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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bulldog, covid-19, , , ,   

    Puppies don’t need a COVID vaccine 

    Puppies don't need a COVID vaccine

    By Greg Collier

    The puppy scam is a type of online scam where scammers pose as legitimate breeders or sellers of puppies, and offer to sell or adopt out puppies to unsuspecting victims. They often use online platforms such as classified ads or social media to advertise their puppies and attract potential buyers.

    Once a victim expresses interest in a puppy, the scammer will ask for payment for the puppy and related expenses such as shipping or insurance. However, after the payment is made, the scammer will disappear without providing the puppy.

    A woman from Georgia recently fell victim to this scam, and the scammers made an unusual request. The woman thought she found a breeder of bulldogs on Puppies.com. The scammers claimed to sell bulldogs at thousands of dollars below typical market value. After the woman paid the initial $650 for a puppy, the scammers kept asking for more money. She then paid a $200, shipping fee, close to $1000 for a shipping crate, and $1800 for COVID vaccinations.

    The COVID vaccinations should have been a dead giveaway that this was a scam. For one, puppies don’t need COVID vaccinations. If the vaccines were supposedly for any workers, $1800 would be enough for 450 to 900 employees.

    The victim realized that she was being scammed after being asked to pay an additional $2600 for an airport fee. In total, she lost close to $4000 to the scammers, which is the current going price for purebred bulldog puppies.

    To avoid falling victim to the puppy scam, it is important to research the breeder or seller thoroughly, ask for references or recommendations from others who have purchased puppies from them, and never send money without receiving proof of the puppy’s existence and health.

    As always, we recommend adopting a puppy or even an adult dog from your local shelter. When you adopt a puppy from a shelter, you are providing a second chance for a dog that may have otherwise been euthanized. Shelters are often overcrowded and underfunded, and adopting a puppy from a shelter can help free up space and resources for other dogs in need.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Scammers use fallen officer’s name and more 

    By Greg Collier

    Our first story in this edition of the Round Up is a reminder to Medicare recipients that Medicare will not reach out to you by phone unsolicited. Scammers often try to obtain a recipient’s Medicare information by posing as Medicare and offering victims a new Medicare card. In the past, scammers have offered new plastic cards to victims. However, Medicare does not use plastic cards. More recently, scammers have said Medicare is sending out new cards to all recipients because of COVID. One of the main tip-offs to this scam is that Medicare doesn’t need your Medicare number, as they already have it. If anyone calls you asking for your Medicare number, there’s a good chance they’re a scammer.


    Speaking of COVID, even though we’re on the other side of the pandemic, scammers are still using the virus to their advantage. Scammers are still offering at home COVID tests as a way to get either your financial or insurance information. The scammers will offer these supposed tests over the phone while telling their victim they qualify for the free tests under their health insurance. Or, the scammers will ask for payment information for a small shipping fee. In either case, no test is ever sent, and the victim’s information is used for fraud.

    If you need some at home COVID tests, you can still get them for free through the USPS website.


    Our last story is another example showing there are no depths scammers won’t stoop to. In Tennessee, scammers are using the name of a Sheriff’s Deputy who fell in the line of duty. The scammers are looking for victims on dating apps and threaten them with arrest using the fallen officer’s name. Money is then extorted from the victim.

    While law enforcement does often patrol dating apps looking for potential predators, they will never threaten someone with arrest if they’re not paid.

    If someone calls or contacts you like this, threatening arrest if you don’t pay them, hang up and call your local police. Once you explain to them what happened, they’ll be able to tell you that it’s a scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , ,   

    COVID con coaxes college kids out of cash 

    COVID con coaxes college kids out of cash

    By Greg Collier

    Just when we thought we might finally be done with COVID-19 related scams, another one pops up. To make matters worse, this scam is targeting college students who have been getting hit extra hard by scammers lately. However, this new scam is actually an old scam with a COVID colored coat of paint on it.

    As you probably know, a considerable number of college students are always on the lookout to make some extra money. This makes them a high-value target for scammers. In this new scam, the students are being sent emails telling them they’ve qualified for a COVID relief fund. The scammers then have the students fill out an application.

    The student is then sent a check. Once the check has been deposited into the student’s bank account, the supposed fund will say there’s been an error and the student needs to send the money back. After the student sends the money back, their bank discovers the check is fraudulent. This leaves the student overdrawn on their account and responsible for paying the bank back even though they were scammed.

