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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , virtual kidnapping   

    What to do when a kidnapper calls! 

    What to do when a kidnapper calls!

    We’ve all seen it in movies or on TV. You receive a phone call from a stranger telling you that a family member has been kidnapped. You’re instructed not to call the police and you have to take a briefcase full of cash to a seedy part of town to make the exchange. In reality, kidnappings for ransom are extremely rare. However, that hasn’t stopped high tech scammers from fleecing victims of their money in what’s being called virtual kidnappings.

    The virtual kidnapping scam works by the scammer calling their victims using a spoofed number to make it look like they’re calling from a relative’s phone. They’ll claim to be kidnappers and that they have taken your relative hostage. They’ll instruct you to not call the police and then have you send them money either by making you buy pre-paid debit cards and giving them the card’s numbers or by having you wire the money somewhere. By the time the ordeal is over, you find out that your relative was never in any danger but the scammers have made off with your money and are virtually untraceable.

    So what should you do if you receive one of these phone calls? Most experts agree that you should hang up immediately and call the police. If you do actually speak on one of these phone calls never give out any personal information especially the name of your relative that they’ve claimed to kidnap. If there’s another avenue of communication available, like another phone, call the loved one in question to make sure they’re ok. The FBI contends that these virtual kidnappings will only become more frequent over time so being prepared will allow you to better recognize one of these calls.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , pharmaceutical companies, , price fixing   

    Are you being gouged for your medicine? 

    Are you being gouged for your medicine?

    Healthcare costs in this country continue to skyrocket and are out of reach of the many Americans who desperately need it. Whether it’s because of the states that refuse to expand their Medicaid programs or the fact that employers aren’t offering affordable healthcare coverage, many Americans are either uninsured or underinsured. It also doesn’t help that many pharmaceutical companies continue to put profits over patients’ needs. The most famous cases of this was by Martin Shkreli, aka the ‘Pharma Bro’ when he raised the price of a drug used to treat HIV patients from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill. While Shkrelli is currently serving time for fraud it seems that other companies are following his strategy.

    44 State Attorneys General are suing a number of generic drug manufacturers for allegedly colluding to keep their prices higher than they should be. The suit alleges that the manufacturers of a “broad conspiracy” to inflate and manipulate prices of more than 100 commonly prescribed generic drugs. Normally, when a patent expires on a brand name drug, it allows other drug manufacturers to make the exact same drug for cheaper.

    Many of the drugs the Attorneys General accuse the drug companies of overinflating the price include simple things like antibiotics to life and death drugs like those for diabetes, cancer, MS, and HIV. The increased pricing not only puts a strain on the patients who require these drugs but also on health carriers, Medicare and Medicaid. The pharmaceutical companies accused of the price-fixing claim that the drugs that have increased in price are just a minority among the thousands of generics that are made today.

    Do you take a generic medication on a regular basis? If so, have you seen the price jump dramatically in the past few years? If so, please leave a comment below.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , voicemail   

    This voicemail should go unanswered! 

    This voicemail should go unanswered

    The Better Business Bureau is warning about a new scam that has taken the internet by storm. It’s a version of the phishing attack with a new twist. Normally in phishing attacks, you’ll be sent an email that looks like it came from a legitimate business or contact where they’ll ask you to either click on a link or enter some information. These attacks are designed to either get your personal information or install malware on your computer. Now, according to the BBB, scammers have added a new wrinkle to this attack.

    In the new attack, the scammers will send an email that claims to be from Office 365 or some other business software telling you that you have a new voicemail message. The email will even tell you that the message is from a trusted source. Then the email will provide you a link to click on to listen to the voicemail but instead will try the aforementioned tactics of either trying to steal your information or inject malware on to your device.

    In order to avoid phishing attacks like this, you should never click on unsolicited links especially if you’ve never opted in for receiving these kinds of alerts. Never log into any of your accounts through an email link, instead log in directly from the main page or app for your account. And if you’ve been a victim of one of these scams you can report it to the BBB.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Flexa, , SPEDN   

    Is cryptocurrency ready for retail? 

    Is cryptocurrency ready for retail?

    Even with its volatile fluctuations in value, it seems that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are here to stay. It seems that cryptocurrency is no longer just the method of transaction on the dark web as it continues to gain more mainstream acceptance. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long dreamed of a day where they can use their Bitcoins or any other number of cryptocurrencies, to purchase everyday items such as their morning coffee or a pizza. That dream is now becoming a little bit closer to reality.

    15 retailers in America have signed up for an app called SPEDN that is said to allow users to spend their cryptocurrency in brick and mortar stores. Some of the retailers that will begin accepting cryptocurrency are Bed Bath and Beyond, Ulta, Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Crate & Barrel, Express, GameStop, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, and Regal Cinemas. SPEDN is attached to the Flexa global payments network.

