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  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arizona, , , ,   

    Scammers send man ‘suitcase full of cash’ in lottery scam 

    Scammers send man 'suitcase full of cash' in lottery scam

    By Greg Collier

    Many of us dream about the day we finally with the lottery and have enough money to at least live comfortably for the rest of our lives. We know that the odds of winning the jackpot are astronomical, but we keep telling ourselves that someone has to win, so why not us? If you lean too heavy into that kind of thinking, it could leave you vulnerable if a scammer comes calling.

    For example, a man in Phoenix received a registered letter that said he had won $4.5 million and a Mercedes-Benz. The letter also stated that the man qualified for the prize because he paid his utility bills on time. The man was also sent a locked suitcase that contained $1 million. Here’s where the catch comes in.

    In order to receive the code to safely open the suitcase the mad had to send a series of payments. If the man tried to open the suitcase without the codes, dye packs would supposedly explode rendering the cash useless. Unfortunately, the man made $25,000 in payment to the scammers before realizing he had been swindled. He was eventually able to open the suitcase on his own, and it was filled with gardening magazines.

    The most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with scammers like this is, you can’t win a prize for a contest you never entered. It’s also illegal in the United States for any sweepstakes to ask for a payment before you receive any kind of prize winnings. Sweepstakes winnings are hardly ever that elaborate either. At the most, you might have a minor celebrity show up at your home with an oversized novelty check.

    While you may not fall for such an elaborate scam, you may know someone who is a potential target. If someone you know starts talking about how they’re about to come into a lot of money, you may want to make sure they’re not being scammed.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arizona, , , , ,   

    Unemployment scams continue to plague states 

    Unemployment scams continue to plague states

    We’ve been keeping our readers informed of the various unemployment scams for months now. One might assume that the states may have put a stop to these scams by now but that assumption would be incorrect. As we’re about to show, many states are still having trouble putting a stop to the abuse of their unemployment benefits.

    West Virginia has had over 50,000 of its residents receive unemployment benefit debit cards that they did not apply for. This isn’t just abusing the West Virginia system as many of these claims were filed out of state. For example, one woman who lives in Morganton received a debit card for unemployment benefits that was issued out of Colorado. This could be particularly difficult for West Virginia residents as their unemployment rate is above that of the national average. These scams could be taking away benefits from the people who may need it most.

    The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has issued a warning to residents about a nationwide email scam that is targeting the unemployed. The email states that there is a problem with an applicant’s claim. The applicant is then directed to click a link that takes them to a malicious website where they’ll be asked for their personal information. The TDLWD is reminding applicants that any email from them will come from a tn.gov address which could also be applicable in many other states. The address will come from whatever the state’s website is. Most states use the two-letter state abbreviation followed by .gov but there are a few exceptions.

    Arizona is another example of where scammers are filing for benefits in other people’s names. The scammers get this information from previous data breaches where personal information has been exposed. They then file for unemployment benefits using this stolen information. The scammers attempt to change the address or banking information to steal the benefits but when they can’t, the benefits get delivered to the victim’s possession. One woman had filed for unemployment in Arizona where she lives on May 10th. Scammers then applied for benefits in her name in Michigan two weeks later. Arizona is said to be investigating one million cases of fraudulent unemployment activity.

    Considering that the nation is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases and more states are issuing new lockdown orders we could be seeing even more unemployment in the foreseeable future. This will give more scammers even more opportunities to scam each of the 50 states.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arizona, , ,   

    Phishing scam targets voter registration 

    Phishing scam targets voter registration

    No matter which political party you may belong to, there has been a controversy over mail-in ballots. Some believe that this could lead to either voter fraud or voter suppression depending on which side of the political fence you’re on. However, there’s an apolitical scheme going on that doesn’t care what your ideology is.

    According to authorities in Arizona, emails are being sent out to look like they’re from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The emails say that your voter registration information is incomplete. Of course, the email contains a link for you to click on so you can provide your correct information. The link takes you to a legitimate-looking website where you’re asked for your personal information.

    This is what’s known as a phishing scam. The scammers aren’t planning to cast a vote in your name. That doesn’t make them any money. Instead, they’ll use your personal information for financial gains such as opening loans or lines of credit in your name.

    As always, you should never provide personal information to unsolicited emails no matter how official the email may look. Anyone with a modicum of computer knowledge can make an email look like it came from any organization they want.

    If you think that there may be an actual problem with your voter registration information, go to your county’s election office and bring several forms of ID with you.

    No matter which way you lean, make sure that your voice is heard.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arizona, ,   

    A simple solution to gift card scams 

    A simple solution to gift card scams

    As we tend to say, gift cards are the currency of scammers. They are used as payment in just about every phone or online scam. Scammers will often pose as a police department, government agency, or any kind of entity that demands payment.

