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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gold bars, , , ,   

    Gold bar scammers scammed by police 

    Gold bar scammers scammed by police

    By Greg Collier

    When it comes to collecting money from their victims, scammers prefer instant and untraceable forms of payment. In that vein, scammers frequently ask for payment in gift cards, cryptocurrency, money transfers, or through payment apps like Zelle and Venmo. Some scammers even try to coax cold hard cash out of their victims. While cash is largely untraceable, it presents problems when trying to collect it. When a scammer asks for cash, they usually ask for it to be sent through courier services like UPS.

    Then, every once in a while, there are scammers who demand payment in one of the most conspicuous ways possible, gold bars. While technically untraceable, not only does the movement of gold attract a lot of attention, most people wouldn’t know how to convert their cash into gold in a short amount of time.

    That didn’t stop some scammers from trying their hands at getting some gold out of an elderly couple from Georgia. The couple received one of those infamous pop-ups on their computer that said their computer had been hacked. They called the number included in the message, and talked to a phony tech support call center.

    The fake support representative told the couple they definitely had a virus, then asked if they ever used their computer for online banking. They said they did, and the scammer asked which bank they used. After telling the scammer, the couple was told they were being transferred to their bank’s fraud department, which was just another member of the scam ring.

    The scammer posing as the fraud department told the couple their accounts had been compromised, and close to $200,000 in fraudulent transactions could leave them penniless. Then they were transferred to someone claiming to be an agent of the Federal Trade Commission. Again, this was just another scammer. However, the phony federal agent told the couple that in order to protect their money, they would need to withdraw their savings and convert into gold bars. The gold bars would need to be sent to Washington, D.C., where the FTC would issue a check to the couple. A courier would have to come to the couple’s home to pick up the gold.

    Currently, gold is around $2000 per ounce. For $200,000 that would be 100 ounces, which is 6.25 lbs of gold, or roughly 3 kilograms. The couple purchased the gold from a legitimate gold seller in Texas, but before they gave the gold to the scammers, they went to their local police.

    Knowing this was a scam, police set up a sting operation and waited for the courier to show up. Once he did, police were quick to apprehend him. It’s believed the scammer flew from Southern California to Georgia just to steal from the couple.

    This couple should be commended for following their gut when they did. Too often, we’ve seen elderly victims lose their life savings to less convoluted scams.

    Anytime someone you don’t know is telling you that you need to move your money to protect it, or pay yourself, they are trying to scam you. Moving your money is not a thing, and it doesn’t matter if you’re being told this by someone claiming to be from your bank, law enforcement, or any other position of authority, the person telling you this is an impostor.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 30, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fake notary, ,   

    How to lose your home to a scammer without even trying 

    How to lose your home to a scammer without even trying

    By Greg Collier

    You would think it must be pretty difficult for someone to steal your home out from under you without you noticing. However, it might be easier than you’d imagine.

    A homeowner from St. Louis recently lost ownership of her house to a scammer she never even met. Allegedly, a man went to the Recorder of Deeds with a quitclaim deed which said the homeowner turned the house over to the man for no cost. The man even presented a notarized deed that indicated the homeowner was present when the supposed deal was made. Except, the notary who is said to have officiated over the transfer doesn’t even exist. There is no record of this notary being licensed in Missouri.

    You might assume that once the error was caught, the deed transfer would be cancelled, but the Recorder of Deeds office claims they did nothing wrong. They say it’s not their job to make sure the notary on the deed is licensed. Their excuse is they have 60,000 documents they process in a year, and it’s not their requirement to check each notary.

    Suffice to say, the homeowner is suing both the man who claimed the deed and the Recorder of Deeds office.

    This type of title scam can occur in various locations. We would like to emphasize that while we wish we could provide a foolproof method to shield yourself from such a scam, the effectiveness of protection depends on your place of residence. Certain counties in the US have implemented a program that alerts homeowners via email if any documents bearing their name concerning their property appear in county offices. Unfortunately, not every county offers this service.

    If you have concerns about falling victim to such a scam, it’s advisable to investigate whether your county has a comparable program in place. If not, you may want to consider reaching out to your county authorities and suggesting the implementation of such a safeguard.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Scammers don’t care if you’re rich or poor 

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed many scammers often target high-dollar victims. We often post stories about victims who have lost thousands of dollars to scammers. That may cloud someone’s judgement into thinking low-income families aren’t targeted as much by scammers than families in a higher income bracket. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lower income families are targeted just as much, if not more, than higher income targets.