    However, what remains to be seen is how these retailers will be able to keep their cryptocurrency stockpile secure. Retailers are not the most secure companies as a number of them have been subject to massive data breaches that exposed customers’ information. Since cryptocurrency has been known to be stolen through nefarious electronic means will consumers turn against cryptocurrency once a large amount of it has been stolen from one of these retailers? While a good idea in concept maybe cryptocurrency isn’t ready for retail just yet until the security aspect of it can be addressed.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ADT, ,   

    Scam stats that will blow you away! 

    Scam stats from an expert

    When it comes to scams we’re pretty good in explaining how they work and how to avoid them. However, when it comes to organizing the facts and figures behind them it seems like no one has ADT beat. The home security leader has an extensive write-up about almost every scam that is affecting American citizens today. Utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker ADT has compiled an almost exhaustive compendium about all the scams affecting us today from the most common to the absolutely rare.

    For example, the most common scam in the US is phishing attacks. These are the emails that are designed to get some kind of personal information out of you or infect your device with malware by disguising themselves as legitimate emails. This makes sense since phishers have to send out millions of emails just to try to hook a handful of victims. Rounding out the top 5 of common scams are tax collection scams, online purchase scams, employment scams, and debt collection scams.

    The scams that cost victims the most money are investment scams costing victims on average close to $9,000. The most infamous type of investment scams are Ponzi and pyramid schemes. The second most costly scam per victim is the romance scam which we just recently discussed here. The romance scam has cost victims roughly $6,000 each but as we’ve discussed previously, some victims have lost upwards of thousands of dollars to a million.

    Scams also have geographic targets as Alaska is said to be the state hit hardest by scammers while North Carolina has escaped relatively unscathed. Alaskans reportedly lose twice as much money to scams than the next state in the most scammed list being Hawaii.

    Being armed with all the information that ADT has kindly provide us should allow you to be better prepared to when it comes to recognizing a scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    How do you stop a romance scam? 

    How do you stop a romance scam?

    We’ve talked about a lot of scams over the past few years, however, one that we barely touched on is the romance scam. The romance scam is exactly what it sounds like. A scammer will pose as a variety of people claiming to be looking for a relationship. They’ll pose as men and women on dating sites as well as social media. The scammers will use any and all information that you’ve shared on your profiles in order to lull you into a false sense of security before hitting you with a request for money. We’re not talking small amounts either. Some victims have lost anywhere from thousands to over a million dollars. It’s unknown how many victims of this scam there truly are since many of them are too embarrassed to come forward.

    One family from the Midwest is said to be currently living this nightmare as a member of their family reportedly does not believe it’s a scam and continues to send money to someone claiming to be a woman from overseas. Even after being confronted by his family the man refused to stop communicating with the woman and is said to have sent $34,000 to the supposed woman. Unfortunately, the family is helpless to do anything since the man won’t go to the authorities himself.

    So what happens when a victim runs out of money? They can become unwitting pawns in a money laundering scheme. The scammer will then claim to be paying them back and send the victims phony checks. This is when the old phony check scam kicks in. The victim will be asked to cash the phony check and send a portion of it to a third party. The FBI has the following tips on how to avoid being a victim.

    • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.
    • Go slow and ask lots of questions.
    • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”
    • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
    • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why he or she can’t.
    • If you haven’t met the person after a few months, for whatever reason, you have good reason to be suspicious.
      Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally. “If you don’t know them, don’t send money,”

    If you’ve been the victim of a romance scam you can contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at their website.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , pregnant employees   

    Is Amazon firing expecting mothers? 

    Is Amazon firing expecting mothers?

    Amazon, once again, finds themselves being portrayed in the media in an unflattering light. They’re coming under fire again for their alleged treatment of their employees in their fulfillment centers. In the past, Amazon has been accused of not only overworking their employees but pervading every instance of the employees’ lives. Reportedly, many Amazon employees are so afraid of losing their jobs that they’ll work sick or injured which only further exacerbates their mental and physical conditions. Now, Amazon is being accused of unfairly firing a group of employees that should be protected by law.

    Recently, CNET published an expose into Amazon’s supposed practice of firing pregnant employees. Amazon is facing several lawsuits over this practice and there could even be more victims of this practice that are either too afraid to sue or just can’t afford legal representation. However, one woman who claims to be a victim of Amazon is speaking out about her treatment by the company. The woman claims that Amazon would use declining production standards as a way to terminate her while she was pregnant even though by her doctor’s orders she couldn’t perform the same tasks in the fulfillment center. She also claims that Amazon was unwilling to accommodate her in such a way that would benefit both parties. Amazon’s infamous bathroom break policy which sees employees get written up if they take more than 10 minutes and are only allowed so many breaks per day. As you can imagine, this policy is not very amenable to pregnant workers.

