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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , ,   

    COVID creating more scams for more money 

    COVID creating more scams for more money

    According to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, not only have scams increased during the pandemic but victims are losing more money than ever. Just last month, the Attorney General’s Office said that scam victims lost as much as 8000 times more than they did the year before. The rise in scams is being contributed to the fact that more people are at home and online during the pandemic. That can also lead to more victims posting about themselves on social media which gives scammers more information to use against you.

    The Attorney General’s Office says the three most common scams that have been happening during the pandemic are grandparent scams, work from home scams, and romance scams. Kentucky recently prosecuted a man who scammed a woman for over $200,000 in a romance scam. The scammer posed as a man in the military while asking his victims for money under the guise of a romantic relationship.

    We often see people acting incredulously saying things like “Who would ever fall for a scam like this.” Unfortunately, victims falling for scams happen more often than you might think with only a fraction of the victims ever coming forward. As we have said before, people from all economic and educational backgrounds have fallen for scammers in one way or another.

    When it comes to your money, always take the time to verify what someone online is telling you. Whether it’s for a job, a relative in jail, or a romantic interest, it never hurts to check everyone’s story. At the worst, it may result in some hurt feelings but at least you’ll still have your money in these tough economic times.

    If you find yourself having become a victim of one of these scammers, please think about coming forward to the authorities. While it may seem embarrassing at first, if more people come forward it will lessen the chance that someone else will become a victim in the future.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, gov.us, ,   

    New scam tries to fine you for leaving your home during quarantine 

    New scam tries to fine you for leaving your home during quarantine

    With the country now being six months into the quarantine, you would have thought we would have heard of all the coronavirus scams by now. Yet, here we are posting about a new scam with COVID trappings and a little fake governmental fear to boot.

    Tech news website The Verge has posted a blog entry about how one of their editors who is working at home, received a scam email. The mail claimed that the editor left his home three times in one day during the lockdown and needed to go online to pay their $59 fine. The email went on to say the fine needed to paid to the editor’s gov.us account and gave a gov.us web address to click on to pay the supposed fine.

    This is actually a pretty clever scam. The gov.us web address appears like it’s coming from an actual government agency. However, anyone can buy a .us web address. Legitimate federal government web addresses end in .gov so seeing a gov.us address could fool some of the people all of the time. Plus, the scammers aren’t asking for a large amount for their phony fine. Potentially, someone may just click on the email’s link just to pay what they think is a nuisance fine.

    The trick here is that gov.us isn’t even a real website. The web address in the email was actually disguised to take any likely victims to what The Verge called a spammy website. The website The Verge listed has since been taken down but more than likely the website was designed to infect your system with malware that could wreak all sorts of havoc on your device from ransomware to identity theft. In order to avoid pitfalls like this, if you’re on a computer, you can hover your mouse over the address without clicking on it to see where it will actually take you.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on September 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , hotel scam, , , ,   

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for 

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for

    Once again, we’re bringing you a trio of scams that are happening around the country. We think you should keep an eye out for them before they come to your area.

    The first scam literally is one that is happening all across the country. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has issued a warning about a Social Security scam that’s targeting seniors. Scammers are posing as the Department of Justice and are looking to steal personal information. The scammers will leave a number to call back which will lead you to a phony investigator who will ask you for your personal information. If you receive one of these phone calls, you’re asked to report them to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or the FTC website.

    The Department of Health from the state of North Dakota is reporting that residents there have been receiving worrying messages about COVID-19. People there have been receiving texts, emails, and even letters telling them that they’ve tested positive for coronavirus. However, many of the people receiving these messages haven’t even been tested for coronavirus. The messages contain a link that directs them to a website where they’re asked for personal information. You should never click on links from or open any attachments from someone that you don’t know personally.

    Lastly, if you find yourself staying at a hotel on a getaway, be careful what information you give over the hotel phone. Police in Wrightsville, North Carolina are warning vacation goers about a scam that has hit their area. Police there say that scammers are calling hotel rooms posing as the front desk and asking for personal information. Sometimes the scammers will even try to get financial information out of their victims. Please keep in mind that the hotel will not ask for payment information away from the front desk. If you receive a call like this while staying at a hotel either call the front desk directly or go straight to the front desk personally.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: covid-19, ,   

    The grandparent scam with the COVID cover 

    The grandparent scam with the COVID cover

    We’ve been discussing grandparent scams a lot lately. By most reports, these scams have been on the rise since the advent of the global pandemic and show no sign of slowing down any time soon. Now, scammers are incorporating the pandemic into their scam.

    It’s called the grandparent scam because scammers often target the elderly with this scam. The scammer will claim to a grandchild who is in some sort of trouble. More often than not the scammer will say that they’ve been arrested in need money for bail or some other legal fee. The scammers will then request large amounts of money to be sent to them while posing as the grandchild. In the past, scammers have requested the money through wire services like Moneygram, or through gift cards like those you can get for Amazon or Walmart. More recently, some scammers have even employed go-betweens to go right up to a victim’s door and collect the money in cash.

