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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 13, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , customer support, , ,   

    New bank scam has scammers collecting your debit card 

    New bank scam has scammers collecting your debit card

    By Greg Collier

    Bank impersonation scams are nothing new. The typical banking scam starts off with a text message asking if you have made a large purchase or transfer. The text message asks you to reply with either a yes or a no. Once the victim replies ‘no’, they’ll receive a phone call from the scammers, posing as their bank’s fraud department. The victim will be told there is fraudulent activity in their bank account, and they need to ‘move’ their money to protect it. From here, the scammers walk the victim through moving their money to a supposed protected account. However, this account belongs to the scammers, who disappear with the victim’s money.

    In that version of the scam, the scammers have the victim move their money electronically. Now, a new scam has developed, where the scammers are physically collecting their bounty. This new scam starts out the same way with the text message and the phone call. Instead of being told to move their money, victims are now being told that a courier will be by to pick up their compromised debit card. Some victims were even told to leave their debit cards in their mailbox for the courier to pick up. From there, the scammers take the victim’s money from nearby ATMs.

    Thankfully, the ways to protect yourself are still the same. If you receive a text message claiming to be from your bank, do not respond to it. Instead, call the bank directly to see if there is an actual issue with your account. If someone calls you claiming to be from your bank, politely end the conversation, and again, call your bank directly to ask about any issues. Lastly, don’t give any personal information to a caller claiming to be from the bank. Your bank should have all the information they need and shouldn’t be requesting information like your PIN or account number.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 21, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , customer support, , ,   

    Scammers hope you miss your flight 

    Scammers hope you miss your flight

    By Greg Collier

    If you’ve ever had to travel by air, then you’re probably familiar with flight delays and cancellations. Unfortunately, they’re an inevitable part of flying. Or maybe you got stuck in traffic and missed your flight. When this happens, what’s the first thing you do. For some, it’s to get on the phone with their airline to see if they can reschedule a new flight to get to their destination. But very few people have the customer service number memorized or saved to their phone. So, they’ll Google the airline’s number, and the next thing they know, they’ve paid five times the original ticket price and are still stuck at the airport without an updated flight.

    So, how does something like this happen? A couple of ways, actually. Typically, scammers will buy sponsored listings on search engines to have their fake phone number promoted over the official number. Or they pose as the airline and tell the search engine company that their phony number is the new customer service number.

    When a weary and frustrated traveler calls a scam call center, a scammer, posing as a customer service agent, will tell the traveler they can book them a new flight with no problem. Except, the new ticket costs multiple times more than the original ticket price. Then the scammers will either ask for your payment information, or they’ll ask for an unusual payment method like gift cards or cryptocurrency. As you can probably imagine, they’re not booking anyone a new flight, either.

    If you find yourself in this situation, don’t rely on search engines for phone numbers. Instead, go to the airline’s website and find their customer service number there. If you do call an unauthorized customer service number and the customer service rep doesn’t mention the airline’s name when answering your call, that could be a good indicator you’re talking to a scammer. Lastly, when flying, use a credit card whenever possible. Credit cards offer much more protection than a debit card.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , customer support, , ,   

    No change in Zelle scam with scammers or banks 

    No change in Zelle scam with scammers or banks

    By Greg Collier

    In a few months, it will be two years since we first started posting stories about the Zelle scam. Since it’s been a while since we’ve posted about it last, let’s have a quick refresher.

    Zelle is a personal payment app whose parent company is co-owned by several of the nation’s biggest banks. Some of these banks include, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and US Bank, just to name a few. Often, these big banks will have the Zelle service baked in to that bank’s phone app. Many customers of these banks don’t even realize they have Zelle on their devices.

    Zelle is designed to be used between friends and family, much like Venmo and Cash App. However, also like Venmo and Cash App, Zelle also has its fair share of scammers.

    Another problem with the Zelle scam is the banks that use Zelle are very hesitant to offer refunds to the victims of scams. The banks state since the customer authorized the transaction, even under false pretenses, the transaction is considered legitimate. Some banks have only offered refunds after the victim has taken their story to their local media.

    Here is an example of how the scam works. Recently, a man from North Carolina received a text message asking him if he made a $7500 Zelle transfer to a person he didn’t know. The text appeared to come from his bank, Bank of America. The text message said to reply yes or no to the text message. The man sent a text reply of ‘no’, but it wouldn’t have mattered how he replied, since he was actually texting with scammers.