    Think about it for a moment. People in low-income situations are often living paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, this also means that when something goes wrong, like a car breaking down or needing a place to stay, they can find themselves in a desperate situation. Scammers live off this desperation and count on it when looking for victims to scam.

    For example, a single mother from Ohio was finally able to save up enough for a used car. It may have only been $800, but for many, it takes a long time to save up that kind of money. She found a 1997 Honda Civic for sale on Facebook Marketplace. She met with the seller who sold her the car, but afterward, she noticed something was wrong with the title.

    The seller allegedly forged the name of the car’s previous owner on the title. That person had recently passed away after taking their own life. It’s believed the seller stole the car from a deceased man’s family before selling it to the victim. Unfortunately, police had to seize the car as evidence, leaving the single mother with no car and no money.

    If you find yourself in a situation like this where you’re in a time-critical situation with your finances, please keep in mind there are plenty of people looking to scam you. While it may be time-consuming, you’ll save yourself plenty of headaches if you research the situation before handing over any money.

    For a used car, you’ll want to research the car’s history to make sure the seller is who they say they are, and they’re not selling you a lemon. When it comes to finding a new place to rent, you want to make sure you’re not handing money over to someone who doesn’t actually own the property. A quick search of the property’s address should reveal plenty of information about the property.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fraud department, ,   

    Elaborate bank scam wipes out life savings 

    By Greg Collier

    One of the more common scams lately is the bank impersonation scam. This scam can start out with either a text message or a phone call. In either case, the scammers are posing as your bank’s fraud department. They tell you that there’s been fraudulent activity on your account, or your account has been hacked. You’re then instructed you need to move your money to protect it. This typically results in the scammers having you send them your entire bank account through electronic means like payment apps or cryptocurrency, or through more manual means like gift cards or wire transfers. Usually, these scams take less than a day to occur and sometimes can happen in just minutes. However, one bank scam strung a victim along for a month.

    A woman from Wisconsin lost her life savings of $200,000 to scammers like this. They initially made contact with their victim by posing as Wells Fargo’s fraud department. They called her and told her that her identity had been stolen. The victim even says there were unusual transactions she didn’t recognize on her bank account.

    Then she was transferred to someone who claimed to be a federal agent for the Federal Trade Commission. That person had a lot of personal information about the victim, including her Social Security number, former addresses, and where the victim attended college. They even sent her copies of the supposed agent’s badge and ID card.

    The scammers told the victim to close all of her financial accounts in order to open new accounts with a new Social Security number. Or in other words, they wanted her to move her money. The victim sent the scammers her money through money transfers, gift cards, and cryptocurrency. All the while, they were sending her certified letters that appeared to come from an attorney, which lent legitimacy to the scam.

    Another tactic scammers like this use is threatening their victim with arrest, which was also done here. The scammers told the woman if she didn’t comply, she would be arrested for money laundering.

    As always with scams like this, if you receive a call from your bank about fraudulent activity or identity theft, hang up. Then manually call the bank at their correct customer service number, which can be found on their website or on the back of your debit card.

    It’s also recommended if you receive a phone call like this to reach out to family and friends to get their feedback.

    Also, please keep in mind that if your identity is stolen or your bank account is hacked, no one is going to call you. To the banks, they consider it the customer’s responsibility to report any unauthorized transactions. And moving your money, or paying yourself to protect it is not a real procedure.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 25, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fake clergy, , , scam reporting, , , , USA.gov   

    Scam Round Up: Where to report a scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: Where to report a scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    Scammers in Modesto, California, are preying upon Spanish-speaking residents by posing as clergy from the local Catholic diocese. These scammers are allegedly charging families up to $2000 for baptisms, confirmations, and first communions.

    Some scam victims may be afraid to come forward due to their immigration status. However, police have urged residents to come forward by reassuring them they won’t be asked their current status.


    Police in Evanston, Illinois are warning residents there about a police impersonation scam happening in their area. According to the Evanston PD, scammers are calling residents and telling them they owe money for traffic tickets.

    As with all police impersonation scams, real police will never call you and ask for money over the phone, nor will they threaten you with arrest for not paying.

    If you receive a call like this, hang up, and call your local police department at their non-emergency number.


    An elderly woman from Western New York received a letter that appeared to come from Publisher’s Clearing House, telling her she won $2.6 million. Thankfully, she caught on quickly that it was a scam. The letter asked her to pay $4000 in insurance to ensure she would receive the $2.6M check.

    This is known as the advance fee scam, and PCH has always been imitated in these scams. Keep in mind, it doesn’t cost anything to enter sweepstakes like this. That’s why they always say no purchase necessary.