    So if a student falls for this scam, not only are they in debt to their bank, but they’ve probably been the victim of identity theft as well. If they gave any personal information during the application process, such as their Social Security number, they have most likely had their identity stolen. Again, college students are high-value targets for identity theft since they tend to have little to no credit history.

    If you think you may have been tricked into depositing a fraudulent check into your bank account, don’t withdrawal that money, even if the sender asks for some or all of it back. Instead, contact your bank and ask them if they can verify the legitimacy of the check. If the check turns out to be fraudulent, but you haven’t spent any of it, it will just be removed from your account.

    If you receive any communication that tells you that you’ve qualified for some kind of fund or grant, do not take it at face value. Research the agency making the offer to find out whether they are legitimate or not. In general, be suspicious of any offer of ‘free money’ because it could cost you in the end.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Funeral scammers and more 

    Scam Round Up: Funeral scammers and more

    By Greg Collier

    It’s been a while since we had a scam round up. To any new readers, this is where we bring you a number of short scam stories. These stories usually can either be told quickly or are reminders of past scams.


    Earlier this month, we posted a story warning victims of floods to look out for scammers posing as FEMA agents. We also warned that scammers might also file FEMA claims in the victim’s name, while claiming any financial assistance for themselves.

    A report out of Kentucky, where floods recently devastated a portion of the state, says that flood victims are starting to see FEMA agents show up to their home when they never filed a claim. One victim had a FEMA claim filed under her maiden name and had FEMA agents show up to her home looking to make an inspection.

    If you think a FEMA claim might have been filed in your name, contact the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362.


    Speaking of government agencies, Medicare is probably the most targeted agency when it comes to scammers. What makes it worse, is that the scammers need someone enrolled in Medicare to scam the government.

    The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about the latest Medicare scam targeting recipients. Scammers are calling Medicare recipients and offering them free COVID-19 tests. Scammers actually want the recipient’s Medicare information, so they can fraudulently bill Medicare for a service or item the insured never receive.

    Please keep in mind that free COVID tests are easily available through the USPS website and are available to anyone.


    Lastly, we think this story might just be the lowest we’ve ever seen scammers stoop, and that covers a lot of ground.

    Recently, a family from Illinois had to deal with the tragic loss of their 16-year-old son. When a tragedy like this makes the local news, it’s almost a guarantee that the GoFundMe scammers come out of the woodwork, and that’s exactly what happened. Fake GoFundMe pages started springing up claiming to be collecting for the family. But that wasn’t the worst thing that happened.

    According to the family, there were scammers who were physically at their son’s funeral collecting money from mourners, stating that they were collecting for the family. Thousands of dollars were allegedly collected by the scammers at the funeral.

    GoFundMe is actually pretty good when it comes to cracking down on scammers once notified. They’ve stated that the money given to the phony GFM pages has not been released to scammers and can be returned to anyone who donated.

    It’s a travesty that a family dealing with the loss of a child had to deal with such a disregard for human decency.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have a recommendation on how to keep scammers out of funeral. It seems like such a grim thought to think that a funeral might need security.


  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: covid-19, , ,   

    State warns of increase in puppy scams 

    State warns of increase in puppy scams

    By Greg Collier

    When the emotional overrides the rational, we leave ourselves open to scams. And nothing much elicits a more emotional response than when someone sees a puppy. It’s even more so when someone has recently lost their long-time canine companion. This is why one state has recently issued a warning about an increase in puppy scams.

    The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has issued a warning to residents of The Great Lakes State that they’ve seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of puppy scams being reported. Typically, puppy scams occur when someone is shopping online for a puppy. Too often, the puppies found for sale online don’t even exist. Scammers will set up a website that makes it look like they’re a legitimate dog breeder. The photos of puppies used on the scammer’s website are often stolen from the websites of legitimate breeders.

    Scammers will offer the puppy at a price below what most breeders are asking for. If someone attempts to buy a puppy from a scammer, they’ll then be asked to pay more money for more services that were not part of the original asking price. These can include payments for shipping insurance or specialized shipping crates for the puppy. Like in most scams, the scammers will continue to ask the victim for money until the victim realizes they’ve been scammed.

    The AG’s Office says that, specifically, scammers have been using COVID-19 as part of their scams. The scammers will say a buyer can’t see the puppy in person because of COVID-19. The scammers have also been asking for additional money for protective crates, COVID-19 vaccines for the puppy, and pandemic insurance.