    After he sent his reply, he received a phone call that looked like it was coming from B of A, complete with the caller ID showing the B of A customer service number. The number was spoofed by the scammers, which is an easy thing for them to do. The scammers were posing as customer service agents from B of A. They gave the man instructions on how to protect his money from the fraudulent transaction, but what they were really doing was walking him through the steps to send money to the scammers. In his case, it was $1500. The man claims when he inquired with B of A, they allegedly told him it was his responsibility.

    Anytime you receive a notification that looks like it came from your bank asking you about a transaction or telling you your account is at risk, do not reply. Instead, call your bank’s customer service department directly to verify if there is an actual problem with your account.

    If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, contact police immediately. While it’s not a guarantee of getting your money back, it does go a long way in helping. Lastly, if your bank is refusing a refund, think about going to your local media with your story, as we have seen some successes after victims have done that.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , customer support, , , ,   

    BBB warns of Smart TV scam 

    By Greg Collier

    With our homes having more and more internet-connected devices, many of these devices can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. This includes your smart TV or any internet-connected device you may have connected to your TV, like a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. And whenever someone is vulnerable to a cyberattack, scammers are sure to follow. The Better Business Bureau has issued an urgent warning about smart TV attacks, which can cause the victim to lose money.

    Hackers can hijack smart TVs through various methods, including exploiting vulnerabilities in the software, using phishing scams to gain access to the TV’s credentials, or exploiting weaknesses in the network that the TV is connected to.

    One common method is to use malware to exploit vulnerabilities in the TV’s software, such as outdated firmware or unpatched security holes. Once the malware gains access to the TV, it can be used to control the TV remotely and perform a variety of malicious actions, such as displaying fake messages, installing additional malware, or even spying on the user through the TV’s camera and microphone.

    What we’re concerned with today is smart TVs that display fake messages. If a smart TV has been exploited, scammers will prevent the user from setting up their TV properly. A pop-up message will appear on the TV claiming there is an issue with setting up the TV or possibly a streaming service. A phone number is typically displayed within the pop-up.

    If someone were to call the number listed on the screen, they would be connected with scammers posing as a customer service department. The scammers will try to convince the user that a fee is required in order to obtain TV service. More often than not, the scammers will ask for payment in the usual scammer ways, such as gift cards or cryptocurrency.

    To prevent smart TV hijacking, it is important to keep the TV’s software updated, use strong passwords for the TV and network, and avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading unknown apps. Additionally, users should be wary of giving unnecessary permissions to apps installed on the TV, such as access to the camera and microphone.

    Also, be suspicious of any pop-up messages that come across your TV asking you to call a customer service department. A Google search for the number could turn up if it’s a scam calling center. If you do need to call a manufacturer or service provider, make sure to get their official phone number of the company’s website.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 13, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , customer support, JPMorgan Chase,   

    Bank accuses customer of being scammer 

    By Greg Collier

    A man from Spokane, Washington had been running a one-man business making out of his home making skis and snowboards. However, his business recently took a financial hit after the man fell victim to what sounds suspiciously like a Zelle scam.

    He received a text message that appeared to come from his bank, JPMorgan Chase. The text message stated that someone was trying to withdraw a large amount from his bank account and asked if it was him. The man responded no to the text and received another text that said someone from Chase Bank will call you.

    The call appeared on the man’s caller ID as Chase Manhattan Bank. The man was told by the caller that he would need to fill out to keep his money in his account. The man was directed to open his Chase Bank app and was walked through several steps until a form popped up. The man agreed to the form, and before he knew it, scammers had transferred $29,000 out of his account to a couple of banks in Florida.

    We can’t say for sure that this was a Zelle scam, but most Zelle scams start out the same way, with scammers posing as the victim’s bank. Coincidentally, JPMorgan Chase is part owner of Zelle’s parent company Early Warning Services, along with several other major banks.

    And Chase is said to have reacted similarly to when a customer of any bank is scammed through Zelle. Actually, according to the victim, Chase went beyond just denying the man a refund. According to him, the bank accused him of being the actual scammer. His local branch manager allegedly accused the man of setting up the scam with the man’s buddies, so they could make a claim on the lost money.

    Victims of similar scams are usually told since they authorized the transfer of funds, even under false pretenses, they would not be eligible for a refund. But to be accused by your bank that you’re trying to scam them is just reprehensible. The man had no choice at this point to go to his local media to try to get some form of recompense. After such an accusation, one might think that legal proceedings will begin at some point against Chase.

    Even though you may have been using the same bank for however many years, they are not your friend. Their main goal is to be profitable, even if that means losing a loyal customer now and again. To put it bluntly, they’re looking after themselves.

