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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 25, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , ,   

    Facebook Account Hijacking: How Scammers Exploit Lost Control 

    By Greg Collier

    For some, losing control of your Facebook account may not seem like a big deal. You may only use Facebook sparingly to keep in touch with a handful of friends and relatives. If you lose access to your account, you can just open a new one and send new friend requests while telling your friends list you got hacked. However, letting your Facebook account remain in the hands of hackers can not only leave your friends and family vulnerable to scams, it could also lead to frustrated strangers showing up at your door.

    For example, a woman from Alabama lost control of her Facebook account. Before she knew it, hackers took over her account and changed the password, locking her out of her own account. Then, the hackers posed as the woman and listed several items for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Once other Facebook users started responding to the listings, the hacker told the other users they were out of town, but would hold the item for them if they paid a deposit.

    As you can probably guess, the Facebook users who paid deposits never received the items they thought they were purchasing. Victims of this scam started showing up at the home of the woman who had her account hacked. Thankfully, those who did show up at her home were reasonable when they found out they were scammed. However, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think things may have taken a wrong turn if the wrong person got scammed.

    The woman stated that she’s trying to get Facebook to suspend her original account, but the hacked account is still active.

    Scammers like this love to get their hands on existing Facebook accounts because it makes their Marketplace scams appear legitimate since an active and older account is attached to the listings.

    In conclusion, safeguarding your Facebook account from potential hackers is not only crucial for your personal data but also for your online security. By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to malicious activities. Remember to regularly update your password, enable two-factor authentication, review your privacy settings, and be cautious about the information you share online. Your Facebook account holds a treasure trove of personal information, and taking these proactive steps will help ensure that it remains secure.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, ,   

    The dead are selling Taylor Swift tickets 

    By Greg Collier

    In case you didn’t know, the demand for Taylor Swift concert tickets is through the proverbial roof right now. In some arenas, even the nosebleed seats are going for around a cool grand. Since the tour began, scammers have been pulling out all the stops to swindle the Taylor Swift faithful who are looking for a ‘cheaper’ ticket. Typically, this involves taking money from fans while promising tickets but never delivering them. However, this is the first time we’ve heard of a deceased person scamming would-be concert-goers.

    To be fair, this scam isn’t too different from any other ticket scam. In the Sacramento, California area, someone was offering a pair of tickets for sale on Facebook for $500 each. A friend of a friend of the seller saw this post and asked to buy the tickets. The seller asked for payment through the usual apps like Venmo and Zelle, but the payments wouldn’t go through for whatever reason. Thankfully, the buyer didn’t lose any money, but what they found out was eerie to say the least.

    The person who owned the Facebook profile which was selling the tickets had passed away a few years ago. Scammers had taken over the account and were now using it for scams. The buyer even confronted the scammer online, but the scammer insisted that the deceased person was their spouse, even though the decedent had never been married.

    If a loved one has passed away, and you want to preserve their Facebook account, Facebook has a process you can go through called memorializing the account. Facebook says memorializing the account will prevent scammers like this from taking over the account. You can find more information about that here.

    If you’re looking to buy any in-demand event tickets, it’s best to avoid social media. Social media platforms are not designed for secure transactions, making it easier for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. Fake ticket sellers may pose as legitimate sources, enticing buyers with attractive deals, only to disappear after receiving payment, leaving the buyer with no tickets and little chance of recovering their money.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , ,   

    One more social media scam to watch out for 

    Two more social media scams to watch out for

    By Greg Collier

    Social media platforms have become an integral part of our daily lives. From connecting with friends and family to discovering new trends and ideas, these online spaces offer seemingly endless possibilities. However, amid the allure of likes and follows lies a dark underbelly of deception and exploitation. Social media has become a breeding ground for an untold number of scams. Here is one, which has garnered headlines recently, which you should be on the lookout for.

    There are a few different lost pet scams on social media. This one appeals to our humanity and our desire to help others. Scammers are posting pictures of what appear to be injured cats or dogs. Don’t worry too much. The pictures used in these posts were stolen elsewhere from the internet. We’re pretty sure scammers aren’t actually injuring animals deliberately, but we wouldn’t put it past them.

    Accompanying the pictures are pleas to help find the pet’s owner. There’s also a request to share the post if you don’t know who the owner is. Someone would have to be heartless not to share the post, right? That’s what the scammers are hoping for. Once the post reaches a certain number of shares, the scammers will edit the post to show something else, typically related to some kind of scam. Recently, reports have shown scammers changing the post to sunglasses they’re supposedly selling. In the past, we’ve seen cryptocurrency ads and bank scams replace the original post.