    Scams are always evolving and the grandparent scam is no exception. Since people have been getting wise to the scam, scammers are now using a tactic devised to put pressure on their victims. According to the Florida Attorney General’s Office, scammers are telling their victims that because of COVID-19, bail needs to be paid over the phone immediately so person to person contact can be avoided. This can also give the impression that the supposed grandchild could be exposed to COVID-19.

    These scammers will say anything to keep you on the phone and to try to get you to make some form of payment right then and there. However, it’s always in your best interest to hang up and call the grandchild that the scammer is claiming to be. If a grandchild had actually been arrested, verifying their situation will more than likely not cause them any further distress.

    Again, we ask that if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam.

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

    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam 

    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam

    Even though some restrictions have been lifted, scammers are still using the current COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. In the case of used car sales, they’re using it as an excuse to either not show the car or to not allow you to take a test drive.

    For example, a mother was recently looking for a car so she could shop for groceries and take her kids to the doctor. She was shopping for cars on craigslist. She says that she found a used 2008 Honda in her price range for $1200. Unbeknown to the mother of two, the red flags started almost immediately.

    First, the seller said that they were looking to sell the car as soon as possible because her son had passed away. The seller then added that they didn’t want to do any in-person transactions because of COVID-19.

    The woman was then instructed to go to a website that purported to be eBay Motors. The website instructed the woman to buy the car’s price in eBay gift cards to purchase the vehicle. The woman bought the $1200 in gift cards and gave the card numbers to the seller.

    As you might have already guessed, the seller made off with the woman’s money and the car never existed and the eBay Motors website was a phony website that was specifically designed for the scam.

    The red flags are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The first red flag was that the car was priced well below market value. This is how scammers lure you in at first. Then the scammer had a sob story as to why they were selling the car so cheaply. This often involves a story about a death, an illness, or someone shipping off to the military but it can take almost any form. This is used to tug on the buyer’s heartstrings to lull them further into a false sense of security.

    The use of COVID-19 in the scam is a believable cover as to why the buyer can’t see the car before purchase.

    Another common red flag was the use of eBay Motors. If you find a car on one platform and the seller directs you to eBay Motors saying that eBay are handling the shipping then it’s more than likely a scam. eBay Motors does not do any shipping of vehicles.

    Lastly, the final red flag was the use of gift cards as payment. Gift cards can be drained of their funds almost immediately with the scammers disappearing with the money.

    Hopefully, now you’re forewarned with knowledge on how to recognize such a scam so you don’t lose your money.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , PPE,   

    Brushing scam is sending out PPE 

    Brushing scam is sending out PPE

    Brushing scams have been grabbing a lot of headlines lately due to the seeds sent to Americans from overseas. Again, if you’re unfamiliar with brushing scams, it’s when scammers send products to people unsolicited. The scammers do this to use you as a verified purchase to post fake reviews to their product page on platforms like Amazon. Often, these scammers have a stake in the product being sold. Brushing scams tend to be perpetrated by overseas scammers.

    As we mentioned, the most infamous brushing scam recently involved an overseas company sending an untold number of seed packages to people all over the country. Now, the Attorney General of Kentucky and the U.S. Attorney’s office is warning of a new brushing scam that involves personal protection equipment, or as it’s better known, PPE. These are the masks, gloves, and face shields used to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Many residents of the Bluegrass State have said that they’ve received unsolicited packages of PPE from companies with overseas addresses. When a scam like this hits one state, it’s usually not long before it starts hitting others. It is recommended that if you receive one of these packages to not use any of the PPE contained inside as the quality of the items can not be verified.

    While you are within your legal rights to keep anything that you didn’t actually order there are pitfalls to being involved in a brushing scam. The scammers could have gotten your information from a previous data breach somewhere online. That means that at least one of your online accounts may have been compromised but if you use the same password for multiple accounts, more could be compromised. It’s recommended that if you’ve been sent items from a brushing scam that you change the passwords on your online accounts and you should use different passwords for each account. A password manager is recommended to assist you with that. Also, you should keep an eye on your credit as brushing scammers could potentially have your financial information as well. You should also check your accounts on retailers like Amazon to make sure that purchases or reviews have not been made in your name.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , ,   

    New scam promises money if you stay home 

    New scam promises money to stay home

    Just when we thought COVID-19 scams were on the decline, we read about one that we would consider impressive if it wasn’t so reprehensible.

    The Florida Attorney General’s office has warned residents of the Sunshine State about this new and elaborate scam. At the heart of the scam is a promise of receiving grant money from the U.S. Treasury if you just stay home during the current pandemic. The scam seems to be mostly targeted at senior citizens. The scammers were even said to have created a phony website that appeared as if it was an official U.S. Treasury website. The phony website was said to be so convincing that it even had phony video testimonials.

