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  • Geebo 8:30 am on April 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , covid-19, economic impact payment, , , money mules, , stay at home order   

    More ways to identify a coronavirus relief payment scam 

    More ways to identify a coronavirus relief payment scam

    Before we get to the heart of the matter today, The Washington Post has provided its readers with a list of what the stay at home orders mean for each state. Please keep in mind that these are orders are not only in place for your protection but the protection of those who may be at risk.

    Now, we have talked about the coronavirus relief payments before. It seems that everybody is concerned about when and where they are receiving theirs. Again, we’d like to remind you that if you received your 2018 or 2019 tax refund through direct deposit, that is where you will receive your relief payment. As we have also mentioned before, these payments have become the biggest target for scammers lately even though they have yet to be issued. For the majority of people, you will not have to do anything to receive your payment. So anyone emailing, texting, or calling you about your stimulus payment is trying to scam you. Another way to tell that you’re being scammed is how the person approaching you refers to the payment. If they refer to it as anything but an economic impact payment they are more than likely trying to scam you.

    For example, a Florida man received what looked like an official check in the mail that claimed to be from an ‘economic automotive stimulus program’. he only had to go to a ‘stimulus relief site’ to receive his funds. The so-called stimulus relief site was a used car lot that was using the guise of relief payments to get customers.

    The FBI has even put out a warning to consumers to try to stop them from becoming money mules during the pandemic. This is when scammers will have their victims place funds in the victim’s bank account then have the victim remove it and send it to a third party. Sometimes the funds are real and are using the victims to launder the money, other times the money may not even exist while the victim deposits a fake check in their bank account before sending the funds to someone else. These schemes could take the form of work at home scams and charity scams.

    Lastly, the Better Business Bureau is warning about a new twist on an old scam taking place on Facebook Messenger. The BBB is saying that Facebook accounts are being hijacked by scammers who use them to tell victims about grants they may qualify for during the pandemic. The victim believes they’re talking to a close friend when in fact they’re talking to a scammer. The hook with these scams is that they want you to pay a fee in order to receive the grant. However, once payment is made there is no grant money coming.

    Money is tight during the current crisis. Once again, we ask that you don’t let the fear surrounding the pandemic sway you into making choices that may cost you in the long run. Please stay safe and healthy.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , covid-19, , FTC Scam Bingo, insurance fraud, , staged accident   

    Phony relief checks and more coronavirus scams 

    Phony relief checks and more coronavirus scams

    Scams related to the current coronavirus pandemic have not subsided in the least. If anything, they’re ramping up with old scams getting a new coat of paint with a coronavirus slant. Here are some more scams that we have found in the news dealing with covid-19.

    The US Attorney’s Office and the IRS are warning about scams related to the coronavirus relief payments. We’ve already covered some of those scams at this link. More recently, these offices have also mentioned that fake checks may be sent out by scammers designed to look like authentic checks. They warn that fake checks may be made out in an unusual amount. Actual government relief payments should be at a rounded dollar amount and not have any cents in the payment. These phony checks may also ask you to call a number or go to a website to verify the check. This is also a scam designed to steal your personal and financial information. As has been noted previously, most of the relief payments will be deposited directly into your bank account.

    Coronavirus scams have gotten so out of hand that the Federal Trade Commission is asking people to make a game out of it but one that can teach others about the scams. On their website, the FTC has what they’re calling an FTC Scam Bingo Card. They’re asking that if you’ve been approached in one or more of these scams to mark it off on their bingo card and share it to social media using the hashtag #FTCScamBingo. The more people who know about these scams the less likely they are to become a victim.

    A copy of the FTC Scam Bingo Card (click for larger)

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning about various insurance frauds related to coronavirus but one particular one caught our eye that is related to social distancing and it’s the staged accident scam. The most common one is known as the ‘Swoop and Squat’. This is when there are a pair of cars and one gets beside you while the other one gets in front of you and stops suddenly causing a rear-end collision. With social distancing and quarantines put in place the scammers are hoping that they’ll be fewer victims for these accidents. The best way to protect yourself against these scammers is to get a dashboard camera and to always get the police involved in any vehicular collision that warrants it.

    If you see a coronavirus testing site that has popped up overnight, it may not be legitimate. The City of Louisville, Kentucky recently had to deal with three popup testing sites that the city classified as scams. These testing sites were not working with the state and could have potentially been committing health insurance fraud. If you see one of these testing sites, contact your local city government to see if they’re legitimate or not.