    So, how do you differentiate between a scam post and a legitimate post about a lost or injured pet? Before sharing the post, check to see if the post allows comments. If it doesn’t, that’s a good indicator it might be a scam, as scammers don’t want people telling others the post is a scam. Also check the profile of the person making the post. If their profile has very few friends or is relatively new, those are also good indicators the post may be a scam. You can also check the person’s profile for where they supposedly live. If they live nowhere near where the pet was supposedly found, they’re probably scammers.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 19, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, , ,   

    Grandmother falls prey to puppy scam while gifting grandson 

    Grandmother falls prey to puppy scam while gifting grandson

    By Greg Collier

    A grandmother in North Carolina took in her grandson after the boy’s mother passed away. To give him a better sense of belonging, she decided to buy him a puppy. The grandmother found someone on Facebook who claimed to be selling Yorkshire Terrier puppies. These puppies were even said to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

    The puppies were being sold for $525, which should have been the first red flag. Purebred Yorkies that are registered with the AKC tend to go for anywhere between $1000 and $3000. The next red flag came in the form of payment the seller requested. She was asked to make the payment in gift cards. The seller instructed her to take pictures of the front and back of the gift cards along with the receipts.

    Then, like in most scams, once the victim makes an initial payment, the scammers try to get more money out of them. In this case, the scammers told the grandmother she needed to pay for a special shipping crate for the puppy, along with insurance and other fees. Before it was all over, she had sent the scammers $5000.

    She received an email that contained information on when the puppy would arrive, but no puppy was ever delivered.

    If you’re thinking about buying a puppy online, this statistic may make you reconsider that. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), more than 80% of social media posts that list puppies for sale are scams.

    When seeking a specific breed, opt for reputable breeders conveniently located within driving distance for an in-person visit. Prioritize meeting the puppy before finalizing the purchase. Before dealing with any local breeder, conduct thorough research to avoid potential risks. Steer clear of puppy mills or backyard breeders, as they often house sick animals with severe health issues.

    But as always, we urge our readers to consider adopting a puppy from your local shelter. Typically, puppies can be obtained from shelters at little to no expense.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Facebook, look who died, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: The classics make a return 

    By Greg Collier

    Even though there has been an uptick in technologically advanced scams, there are some classic scams that never went away. Here are three we think you should be reminded of.

    If you get a phone call or email that says there’s been a fraudulent charge on your Amazon account, the chances are it’s a scam.

    A woman from Lincoln, Nebraska, recently fell victim to this scam when she thought she was talking to the fraud department of her bank. The scammers convinced her she needed to make payments in Bitcoin to correct the error. She ended up sending the scammers $52,000 in Bitcoin after withdrawing it from her 401K.

    If you receive a call or message like this, go directly to your Amazon account and check for fraudulent charges. If there aren’t any, then whoever contacted you is trying to scam you. No matter how urgent they make it seem, slow down and verify their story before sending any money. And if Bitcoin is brought up in the conversation, then it’s definitely a scam.

    Scammers love to hijack Facebook accounts. When they do, not only do they get your personal information, but they can then use your account to try to scam everyone on your friends list.

    One of the ways they do this is by sending a Facebook message that says, “Look who died.” The message contains a link that appears like it will take you to a news article. Instead, it will inject malware onto your device that can hijack your Facebook account.

    Messenger is a pretty big breeding ground for scams. Outside of the ‘look who died’ message, you should also avoid messages about government grants, cryptocurrency, or just about any message that involves money.

    You may also want to let your Facebook friend know outside of Facebook that their account has been hacked.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the Publisher’s Clearinghouse scam. We’re all familiar with PCH. If you win a substantial prize from them, they surprise you at home in their Prize Van with a large novelty check. The thing with PCH is, you have to enter their sweepstakes first before you can win anything.

    Scammers will call victims at random while posing as PCH, telling their victims they’ve won millions of dollars. The scammers will then try to get their victims to make a payment to claim their prize. The payment will be disguised as something like taxes or processing fees. This is known as the advanced fee scam, which has cost victims thousands of dollars. Once a victim makes payment, the scammers will continue to string the victim along by asking for more money.

    Keep in mind, it’s illegal for sweepstakes like PCH to ask for money before issuing a prize. That’s why legitimate sweepstakes always have the tagline of ‘no purchase necessary’.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 1, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebook, ,   

    New dangerous scam uses pictures of your car 

    New dangerous scam uses pictures of your car

    By Greg Collier

    Imagine you’re scrolling through Facebook and all of a sudden, you see a picture of your car. Not a picture of the same make and model of your car, but your actual car. Except, not only do you not remember taking that picture, but you didn’t make that post. That would be jarring, wouldn’t it?

    That’s what happened to at least one family from San Diego. A photo of their SUV appeared in a community Facebook group for nearby Tijuana, Mexico. Whoever made the post claimed that the vehicle was stolen at gunpoint in Tijuana and was offering a $1000 reward for it.

