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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 25, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , 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 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , ,   

    It’s time again for student debt relief scams 

    By Greg Collier

    With all the politicizing that has happened around student debt relief in the past few years, it’s no wonder people are confused about the status of their student loans. This month, federal student loan payments are set to resume. With that, scammers have become reinvigorated to prey on the confusion of those with student loan debt and are out in full force to take financial advantage of those who were already struggling to make their loan payments.

    These scams typically involve deceptive tactics that promise swift and complete relief from student loan obligations, often with enticing offers of reduced or even eliminated debt. However, the perpetrators behind these schemes exploit the lack of awareness and understanding surrounding legitimate forgiveness options.

    Scammers often reach out to potential victims through phone calls, emails, or social media advertisements. They may claim to be from a government agency, a reputable loan servicing company, or a nonprofit organization specializing in debt relief. They’ll make enticing promises of immediate and complete student loan forgiveness, regardless of the borrower’s financial situation or eligibility.

    To access their supposed services, scammers require upfront fees or request personal financial information. Legitimate student loan forgiveness programs do not charge upfront fees, so this is a significant red flag. They may pose as loan servicers and request sensitive personal and financial information, such as Social Security numbers and bank account details. This information is then used for identity theft or other fraudulent activities.

    After collecting fees or personal information, the scammers disappear. Victims are left with the same or even more substantial student loan debt, often facing financial hardship due to the money they lost to the scam.

    Legitimate student loan forgiveness programs do not charge upfront fees. If someone requests money upfront before providing assistance, it is likely a scam. Avoid making payments or sharing personal information, especially your Federal Student Aid ID and login information.

    To find information about federal student loan forgiveness programs, visit the official U.S. Department of Education website or relevant government agency websites. These sites provide accurate and up-to-date information on legitimate programs, and also provide information about scams.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 20, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , , , pump switching, , subpoena   

    Scam Round Up: The gas pump switching scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: The gas pump switching scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    There’s a new version of the advance fee scam circulating on Facebook Marketplace. An advance fee scam is when a scammer promises something valuable for free then asks for some type of payment for things like taxes or shipping.

    In this case, scammers are offering a free laptop, but it comes with a sob story. The ad claims the seller bought their spouse a new ‘laptop pro’, but they caught their spouse cheating and want to give the laptop away as a form of punishment.

    The ad almost tips itself off as being a scam, since the gender of the spouse switches back and forth in the description.

    “I am giving out this laptop Pro that I bought to surprise my husband for her birthday but then caught her cheating on me,” the scammer wrote. “I know I could sell it and get my money back, but I want to show her I gave it away for nothing like her is to me.”

    The catch is, once someone responds to the ad, the seller asks for a $70 shipping fee, and the laptop is never delivered. Scammers are also using hijacked Facebook accounts. So if you see a friend listing this for sale, you may want to let them know.


    A new version of the jury duty scam has popped up in Florida, and its targets are more vulnerable than the typical jury duty scam victim. Instead of just calling people at random and threatening them with arrest for supposedly missing jury duty, scammers are now targeting people who have actually been subpoenaed.

    Subpoenas are a matter of public record, and scammers are using these records to target their victims. Like the jury duty scam, the scammers are posing as the local police or court system and demanding cash from victims to avoid arrest. The scammers are asking their victims to meet them in person.

    However, also like the jury duty scam, no law enforcement agency or court will ever call you and threaten you with arrest if you don’t make an immediate payment. If any kind of legal fine ever needs to paid, a person would be notified by mail.


    Police in the Philadelphia area are warning consumers about a gas pump scam. They call it the pump switching scam, and it starts when someone approaches a victim at the gas pumps and insists on pumping their gas for them. According to the police, the scammers are quite insistent about it.

    If a victim agrees to this, the scammer won’t return the nozzle to the pump and will continue to fill the tanks of people who drive up for $20 cash. This will continue until the victim’s card hits its limit or the police arrive.

    To protect yourself from this scam, always return the nozzle to the pump and end the transaction. You can also prepay inside the gas station. If you do pay at the pump, also make sure you print out a receipt.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 28, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , ,   

    40 Marketplace scam victims show up to woman’s home 

    (Stock Photo)

    By Greg Collier

    If you saw an and for a used washer and dryer for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $250, you probably wouldn’t give it any other thought. After all, it’s only $250, what scam could the seller possibly try to pull for that amount of money. You’d be partially right, as the scam didn’t take $250 from victims. It only took $125 from victims, and there we’re a lot of victims. A quick estate believes the scammers made at least $5000. And one victim didn’t lose any money but has lost the peace and quiet of her home.