    If you find yourself in the market for a puppy, research is the best way to protect yourself from these scams. Prospective pet owners should first research the breed they’re interested in to make sure they can properly care for the puppy’s needs. Not all breeds are the same. Buyers should try to stick to their local area as much as possible. You increase your chances of becoming a scam victim if you order a puppy from too far away. Research the breeder as much as possible. You can do a web search with the breeder’s name along with the words ‘complaint’ and ‘scam’ to see if anyone’s been a victim of a fake breeder. The Michigan AG even recommends making any puppy purchase with a credit card, as credit cards have a higher level of protection than most forms of payment. Speaking of payment, never pay for a puppy using apps like Cash App, gift cards, or cryptocurrency, as these are all indicators of a potential scam.

    As always, we highly recommend adopting a puppy from your local animal shelter. This can often be done with minimal or no cost. Some shelters even have waiting lists you can sign up for if you’re looking for a certain breed. Don’t let the shelter stigma convince you that all shelter dogs are problems. Many of them are there through no fault of their own and would make a great addition to any household.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , ,   

    Masks subject to price gouging and counterfeiting again 

    Masks subject to price gouging and counterfeiting again

    By Greg Collier

    With the new variants that COVID-19 seems to keep producing, many states have reinstituted mask mandates. According to the FDA and the Mayo Clinic, masks can not only help you from catching COVID-19, but helps prevent the transmission of COVID-19 as well. Along with preventative handwashing and getting vaccinated, masks are an essential part of trying to curb the tide of COVID-19 infections. But with the rise of demand for masks, scammers and bad actors are looking to prey on those who want to have a part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, 60% of KN95 masks sold in America are counterfeits. KN95 masks are one step below the N95 surgical masks that are used by medical professionals, but are still effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Many of these counterfeit masks are sold on websites that may not be the most reputable. A good way to tell if the retailer is questionable is the quality of pictures they use. If pictures of the masks are blurry or of a low resolution, there’s a good chance that the masks will be fakes, if you even receive the masks at all.

    Other retailer may decide to raise the prices of masks to an astronomical amount due to the demand. This is known as price-gouging and may be illegal in the retailer’s state if the retailer is in the US.

    When buying from an unknown retailer, it’s always good advice to do a web search of the retailer’s name along with the words ‘complaint’ or ‘scam’. Legitimate masks should also have the manufacturer’s name, logo, and model number printed on the mask.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , covid-19, , , , omicron variant,   

    New variant brings same old scams 

    By Greg Collier

    With the advent of the Omicron variant, the demand for COVID testing has increased to the point of scarcity. Unfortunately, scammers and other con artists are well aware of this crisis and are looking to take advantage of it, so they can line their pockets. It’s gotten so bad in the state of Georgia that the state Attorney General’s office has issued a warning about scams related to COVID testing. While a testing shortage might not be happening in your state currently, Georgia’s current situation can be used as a reminder to look out for these scams.

    The Peach State is warning its residents to be aware of anyone going door to door offering COVID testing. Residents have also been told to be wary of anyone wanting to charge a fee for in-person testing. If you live in Georgia, you can go to the Department of Public Health’s website that has a listing of legitimate testing centers. While not mentioned by the Georgia Attorney General, some COVID scammers are after the medical insurance information of the heir victims, especially if they have Medicare. You should only give your healthcare information to a trusted medical provider.

    These phony testing scams aren’t just dangerous to the victim, but they’re dangerous to the public as well. If a victim is told they had a negative test result by a scammer, but actually have COVID, they could go on to spread it to their family, friends, and community with disastrous results. If you’ve spotted a COVID testing scam or have been a victim of one, it’s recommended that you contact your state’s Division of Consumer Protection.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , covid-19, , , ,   

    Text message scams using big name companies 

    Text message scams using big name companies

    By Greg Collier

    We think it’s safe to assume that many mobile phone users would prefer to receive a text message than a phone call. Text message are just so much more convenient than stopping whatever you’re doing to take a call. Except, not every type of communication can be done through text messaging. For example, if you needed any kind of customer service, it would be painstakingly long to do that through text. That’s not even taking into account that text messages have become yet another domain where scammers thrive. Scammers love the anonymity that text messaging allows. This lets them pose as just about anyone, and lately, they’ve been posing as some of the best known companies in the country. We’ve recently read reports that say there a two text message-based scams that happening all over the country.

    The first text message scam we heard about recently is offering COVID-19-based discounts to customers of Verizon, one of the nation’s largest phone providers. Here is an example of what the text message says…

    “COVID-19 REFUND. VERIZON COMPANY is giving out $950 to all users of our Verizon service, If yes kindly text your Verizon.”