    Victims of the scam would often be directed to the phony website by messages from their friends on Facebook. These messages were often sent through hacked Facebook accounts by the scammers themselves.

    The fake website would ask people for their personal information including Social Security numbers and banking information. It would also ask for payment to insure the grant delivery that will actually never come.

    The website has since been removed, however, as the Miami Herald points out, it could reappear at any time.

    In order to prevent falling victim to a scam like this always make sure any federal website address ends in .gov. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not authentic. If anytime a Facebook friend messages you about getting grant money, the odds are more likely that their account has been hacked. Grant scams similar to this one have been spread around Facebook for years.

    If you’ve fallen victim to this website in Florida it’s recommended that you contact the Attorney General’s office. If you’re not in Florida we recommend contacting the Federal Trade Commission.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , covid-19,   

    Contact tracing scams are finding more victims 

    Contact tracing scams are finding more victims

    Even though most states have lifted many of their restrictions that were put in place during the onset of the pandemic, COVID-19 is still infecting people. One of the tools that are being used to stop the spread is contact tracing. This is when your state or local health department contacts you to let you know if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. In some states, you would receive a text message letting you know that a call was coming from your health department. In other states, you would just receive a phone call warning you that you may have been in contact with an infected person.

    Since contact tracing was initiated, scammers have been posing as contact tracers to try to commit identity theft. The scams have gotten so bad that the Attorney General of California has issued a consumer warning to his constituents.

    If a contact tracer were to call you, they would ask to confirm your name, address, and date of birth. That means that they should ask for you by name and not ask you who you are. Scammers will sometimes claim to be with some vague organization like ‘contact and tracing efforts’ while legitimate contact tracers will identify who they are and which health organization they are with. Also, a real contact tracer will never reveal the name of the infected person you may have come in contact with. On the other hand, scammers will try to obtain personal information from you like your social security number or financial information. There is no need for any health department to request that information.

    Lastly, if you receive a text that says you’ve been in contact with an infected person and it contains a link to click, delete the text message as that is almost undoubtedly a scam.

    Being told that you’ve been in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus can be scary. Scammers prey on that fear to try to get you to give them information that you normally wouldn’t give.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , covid-19, ,   

    Contact tracing scam is still being used 

    Contact tracing scam is still  being used

    Contact tracing is basically medical detective work when it comes to contagious diseases. While it’s currently being used to try to disrupt COVID-19 infections, in the past, it’s been used to try to prevent infectious diseases like tuberculosis and measles from spreading. It works when treating an infected person and finding who they have been in close contact with and trying to get those individuals tested for the infection.

    If someone was found to have been in contact with an infected individual, they should receive a text message from their local health department saying that they will soon receive a phone call from their health department. The process behind modern contact racing still has a lot of hurdles to overcome as shown by the following video.

    Now, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to imitate the legitimate text messages that would be sent out in case of a potential infection. The phony texts are sent out en masse hoping to trick as many victims as possible. It will appear like the legitimate text messages but instead of telling you’ll receive a call from the health department, it will instruct you to click on a link.

    Once you click the link, you’ll be asked for personal information like your social security number, bank account information, and credit card number. None of this information would be needed by your local health department. At least not your financial information.

    Being told that you’ve been in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus can be scary. Scammers prey on that fear to try to get you to make rash decisions that you normally wouldn’t make otherwise.

    If you receive one of these texts that asks you to click on a link, take a breath and think about it for a moment. If there is any concern that you may have actually been in contact with someone who has been infected, your best bet is to contact your local health department.

    The CDC has a website where you can find information for each state’s health department.

     
  • Geebo 8:39 am on May 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , ,   

    COVID test scam targets elderly 

    COVID test scam targets elderly

    During the current crisis, the elderly are not only the most vulnerable to the virus but could also be the most vulnerable to coronavirus related scams. Once again, an old scam has been repurposed for the global pandemic and it involves seniors’ healthcare.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers are posing as Medicare employees offering coronavirus home testing kits. They ask their victims for personal information including seniors’ Medicare information. Tests are sent to the victims but again, no home test has been approved for use by the FDA. The BBB says that these scammers are more than likely committing Medicare fraud and are billing these tests to Medicare. If Medicare is paying the scammers for these tests, this could affect Medicare coverage for future coronavirus testing by doctors.

    If you receive one of these calls or possibly an email from someone claiming to be from Medicare offering you a test kit, either hang up on the call or delete the email. Whatever you do, please do not respond to any of these offers. Keep in mind that if Medicare was actually calling you, they wouldn’t need to ask for your Medicare number.

    This also goes for people on private health insurance as well. Your insurance company isn’t going to offer you an at-home test kit and won’t ask you for your ID number. If your insurance company ever does need to call you, they’ll already have that information on hand.

    Both Medicare and private insurances mostly communicate with patients by postal mail. Anybody claiming to be them with some kind of offer is either an identity thief or an insurance fraudster.

     
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