    In the Atlanta area, the aforementioned washer and dryer was listed for sale for $250 on Marketplace. As you may have guessed, there wasn’t any washer or dryer for sale. It was a scam listing designed to get deposits out of victims. The scammers asked for a deposit of half the price before allowing the appliances to be picked up.

    While the article doesn’t state it, the scammers were more than likely collecting payment on personal payment apps like Venmo or Cash App.

    When the scammers would give their victims an address where they can pick the items up, they gave them a random address in Atlanta. This address belonged to a woman who had no idea scammers were using it until people started showing up to her home looking for a washer and dryer. This has been going on for weeks, with at least 40 victims showing up to her home looking to pick up a washer and dryer. She’s even had the listing removed from Facebook, but the scammers keep putting up new ones. She’s posted a sign in her front yard warning victims there in no washer/dryer, and they’ve been scammed.

    Thankfully, there have been no incidents at the woman’s home. In the past, we have seen some incidents where the scam victim refuses to believe they’ve been scammed, and have become belligerent with the homeowner.

    It doesn’t matter what item is for sale online, there can be a scam attached to it. In this instance, the victims paid a deposit before seeing the product in person. We can almost guarantee the scammers had some kind of story as to why they couldn’t deliver the item.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 3, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , ,   

    If it’s in the news, there’s a scam for it 

    By Greg Collier

    One of our well-used adages about scammers is they may be some of the most informed people on the planet. If there is a major news story, there will be scammers looking to take advantage of it. Typically, we see this with natural disasters such as hurricanes and the like. However, the news story can also be something more socioeconomic that’s a call to action for scammers.

    For example, student loans have regularly been in the news for the past few years. We all know why student loans have been in the news, and we’re going to gloss over those details to try to prevent this from becoming a political discussion. And as we all also know, student loans garnered a large amount of the headlines this past week.

    This has caused not only the Attorney General’s Office, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue a warning about student loan scammers. Both offices are warning consumers, scammers will more than likely start sending out texts, emails, and robocalls offering some kind of student debt relief.

    These scammers tend to use a nebulous name of an organization that doesn’t exist. They’ll often use generic names like ‘The Student Loan Forgiveness Center’. However, the scammers may have some of your identifying information to make the scam seem more authentic.

    In most cases, the scammers are trying to get you to pay an ‘application fee’ while they promise debt relief that will never come. Once a victim makes a payment to the scammers, they’ll continue to hound the victim for more payments, usually under the guise of having to navigate government red tape.

    Despite, the recent news, there are still student debt relief programs; however, they are only available through the government. Please keep in mind, the government is not going to call you to start the debt relief process. You have to reach out to them first.

    If you have more concerns or questions, you can read more about student debt relief scams at the Federal Student Aid website.

  • Geebo 8:01 am on June 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , ,   

    Elderly man loses $800K to in a week to scammers 

    By Greg Collier

    This story is as heartbreaking as it is infuriating. An elderly man from Washington sold his home for $800,000 and planned to use the money for his retirement. Within a week, he was essentially homeless.

    When the movers showed up at his home, he couldn’t afford to pay them. He called his daughter, who lives in Minneapolis. The man kept telling his daughter everything will be fine soon, but wouldn’t elaborate. Eventually, she was able to coax out of her father he thought he had won a sweepstakes.

    The man had fallen victim to the advance fee scam. This is when scammers will tell the victim they’ve won something, but they need to make a payment in order to claim their prize. Typically, the scammers will say the money the victim is paying is for taxes or processing fees.

    In this man’s case, the scammers kept asking for cashier’s checks in the amount of $50,000 each before they took all of his savings. They called and texted him every day for a week before they completely drained him of all his money.

    Once again, the bank is being called into question for not allegedly seeing the red flags of a man who withdrew $200,000 in one day from two separate branches of the same bank. Scammers of all types will often instruct their victims to use separate bank branches to try to throw off suspicion from the banks.