    To best protect yourself from this scam is to not respond to any text messages that claim to be from your bank or any other financial institution. If you do receive one of these texts, call your bank directly at their customer service number from their website or the back of your debit or credit card.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Best Buy, , customer support, , ,   

    You probably don’t have a Geek Squad subscription 

    By Greg Collier

    Tech support scams have been a blight on both smartphone and computer users for years. As much as we hate to say it, this goes doubly so for elderly users of these devices. Currently, the most common tech support scam is the pop-up scam. This is when a computer user gets a pop-up on their display that tells them their computer has been infected with a virus, and they need to call the phone number on the pop-up to have it resolved. Typically, the phone number claims to go to Microsoft, but they can also claim to be from any large tech company. If someone were to call the number from the pop-up, they’d be talking to scammers who would swindle their victims of their savings.

    However, there is a tech support scam that is a close second to the pop-up scam in the frequency with which it occurs. The difference with this scam is that it’s a phishing scam. Phishing scams are where scammers send out emails or other messages hoping to catch a victim on their proverbial hooks. This specific phishing attack uses the name of Geek Squad, which is the computer repair service arm of Best Buy.

    Scammers have been sending out emails that say your Geek Squad subscription is about to run out. The email continues with the claim that you’ll be charged several hundred dollars if you don’t cancel your subscription. The email contains a phone number to call if you want to cancel your subscription or dispute the charge. Much like the pop-up scam, the phone number leads to scammers instead of Geek Squad or Best Buy. From there, the scammers can commit a number of frauds by either taking control of the computer, getting your financial information, or both.

    Before calling any number, think back. Have you taken any device to the Geek Squad for any kind of service? If not, the email is almost certainly part of a scam. If you’re unsure, go over your financial records to see if any payments have been made to Geek Squad in the past. If not, then this is probably a scam email.

    It’s good general advice to never call any number or click on any link in an email that’s asking you for money. These emails can look like they’ve been sent by any number of legitimate companies. Instead of using the information in the email, go to the company’s website and instead contact them through official means at their website.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bing, , customer support, fake ads, , ,   

    iPhone scam is symptom of bigger problem 

    iPhone scam is symptom of bigger problem

    By Greg Collier

    Recently, an iPhone user was locked out of her new iPhone. On her husband’s phone, she did a Google search for ‘Apple Customer Service’ and called the number she found. The person on the other end of the call said they’d be happy to help her out. Except, the woman hadn’t really called Apple. Instead, she had called a phony customer support number run by scammers. These scammers had accessed her iPhone and were able to use her Zelle app to steal $1500. However, this scam is not exclusive to either Apple or Google.

    This scam is a version of the tech support scam. Instead of trying to trick victims into believing there’s a virus on their device, this scam waits for someone with a tech problem to call the scammers. In these cases, the scammers take out ads on popular search engines. Not just Google, but Bing and Duck Duck Go as well. The scammers will submit a flurry of ads to these companies in hopes just a handful get through the vetting process. If the ads get approved, they can be listed at the top of the search engine rankings. While the search engine companies claim to be on top of the problem, scammers continue to have their ads for phony customer services approved.

    There are ways to protect yourself from this scam. The first is when you’re doing a web search, make sure the listing you’re about to click on doesn’t have a tiny ad indicator near it. These are usually little text boxes that say ‘Ad’, but sometimes have a color that’s similar to the page’s background. Another way to protect yourself is by going to the manufacturer’s website directly. For example, instead of doing a web search for Apple Customer Service, just go directly to apple.com in your device’s web browser. From there you should be able to find the customer support number if the company has one.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , customer support, ,   

    New twist to Amazon phone scam 

    New twist to Amazon phone scam

    By Greg Collier

    Due to the popularity and reach of Amazon, it’s no surprise that the online retailer has been used in many scams. Whether it’s because of third-party sellers committing brushing scams, or scammers asking for payment in Amazon gift cards, the Amazon brand is no stranger to being used as a weapon in the scammer’s arsenal.

    However, the most common Amazon scam is the Amazon impersonation scam. This is where scammers will pose as an Amazon employee, typically over the phone. Sometimes the scam will start with an email that looks like an official email from Amazon, complete with the Amazon logo. Other times, the victims will be called directly. In both instances, the victim will be told there has been a large purchase on their account.

    Once the victim states that they didn’t make the purchase, the fake Amazon rep will direct the victim through some convoluted way of reversing the phony charge. Instead, what typically happens is the victim ends up losing money after giving their payment information to the scammers.

    More recently, law enforcement in the Kansas City Metro area have been receiving complaints about a new twist in this scam. According to reports, the scammers are now using a robocall that tells potential victims that if they hang up on the call, they’ll be charged $200 by Amazon and another $900 by their credit or debit card company.

