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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , ,   

    Work at home job scam cost victims thousands 

    Work at home job scam cost victims thousands

    Working at home is the dream for many, especially those who are currently looking to get back into the workforce. Because of that. many scammers use phony work at home positions to try to lure suspecting victims into their clutches by promising them good pay for easy work. However, with most things online, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Recently, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, police have received reports of a work at home scam that has cost its victims thousands of dollars. Money that they’ll probably never be able to get back.

    The victims, in this case, found these jobs on a legitimate employment website. They even went through an application process and an interview. After they were ‘hired’ they even spoke to a phony human resources department. It seems like these scammers were willing to pull out all the stops to make sure this looked like a legitimate job opportunity. The job itself entailed the victims depositing a check into their own bank accounts before being told to use the money to purchase a laptop. Then the remainder of the money was sent to various clients through platforms like PayPal, Zelle, wire transfers, and, of course, gift cards.

    As you might have expected, the checks the victims were sent were fake checks but the money was already spent by the time their banks noticed. With the money being sent to various places, the victims are now on the hook for paying the money back to the bank. Any job that asks you to process business funds out of your own bank account is more than likely a scam. Not only that but since the victims went through an entire application process, the scammers have their personal information as well. So potentially these victims could also be victims of identity theft in the future.

    No matter how legitimate a job may appear, if they want you to use your own bank account or your own funds to do the job it’s probably not a job at all.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2020, check scam, date changing,   

    What’s the truth about writing out 2020 in full? 

    What's the truth about writing out 2020 in full?

    Shortly after the new year and decade began, a warning went out over social media about the year 2020. The warning was that if you make out any checks this year, do not abbreviate the year by simply using 20 as your year designation. For example, in standard American date abbreviation, today is 1/6/20. The wisdom behind this warning is that someone could use the abbreviated year format and alter it to look like another year. A bad actor could potentially turn 20 into anything from 2000 to 2021 or even beyond. Since social media isn’t always the best source for news, is this really a danger?

    Those who warn against abbreviating the year say that if a check is altered to a year in the past, it could appear as if you’ve had an ongoing debt since that time. If the check is altered to a date in the future, uncashed checks that have expired can be made active again. They also recommend that you should write the date out in full such as January 6, 2020, to prevent any kind of date tampering with legal documents. While this all can sound menacing, what are the odds of something like this happening to you?

    According to the internet investigators at Snopes.com, it’s unlikely that anything will happen if you forget to put the full date on a check or legal document. Snopes notes that there are many other forms of check alteration that are more likely to occur that are more lucrative for bad actors. Not only that but there are many ways to prove the alteration of the check took place so you could protect yourself against legal ramifications that could come from an altered check. However, it doesn’t hurt to write out the date in the full as it’s easier to do to prevent any potential problems than trying to fix them after a check has been altered.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check paper, check scam, , ,   

    New scam makes victims print their own fake checks 

    New scam makes victims print their own fake checks

    Police in Iowa are reporting about a scam that combines a number of scams into one. If reports are to be believed, this scam combines the phony job scam with the phony check scam and the ubiquitous gift card scam. To make matters even worse, the scam even makes the victim of the scam print out their own phony check. If you’ll recall, if someone deposits a phony check into their bank account, they’ll be able to access the money before the bank finds out it’s fake. Once the bank finds out the check isn’t genuine, the person who deposited it into their bank account will be responsible for the money spent.

    The new scam works by scammers placing job ads for a personal assistant. Usually, these ads are aimed at college students who may not be wary of such scams. Once the victim has gotten the fake job, they’re paid with an online check. The victim is then instructed to buy check paper so they can print out the check they were just sent. They’re then instructed to deposit the phony check and then buy gift cards from various retail outlets including Amazon, WalMart, and Apple. The phony employer will tell the victim that they’re out of the country or give some other excuse as to why they can’t meet face to face.

