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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , ,   

    Of course there’s a coronavirus puppy scam 

    Of course there's a coronavirus puppy scam

    With the current stay at home orders, many people are turning to pet adoption to combat the inherent loneliness associated with the quarantine. Pets have been shown as a way to help combat the depression and anxiety that many people are experiencing for the first time. However, before we get to the heart of the matter, we’d be remiss if we didn’t advise our readers that pets are a commitment. You should only get a pet if your current financial situation allows it and you plan on keeping your new friend once the quarantine is over. It doesn’t help anyone if you have to give up your pet.

    Online puppy scams are nothing new. The way they normally work is a scammer posts an ad online for a popular breed of puppy at a heavily discounted price. Once you pay the scammer they’ll either just take off with your money or try to bleed more money out of you with fake charges like insurance or shipping costs. Many scammers will say that something went wrong during the shipping process and more money is needed to correct the issue. In the end, you’ll end up out of a lot of money and have no puppy to show for it. Now, scammers are saying that you have to pay extra to have the non-existent puppy shipped because of coronavirus safeguards. Most scammers will also try to have you pay through untraceable means like wire transfer and gift cards.

    If you’re thinking of adding a new furry friend to your life, try to shop for your pet locally. We always advise adopting from your local animal shelter as they have many healthy and friendly pets available for adoption. Some shelters even have notification lists where you can be informed if you’re looking for a certain breed. If you’re going to deal with a breeder, please make sure they’re a licensed breeder as there are too many backyard breeders selling sick pets just for the money.

    Just like any other transaction, you’ll make the best choice once you’ve done your research before making a big life decision like getting a puppy.

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

    Covid-19 used as part of rental scam 

    Covid-19 used as part of rental scam

    Scammers keep using the current covid-19 pandemic to their advantage in new and creative ways by applying it to scams that have been in practice for years. One of the most common scams that we’ve discussed is the rental scam. This is where a scammer posts an ad online for a rental property they claim to own. The rent is almost always advertised as below market value. Also, the rent is almost always asked for without being to see the dwelling itself or meeting the landlord. In previous instances of the scam, scammers would give various reasons as to why they couldn’t meet the prospective tenants or show the property. Now, it seems that covid-19 precaution is being used as an excuse.

    In Thornton, Colorado three different families fell for the same rental scam thinking they all had just rented a home for their families. Instead, they were taken by a con artist. The scammer had posted the home for rent on Facebook Marketplace. When potential renters would inquire about the home the scammer allegedly told them that due to covid-19 concerns he would give a virtual tour of the home. One victim of the scam paid $2500 to the scammer as a deposit. While the news report doesn’t say how payment was made, it’s safe to assume it may have been done through a wire service like Western Union or Moneygram. As you can expect, the scammer did not own the house and the property was actually being rented by a real estate agency and already promised to a tenant. This isn’t the only case of a covid-19 rental scam.

    Even in this time of social distancing, if you’re looking to rent a home never pay a prospective landlord without meeting them in person. However, before meeting them, make sure they’re the actual landlord by doing a web search on the address of the rental home. This kind of web search should turn up who is actually renting the property. For a more accurate report of who owns the property, you can check with the county’s assessor’s office or website. It’s better to put in the extra research time so you don’t end up losing money and a roof over your head.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , covid-19, , , , investment scams,   

    Federal agencies are warning about covid related scams 

    Federal agencies are warning about covid related scams

    With the current coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of subsiding any time soon, many experts in the field are saying that they’ve never seen so many scammers trying to take advantage of a calamity. In that vein, many federal agencies have issued warnings about scams that are related to the coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic. You can click the following link to see our previous posts about coronavirus scams.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning investors about companies that appear to be making false claims about coronavirus treatment and prevention. The SEC has already suspended 16 companies from trading stock over claims of coronavirus testing kits. The SEC is also warning about currently investing in penny stocks related to coronavirus treatment as these stocks can easily be overinflated in value by the company before being sold off in what’s known as a pump and dump scheme.

    The Secret Service is warning citizens about scams related to the economic impact payments. We’ve previously discussed many of these scams here. In addition to the scams we’ve previously discussed, the Secret Service is warning about any messages you may receive about the economic impact payment that contain phrases like ‘immediately’, ‘urgent’, or ‘do not tell anyone about this offer’. According to the Secret Service, these are red flags for scams. They also recommend possibly freezing your credit during the pandemic so no one can open any lines of credit in your name.

    Along these same financial lines, the FBI is expecting a sharp rise in cryptocurrency scams during the pandemic. These scams will essentially entail current scams such as work at home and charity scams but will be looking to cryptocurrency as the scammer’s method of laundering the money they take from their victims. The FBI also says to be wary of new cryptocurrency offerings and investments as scammers will just steal the money and hide it in other cryptocurrencies.

    During these times financial stability is a major concern among many of us. By keeping a cool head on your shoulders you can prevent these con artists from threatening the security that you’ve worked hard for.

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

    Text scam says you have covid-19 

    Text scam says you have covid-19

    So far, we’ve seen some insidious scams that have preyed on the fear of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but this one may just take the proverbial cake. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is warning residents about a new coronavirus scam that is targeting its victims through text messages. The text messages say something to the effect of “Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.” The text also contains a link that is supposed to contain more information. In all likelihood, the link goes to a website that either tries to steal your personal information or injects malware on to your device. We recommend that you shouldn’t click any links provided by anyone you don’t know personally whether they’re sent through text, email, or social media.

    The State of New Jersey has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic due to its proximity to New York. The New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has been warning the Garden State about several scams taking advantage of the current crisis. Most of these scams we have gone over previously. However, one particular scam that Mr. Grewal is warning about caught our attention. That would be the impersonation scam or grandparent scam. Normally, this scam is when a scammer calls an elderly victim and poses as a grandchild and that they’re in some kind of trouble. They’ll then ask for money for things like bail or emergency medical expenses that have to be paid right now. Now, scammers are using the cover of covid-19 to perpetrate these scams. The scammers will say they’re infected with covid-19 and need money. As with most scams, they’ll ask for the money through gift cards or wire transfer. Instead of immediately reacting, call the person the scammers are claiming to be directly to verify that they’re actually ok.

    Previously, we’ve detailed scams where the scammers are disguising themselves as workers for the CDC, the Red Cross, and local hospitals selling various coronavirus tests or cures for a fee door to door. Of course, neither the tests or cures they sell are legitimate and they are just looking to make a few hundred dollars a pop. If that wasn’t low enough reports in Las Vegas have surfaced stating that some of these scammers have taken to posing as employees from Veterans Affairs Hospitals. For many of our veterans, the VA is the only place where they can receive medical treatment so some older veterans may be trusting of anyone who claims to be from the VA. In response to this, the VA has stated that they won’t come to your home without scheduling an appointment first.

    If you know someone who could be susceptible to these scams, please check in on them even if it’s just a phone call. They’ll probably appreciate that you’re looking out for them.

     
  • Geebo 8:30 am on April 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , covid-19, , , , 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, , , 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.

     
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