    Lastly, in South Carolina college students were contacted and asked to take place in a vaccine trial for the coronavirus. While pharmaceutical trials are a real procedure done in conjunction with medical facilities, there are currently no trials going on for a coronavirus vaccine. We imagine this may have been another scam designed to steal personal information.

    Again, we’d like to remind you that this has been a boom period for scammers. Please don’t let the fears surrounding coronavirus push you into making bad decisions that you’ll regret later.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corona Antivirus, , covid-19, , medical fraud, , , quarantine,   

    Kickbacks and more coronavirus scams 

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/coronavirus-kickbacks-fbi-arrests-georgia-man-large-scale-unnecessary-testing-n1172101

    We thought by now that we might be seeing a decline in new scams related to the coronavirus pandemic but we are woefully mistaken. With more recent news, it seems like the scams are still on the rise.

    Medical fraud is one of the more common scams in the United States. Often, many dishonest medical providers will order unnecessary tests in order to either defraud healthcare insurance carriers or get kickbacks from the testing facilities. A Georgia man who ran a marketing company was recently arrested by the FBI for accepting kickbacks from medical testing companies for referring people to these companies to get unnecessary covid-19 testing. We keep hearing about how testing materials are scarce and are only available for the worst cases yet here is a man wasting them for the sake of greed.

    If this next scam didn’t involve covid-19 it might have almost been funny. However, leading antimalware maker Malwarebytes is reporting that there is a fake app out there calling itself ‘Corona Antivirus’. The fake app claims that if you install this app on your computer it will protect you from the actual coronavirus. If only it were that easy. Corona Antivirus is actually a piece of malware that could do a number of unpleasant things to your device.

    In the state of Washington, at least one police department is warning residents of a quarantine scam. Residents there have complained they’ve been getting calls from someone claiming to be the local police. The scammer tells the victim that they’ve been reported for violating the quarantine and must pay a fine over the phone before asking for your financial information. Police will never call you to ask you to pay for a fine over the phone.

    If you see images on social media that look like tweets from President Obama or President Trump stating that you’re eligible for $1,000 from PayPal, it’s a fake. The images had been circulating on Instagram before the accounts posting the images were pulled. Neither PayPal nor any other payment app is offering free money.

    In Illinois, a woman had her home robbed after she let a man into her house claiming to be an inspector. The man claimed he was a plumber and said he needed to check the water because people in the area contracted covid-19 form the water supply. The CDC states that covid-19 has not been detected in drinking water.

    Lastly. we’d like to remind you that if you’re receiving a coronavirus relief payment, you do not have to sign up for anything. If you filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019 and received your refund through direct deposit, the relief payment will be deposited into the bank account that the IRS has on file. There is nothing anyone can do to make the payment get to you faster. So if someone claims that they can get you the payment faster, they’re trying to scam you. Please do not give out any of your financial information to people you don’t know.

    Again, this has become a boom period for scammers. Don’t let the fear of coronavirus push you into making bad decisions that could cost you later.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , ,   

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams 

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams

    We think it goes without saying that the global coronavirus pandemic has launched a new boom period for scammers. Not only have old scams increased with new coronavirus twists, but new scams are popping up all the time now. Scammers and con artists are now taking every opportunity they can to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty that comes with this crisis.

    With the current travel restrictions and advisories in place, many people are finding it difficult to shop for their weekly groceries. Some scammers are posing as good samaritans offering grocery delivery service. The majority of these scammers are targeting senior citizens. The scammers will then ask for your payment information before making off with it. Many supermarkets and delivery services are now offering free delivery to seniors. You can check with your local retailers to see what services may be available to you.

    Speaking of groceries, many people are now without jobs because of the pandemic are finding it difficult to even pay for groceries for themselves or their families. Now, a text message scam is taking advantage of that desperation. Reports say that there are text messages going around claiming to offer recipients emergency money for groceries. As with most text messaging scams, the text contains a link that if you click on it, you’ll be taken to a website that could either steal your personal information or inject malware into your device. Never click on links sent from strangers no matter how tempting the offer may be. We know it’s cliche at this point but if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Previously, we’ve discussed scammers going door to door offering home covid-19 inspections. Now, more scammers are going door to door posing as workers from either the Red Cross or the Centers for Disease Control offering covid-19 testing. Some of these scammers are even dressed in lab coats to further perpetrate the scam. Neither of these organizations are testing people at their homes. The scammers want you to simply pay a fee for a phony test that could actually put you in danger.