    In any online transaction, whether it’s for a job or something else if you’re asked to deposit a check or purchase gift cards the odds are pretty great that you’re dealing with some form of con artist. It’s also recommended to be suspicious if someone instructs you to buy check paper. If something ever feels off about any kind of online transaction your instincts are probably right and you should walk away. If you ever receive an email like this you should contact your local police.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, check washing, ,   

    Don’t leave your outgoing bills in your mailbox 

    Don't leave your outgoing bills in your mailbox

    When we talk about scams, we mostly warn our readers about online or phone scams. The reason these scams are so prolific is that everyone has a smartphone and a lot of people use weak passwords on their accounts. However, that doesn’t mean that analog scams have disappeared. One such scam recently turned up in reports that use one of the oldest forms of communication in the US to find victims, good old fashioned snail mail. We all know that tampering with someone’s postal mail is a federal offense, but it hasn’t stopped some scammers from taking that risk.

    A couple in Alabama recently found that someone had accessed their bank account and several unauthorized payments were made from their account. They weren’t the victims of any kind of electronic fraud. Instead, someone had stolen their outgoing mail from their mailbox. In that mail were a few bills that they were paying by check. The scammers are then said to have committed what is known as check washing. Check washing is when someone dips an already written or even canceled check in chemicals and removes the handwritten ink from the check. They then put in whatever information on the check that they need. As long as there is enough money in the account the check can be cashed.

    There are ways to prevent check washing from happening. The first is to switch to electronic payments to pay your bills. However, if for whatever reason you have to write checks, there are special pens that you can buy that are resistant to check washing. Instead of leaving outgoing mail in your home mailbox, you may want to take it to the post office instead so you know it gets into the hands of the US Postal Service.

    With a number of relatives writing checks to send as Christmas gifts, this time of year could be especially bad for stolen checks. If you have an older relative that may not be able to get to the post office, offer to take their bills to the post office for them. It’s a little inconvenience for peace of mind.

     
  • Geebo 8:14 am on August 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cashier's checks, check scam,   

    Here’s why the phony check scam works 

    Here's why the phony check scam works

    Probably, the most common scam we’ve discussed is the phony check scam. It seems like it’s at the heart of almost every other online scam. At the heart of the scam is, of course, the phony check. Scammers will send you a [phony check for any number of reasons but the hook is always the same. They’ll send you a check for more money than you were asking for or were expecting. They’ll instruct you to deposit the check and then send them the difference. By the time the bank discovers that the check is a fake, you’re responsible for the entire amount of the check while the scammers disappear with your money.

    It all seems rather unfair. You’re the victim of a scam after all. So why does this particualr scam lend itself so well to scammers? According to Vox, it all has to do with the way cashier’s checks are handled by banks. Legitimate cashier’s checks are just as good as cash where your bank is concerned. The person or entity who is issuing the cashier’s check pays the bank the full amount for that check to be issued. So when a bank receives a cashier’s check as a deposit they’re operating under the assumption that the check is legitimate and the funds should be immediately available.

    The bank only usually discovers that the check is fake after it’s been deposited and returns as a fraudulent check. Unfortunately, the only person the bank can hold responsible is the person who deposited the check which in this case is the scam victim. While many people realize that the checks they receive are fake, there are enough people who fall for this scam that they keep the scammers in business. Billions of dollars in fraudulent checks are attempted to be cashed each year. However, you can protect yourself by avoiding these situations. If a deal feels like it’s wrong, it probably is.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , , , violence scam   

    New scam threatens your family with violence! 

    New scam threatens your family with violence!

    This scam we just recently heard of is so disturbing we don’t even have a clever name for it yet. In it, some scammers called a man from Brooklyn, New York, threatening to kill the man and his family if he didn’t pay them money. The scammers claimed to be from a criminal cartel and then sent the man explicitly violent pictures with claims of this is what would happen to his family if he didn’t pay. The man was hesitant to go to the police, however, he did contact a local community leader who was able to contact authorities. Police say that they have received other reports of this scam and that the scammers are casting wide nets trying to find victims. If you receive one of these calls you should hang up and contact police.

