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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , apartment fire, , Bronx, , cryptocurrency, , , parking scam, , san antonio, ,   

    Scam Round Up: QR Codes, Bitcoin, and More 

    Scam Round Up: QR Codes, Bitcoin, and More

    By Greg Collier

    It’s time once again to bring you three scams from around the country you should be aware of.

    ***

    Major cities in Texas like Houston, Austin, and San Antonio have reported a scam involving QR codes and parking. For those who may not know, QR codes are those square codes you sometimes see. If you point your phone’s camera at a QR code, it will take you to a website where you would normally be provided with additional information. In Texas’ case, scammers around these cities are placing QR codes around city-owned parking spaces. Once you scan the code, you’re asked to pay to use the parking spot. However, the money is going to scammers instead of the city. Along with your payment, the scammers now have your payment information as well. If you have fallen to this scam, you’re asked to file a police report and contact your payment issuer.

    ***

    Cryptocurrency scams continue to find victims across the country. Recently, a North Carolina man lost $15,000 to one of these scams. He was contacted through social media to invest in a cryptocurrency company who claimed that profits were 100% guaranteed. Supposedly, the man’s initial investment grew to $95,000; however, he would need to pay another $14,000 to get his windfall. This is a new crypto-flavored twist on the advance fee scam. For example, when a scammer tries to tell you that you’ve won millions of dollars in a sweepstakes, but you need to pay a fee to claim your winnings. Please keep in mind that the crypto market is filled with scammers, and no investment, not even cryptocurrency, can guarantee you a return on your investment.

    ***

    Lastly, we have to talk about charity scams again. We’re sure most of our readers have heard about the tragic apartment fire that took place in The Bronx recently. The fire has left several families displaced and many in the hospital fighting for their lives. You may feel the need to donate to a charity that would benefit these families. Be careful because scammers will use any tragedy to try to benefit themselves. The Mayor’s Office has set up a donation fund where all proceeds go to help the victims. There is also another city website where you can find additional information on how to help the victims. Don’t make a donation through a robocal. If you’re suspicious about a certain charity, you can always check with the BBB to see how legitimate they are.

    ***

    While these scams may not be happening in your area, they could be soon. Hopefully, you now have the knowledge to recognize these scams.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on December 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cryptocurrency, pig butchering scam, ,   

    Man loses $1M in romance/crypto scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Traditionally, in an online romance scam, the scammers cultivate a false romantic relationship with their victims to get the victim to send the scammer money. The scammed often pose as military personnel, oil rig workers, or international businessmen to avoid meeting the victim face to face. Now, there’s a new scam that shares many traits with the romance scam, but instead of asking the victim for money, the scammers are directing their victims to ‘invest’ in cryptocurrency.

    A 52-year-old man from Denver recently spoke to his local media about how he lost over $1 million in this scam. He is said to have met a woman online who supposedly also lived in Denver, although he never met her face-to-face. After a few weeks, the conversation turned to cryptocurrency. The woman said that she invests in cryptocurrency using a certain platform and app. She suggested to the man that he should invest as well. The man had made money before investing in cryptocurrency, so this was something he was familiar with. After the man checked out the platform, he thought it was all legitimate. He transferred a small amount of cryptocurrency into his account and was able to take out his money with no problem. Thinking this was a good investment, the man put his entire retirement savings of $1.6 million into his account.

    At the end of the investment period, it appeared the man had made $8 million in returns. However, when he tried to withdraw his money, he was told he’d need to pay back the loan of the initial $1.6 million. When he asked them to take it out of his $8 million windfall, they refused.

    The scam has been given the unfortunate name of the ‘pig butchering’ scam. The victims are the pigs who the scammers ‘raise’ until it’s time to lead the victim to financial slaughter.

    Investing is tricky enough, but when you add the volatility of cryptocurrency that can change wildly in value due to a tweet from Elon Musk, it becomes even more difficult. If you’re looking to get into investing, never invest more than you can afford to lose, even if the investment looks like a sure thing.

    As far as romance scam goes, if your online partner keeps giving excuses as to why you can’t meet them or see them face to face, there’s a great chance you’re being scammed.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Coinstar, cryptocurrency, , ,   

    You can’t rent a house through Coinstar 

    You can't rent a house through Coinstar

    By Greg Collier

    I think we can honestly say that this is one of the more unusual rental scams that we’ve heard of.

    It starts out as your typical rental scam. A scammers has listed a home for rent online that they don’t own at a below-market price. An Arizona man responds to the listing and wants to see the house first before giving the phony landlord any money. The scammer tells the man that the house is open, so the man can see it at his convenience. That part was true, the house was left open for the man to tour. While this is not the part of the scam that we find unusual, scammers often make appointments with realtors to get the codes to the lockboxes realtors use to secure the houses. The scammers then give the code to prospective victims, so they can tour the home. This tactic more than most makes the scammers appear legitimate.