    To keep up with the latest coronavirus scams you can see our previous posts on the matter or check with the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cattle ranchers, , , covid-19, , ,   

    More coronavirus scams to watch out for 

    More coronavirus scams to watch out for

    Before we get started, we here at Geebo.com hope that you and your family are coping during these trying times. Unfortunately, we have several new scams that are trying to take advantage of all of us during this global pandemic.

    In the past week, there have been a number of reports claiming that some scammers have been going door to door offering to do home covid-19 inspections for a fee. In some cases, these scammers have even posed as hospital employees. These are not legitimate services and you could be allowing bad actors into your home. If you encounter a scammer like this it is recommended that you decline their services and contact your local police.

    Previously, we’ve discussed how phony coronavirus websites are on the rise. Now, there is at least one Android app that’s trying to capitalize on the recent wave of panic. At first, you’ll receive a random text offering you safety masks. The text message will contain a link that will download an app to your device. However, the app will hijack your contacts list and send texts with the same message to everyone in your contacts. There is also the probability that the app will install some form of malware to your device. Even in times of solace, you shouldn’t be clicking on random links sent to you by strangers through text messages or emails.

    Some scammers are still trying to push ‘miracle cures’ for the coronavirus onl9ine. One such scam purported to be a Fox News article claiming that a CBD oil treatment can be used to prevent coronavirus. While CBD oil may have benefits for certain conditions, there is no evidence to suggest that covid-19 is one of those conditions. While progress is being made, there is still currently no vaccine or cure for covid-19.

    Lastly, there is apparently no field or demographic that the coronavirus scammers won’t target. In this particular scam, even cattle ranchers are being scammed. These cattle farmers are being targeted by scammers with high-pressure tactics that now is the best time to sell their cattle because of the pandemic. The scammers will then send phony checks to the ranchers that are over the amount the ranchers were asking for. The scammers will then ask for the difference back once the rancher cashes the check. By the time the bank realizes the check is a fake, the scammers will have disappeared and the rancher will be responsible for the amount of the check to their bank.

    The scams have gotten so bad around the country that many state and federal task forces are being deployed to combat these scams.

    While we should be helping each other to the best of our abilities during this unprecedented crisis, you should also have the knowledge to protect yourself from scammers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , , ,   

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams 

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams

    As with any time of crisis, there is no shortage of scammers during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not just talking about people buying insane amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and trying to sell them with enormous markups. A number of scams that are preying upon covid-19 fears are just age-old scams dressed up in a coronavirus suit. Here are some more coronavirus scams to look out for.

    Johns Hopkins University has a very useful real-time map showing the spread of the coronavirus. The map from Johns Hopkins is safe as can be. However, there are malicious sites out there that have similar looking maps but are injecting malware into the user’s device that is designed to steal passwords. This malware can then spread to other devices and continue the process. If you think your device may be infected, run an antimalware application like Malwarebytes to remove the malware.

    Scammers are continuing to call people promising at home coronavirus tests. In at least one case, scammers are promising Medicare recipients a coronavirus testing kit. This is similar to many scams that prey upon Medicare patients by offering them a free medical item such as a back brace. As in other cases, the scammers are trying to get the victim’s personal information such as their Social Security number and other identifying information for potential identity theft. Please keep in mind that at the time of this posting there is no home test kit for covid-19. Testing can only be done at approved medical facilities and clinics. If you think you may have covid-19 symptoms, please call your doctor and they’ll advise you on how to get tested.

    The impersonation scam, or grandparent scam, is also having a coronavirus layer attached to it. Usually, in this scam, someone will call an elderly person and tell them that one of their grandchildren are in some kind of trouble and need money to rectify the situation. In this new version of the scam, people are being told that a loved one is in the hospital with coronavirus and can’t be treated until a deposit is paid. As much as the US healthcare system revolves around money, no hospital is going to turn away a covid-19 patient for any reason.

    Fear is to scammers like blood in the water is to a shark. These times are stressful enough without having to worry about being scammed. Don’t allow fear to override your sensibilities and you’ll be able to get through this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , ,   

    Phony coronavirus websites are on the rise 

    Phony coronavirus websites are on the rise

    Previously when we discussed coronavirus related phishing attacks, we mentioned that emails sent by scammers will try to disguise themselves as being from organizations like the CDC or WHO by using similar email addresses to the actual ones. For example, if the CDC were to send an email the address would be from cdc.gov. Scammers may try to use an address like CDC-gov.com. Not being satisfied with just posing as life-saving aid organizations, scammers are now registering coronavirus related domains in droves. These are the addresses that use to go to a website such as geebo.com.