    Lastly, the Federal Government has set up a new website that will help consumers report scams. Anyone can go to USA.gov and answer a quick series of questions. The tool will advise the user where to report a particular type of scam.

    For example, we answered that we were inquiring about identity theft regarding our tax return, and it directed us to the proper department of both the IRS and FBI to report the scam.

    Related Video: Kenmore woman doesn’t fall for $2.6 million scam prize letter posing as Publishers Clearing House

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    USPS warns of $2M email scam 

    USPS warns of $2M email scam

    By Greg Collier

    The United States Postal Service (USPS) has had to issue many scam warnings in its recent past. The one you might most be familiar with is the undelivered package scam. This is when scammers send out text messages purporting to be from the USPS. The text messages say the USPS could not deliver the recipient’s package and needs additional information to make the delivery. These text messages often contain a link where the recipient will either be asked for personal or financial information. Now, the USPS is issuing a warning about an email scam they’ve discovered.

    According to the USPS, scammers are sending out emails asking for the recipient’s personal information such as street address and phone number, among other information. The emails look like they’re coming from the USPS, but they’re not. Much like the text messages, the emails also claim that a delivery is trying to be made to the recipient. However, in order to potentially get as much information as possible from the recipient, the scam emails are dangling a large incentive in front of them.

    The emails claim the recipient is receiving a $2 million cashier’s check along with $50,000 in money orders. The email then instructs the recipient to send their personal information to another address. From there, the recipient’s identity could be easily stolen. The USPS hasn’t said if anyone has fallen victim to this scam yet.

    As always, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No one is sending out $2M checks out of the goodness of their hearts. Even if they were, the check would more than likely not be sent through the regular mail. Subsequently, the USPS does not reach out to customers through text, email, or phone call about undeliverable packages. They never ask for personal or payment information, either.

    If you receive an email like this, you’re asked to forward it to spam@uspis.gov before deleting the email.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    New scam targets new iPhone users 

    New scam targets new iPhone users

    By Greg Collier

    Apple recently released the newest iteration of the iPhone, the iPhone 15. While it’s only an incremental upgrade from the iPhone 14, the most newsworthy feature of the new iPhone is it can now be charged by USB-C. Previously, Apple used its proprietary Lightning connector, even though USB-C charges and transfers data faster. However, the iPhone 15 has been very popular among the Apple faithful, and when something is that popular, scammers are bound to follow.

    In previous years, an iPhone scam would consist of scammers claiming to sell a brand-new iPhone online for well under market value. From there, a number of scams could take place, most likely just to take the buyer’s money without giving them an iPhone. This new scam, is trying to get the iPhone 15 out of the hands of people who already own one.

    According to tech news site Tom’s Guide, one of their own reporters was approached by a scammer after they purchased an iPhone 15. The scammer called the reporter, posing as a representative from Verizon. The scammer said that due to overheating issues, the reporter needed to return their iPhone 15 because it was dangerous. While the iPhone 15 did have an overheating issue, it was never dangerous and has since been fixed with an update.

    The reporter called Verizon and verified this was a scam, but the scammer had already sent FedEx to pick up their phone. When the reporter spoke with the FedEx driver, the address the phone was going to be sent to was not to Verizon.

    What’s concerning about this scam is the scammers had enough of the reporter’s personal information to initiate this scam. If this had happened to someone who was less informed about scams, there’s a good chance they would have fallen victim. It’s believed scammers got this information from a Verizon data breach which happened earlier this year.

    When a product is defective and poses a danger to users, companies will not call customers. Instead, a recall will be issued by releasing statements to the media. At best, a customer may receive a post card in the mail letting them know about the recall. If you’ll think back to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle when the batteries were catching fire, no one was calling Note users asking for their phones.

    If you’ve purchased an iPhone through Verizon in the past few years, you probably want to be on the lookout for this type of phone call. If you receive this type of call, hang up and whatever you do, don’t send the phone to the scammers. Odds are, if you do, you’ll never see it again.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 20, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Arrest shows how gift card scam works 

    Arrest shows how gift card scam works

    By Greg Collier

    Gift cards are used in so many scams, they should be called red flag cards. Typically, scammers will try to get their victims to pay them in gift cards for something that normally isn’t paid for in that way. Gift cards cannot be used to pay your utility bill, a legal fine, or as a rental deposit. As soon as someone gets asked by a stranger to pay for something with gift cards, they should know that’s a surefire sign of a scam. However, there is another scam that anyone can fall victim to, and it targets the gift cards themselves.

