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  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 22, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cash App, , , , ,   

    Elaborate rental scam leaves more families homeless 

    Elaborate rental scam leaves more families homeless

    By Greg Collier

    Rental scams seem to be grabbing plenty of headlines lately. There hasn’t been an increase in rental scams. Rental scams are one of the more common scams going today and has been for a while. We think the headlines are escalating because increasingly more families are becoming homeless because of the scam.

    For example, two families moved from out of state to Aurora, Colorado. The first family is from Las Vegas and saw an and for a four bedroom home for rent on Craigslist. This family tried to do all of their due diligence. They asked the landlord for proof of ownership, which they provided. The father of the family even drove from Las Vegas to Aurora to meet with a realtor who showed him the home. The man agreed to rent the home and arranged to make the deposit.

    The realtor asked for payment through Cash App, which the man almost recognized as a red flag. However, the Las Vegas man insisted on paying through PayPal instead. Once the realtor received the payment, he gave the family the code to enter the home. So, they packed up all their belongings and moved from Las Vegas into the Aurora home.

    They were living in the home for three days when another family showed up looking to move in. This family had moved from Arkansas to Colorado. When the two families compared their stories, they both realized they had been scammed. Everyone from the landlord to the realtor were scammers.

    It wasn’t too long before the property management company showed up. As property management companies are wont to do, they gave the first family 10 days to vacate the premises or be evicted. The second family didn’t even have that luxury. Now, both families are facing homelessness.

    So, how did the scammers gain access to the home in the first place? Once again, the property management company was probably using a lockbox which contained the keys. Too many realtors never change the code on the lockboxes, leaving them vulnerable to scammers. All a scammer has to do is contact the legitimate realtor and ask for a tour. Since many realtors allow guideless tours, they’ll give the lockbox code to any potential customer, including scammers. Once the scammer has the lockbox code, they’ll use it repeatedly to show the home to their victims.

    As always, the best way to protect yourself against rental scammers is to do as much research about the property as possible. Don’t ask the landlord for proof of ownership, instead contact the county’s tax assessor’s office to find out who the real owner is. Do a Google search on the property’s address to see if there are multiple listings with different rental rates. If there are, the lower priced one is almost guaranteed to be a scam listing. Lastly, never use payment apps like PayPal or Cash App for your deposit. These apps are vulnerable to a number of scams themselves.

    If you want to help the two families taken in by this scam, you can donate to their GoFundMe accounts here and here.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cash App, , , ,   

    Don’t use CashApp for rental deposits 

    Don't use CashApp for rental deposits

    By Greg Collier

    Yesterday, we discussed one of the oldest scams that plagues online marketplaces. That was the used car scam. Today, we’ll be discussing the one scam which has been appearing on online marketplaces even longer, the rental scam. Since the dawn of online classifieds, scammers have been renting properties that don’t even own to unsuspecting victims.

    For a little context, in the early days, scammers would list a home for rent on sites like craigslist. The listed rent price would be well below market value to entice anyone in the market for a new home. When the prospective renter would ask to inspect the home, a popular answer the scammers would give is that they’re missionaries who are currently working overseas. The scammer would then promise the renters they would send them the keys to the home once they received the security deposit payment that was typically sent by money transfer. Once the payment was sent, the supposed landlords would disappear with the victim’s money.

    Technology has advanced since those days, but the scam has stayed relatively the same. A Missouri woman was looking for a new home when she found a three bedroom, two-bath house with a little garage on Facebook Marketplace. The rent was listed as $800 a month. We checked the local real estate listings for the area. While there are homes and apartments with 3 bedrooms, you can get for close to that amount. However, they only had one bathroom. 3 bedroom homes with two bathrooms are going for twice that much.

    Anyway, the woman messaged the seller and the seller said that the home could be had if the woman paid first and last month’s rent. Under the direction of the seller, the woman sent the $1600 through Cash App. While the woman was waiting for the keys to be delivered, she drove past what she thought was her new home. Instead, what she saw was a for sale sign in front of the home. She called the realtor listed on the sign, and she was told the home wasn’t for rent.

    The woman attempted to get her money back from Cash App, but her request was denied as the scammer refused to give the money back.