    She’s not the only former employee suing Amazon as there have been six other lawsuits filed against Amazon in the past four years over similar treatment. That may not sound like a lot but Amazon has settled out of court for other former employees claiming wrongful termination. Sadly, Amazon isn’t the only multi-billion dollar corporation that allegedly discriminates against pregnant employees but is at the top of the ladder when it comes to being visible in the public eye. Unfortunately, it seems they’re setting a bad example for the rest of corporate America to follow.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Sick puppies still being sold online 

    Sick puppies still being sold online

    As we have stated in the past, Geebo does not accept any listing that’s selling or giving away pets. One of the reasons we do this is to try to prevent puppy mills and illegal backyard breeders from continuing their abusive practices. Sadly, some of our competitors do not share our stance and allow these practices to flourish. In turn, consumers are still using these platforms to purchase purebred dogs only to find out that the puppies are sick or dying.

    In Albuquerque, a family bought a miniature schnauzer off of craigslist for a steal. After they took the puppy home it turned out that the puppy’s health records had been faked and the puppy died from the deadly parvovirus. In Lehigh Acres, Florida a couple bought a husky puppy from someone claiming to be a professional breeder on craigslist. When the couple took the puppy to the vet it was reportedly sold at too early of an age and was infested with hookworm. That puppy shortly died soon after as well.

    This has become an all too common occurrence. When purchasing a living creature as a pet you shouldn’t look for bargains to be had as that usually means there’s a reason why the animal is being sold for so cheap. The same caveat applies to puppies as it does with most things being sold online; if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. If there’s a specific breed of puppy that you have your heart set on, do your research. Look into what needs and behavioral patterns the dogs have and research the breeder as well to make sure they are ethically raising their animals. We also always recommend adopting a puppy or even an adult dog from your local shelter. Adopting a new member of your family is not something that should be done rashly. Carefully think it out before adding an addition like this to your home.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , paypal scam, , , , ,   

    The Armslist gun sale scam and more 

    The Armslist gun sale scam and more

    We’re back again with another trio of scams to be on the lookout for.

    It seems that the much-criticized Armslist isn’t immune to scams as a woman from Western Pennsylvania has been charged with defrauding users of the website. The woman allegedly advertised several firearms for sale on the controversial site and collected the payments for them in money orders. However, she did not have any of the actual guns for sale and she’s accused of keeping all the money for herself. There’s no word on whether or not any background checks were completed on any of the victims.

    ***

    A man from Silver Lake, Washington was trying to sell his late wife’s wedding ring on craigslist when he was approached with an out-of-state offer. The man then received a bogus email stating that the money for the ring had reached his PayPal account. The man sent the ring but the money wasn’t actually there. Amazingly, after he contacted the police the ring was found in Illinois. This is a rare occurrence on the scale of a solar eclipse. Ok, maybe not that rare but it is remarkable that the man was able to get the ring back as in most cases once the item has been shipped it’s usually gone forever. In most cases, you should only deal locally and only in cash and when completing the transaction it should be done at a local police station.

    ***

    Lastly for today, a rental scam that we’ve discussed before has started popping up again and that’s the lockbox scam. The scam works like the typical rental scam where someone claiming to be a landlord will rent you a property sight unseen if you wire them a deposit. With the lockbox scam, the phony landlords have somehow gained access to the realtor’s lockbox on the property that contains a key to the home. A family in Phoenix, Arizona recently fell for this scam and even moved into the property after wiring their money to a scammer. Sadly, they had to be evicted from the property. Under no circumstance should you ever wire funds to someone you’ve never met. Most legitimate property managers will do background checks on prospective renters and will meet them in person.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Mauritania, one ring scam, , Sierra Leone, wangiri   

    Call this number back at your expense 

    Call this number back at your peril

    While this particular phone scam has been around for years, the FCC and other government officials are warning consumers about the ‘wangiri’ or one ring scam. The term ‘wangiri’ was coined by the Japanese and is said to refer to the scam’s method of ringing someone once and hanging up. The way the scam works is that the scammer will call your phone once and then hang up before you can answer. They will do this multiple times usually late at night trying to make it seem like it’s an urgent phone call. They’re trying to get you to call the number back, but once you do they’ve got you.

    The calls are coming from overseas. According to reports, the most recent calls are coming from either Mauritania or Sierra Leone. The phone numbers will show the international calling codes of either 222 or 232. If you call these numbers back you could be charged exorbitant fees by your phone provider. Not only is international calling expensive, but these numbers are set up as pay numbers much like 1-900 numbers. So on top of your carrier’s fee, you will be charged an additional by the minute fee from the overseas number.

    The best way to protect yourself against this scam is to not call back a number you’re not familiar with. If the call is important. they’ll leave a message. There are also apps you can get for your phone that can block robocalls or overseas calls as well. Don’t expect your phone carrier to be willing to waive the charge either. By most accounts, the phone carriers are saying that it’s the customer’s responsibility to keep from being scammed.

     
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