to make sure the seller is who they say they are. What’s really happening is the scammers are setting up a Google Voice account connected to your phone number. The scammers will then use the stolen Google Voice number to scam other victims.

    One proficient online seller from the area has noticed something about the scammers. When the scammers message him, they don’t ask any questions about the item being sold. Instead, the scammers will ask if the item is still for sale and if it is, they’ll ask the seller for their phone number. Again, this is to sign up for a Google Voice number using the seller’s phone number.

    If you’re using a platform that has a built-in messaging system, be suspicious of anyone who wants to communicate with you off-platform. If a prospective buyer sends you a code for any kind of verification, do not give it to them. They’re either trying to get a Google Voice number out of you or are trying to access some other online account of yours.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    New tricks used in arrest warrant scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, we have said that hardly a day goes by where we don’t see a news article from somewhere in the country warning about the arrest warrant scam. This is where scammers pose as law enforcement and call their victims to threaten them with arrest. This is done to try to get the victim to pay the scammers in the guise of paying a fine to remove the warrant. Typically, scammers will even spoof the phone numbers of police departments to make the police number appear on the victim’s phone. Like most scams, the fake police will demand payment through non-traditional and largely untraceable means, like gift cards or cryptocurrency.

    Usually, we post about the arrest warrant scam when a new wrinkle has been added to it, and a sheriff’s office from the Chicago area is warning residents about a few new twists in the scam. The first new trick is the scammers are playing recordings of police radio in the background of their phone calls. This is done to make the phone call seem more legitimate and to get the victim in a panicked state.

    Another trick arrest warrant scammers use is to keep the victim on the phone for as long as possible. For example, they’ll keep the victim on the phone while the victim is buying gift cards at a store in order to make it difficult for someone like a store clerk to interfere with the scam. Now, scammers have added two new aspects to this trick. The first thing is, they’re referring to keeping the victim on the phone as a ‘mobile police escort’. The scammers tell the victim to stay on the phone, so they can assure the victim won’t be arrested while getting the payment. This is not a real police procedure. According to police, this is also a way scammers can keep track of the victim’s location to rob them.

    Please keep in mind that no law enforcement agency will ever call you and threaten you with arrest if you don’t make a payment. If you ever receive one of these calls, hang up immediately. Then call your local police department at their non-emergency number to let them know this scam is going on in your area.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Scam Round Up: Why we keep receiving scam messages and more 

    By Greg Collier

    This week on the Round Up, we’re going to discuss two familiar scams in new clothes, and a look into the scam process itself.


    Our first scam is a good old phishing scam. If you’re not familiar with the term phishing, it’s when scammers send out messages hoping to get personal information from their victims. It’s like the scammers are on a fishing expedition for victims.

    Bank information is a big target for scammers, and the latest scam is going after the banking login information of its victims. In Virginia, it’s being reported that residents there are receiving emails that appear to be coming from their bank with official logos and everything.

    The emails claim that the bank has a new security procedure in place and provides a link for their users to log in. The link will actually take the victim to a page that looks like the bank’s official login page, but will instead steal the user’s login information.

    Never click on any links in an email or text message from someone you don’t know personally. And always check the URL of any page you’re on to make sure it’s legitimate before logging in.


    There’s a new scam circulating on social media where a victim can be promised as much as $1 million. This scam happens when you receive a direct message from a friend who says they saw your name on a list of people who are owed unclaimed workers’ compensation. Except, the friend is actually a scammer who has hijacked your friend’s account. The scammer then tells you to call an ‘agent’ at a certain phone number who can help you. If someone calls the number, not only will they be asked for their personal information, but they’ll be told there will be a payment for the process. This is very similar to the government grant scam, where victims are promised free money. This also known as the advance fee scam. When it comes to things like grants and compensation, you should never have to pay money to get money.


    Lastly, have you ever wondered why you might be receiving scam messages even though you’re careful with your contact information? For example, you may not give your phone number or email address to too many people outside of those in your inner circle. Yet, you still get scam texts, calls, and emails. So, how does that happen?

    Scammers always cast a wide net in order to lure in a handful of victims. They cast the widest net by sending their messages at random to any combination of email addresses and phone numbers. If a scammer gets a reply from any one of these millions of guesses, they know there’s a real person at that email address or phone number.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Now is really the time to look out for student debt scams 

    By Greg Collier

    Ever since the government announced its student debt forgiveness program, we’ve been warning those eligible for the program to be on the lookout for scammers. This past Monday, it was announced that the application process is finally open. Along with that announcement, both The White House and the Federal Trade Commission have issued warnings about student debt forgiveness scammers and how to try to avoid them. We’re going to go over some of the warning signs so hopefully those who need relief the most won’t fall deeper into debt.