    As we always say, payment apps like Cash App were designed to be used only between friends and family. If someone sends money through Cash App to someone they don’t personally, there’s a good chance they could be scammed.

    Now, we have heard of landlords who accept rent payments through Cash App. That’s fine if you’ve already moved in, established a relationship with your landlord, and are comfortable paying your rent that way. However, it should never be used to send any kind of rental deposit or application fee.

    Before agreeing to any kind of rental arrangement, make sure you’re dealing with the actual landlord. Do a Google search of the address and make sure there are no other listings for that property under different rental agency names or listings with a higher rent price. If the listing you’re looking at has a lower rent price and is being rented by ‘a guy’. There’s a good chance that you’re looking at the scam listing.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cash App, , ,   

    Don’t hand your phone to strangers 

    Don't hand your phone to strangers

    By Greg Collier

    Before the advent of the smartphone, your wallet used to be the one thing you couldn’t leave the house without. Now, except for drivers’ licenses, just about anything your wallet used to hold can be done though your smartphone. Many smartphone superusers don’t even carry wallets anymore and just use their phone. Thanks to tap to pay platforms like Apple Pay, many don’t need to even carry their debit or credit cards anymore. However, too many smartphone users don’t treat their phone like they would their wallets.

    In a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, some teenage scammers set up shop outside a supermarket. They claimed to be selling candy to help their football team. Like many of us today, their victims were not carrying cash. When the scammers were told by the victim they didn’t have any cash, the scammers would ask if the victim could support their YouTube channel. The scammers then offer to pull up their YouTube channel on the victim’s phone. What the scammers were really doing was going into the victim’s Cash App and sending the victim’s money to themselves. Some victims were taken for $300 while at least one other lost $1800 to the scam.

    This is a variation of a scam we’ve seen before. Previously, scammers would act as if they needed to call someone as if they were in an emergency situation. The scammers would then use the victim’s unlocked phone to access any number of financial accounts.

    The scam described above is essentially the same as handing someone your wallet so they can put their business card inside it. You wouldn’t just hand your wallet to a complete stranger so you shouldn’t do so with your phone.

    However, if you still want to help people out who may be needing your phone’s assistance, there are ways to protect yourself. Many apps like Cash App and Venmo have security precautions you can enable, so these apps can only be accessed by the phone’s owners. These can be done either by using a PIN or fingerprint scan, depending on the type of phone being used. This way you can still help those in need to make phone calls without risking your finances.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 5, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: army, Cash App, , pay scam, ,   

    Pay scam targets junior military members 

    Pay scam targets junior military members

    By Greg Collier

    For the newest members of our nation’s military, life can be rough. A bunch of 18-year-olds are embarking on their first journey into the real world while being shipped to any number of training camps states away from their homes and family. Now, imagine these fresh recruits with little life experience are being targeted in a scam designed to steal their money. You can hardly blame them for falling victim to such a scam.

    Fort Huachuca in Arizona, Fort Benning in Georgia, and West Point military academy, are all warning new recruits about a pay scam that leaves their victims without money. Scammers are posing as high-ranking military officials and calling the recruits to tell them that there is something wrong with their pay. The recruits are then instructed that in order to receive their pay and back pay, the recruit needs to first send money through Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, PayPal, or Apple Pay. Recruits who hesitate on sending the money are threatened with disciplinary action. According to one report, 74 soldiers have recently lost a total of $143,000 to pay scammers.

    According to the Army, if there really was an issue with a recruit’s pay, the matter would be handled at the recruit’s supporting military pay office. Even when serving in the military, no one should ever have to pay money to get money. Anyone who is asking a recruit to do so is more than likely a scammer. If you’ve been affected by this scam, the Army requests that you report it immediately to your chain of command. A complaint can also be filed with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

    If you have a friend or family member who recently entered the service, no matter which branch they’re serving with, you may want to share this story with them. Serving our country is already a difficult task. Our men and women of the armed services should not have to deal with scammers like this.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cash App, , , , ,   

    The red flags of a rental scam 

    The red flags of a rental scam

    By Greg Collier

    Ever since real estate listings have been available online, there have been real estate scammers. Typically, these scammers pose as landlords who are renting a house. The listings the scammers post are almost always copied from a legitimate real estate listing. A few details such as the rental cost and contact information will be changed. Depending on how far the scammers want to take it, the rental scam could end up costing victims anywhere from a small security deposit, to that plus first and last month’s rent. The scam can also leave victims homeless, as many have moved into homes that weren’t legally rented to them.