    The man wanted to rent the home and told the scammers so. This is where the unusual part comes in. The scammers told the man to go to Coinstar. We all know Coinstar. It’s where we take all our loose change to convert into dollar bills. However, Coinstar can also be used to convert money into two of scammer’s favorite currency, gift cards and Bitcoin. Thankfully, this was the red flag that made the man realize this was a scam. The house wasn’t even for rent, it was for sale. The scammers copied the legitimate listing posted by the realtor and then made their ad look like they were renting the house. That’s the most common tactic of the rental scammer.

    Before you contact anybody about touring a home you saw listed online, you should do a web search of the address of the home. This can often show you the actual rent and the actual realtor selling or renting the home. Zillow and Raltor.com are great ways to help detect fraud, as many phony listings are blatantly copied from these platforms. Also, no legitimate rental agency or realtor is going to ask you to pay any application fees are down payment in gift cards or cryptocurrency.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cryptocurrency, , ,   

    Family taken in Bitcoin rental scam 

    Family taken in Bitcoin rental scam

    By Greg Collier

    A family from Eastern Pennsylvania is in the process of relocating to South Carolina due to one of the heads of the household being hired for a new job. The family found the ideal home for rent that they were looking for. It was in the perfect location and was well within their price range. The first problem was that the family found the home on craigslist, which the report we found this story on called “a favored hangout for scammers.” Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the family’s problems.

    After the family responded to the ad, they thought everything appeared normal. The people they were communicating with appeared to be from a rental company. The family was even sent a rental agreement to sign. However, all communication was done by text and email, which should have been the first sign that this rental company may not be on the up and up. The next sign was that the so-called rental agency asked for a $3500 deposit to be paid in Bitcoin. The scammers had to instruct the family on how to make the Bitcoin payment. After the payment was made, all communication from the supposed seller stopped.

    If you’re looking to rent a home, especially one that’s multiple states away, you really need to research the listing for legitimacy. A web search for the property’s address can turn up so much information, like if the home is actually for sale instead of being for rent. That search may also show that the rent isn’t as cheap as the initial listing said it was, as scammers usually list the home’s rent as cheaper than market value to entice victims. You should also ask for a live virtual tour of the home before making any deposits. If the landlord doesn’t communicate by phone, that’s also a good indicator the listing might be a fake. Lastly, never pay a deposit in any kind of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. While Bitcoin can be traced, it’s anonymous enough that victims rarely, if ever, get their money back.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Baltimore, , cryptocurrency, ,   

    Utility scammers using new cryptocurrency tactic 

    Utility scammers using new cryptocurrency tactic

    By Greg Collier

    Utility scams have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic last year and according to most reports, they’re incredibly effective. If you haven’t heard of the utility scam, it’s when a scammer calls you up posing as a local utility company, usually your local power company. They’ll tell you that your bill is past due and if you don’t make a payment right away, your service will be shut off that day. They’ll then ask for payment in some untraceable form like a pre-paid debit card, gift cards, or through a money transfer service. Now, some utility scammers are taking their victims’ money through cryptocurrency and making the victims do all the legwork as well.

    With the rising popularity of cryptocurrency came the advent of cryptocurrency ATMs. These public kiosks not only allow someone to buy and sell cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, but they can also send Bitcoin to another person. In Baltimore, the local power company has seen a substantial uptick in their customers falling for the utility scam. However, in a new twist on the utility scam, the scammers are directing their victims to make the phony payments through Bitcoin ATMs located throughout the city. One local business owner was taken for $1,000 in a recent utility scam. Due to the fact that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are decentralized and largely unregulated, once that money is gone, there’s usually no getting it back.

    Even if you are behind on your utility bill, the utility company will send you several notices in the mail before terminating any service. They will not call you and threaten you with immediate termination. They won’t ask for payment in nontraditional means, either. Requests for payment in gift cards, prepaid debit cards, money transfers, and cryptocurrency should be a dead giveaway that you’re not dealing with the actual utility company.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , cryptocurrency, , ,   

    Twitter hacked in major cryptocurrency scam 

    Twitter hacked in major cryptocurrency scam

    Yesterday, the accounts of some very high profile individuals were compromised in a cryptocurrency scam. Some of the names who had their Twitter accounts hacked include Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Apple Computers just to name a few. As of the time of writing this post, it’s unknown how so many Twitter accounts belonging to so many celebrities and business magnates were hijacked.

    The phony tweets from the hijacked accounts promised that people could double their Bitcoin value if they just send it to a designated Bitcoin wallet. Many of the Tweets said that the poster was feeling generous and wanted to double people’s Bitcoin in support of COVID-19 efforts. By the time the bogus tweets were caught, scammers were able to collect at least $100,000 in cryptocurrency.

    While the level of complexity of this scam in unprecedented, the scam itself is not a new one. Crypto-scammers will often post links on social media promising to increase the value of someone’s cryptocurrency if they just send it to the person making the post. In reality, the scammer just takes the person’s cryptocurrency and disappears into the ether.

    You don’t even have to be a cryptocurrency speculator to fall for a very similar scam. If you’ve ever seen the hashtag #CashAppFridays you may know what we’re talking about.

    When the Cash App has one of its weekly giveaways, a number of scammers will use the hashtag with promises of giving people $500 if they give them $50 through Cash App. This is what’s called cash flipping and the Cash App users often find themselves out of the money they gave the scammer.