    Social security scams are still on the rise due to the fact that a number of senior citizens aren’t aware of the many scams that specifically target them. The Washington Post is reporting on a scam where the scammers posed as the Social Security Administration (SSA) and threatened to cut off the benefits of a woman in the early stage of Alzheimer’s. She was instructed to buy over $3,000 in gift cards from various merchants to have her benefits restored. One store even tried to warn her that this sounded like a scam. The Post article has a great checklist of things you can do to help senior relatives avoid this scam including sharing these stories every time they come up in the news. They also provide a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s website that has information about all types of impostor scams.

    The last scam for today is a reminder that most scams just don’t go away. We’ve talked about the secret shopper scam many times now. In this scam, ads will be posted hiring for secret shoppers which is a legitimate position with many retail companies. However, the con artists placing these ads online are trying to swindle you by sending you phony checks to use in your new position. They’ll tell you to deposit the checks to use in your secret shopping and send a portion of the check back. Once the bank finds out that the check is a fraud the victim who deposited the check into their bank account is responsible for the entire amount. This recently happened to a college student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you’re considering a secret shopping position always consult with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s website before giving out your personal information.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: back to school, check scam, , , , locksmith scam, , scholarship scam,   

    It’s the season for Back to School scams 

    It's the season for Back to School scams

    With September approaching and some schools having already started their school year it should come as no surprise that scammers will even use the back to school season to try to target potential victims. The largest targets among these victims will more than likely be college students. Considering that many of these students will be away from home for the first time, they may not have the real-world experience to recognize a scam. Hopefully, with this blog post they can be better educated on which scams to look out for that could potentially harm their college experience.

    The Better Business Bureau of Florida recently put out a list of the most common scams for students to look out for and we can’t help but recognize a few of them. For example, the BBB warns of phony job scams. In these scams, the perpetrator will use a phony email address that spoofs that of the university. The student will be promised a phony job where they will be sent a check that will be more than they were promised. Of course, the check is phony but by the time the student sends back the money their bank will charge them the full amount of the bogus check. Another common scam that targets college students is the phony scholarship scam. Phony companies will guarantee students grants or scholarships in exchange for a fee. Most scholarships and grants can only come from the government or the school so avoid these promises at all costs.

    While the above scams are largely illegal there are some legal scams to look out for as well. Many credit card companies will offer their cards to incoming students, however, many of them have either high annual fees or interest rates. It’s very easy to obtain one of these cards then find yourself in a world of debt that you weren’t prepared for. Then there’s the locksmith scam where a student may lock themselves out of their housing or car and they’ll call the first locksmith that comes up in a web search. Those locksmiths may not be local and may charge you an exorbitant fee. It’s better to research for a local locksmith before you lose your keys so you can have a reputable one readily available should the need arise.

    For a more comprehensive list from the BBB about these scams and others you can click this link.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Duane Chapman,   

    You can’t scam The Dog 

    You can't scam The Dog

    We’ve talked about the phony check scam many times in the past. The gist of the scam is that the scammer will send you a forged or phony check for whatever reason and will try to get you to deposit the check into your bank account. The scammers will then try to get you to wire them the difference while telling you to keep a portion of the check. Inevitably, the check turns out to be phony and you get stuck with any money that is owed the bank. Meanwhile, the scammers make off with the bulk of their ill-gotten gains. It seems that no one is immune to this type of scam as scammers tried pulling this ploy on one of the last people you would want to.

    Duane Chapman is more famously known as Dog The Bounty Hunter. Not only did Chapman have a successful reality series but he rose to prominence when he apprehended wanted fugitive Andrew Luster in 2003. More recently, scammers sent a check to Chapman in the amount of $430,000 for an alleged speaking engagement in Dubai. Immediately, Chapman’s agent felt that there was something suspect about the check. The first thing was that the check had an address that went to an empty building in Sacramento, California while supposedly being from a company in Oregon. The other part that seemed odd was that Chapman and his agent were instructed to ‘donate’ half of the check back to the organization running the event. As you can guess, there was no event and the check was a bogus one.

    Sadly, this isn’t the first scam that Duane Chapman has had to endure recently. After the recent passing of his wife Beth, Chapman took to social media to warn people not to accept any friend requests that claim to be him. In some cases, fans of his had accepted the requests and later found themselves out of thousands of dollars.