    There could be a light at the end of the tunnel for the victim of this story. Both the media and the FBI are looking into the man’s case and seem to have some promising leads. However, in the majority of cases, victims never see their money again.

    For those of us with elderly relatives, we want to try to protect them from cruel scams like this, but we can’t be there 24-7 for them. The best way to help them is to remind them of scams like this. You can let them know it’s illegal for anyone to ask for money for a sweepstakes prize. You can also show them this blog post or any number of news articles that detail this scam.

    No one’s parents or grandparents should have to endure this kind of financial torment.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , , look who died, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: The classics make a return 

    By Greg Collier

    Even though there has been an uptick in technologically advanced scams, there are some classic scams that never went away. Here are three we think you should be reminded of.

    If you get a phone call or email that says there’s been a fraudulent charge on your Amazon account, the chances are it’s a scam.

    A woman from Lincoln, Nebraska, recently fell victim to this scam when she thought she was talking to the fraud department of her bank. The scammers convinced her she needed to make payments in Bitcoin to correct the error. She ended up sending the scammers $52,000 in Bitcoin after withdrawing it from her 401K.

    If you receive a call or message like this, go directly to your Amazon account and check for fraudulent charges. If there aren’t any, then whoever contacted you is trying to scam you. No matter how urgent they make it seem, slow down and verify their story before sending any money. And if Bitcoin is brought up in the conversation, then it’s definitely a scam.

    Scammers love to hijack Facebook accounts. When they do, not only do they get your personal information, but they can then use your account to try to scam everyone on your friends list.

    One of the ways they do this is by sending a Facebook message that says, “Look who died.” The message contains a link that appears like it will take you to a news article. Instead, it will inject malware onto your device that can hijack your Facebook account.

    Messenger is a pretty big breeding ground for scams. Outside of the ‘look who died’ message, you should also avoid messages about government grants, cryptocurrency, or just about any message that involves money.

    You may also want to let your Facebook friend know outside of Facebook that their account has been hacked.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the Publisher’s Clearinghouse scam. We’re all familiar with PCH. If you win a substantial prize from them, they surprise you at home in their Prize Van with a large novelty check. The thing with PCH is, you have to enter their sweepstakes first before you can win anything.

    Scammers will call victims at random while posing as PCH, telling their victims they’ve won millions of dollars. The scammers will then try to get their victims to make a payment to claim their prize. The payment will be disguised as something like taxes or processing fees. This is known as the advanced fee scam, which has cost victims thousands of dollars. Once a victim makes payment, the scammers will continue to string the victim along by asking for more money.

    Keep in mind, it’s illegal for sweepstakes like PCH to ask for money before issuing a prize. That’s why legitimate sweepstakes always have the tagline of ‘no purchase necessary’.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 20, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , , ,   

    Sweepstakes scam has a new twist 

    By Greg Collier

    Outside of law enforcement, Publisher’s Clearing House has to be one of the most impersonated organizations. We’re certain that most of us are familiar with the actual PCH. Older generations might remember the TV commercials where Ed McMahon would show up to a winner’s house with a large novelty check. More modern commercials show PCH’s Prize Patrol van showing up to congratulate the winner.

    Scammers often imitate PCH while trying to dupe their victims. Typically, scammers will use the Publisher’s Clearing House name to commit an advance fee scam. This is when a victim is told they are a PCH winner, but they need to make a payment to cover things like taxes and processing fees. If a victim does make a payment, the scammers will string the victim along with excuses for why the victim hasn’t received their prize money yet. They’ll then tell the victim that more payments need to be made and will continue this grift until the victim finally catches on.

    More recently, scammers have tried a new tactic using the PCH name in an attempt to fleece their victims, and they’re using another scam to try and accomplish that. Residents of Kentucky have said they’ve received letters telling them that they’ve won second place in the PCH Sweepstakes. Instead of telling the residents they need to make a payment to claim their prize, these scammers are including a check that will cover the cost of insurance and attorney fees.

    Of course, the checks are fraudulent and while the news report doesn’t go into detail, we imagine the victims will be asked to deposit the check in their own bank account and then pay an attorney or insurance agent chosen by the scammers. And as always, once the bank determines the check is fake, the victim will be responsible for the amount of the check to their bank while the scammers get away with the money.