    That almost happened to a family from Wichita, Kansas, recently. They found a home for rent that was listed on both Zillow and Facebook Marketplace. The first red flag they encountered was the property was listed for a higher rent price on Zillow than it was on Marketplace. They contacted the seller from Marketplace, hoping they could get a deal.

    The family was asked to pay a $60 application fee to the Marketplace seller through Cash App. They started getting suspicious, but the Marketplace seller assured them this was being done for security reasons.

    After paying the $60, they received an application that was just copied and pasted into an email. The application was lacking important questions that most landlords would need to know. When the family returned the application, the Marketplace seller started hounding them for a $200 security deposit for a property the family hadn’t even seen yet. It was at this point, the family called police, who told them they were being scammed.

    While this incident isn’t a comprehensive detailing of all red flags in a rental scam, it does have the major ones. If you find a rental listing that has two different rental prices, the one with the lower price is more than likely the scam listing. Never make payments to supposed landlords or rental agents using apps like Cash App, Zelle, or Venmo. It’s easy for scammers to take your money and disappear through these apps. Lastly, if a seller is trying to pressure you into making a security payment without seeing the home, there’s a good chance they’re a scammer.

    Moving into a new home is always a big life decision. It should be researched like any other big life moment. Always do a Google search on the home’s address. This could help reveal duplicate listings. If in doubt about who is actually renting the home, check with the county tax assessor’s office or website. The information is free and public and will help you avoid any potential scammers.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on November 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cash App, , ,   

    Family terrorized because of puppy scam 

    Family terrorized because of puppy scam

    By Greg Collier

    A family in Virginia has found out the hard way that scammers don’t care who their scams affect. The scammers are using the address of an elderly woman who lives with her daughter in a puppy scam. Ads are being posted online, promising Yorkie puppies for $200. Yorkie puppies typically range in price from $800 to $1500 from reputable breeders. If you want one that came from champion stock, you could be looking at a $10,000 price tag.

    The scammers would collect the $200 from their victims using Cash App, and would then send them the address of this poor woman in Virginia for them to pick up a puppy. To make the scam seem more legitimate, the scammers even had a copy of the woman’s driver’s license that they would show their victims.

    This is not new in the puppy scam world. Typically, when a victim shows up to a home and finds out they’ve been scammed, they’re heartbroken, but they leave realizing the homeowner is a victim in this too. Unfortunately, in this instance, the family has had some people become belligerent, and have threatened the woman when they find out there are no puppies there.

    It seems that the reason the scammers have a copy of the woman’s driver’s license is because she fell for a scam previously. She was asked to upload her driver’s license to verify her identity in a Cash App giveaway scam.

    Every time the fake Facebook account advertising the puppies gets taken down, a new one pops up, resulting in more people going to the woman’s home.

    Unfortunately, there’s not much the family can do at this point outside of posting a sign in front of their home that there are no puppies there.

    However, you can avoid falling victim to a scam like this by being protective of your personal information. Your identity could be easily stolen if you were to upload it online. If a stranger asks you to upload your license for whatever reason, there is a good chance that you’re being scammed.

    As far as buying puppies go, avoid places like Marketplace and craigslist. This is where puppy scammers flourish. Here at Geebo.com, we stopped accepting pet listings to not only help our users avoid scams like this, but to help cut down on abuses like puppy mills.

    If you’re looking to add a puppy to your family, do your research and don’t act on impulse. Always use a local breeder, so you can visit the puppies before making a purchase. And as always, we strongly recommend adopting a puppy from your local shelter. Shelter dogs are only there through no fault of their own and can be obtained at little to no cost.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cash App, , , , toilet paper   

    Scam victim ends up with a briefcase full of toilet paper 

    Scam victim ends up with a briefcase full of toilet paper

    By Greg Collier

    Opinions differ on whether cryptocurrencies are scams themselves, but due to the decentralized nature of crypto, it is vulnerable to scams. Not only that, but the get-rich-quick possibility that some see in cryptocurrencies leave them vulnerable to scams as well.