    The phony payment request is usually accompanied by some kind of threat such as an arrest or termination of vital services. The scammers will say the whole matter can disappear with payment in retail gift cards. They’ll then have the victims go to a local store to by an astronomical amount in gift cards then have the victim read the card numbers back to them. The gift cards are then quickly redeemed of their value and the scammers pocket the money. This is just a prevalent example of a scam involving gift cards as the sheer amount of scams that use them are too numerous to list individually.

    One part of the country seems to have had enough of these scams and has taken an ingenious yet simplistic approach to combat them. A number of communities in Northern Arizona have banded together to ask businesses to display a warning sign by their gift card displays.

    The signs look like a traffic stop sign but list many of the ways gift cards are used in scams. The sign informs customers that if they are buying gift cards for things like fines, taxes, lottery winnings, utility bills, etc. that you’re more than likely being scammed.

    With just about every store offering the ability to purchase popular gift cards, more retailers should be adopting a similar policy to help ward off scammers. While many retailers do train their employees to recognize potential gift card scams, an extra step in the process could be a great way to help put a stop to more gift card scams.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Arizona, , ,   

    Can you get your money back after a gift card scam? 

    Can you get your money back after a gift card scam?

    If you’re one of our regular readers, there’s a good chance that you’re tired of hearing about gift cards. That’s understandable, we talk about them a lot However, there is a very good reason why we talk about them all the time. If there’s a new scam going around or an old one showing a resurgence, there’s a good chance that gift cards are somehow involved.

    If you’re a new reader, the reason that scammers covet gift cards is that they’re an easy way to get virtually untraceable money from their victims. If someone is trying to pressure you into making any kind of payment through gift cards, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam.

    For example, a couple in Arizona recently paid $13,000 in gift cards to a scammer who claimed to be from Apple and told the couple that their Apple accounts had been compromised. All they needed to do was buy $13,000 in Apple gift cards and give the gift card numbers to the phony Apple representative to get their accounts restored. They were told they would be reimbursed but they never were. The couple called Apple directly who informed them that they had been scammed.

    Unfortunately, it was too late for this couple but there is a way to prevent your money from being taken if you act quick enough. As we noted in a previous post, gift card scammers employ people they call runners. Once the scammers have the gift card numbers the runners go to various outlets to try to get the money off of the gift cards. In theory, there’s a brief window between the time you give the scammers the card numbers and the time the runners cash out the cards.

    If you realize you have just been scammed, you should immediately call the customer service number on the back of the gift cards. Remember, you still have the physical cards and the customer service representative should be able to help freeze those numbers if you get to them in time.

    Just remember that gift cards are the currency of thieves and scammers. No legitimate business or agency will ever ask you to make payment through gift cards.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arizona, catfishing, , ,   

    Romance scam could leave victim homeless 

    Romance scam could leave victim homeless

    As we have discussed previously, romance scams are no joke. While some victims have been taken for hundreds of thousands of dollars, other victims have ended up in jail after stealing money to give to their fictional flames. For those of you who may be joining us for the first time, a romance scam is when a con artist uses social media or dating apps to lull their victims into a phony online relationship. When the victim appears to be smitten, the con artists will ask the victim for money under the guise of some kind of emergency or favor. Once the money stops, the con artists will cut off all communication with the victim.

    Something equally as disastrous recently happened in the Phoenix Metro area. Police there were called to a local Walmart when a worker noticed a woman had been there for more than a day. When police got there, there discovered the woman had been the victim of just such a scam. In her case, the scammer got her to give up her life in another state and fly to Arizona thinking that her new online love would be there to meet her. When she messaged who she thought was her boyfriend asking why he wasn’t at the airport to pick her up, the scammer once again asked her for more money in the form of gift cards. Once the scammer received the money they cut off communication leaving the woman stranded in Arizona with no place to turn to.

    Thankfully, the story has somewhat of a happy ending as one of the police officers bought the victim a plane ticket back to her home state out of his own pocket. However, the victim said she stopped paying rent where she lived thinking she was starting a new life. Unfortunately, this is just one story in a long line of romance scam victims who have been left destitute by the scam. These victims range in age, education and economic status. Just about anyone can be a victim.

    If you think you or someone you know may be the victim of a romance scam, the Federal Trade Commission has a great website on how to recognize a romance scam. Don’t let your heart trick you into making dangerous decisions.

     
  • Geebo 8:08 am on July 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air Max 1 USA, Arizona, Colin Kaepernick, Flag, Nike   

    Nike pulls shoes over Kaepernick protest! 

    Nike pulls shoes over Kaepernick protest!

    Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is obviously no stranger to controversy. In 2016, Kaepernick famously started kneeling during the playing of the National anthem prior to NFL games. He did this in protest of police shootings against black victims while the police involved would receive little to no punishment. Many say this is what has kept him out of the NFL since his contract expired with the 49ers. Even though Kaepernick was no longer in the NFL, he remained a spokesman for Nike shoes sparking even more controversy in a 2018 advertising campaign. While many consumers protested that campaign, Nike’s sales shot up by 31%.