    Recently, in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, a man was arrested for allegedly stealing gift cards from a CVS store. After police apprehended the man, they searched his car and found 30 lb. boxes filled with gift cards. Police also found heat guns, blow dryers, adhesive strips, and other tools used to alter the cards.

    After scammers steal the gift cards, they remove the security strip from the card and record the card’s number. The security strips are replaced with the adhesive strips before the scammers place the cards back on the rack at the store. Once a customer puts money on the gift card, the scammers are notified, and they drain the card of all funds. Customers usually don’t find out until someone goes to use the gift card, which could be weeks or months after the date of purchase. When the card is emptied, it’s very rare for a customer to get their money back.

    There are steps you can take to protect yourself from this gift card scam. When buying gift cards, take one from the middle of the pack, as they are less likely to have been tapered with. Check the card for signs of alteration. If the security strip appears wrinkled or crooked, there’s a good chance it’s been tampered with. When buying a gift card, keep the receipt, as this could assist you later if the card has been emptied.

    If you do get stuck with a tampered card, call the issuing company immediately at the customer service number on the back of the card. While this isn’t a guarantee your funds will be recovered, it will go a long way in expediting that process.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 19, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: international students, ,   

    New kidnapping scam crosses the line from virtual 

    New kidnapping scam crosses the line from virtual

    By Greg Collier

    If you don’t know how the virtual kidnapping scam works, it can be terrifying for those it victimizes. In this scam, victims receive a phone call from scammers who tell the victim they’ve kidnapped a loved one. Often, the scammers will have someone screaming in the background to make it sound like the supposed kidnap victim is being harmed. Or, the scammers will use an AI-generated voice clone of the victim’s loved one. This can put the actual victim into an emotional state where they’re not thinking clearly, to say the least. From here, the scammers will demand a ransom payment. However, the person the scammers claim to have kidnapped is typically safe and unaware they’re being used in a scam.

    Now, some virtual kidnapping scammers have devised a new plot that takes the kidnapping part of the scam to a new level. This new scam tends to target college students who are here on international visas. They’ll receive a call that appears to come from their home country. The scammer tells the student that they’re in legal trouble back home due to their identity being stolen. Then the student is asked to make a payment to avoid arrest. That’s typical scam procedure, but then the scam takes a dark turn.

    The scammers then try to isolate their victims by telling them they can’t tell anyone about this matter. Victims are told to refrain from using social media and to turn their phones off. Some victims are even being told to go to a hotel alone to further the isolation. This manipulation can go on for weeks.

    Once the student is isolated enough, the scammers reach out to the victim’s family, telling the family they’ve kidnapped the student. In essence, they really have kidnapped the student, just not physically. This can be horrifying for all victims involved.

    Anytime someone tries to isolate you from your friends and family over the phone, it’s almost a guarantee they’re trying to scam you. It’s recommended that if you receive a call like this to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or contact local or campus police.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 18, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Strange new police impersonation scam emerges 

    Strange new police impersonation scam emerges

    By Greg Collier

    As we often state, the police impersonation scam that is the most common has to be the jury duty scam. Again, this is when scammers pose as the victim’s local police, even going as far as to spoof the police department’s phone number. The victim is told they missed jury duty and a warrant has been issued for the victim’s arrest. Then the scammers tell the victim they can avoid arrest if they make an immediate payment. This payment is usually made through unconventional means such as gift cards, cryptocurrency, or money transfers. A variation of this scam is when the victim is just told flat out there’s a warrant for their arrest.

    Now, a report out of Wisconsin says there is yet another version of the police impersonation scam. A sheriff’s department has issued a statement saying they’ve received an alarming number of phone calls about this scam. In the latest scam, the scammers are still posing as local police, including spoofed phone numbers, but the scammers’ demand is more than unusual. Residents have said that not only are the scammers demanding a $1000 payment in gift cards, but they’re also telling residents they need to undergo a court-ordered DNA test, or they’ll be arrested.

    We get why the scammers would ask for money in gift cards. That’s just what they do. However, a request for a victim’s DNA is a new one for us. We can’t imagine what the DNA would be used for, but the supposed DNA test may just be a ruse to get the victim to meet the scammer in person.

    Even with this new twist on the police impersonation scam, the ways to protect yourself remain the same. No legitimate law enforcement agency, office, or department will ever call you demanding payment. They won’t threaten you over the phone with arrest if you don’t pay them immediately. If there was a warrant out for your arrest, or a court-ordered DNA test was required, the investigating officers or agents would come to you without a phone call.

    If you receive one of these phone calls asking for money, or in this case your DNA, hang up and call your local police department at their non-emergency number. Not only can they advise you the call is a scam, but they can now inform the community of the scam as well.

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