    One of the more popular crypto scams lately is a form of advance fee scam. Typically, scammers have been finding their victims on dating platforms. The victim is told the person they’ve matched with works for a financial company, and they can guarantee a profit if the victim invests in cryptocurrency. The catch is that the person they’ve just met will invest the money for them.

    After the victim gives the scammer money, the victim is later told that his initial investment has multiplied. However, in order to cash out, the victim needs to make another payment for ‘processing fees’ or some other made up charge. It’s usually at this point that the victim realizes they’ve been scammed.

    That’s not exactly what happened to a 26-year-old Colorado man, but he fell for a similar crypto scam, and ended up with an insulting consolation prize. The invested $23,000 on what he thought was a legitimate crypto investment he found on Instagram. The victim paid the money to the scammers through Cash App and Bitcoin.

    After a while, the victim received a briefcase that was supposed to contain the return on his investment of $210,000. But he was also told that he needed to pay $9000 to get the combination to the briefcase, which he did. Once the briefcase was opened, it contained nothing but books and toilet paper.

    The cryptocurrency market attracts countless con artists, and their favorite way to advertise is on social media. They almost always promise a guaranteed return in any investment made. In truth, no one can guarantee a profitable investment. This goes for investments in traditional financial markets as well. Anyone who says they can, is just selling you a bill of goods.

    Cryptocurrency should only be invested in if you’re familiar with the cryptocurrency market. Even then, as with most investments, you should only invest what you can afford to lose. Otherwise, you’re just gambling to pay the bills.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cash App, , , , , ,   

    College students still vulnerable to job scams 

    College students still vulnerable to job scams

    By Greg Collier

    College students and other young adults tend to be more technologically inclined than previous generations. Unfortunately, being more comfortable with modern tech can lead young people into a false sense of security. When it comes to finding a job, many of the analog ways of older generations are still in effect. Scammers will take advantage of the convenience of tech while using the anonymity it can sometimes afford them. This chicanery has become very prevalent in the job market. With many young people striking out on their own for possibly the first time, they could easily fall victim to job scammers.

    This recently happened to a college student in Texas. She was searching for a job online and more than likely had posted her resume on employment platforms. She received a text message that claimed to be from a textile company in Chicago, offering her a job. The position was a remote data entry position that offered close to $40/hr along with benefits and a 401K. All interviews and follow-ups were done through text or messaging app. The student never saw the face of anyone at the supposed company.

    She was hired almost on the spot. She was then told she would need equipment for the position. The student was then sent two checks that added up to $10,000. The company instructed her to deposit the checks and use the money to buy the equipment she needed. She was told to use specific vendors and that she could pay them through Venmo or Cash App. When payment wouldn’t go through on either of those apps, she was told to wire the money. The checks turned out to be fraudulent, which not only wiped out her savings but left her in debt to her bank.

    Those that are inexperienced in the job market may not be aware that businesses do not use apps like Zelle and Venmo to pay for business expenses. Even those who have years of job experience may not know that legitimate businesses, even those offering remote positions, do not send checks that the employee is supposed to deposit in their own bank account to use for business expenses. The fake check scam is one that has been duping job applicants for years now.

    If colleges and universities are not doing do already, scam awareness should be part of the orientation process. If you know a young person who is attending college, you may want to let them know about the scams that specifically target them, like this one.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cash App, , , ,   

    Loneliness leads to crypto scam 

    Loneliness leads to crypto scam

    By Greg Collier

    Loneliness is one of the greatest vulnerabilities someone can have. It can cause us to make rash decisions or ignore warning signs if we think it will help us be any less alone. Some of the more detrimental decisions people can make are made during bouts of extreme loneliness. Unfortunately, scammers are aware of this too. Lonely people, especially senior citizens who may have lost a partner, are a favorite target of scammers. This is especially true of romance scammers.

    Traditionally, romance scammers find a target online and foster a phony relationship with them. Once the scammer gains the target’s trust, the scammer will start asking for money for some emergency. Romance scammers often pose as military members serving overseas, oil rig workers who are constantly working offshore, or international business people. They use these occupations as excuses as to why they can never meet in public.