    So it should really come as no surprise that Kaepernick has courted controversy once again, and again it has to deal with Nike. The shoe manufacturer recently pulled its Air Max 1 USA from store shelves after a complaint from Kaepernick. The shoes are adorned with the original American flag of the 13 colonies with 13 stars. Kaepernick asked Nike to pull the shoes since he believes that the flag represents an era of slavery in America. Not only that but more recently the flag has been taken up by some white supremacist groups.

    In response to Nike’s recall of the product, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) announced he was withdrawing some of Nike’s financial incentives in his state. Considering that Ducey represents the party of the free market this can be seen as somewhat hypocritical since the market has spoken mostly in favor of Nike’s actions with Kaepernick in the past. What’s more important to the state of Arizona, the jobs that a proposed Nike plant would bring to his state or a silly squabble over an outdated flag?

     
  • Geebo 8:05 am on June 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arizona, , ,   

    Don’t take out a loan for that job! 

    Don't take out a loan for that job!

    While we’re far from the authority on online scams, we are surprised when we hear about one that we’ve never heard of before. Often these online scams are just variations of only a handful of scams such as the phony check scam. Not to mention that we thought we’ve heard of every job scam under the sun. However, even we were taken aback when we read about this job scam from Arizona.

    According to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, there was an employment scam going through their state in 2017. Two men were posting help wanted ads for phony clerical and administrative jobs. They would then tell the applicants that their credit score wasn’t good enough for the position but that they could improve their credit score by taking out a loan. The scammers would then request the money from the applicants claiming that they would pay the loans back for them but of course, never did. Thankfully, the Attorney General’s office was able to prosecute these scammers but we have to wonder if the victims’ credit ever recovered after these incidents.

    While there are some jobs in the financial sector that require you to have a good credit score, you should never have to pay anything to get a job. If a company offers you an immediate position do some research to make sure they are a legitimate employer. And as always, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on September 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona, ,   

    When it comes to Backpage money AZ pols focus on wrong issue 

    When it comes to Backpage money AZ pols focus on wrong issue

    Back in April, we posted about how Backpage donated money to several Arizona politicians in seemingly underhanded ways. According to reports, donations were made not by Backpage as a corporate entity, but by individual employees of Backpage and their spouses. When it was discovered the money had come from Backpage many of the politicians who received the donations denounced the donations and in turn gave the money to charity.

    More recently, U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick came under fire for not getting rid of Backpage money she received until now. As is usually the norm in politics, the opposing party took this as an opportunity to admonish Kirkpatrick for taking the money and waiting so long to donate it. That’s putting it mildly by the way, the opposition basically accused her of willingly taking money from a company tied to a child sex trafficking scandal. Kirkpatrick has said she is donating the money to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

    Unfortunately, the political climate in our country has devolved into little more than personal attacks, name calling and assigning blame. This didn’t just happen recently, as it’s been getting worse for years if not decades. Instead of worrying about where the money is going, Congress should be taking a serious look how it got there in the first place. Backpage allegedly took steps to obfuscate that the money was coming from them in order to try to buy political influence. Considering Backpage has been under intense Congressional scrutiny for the past year or so, that should not come as a coincidence. While Rep. Kirkpatrick may have dragged her heels on donating the money, it’s still going to a worthy cause that helps fight the sex trafficking blight that Backpage has unleashed on this country. I see no better justice than taking the money that Backpage gave to politicians and donating it to worthwhile causes that oppose Backpage’s objectives.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arizona, , , , Kyrsten Sinema,   

    Arizona pols rush to dump Backpage donations 

    Arizona pols rush to dump Backpage donations

    While a federal grand jury was investigating Backpage founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, it was discovered that the pair made a number of financial donations to various politicians in the Grand Canyon State. While the amount of donations wasn’t that large when it comes to politics, it can appear tainted since Backpage is the largest online avenue of sex trafficking in the US. While the duo also made donations in New Mexico and Colorado, the amount they donated in Arizona was reportedly around $60,200.

    One politician who has come under recent scrutiny due to the donations is US Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. She received a donation that exceeded $10,000. Like many of the other politicians who received these donations, once Sinema was made aware of where the money came from she attempted to donate the money to charity. However, should she be under such criticism since Backpage seems to have made some of these donations in ways that seem somewhat underhanded?

    In some cases rather than Lacey or Larkin donating the money themselves, they allegedly either had their spouses or other Backpage employees make the donations. Much like their legal defenses, everything Backpage seems to do is questionable at best, or at least unethical. It almost seems like Backpage can’t do anything that is above-board.

     
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