    The fake accounts were asking for contributions while trying to capitalize on Chapman’s loss.

    Getting back to the phony check scam, Chapman’s team did everything right in uncovering this deception. First off, if someone sands you a check then asks you to send part of that sum back to them or a third party it’s likely a scam. If you’re still not sure, check the address from where the check was supposedly issued. Also, look for mismatched names from the people who have allegedly issued the check. Often the name on the check will not be from the person you would be talking to.

     
  • Geebo 8:02 am on July 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bond scam, , check scam, , , , ,   

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam by victim 

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam

    A woman in Northern Kentucky is accused of stealing in upwards of $4 million as part of a romance scam and has been arrested for the alleged theft. The thing is that even though she’s accused of stealing this large sum of money, she’s also the victim in this story. She was the one who was reportedly strung along by the scammers. Investigators say that she never kept any of her employer’s money and sent it all to someone she believed to be in a relationship with. This was after she had sent the scammers all of her own money. Now in most instances, you can’t find yourself in a position where you can embezzle large amounts of money like this without having some form of professional background meaning that even educated people can find themselves falling victim to a romance scam.

    In other scam news, residents of Southern California are being warned about a phony bond scam that has been plaguing the area. Some Sheriffs Offices have been receiving complaints about phony government agents calling residents and telling them that their Social Security numbers have been involved in various frauds. To avoid arrest the residents are being told to pay a bond. As can be expected in these type of scams, the residents are told that they can pay the ‘bond’ using gift cards such as Apple, Google Play, or WalMart gift cards. No government agency, whether it is local or federal, will ever ask you to pay any kind of fee using gift cards. If you are to receive one of these phone calls, it is recommended that you hang up immediately and contact your local police.

    Lastly for today, we have a reminder about the phony check scam. If you’re unfamiliar with this scam it’s one of the more prolific scams on the internet. Whether you’re trying to sell something online or applying for a job online, some unscrupulous scammer will send you a check and ask you to deposit the check in your bank account before sending them back the difference. The check is always a fake and once your bank discovers that, you’ll be on the hook for the money while the scammers make off with the funds. One of these phony checks recently targeted an online seller in North Dakota who was quick to notice the discrepancies in the scammer’s story. The texts they were receiving were from a California number while the check was mailed from New York and calls were coming from someone named Larry while the checks came from someone named Donna. If you ever feel like something is off when dealing with online sales and purchases it probably is.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check scam, , , , ,   

    Double craigslist scam and more 

    Double craigslist scam and more

    Previously, we’ve told you about gift card scams and phony check scams. Now, at least one scammer tried to swindle someone using both scams at the same time. A woman in Madison, Wisconsin was trying to sell an item on craigslist and she received a check for more than $1000 than what she was asking for. The scammers told her to deposit the check and return most of the balance in gift cards. Luckily, the woman did not fall for the scam. If she had, not only would she have been on the hook for the amount of the phony check but once the gift card numbers would have been given to the scammer, the funds would be virtually untraceable.

    ***

    Speaking of gift cards, a New York man was arrested after allegedly using stolen gift cards to withdraw money at an ATM. The man allegedly used the account information from the gift cards to withdraw around $9,000. While the report doesn’t clarify what kind of gift cards were used we would imagine that they were something along the lines of a pre-paid VISA gift card. This is another potential reason you may want to avoid using gift cards as presents. We have some great tips here on how to avoid being ripped off when buying gift cards.

    ***

    Lastly, you may be tempted to buy a device online that promises you unlimited access to free movies and TV shows. Devices comparing themselves to the Amazon Fire Stick are showing up claiming to be ‘jailbroken’ which allow you to circumvent copyright protection in order to stream movies and TV shows which you would normally have to pay for a service like HBO to view. As you can probably guess, these devices are not only illegal but they’re usually loaded with malware according to CNET. This malware could potentially hijack devices connected to your home network such as microphones and cameras and could also send your personal information to any number of identity thieves. In the long run, you’re better off paying for a legitimate streaming service.

     
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