    It’s actually rather easy to protect yourself from this scam. Even if you did enter the sweepstakes, keep in mind the phrase ‘no purchase necessary’. This includes things like the phony fees that scammers keep trying to inflict on their victims. When it comes to sweepstakes like this, it’s actually illegal for the sweepstakes to charge the winner to get their prize.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 2, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Parking ticket scam and more 

    By Greg Collier

    Today, we’re starting off the New Year with a handful of new scams.


    Now, the police impersonation scam is nothing new. This is when scammers pose as law enforcement and threaten a victim with arrest if they don’t pay a made up fine. However, a new variation of that scam has turned up in an East Texas city.

    Residents of Navasota, Texas, have received emails that try to imitate the city’s Chief of Police. The emails are coming from a Gmail account, which should be a tip off the emails are part of a scam. The strange part of this scam is the emails are asking residents to become collection agents for the city.

    While the news report doesn’t go into great detail about the scam, we imagine that the typical police impersonation scammer is looking for money mules to do their dirty work. It seems the scammers are looking for unwitting participants in their scam to collect the phony fines from victims.

    Always be wary of unsolicited job offers. With any job offer, if an email comes from a Gmail address rather than a business address, there’s a pretty good chance the offer is a scam.


    In a small Indiana county, residents have been receiving phone calls telling victims they’ve won a prize from the Mega Millions lottery. Victims are being told they’ve won money and a truck from the nationwide lottery. It’s with the truck where the scam begins. Victims are being told they need to purchase a $500 gift card to pay the driver who is bringing the truck. Since the victim may think they’ve won a large sum of money, $500 isn’t much to pay to get a new truck. This is the advance fee scam. It is illegal to make a lottery winner pay for their prize outside of the initial ticket purchase and subsequent taxes. That’s not even taking into account that most lotteries do not give out trucks as prizes.

    According to the Mega Millions website, no representative of Mega Millions would ever call, text, or e-mail anyone about winning a prize.

    If someone is asking you to pay for a prize you supposedly won, the chances are there is no prize.


    Lastly, if you receive a parking ticket on your car, make sure it’s from the city before making any kind of payment. In Scottsdale, Arizona, residents there have been finding parking tickets on their cars. The ticket states that you can pay the fine by scanning the QR code on the ticket. After scanning the code, victims are taken to a payment website that no doubt puts the money in to the scammers’ pockets.

    According to Scottsdale police, the fake tickets do not contain what parking law has been supposedly broken. Nor do the tickets have any kind of citation number.

    This is becoming an issue around the country as these parking ticket scams have been popping up all over, including a recent arrest in Santa Cruz, California.

    If you receive a parking ticket with a QR code on it, call the city to verify whether the ticket is bogus or not.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on November 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advance fee scam, , , ,   

    Student debt scammers already have your info 

    Student debt scammers already have your info

    By Greg Collier

    Ever since the White House announced their plan to forgive a large amount of student debt, there have been numerous warnings about student debt forgiveness scammers. Everyone from the Better Business Bureau to the Federal Trade Commission and even the Office of the President have issued these warnings. Unfortunately, these warnings have not stopped the scammers. They’re still out there in full force, and now seemed to be armed with even more information about you than before.

    According to a report from the BBB, student debt scammers have more of your personal information than ever. The scammers are using this information about their victims to make their scam seem more legitimate. In many scams, the scammers will call people at random and hope they’re a fit for their scheme. But now, the scammers are specifically targeting people they know have student loan debt.

    Potential victims have been receiving calls where the scammers know their email addresses, the schools they attended, and the last four digits of their Social security number. In some instances, the scammers even knew the victim’s Federal Student Aid account information. It’s unknown where the scammers are getting this information, but typically, this information is gained when some service the victim has used has had a data breach.

    In this latest incarnation of the scam, scammers are promising they can relieve more debt than the government program is promising. Victims will be asked for payment by the scammers to supposedly start the forgiveness process, but in reality, they’re just after the victim’s money. Some victims have been asked to pay in multiple monthly payments.

    Again, the best way to prevent yourself from falling victim to this scam is to remember that the government is not going to call you to start the debt forgiveness process. You have to reach out to them. Also, you do not have to pay any money to initiate the process. No one can get you more debt forgiven for more money.

    If you have more concerns or questions, you can read more about student debt forgiveness scams at the Federal Student Aid website.

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