    Scammers will almost always use some type of threat to get their victims into a panicked state. An $1100 penalty payment would just about get anyone to panic. And when someone panics, they’re not thinking clearly. This can allow scammers to get a victim’s financial information almost effortlessly.

    The best way to prevent a scam is to be prepared for one. If you receive a call or email from Amazon saying there’s a fraudulent charge on your account, check your Amazon account first and your payment method second to make sure there have been no fraudulent charges. But you should also keep in mind that Amazon seldom calls one of their customers. Even if they did, there’s no scenario where they can charge you $900 for hanging up on them.

    If you’re feeling pressured by anyone who calls you out of the blue talking about money, there are good odds that they are a scammer.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , customer support, ,   

    Victim loses $40K in bank scam 

    By Greg Collier

    A man from the Central Valley region of California recently lost close to $40,000 in a bank scam. As far as we can tell, Zelle wasn’t even used, which is a rarity these days. The man received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the fraud department at Bank of America. The caller is said to have told the man that there were fraudulent transactions on his account. But before the ‘fraud department’ could help him, they said they needed the man to give them a six-digit code they were sending to him, so he could verify his identity.

    The man gave the caller the code, and we’ll get to the importance of that in just a bit. The caller then told the man that since there was fraudulent activity on his account, they needed to shut down the online banking option on his account. The caller was actually a scammer who drained the man’s account of nearly $40,000 with several transactions.

    The most disturbing part of this scam is that the scammer already had the victim’s personal information. The victim didn’t have to give the caller any information, as the scammer was able to give the man’s personal information to him. The scammer even disabled the notifications the man should have received when the scammer started taking large amounts out of the man’s account.

    So how was the scammer able to access the man’s bank account? The news article doesn’t go into detail about that. However, if we were to hazard a guess, it seems like the scammer already had all the information needed to access the man’s account. The information could have been obtained through any number of data breaches that have happened in the past few years.

    The only thing the scammer really needed to access the account was the authorization code. Many banks require their customers secure their account using a two-factor authentication code. So even if someone tries to log in to a bank account with the username and password, they’ll still need the 2FA code that’s typically sent to the customer’s text messages. Once the scammer was able to obtain that code, they had complete access to the man’s bank account.

    Anytime you receive a phone call from your bank, especially about fraudulent activity, hang up and call the bank back using the number on the back of your debit card. Scammers almost always spoof the number they’re calling from. Also, never give anyone any authorization code over the phone. These codes aren’t just used for banking, either, as many online accounts can be hijacked if someone were to give this number out.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , customer support, , ,   

    Zelle says they’re just the messenger when it comes to scams 

    By Greg Collier

    As you may know, Zelle is the personal payment app that’s consistently been used in various scams for the past year. Zelle’s parent company is also co-owned by the nation’s leading banks, who consistently look for reasons to deny assistance to scam victims. Although it’s entirely within their right to do so, it’s also bad PR. At what point will the platform itself need to step in since its customers are constantly being taken advantage of?

    For example, a man from the Kansas City area recently fell victim to the classic Zelle scam. It’s a shame we can call it the classic Zelle scam, but here’s how it works. A victim will receive a text message that appears to come from their bank. The text asks if a large purchase or transaction has been made lately and asks the recipient to respond yes or no. Once the recipient of the text responds no, the scam really begins.

    The victim will then receive a phone call that spoofs their bank’s phone number. The scammer, posing as the bank’s fraud department, will tell the victim their bank account has been compromised. Under the guise of protecting the victim’s account, they’ll be walked through a Zelle transaction that’s actually sending the money to the scammer’s bank account.

    The Kansas City man lost $2500 to the scammers. He attempted to contact his bank, in this case U.S. Bank, to try to get his money back. So far, the bank has refused. Even after going to his local media, the bank has still refused a refund. When the local media contacted Zelle about it, they were told that Zelle is essentially a messaging service when it comes to these transactions and scam victims will have to work through their banks. U.S. Bank is one of the banks that co-owns Zelle’s parent company.

    Reactions like this should get bank customers to uninstall the Zelle app, but too many banks have Zelle baked in to their own app. This, in turn, makes a large number of bank customers vulnerable to scams just so the banks can push Zelle on them, since the banks are tired of losing business to other payment apps like Venmo and Cash App. Essentially, if you want to use your bank’s regular app, you’re forced to deal withe vulnerabilities of Zelle. It’s almost like the banks are holding their customers hostage.

    To better protect your bank account, keep in mind that Zelle is only supposed to be used between friends and family. Your bank will never ask you to use Zelle if your account has been compromised. If you receive one of these phone calls, hang up and contact your bank directly at the phone number on the back of your debit card.

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