    The first thing to keep in mind is that the program is free. Scammers will either tell you that there’s a charge for the application or that they can fast track your application for a fee. Neither of these things are true.

    Another red flag is if someone approaches you about applying for the program. If you receive a voicemail or robocall from someone claiming to be from an organization with a generic name like ‘the Biden student loan forgiveness program’, they’re scammers. You have to apply first at the Federal Student Aid website at StudentAid.gov. Any form of communication that approaches you before you apply is probably trying to steal your personal and financial information.

    Scammers like to prey on confusion, and the government isn’t exactly helping themselves in that department. After you apply for the program, you may receive emails from the following government email addresses. Those include noreply@studentaid.gov, noreply@debtrelief.studentaid.gov or ed.gov@public.govdelivery.com. Carefully check the email addresses on the emails you might receive. Scammers will try to use similar looking addresses to fool you into divulging personal information.

    Lastly, the application process does not ask you to upload any financial documents or give any banking information. While some applicants may be asked for financial records later on in the process, they will not be asked for them while filling out the application. You will also not be asked for your Federal Student Aid number.

    You can read more about student debt forgiveness scams at the Federal Student Aid website.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Check cashing scam targets the homeless 

    By Greg Collier

    We often don’t think about the homless as being scam victims, but they often are. What money they manage to save can often end up in the hands of scammers. We’ve seen multiple instances where rental scammers have taken the last penny from homeless victims who have done what they can to afford a place to stay. Only for the victims to start all over again. That’s only one of the scams that are frequently being perpetrated on the homeless. There are also scams that could land homeless victims in jail while the scammers get away.

    In Michigan, it’s being reported that scammers are using the homeless to try to cash fraudulent checks. The scammers are allegedly approaching homeless people, asking them if they’re looking for work. If they say yes, the scammers will promise them partial payment from a check the scammers have. The catch is, the homeless person needs to cash it for them.

    So, there are two likely outcomes with this scam. The first is, the check gets cashed. Whether the homeless victim gets paid is mostly unknown because the second scenario is more likely. In the more likely scenario, the check is discovered as being fraudulent and the homeless victim trying to cash it gets arrested.

    This happened to a homeless Michigan man who is currently in jail for allegedly trying to cash a fraudulent check. He was promised $900 out of a $6000 check for some construction work but was arrested at a national bank branch.

    This is far from an isolated case as this scam has been reported in the South, New England, parts of the Midwest and Southern California.

    If you’re homeless, anyone who asks you to cash a check for them is essentially using you as a shield from the police. Nothing good can ever come from it. If you know someone who is homeless, please consider asking them if they’re aware of this scam.

    Most homeless people are not homeless by choice and are still human beings. We should be taking more steps to protect them rather than allowing them to be taken advantage of.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    This phone scam could steal your life 

    By Greg Collier

    How much of a panic would you be in if you lost your phone? Can your personal or business email accounts be accessed through your phone? Is your phone locked with a PIN or password? Or is it secured using a fingerprint or facial ID? Do you have banking apps that require a PIN or fingerprint to access? Could any random stranger just pick up your phone and start accessing your money and information? Even if your phone is completely locked down and secure from physical access by outsiders, there’s still a way you can lose all access to your phone without actually losing your phone.

    There is a scam out there that most mobile phones are vulnerable to, and it’s known as SIM-swapping. The name SIM-swapping is a misnomer, since physical access to your phone’s SIM card is not necessary. SIM-swapping works when scammers or identity thieves contact your mobile phone carrier and pose as you. The scammer will use information they’ve found out about you to convince the phone carrier they are you. This is known as social engineering.

    Once the scammer convinces the phone carrier that they’re you, they’ll have the phone company switch your service from your phone to theirs. As soon as that happens, the scammers have direct access to your phone number and text messages. Since most of us who use two-factor authentication have the authorization codes sent to our text messages, the scammers can then access any number of your personal accounts, including your financial accounts.

    This recently happened to a victim from Tennessee. She had received a text message from her carrier indicating a change on her account before her phone service went completely dead. She called her carrier, and another name had been added to the account. By the time she had her service restored, scammers had transferred thousands out of her bank account through the Zelle app.

    There are ways to protect yourself from SIM-swapping. One way is to use an authenticator app instead of using text messages for your two-factor authentication. Authenticator apps are tied to the device instead of being tied to a phone number. Also, when filling out your security questions for online accounts, don’t give the correct answers. Information like your high school mascot or your pet’s name can be discovered on your social media. Lastly, you can contact your carrier and tell them not to allow any device switching on your account. However, to get your account unfrozen, you may have to visit your carrier’s store with your ID.

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