    However, there is a new type of romance scam that works a lot quicker than the typical one, as one man from Indiana recently found out. The man is a senior citizen who is on a fixed income. He met a woman going by the name of Elizabeth on a dating site. It wasn’t long before Elizabeth mentioned she worked for an investment company and could make the man some money. The man was told that if he gave her $500 in Bitcoin, he’d make a profit in 5 days. He sent ‘Elizabeth’ the $500 in Bitcoin.

    When it came time for the man to claim his profits, he contacted the supposed investment company. He was told that his initial investment had multiplied more than ten times its amount. When the man tried to cash out, he was told he would need to send an additional $2000 through Cash App to claim his windfall. The man refused and was then asked for his bank account information. It was at this point the man realized he had been scammed. This man probably got off easy, relatively speaking. While we’re sure $500 was a lot of money to this man, other victims to this scam have paid the additional fees the scammers have asked for and never see a penny of it in return.

    No investment is ever guaranteed to return a profit, and especially not cryptocurrency, as that market can wildly fluctuate. If someone you don’t know or barely know promises to invest in cryptocurrency for you, there’s a good chance that they’re trying to scam you. Also, no legitimate investment company will ask you to make any payment through apps like Cash App.

    If you’re lonely and looking for companionship online, please be very careful as there are any number of pitfalls out there that could leave you with a broken heart and an empty wallet.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cash App, , , ,   

    Would you fall for this convincing scam? 

    Would you fall for this convincing scam?

    By Greg Collier

    A lot of like to think we’re scam-proof, that it’s impossible for scammers to pull one over on us. For example, I received a robocall the other day that said they were calling from Amazon and there had been a $1499.00 charge on my account. I hung up because I knew it was a scam. But just to be certain, I checked my Amazon account and credit card I use for Amazon purchases. Both had no record of any such transaction. Now, that’s a low-pressure scam if you know what to look for. But what if the pressure was intense and immediate. Would you be able to remain calm?

    We’ve discussed the virtual kidnapping scam, or ransom scam, before. This is when scammers call a victim to tell them that they’ve kidnapped a loved one and demand money. In reality, the scammers don’t actually have your loved one hostage. However, even if you might be familiar with the scam, scammers can make it so convincing that in the heat of the moment, you may question yourself.

    A man in Ohio recently received one of these calls. The number that came up on his phone belonged to his mother from Florida. After he picked up the phone, the man heard a male voice with a female voice screaming in the background. The caller stated he carjacked the man’s mother and would harm her if the man didn’t pay the caller. The way that we’ve phrased it, makes it sound so clinical. However, the language the caller used made it seem real. Here are some quotes from the conversation that the man recorded.

    Caller: “Man, guess what? I’m going to start beating your mom, I’m going to start beating her right now.”

    Caller: “If I see the police, I’m going to k*** myself too, but I’m going to take her (expletive) out.

    Caller: “Bro, I’m going to tell you one more time. She ain’t going to be all right if you don’t hurry the (expletive) up.”

    There were other explicit threats of violence as well that we’re leaving out for the sake of civility.

    The caller was demanding payment through Cash App and PayPal. Luckily, the man had trouble remembering his PayPal password. While he was trying to reset the password, he had his wife call his brother on her phone, since his brother lives near his mother. When he got word that his mother was in no danger, he hung up on the scammer. The man even admitted that he panicked and had no idea what to do, even though he made the correct action.

    Scammers will either find us at our weakest or try to put us in that state of mind. Can any of us say we wouldn’t be panicked if we were in this man’s shoes? This is just one of the many reasons we shouldn’t belittle scam victims. There are so many scams out in the wild that any one of us could fall victim to them if the right circumstances emerge. Instead, we should be thanking scam victims who come forward for making us aware of these scams.

    Again, what the man did in this instance was the right thing to do. If you ever receive a phone call like this, try to use a second form of communication to contact the person the caller has claimed to have kidnapped. Kidnapping for ransom is rare in the United States, but you still want to make sure your loved one is safe. Also, don’t be afraid to call the police, as they can be of great assistance in these matters.

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