    These scams are akin to handing your money to a stranger on the street who promised you $50 for $5. Even if they claim to be financial giants like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, no one is giving away free money to random people on the internet. While many of the people hacked in this scam may be philanthropists, their donations generally go to charities and non-profits and not to random Twitter followers.

    (H/T: TechCrunch)

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , cryptocurrency, , , , , , , ,   

    A new series of scams to look out for 

    A new series of scams to look out for

    Here are some new scams that we’ve found out about that are going on around the country. Please keep in mind that just because they are not currently happening in your area doesn’t mean that they can’t.

    Another victim has been scammed through the freelancer platform Upwork. In Pennsylvania, a woman had accepted an editing position that she had found on Upwork. She was sent a check for $2000 by her ’employer’ in order to buy equipment for her position. She was then instructed to send what wasn’t spent back to her employer through Venmo and gift cards. The $2000 check later turned out to be fraudulent. Upwork has said that you should not communicate with a client outside of the Upwork platform. If you receive a check in the mail and are asked to send a balance back through untraceable means like Venmo or gift cards, it’s almost a guarantee that the job is a scam.

    In Northern California, at least one resident has reported a new scam that had happened to them. They say they received a text message where a cybercriminal claimed that they had total control of the victim’s cell phone including the microphone and camera. The scammer then tried to extort $1500 in cryptocurrency out of the person they texted. The odds are very slim that your phone will be hijacked in this way. That’s also not taking into account that when you pay a purported blackmailer like this, they will continue to try and squeeze as much money out of you as possible. If you receive a text like this you are asked to report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

    Lastly, in Tulsa, Oklahoma man fell for a customer service scam that left him out of $1500. The man was having issues with his Cash App account. He called what he thought was Cash App’s customer service department but was actually a scammer. Before it was all over, the man’s Cash App account had been drained by the scammers. In this day and age of everything being online, not every company has a customer service number you can call. Often scammers take advantage of this by advertising phony customer service numbers. If you need to contact a company for customer service, go directly to that company’s website and look for a link that either says ‘contact us’ or ‘support’. Don’t just do a web search for ‘company x’s customer service number’ as there’s a good chance that number could be fake.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , cryptocurrency, , , ,   

    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 7:42 am on July 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cryptocurrency, , Libra coin,   

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch! 

    Scammers have gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch!

    If you’re unfamiliar with cryptocurrency it’s essentially a form of digital currency that is not centralized through any bank or nation. Bitcoin is the most notorious of these cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin is decentralized its value has wildly fluctuated over the years. While there are those who have made a virtual fortune through trading BitCoin the cryptocurrency craze seems to be on a downswing as many competing cryptocurrencies looking to copy Bitcoin’s relative success have flooded the market. One of those cryptocurrencies is set to be launched by Facebook which they have dubbed Libra. While Libra is some time away from launching, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take advantage of speculators by fraudulently using the Libra name.

    According to reports, a wave of scammers has gotten out ahead of Libra’s launch claiming to be official sellers of Libra. Unfortunately, Facebook’s own platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook itself are being used to perpetrate these scams. However, in Facebook’s defense, these scams have also spread to Twitter, YouTube, and the web at large with a number of websites claiming to be affiliated with Libra. Some phony outlets are even claiming to give discounts on millions of Libra coins. As you’ve probably guessed, these scams are designed to only take your money and give you nothing in return.

    Investing in cryptocurrency is like investing in any other financial market. You should only do it if you can afford to lose the money you invest as not all investments turn into profits. That’s not even taking into account that Libra seems more like a way to spend money globally rather than an investment type of cryptocurrency. So if you’re actually interested in using Libra once it launches, you’ll have to wait until 2020 before you can purchase any. No matter what someone online tries to tell you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cryptocurrency, Flexa, , SPEDN   

    Is cryptocurrency ready for retail? 

    Is cryptocurrency ready for retail?

    Even with its volatile fluctuations in value, it seems that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are here to stay. It seems that cryptocurrency is no longer just the method of transaction on the dark web as it continues to gain more mainstream acceptance. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long dreamed of a day where they can use their Bitcoins or any other number of cryptocurrencies, to purchase everyday items such as their morning coffee or a pizza. That dream is now becoming a little bit closer to reality.

    15 retailers in America have signed up for an app called SPEDN that is said to allow users to spend their cryptocurrency in brick and mortar stores. Some of the retailers that will begin accepting cryptocurrency are Bed Bath and Beyond, Ulta, Barnes & Noble, Baskin Robbins, Crate & Barrel, Express, GameStop, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, and Regal Cinemas. SPEDN is attached to the Flexa global payments network.

    However, what remains to be seen is how these retailers will be able to keep their cryptocurrency stockpile secure. Retailers are not the most secure companies as a number of them have been subject to massive data breaches that exposed customers’ information. Since cryptocurrency has been known to be stolen through nefarious electronic means will consumers turn against cryptocurrency once a large amount of it has been stolen from one of these retailers? While a good idea in concept maybe cryptocurrency isn’t ready for retail just yet until the security aspect of it can be addressed.

     
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