    According to cybersecurity experts, scammers are registering domains such as coronavirusstatus[.]space, coronavirus[.]zone and survivecoronavirus[.]org just to name a few. A more comprehensive list can be found at this link. Scammers are registering these domain names either to use in phishing emails or to inject malware on your device. For the foreseeable future, if you get an email with a domain name that contains the word ‘coronavirus’ or other related terms, consider it to be harmful. Any links or attachments that these emails contain should not be clicked on as they could lead to malware which could potentially steal your personal or financial information. You could then unwittingly infect all devices connected to your network.

    And again, you should be on the lookout for other coronavirus scams as well. Like we’ve mentioned before, as of the time of this posting, there is no cure or vaccine for the coronavirus. Anyone promising you otherwise is trying to rip you off. Testing is limited in the US right now, anyone who is not a government agency or medical professional cannot test you for coronavirus and is either pushing snake oil or trying to steal your financial information.

    While the coronavirus, or covid-19 if you prefer, is a real danger and something we should be concerned about, don’t allow fear to get the better of you. In a crisis like this, panic helps no one. Look to your local media and state government about how the virus is affecting your area and heed those warnings. If we all work together, we can get through this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , ice cream, misnformation, UNICEF   

    UNICEF victim of coronavirus misinformation campaign 

    UNICEF victim of coronavirus misinformation campaign

    We’re sort of sorry to bring you yet another scam related to the covid-19 coronavirus. However, since there is so much misinformation surrounding the virus we felt it was better to be repetitive than not inform our readers.

    As we’re sure most of you know, the United Nations Children’s Fund, more commonly known as UNICEF, is the United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide. Much like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Unicef has become the victim of a misinformation campaign about the coronavirus outbreak.

    Worldwide a fake message has been spreading around social media attributed to UNICEF. The message falsely states that ice cream and other cold foods should be avoided in order to prevent coronavirus. The message has been translated into many languages and spread around the globe. This may sound much like a harmless prank but these posts also contain other false information about the virus which can be seen below.

    False post attributed to UNICEF

    This is a prime example of how fast misinformation can spread and be seen as truth in our globally connected world. Do not rely on social media for vital health information. In times of crisis like this, it is best to always check with scientific experts and medical professionals. As always, we recommend closely watching the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization as they are the foremost authorities on epidemics like this.

    Knowledge is power and right now it’s a power that could potentially save your life.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , ,   

    Coronavirus scams are having real-world effects 

    Coronavirus scams are having real-world effects

    Previously, when we discussed scams related to the coronavirus outbreak they were mostly theoretical. Now, many of these scams have taken root in the real world and have cost their victims large sums of money. Here are some of the scams that you should avoid.

    We realize that not everybody is going to be happy with us calling some ‘alternative’ medicines a scam but if we can help one person from ingesting potentially dangerous toxins then we feel like we’ve done our job. There are several supposed cures for coronavirus that are being touted online from garlic to miracle minerals and colloidal silver. While garlic is mostly harmless it doesn’t affect coronavirus in any way. However, so-called miracle minerals contain very toxic chlorine dioxide. Colloidal silver is equally as toxic and can damage your kidneys, cause seizures and even turn your skin blue.

    In British Columbia, Canada scammers are calling residents offering them phony coronavirus testing kits for a cost. Canada has free healthcare for its citizens and actual testing is being done at provincial health offices. In the US, while tests are in short supply, they are only available through medical professionals. Anyone offering a testing kit over the phone or online is merely trying to scam you.

    In Maine, US Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee, is warning her constituents about fraudsters who are pressuring their victims into buying a non-existent coronavirus vaccine. The scammers will tell the people they talk to that if they don’t pay for the phony vaccine now they won’t be able to receive treatment from their primary care doctor on any vaccine clinic. Again, as of this writing, no vaccine or cure for the Covid-19 coronavirus has been developed yet.

    In the United Kingdom, scammers have taken close to $1 million in surgical mask schemes. Victims have paid high dollar amounts for surgical masks that were never delivered. As has been stated before, while these masks have been hard to find they do not prevent the wearer from contracting Covid-19 or any other virus. The masks are only effective when worn by someone who already has a respiratory virus. Medical professionals are worried that the fear and misinformation over the virus may cause a shortage of masks in medical facilities worldwide. So unless you’re already infected, wearing a mask will do nothing to stop the spread of the virus.

    If more people started acting rationally instead of giving in to fear and misinformation we could weather this outbreak in a much more effective manner.

     
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