    As you can see, the text message isn’t very well written, which is a great indicator that the text message is a scam. The messages also contain a link that you shouldn’t click on as it could do untold damage to your device, or ask you for personal information you shouldn’t be sharing. Not only are scammers posing as Verizon, but they’ve also been posing as Netflix and Hulu, among other companies. As much as we’d like them to be, these companies aren’t in business by giving away money to their millions of customers.

    The other texting scam involves large national banks Chase and Bank of America. In this scam, victims have been receiving texts that say something along the lines of…

    Chase Bank Fraud. Did you attempt $5,000 Zelle-transfer? Reply yes/no/help.


    “Bank of America fraud alert. Did you just attempt a Zelle transaction of $3,500? Please reply yes or no.”

    Most people would probably text no back to the sender. However, the senders are just scammers who are fishing for your banking information. Once someone replies to the text, it’s followed up with a phone call from a scammer posing as bank customer service. The scammers will then walk you through a process on Zelle that allows them access to your bank account. Before you know it, it’s been cleared out. What makes this scam so problematic is that banks do sometimes text their customers to let them know if there has been fraudulent activity on their account. In this case, it’s always best to call the customer service number on your debit card than responding to the text.

    A good way to protect yourself from such scams is to verify any text you receive about money with a phone call. Even if it’s from people you know because any phone number can be spoofed.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: covid-19, , , ,   

    Pharmacy data breach exposes millions of customers’ data 

    Pharmacy data breach exposes millions of customers' data

    By Greg Collier

    When someone entrusts a billion-dollar company with their medical information, you might assume that they take security seriously. After all, HIPAA violations are no joke. The largest HIPAA fine so far was $18 million paid by a major health insurance company after they feel for a phishing attack, exposing client data in the process. So, say you’re the largest pharmacy chain in the nation. You’ve also tested countless customers for COVID-19. You must have some kind of impenetrable security in place to keep all that information private, right? Maybe not according to security experts.

    A security consultant had his family tested for COVID-19 back in March at a local Walgreens. While getting his family’s test results, he discovered a flaw in Walgreens’ website that exposed customer information related to the COVID-19 tests. This information is said to have contained name, date of birth, phone number, address, and email along with other sensitive information. The consultant tried to get in touch with Walgreens to warn them about the flaw, but they allegedly ignored him. Tech news site, Recode, also investigated the flaw and notified Walgreens about it. Recode even gave Walgreens time to fix the vulnerability before they published their report, but according to Recode, the vulnerability still hasn’t been fixed.

    As of the time of this post, there has been no confirmation that any bad actor has come into possession of any customer information. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t. If you used Walgreens for COVID-19 testing since July 2020, you may want to keep an eye on your credit report. This breach could be a potential treasure trove for identity thieves. The information could also be used by scammers to sound more legitimate since they have some personal details of your life.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: covid-19, , ,   

    Was a death certificate stolen for a FEMA scam? 

    Was a death certificate stolen for a FEMA scam?

    By Greg Collier

    Back in February, we discussed how scammers stopped a federal assistance program from being rolled out. As of the time of our previous post, FEMA had not started their funeral assistance program for people who passed away from COVID-19 in 2020. Due to the amount of fraud that was affecting state unemployment systems during the pandemic, FEMA decided to hold back while they came up with a potential solution. Earlier this month, FEMA announced that they would begin processing applications for funeral assistance, and it looks like the scammers may have already started to try to take advantage of the system.

    A woman in Tennessee lost her husband late last year to COVID-19. He was working the frontline as a nurse when he contracted the virus. Even though it’s been a number of months, his widow is still dealing with the loss of her husband. She recently received a call asking if she had sent her husband’s death certificate to Texas. She had not and believes that someone was using her husband’s death certificate to try to apply for FEMA benefits in his name. When this potential scam was first announced we wondered if all it would take to scam FEMA would be a forged or stolen death certificate.

    Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that you can do to protect yourself from this scam. If you ever had the unfortunate experience of arranging a funeral for a loved one and handling their estate, you know that you have to provide a copy of the deceased’s death certificate to a number of different people. The only thing that FEMA seems to be recommending at this point is that if you’ve been scammed you can call FEMA at 800-621-3362.

    Sadly, this again shows that scammers will try to take advantage of any situation no matter how devastating it may be to the victim. When scammers reach a new low like this, we’re both surprised and yet not surprised. Scammers know no bounds of human decency and will try to take advantage of anyone as long as it can make them some money.

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