    The problem with posts like this on social media is too many people will believe it without questioning it. As the saying goes, “A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.” Many people commenting on the post are believing it like it was gospel. Some have even claimed to have seen the SUV.

    So, what’s the scam? Whoever posted the photo also gave out a phone number to contact to try to claim the reward. If someone calls the number thinking they’re helping someone in need, they’ll be asked for their financial information, so the reward can be given to them. Once the scammers have that, then any number of financial frauds can be committed.

    What’s dangerous about it is the family who owns the SUV could come face to face with someone who may decide they want to take back the vehicle themselves.

    Unfortunately, if you’re the owner of the car, there’s not much you can do to prevent someone from taking a picture of your car in public.

    However, if you see one of these posts, don’t respond to it, don’t share it, and don’t call the phone number in the post.

    This is something that should be handled by the police.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , , ,   

    Cancer patient targeted in scam 

    By Greg Collier

    A Utah woman who is currently undergoing cancer treatment almost fell victim to a scam at probably the most vulnerable time of her life. As you may expect, her treatments are expensive, and she was looking for any kind of financial assistance to help pay her medical bills. She received a message from a Facebook friend who offered to help her apply for a grant that would help pay for her medical expenses. With some of her treatments costing thousands of dollars each, she was open to the idea.

    If you’re a regular reader, you already know this is a common scam that takes place on Facebook. These grants that ‘friends’ keep promising don’t actually exist. In a typical grant scam, the victim will be directed to a phony website where they’ll be asked for all their personal and financial information. Then the victim will be asked for a payment under the guise of a processing fee.

    This is precisely what happened to the Utah woman. She was directed to a website to fill out an application, but in the middle of the process she got a bad feeling and cancelled the application.

    She messaged her Facebook friend saying she was going to think about it. The friend started pressuring her to complete the application. When the woman insisted she wasn’t going to, the Facebook friend disappeared.

    As you can probably surmise, her Facebook friend had their account hacked and taken over by scammers. Who knows for how long, but it was long enough to find someone who was battling an expensive illness.

    Any financial grant giver, whether it’s from the government or a nonprofit, will not approach you. You need to search them out first. Unless your Facebook friend works for the government or non-profit, it’s very unlikely they are going to put in the legwork for you.

    That’s not to say there aren’t any assistance grants out there to help you. We recommend going to the USA.gov website to help you find any legitimate grants you may be eligible for.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on January 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , , ,   

    Inactive Facebook account leads to puppy scam 

    By Greg Collier

    A woman from Long Island recently had people showing up at her home looking to pick up the puppies they had bought online. The only problem was, the Long Island woman wasn’t selling any puppies. The people showing up at her door were victims of a puppy scam. In this instance, puppy scammers were advertising puppies for sale that didn’t exist. The scammers would ask for hundreds of dollars in deposits from victims and had them pay through the much maligned payment app Zelle. Undoubtedly, the woman started to be concerned for her safety. In the past, we have seen reports of puppy scam victims becoming belligerent when they’ve been sent to a random address.

    However, the woman’s address wasn’t exactly random. She had a Facebook account, which she hadn’t used in years. Scammers were able to hijack her Facebook account, and used it to advertise the fictitious puppies. Since they were using the woman’s Facebook account, the scammers decided to send their victims to the woman’s address. When the woman discovered her Facebook account was being used, she tried to reclaim the account, but the scammers had changed the email address and password. She even contacted Facebook, who allegedly said they couldn’t take the account down because it didn’t violate their terms of service.

    So, we have two scams at work here, the aforementioned puppy scam and a type of identity theft. If you have an old social media account you haven’t used in years, it’s a good idea to just delete the account. This will prevent the account from being hijacked by scammers and other bad actors. However, if you want to keep the account around just in case, make sure you’re not using the same password for multiple online accounts. This is one of the leading ways social media accounts get stolen. You should also routinely change the passwords on your accounts. And definitely enable two-factor authentication on your accounts. These aren’t guarantees that your accounts will be 100% secure, but they will go a long way in discouraging con artists from hijacking your accounts.

    As far as the puppy scam goes, you should never buy a puppy or any other animal without seeing it in person first. Many puppy scammers just steal pictures of puppies off the internet to use in their advertisements. Even if you’re shown a puppy on Zoom or FaceTime, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be scammed. Shop for a puppy within driving distance and never order from out of state, and never make any payment over apps like Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App, since they’re preferred by scammers. Instead of trying to buy a puppy online, think about adopting one from your local shelter.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American Express, Facebook, , Macy's, , , , , ,   

    Scammers try to scam victim again 

    Scammers try to scam victim again

    By Greg Collier

    In the 1984 sci-fi classic ‘The Terminator’, one of the protagonists describes the Terminator by saying, “It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop… ever.” That’s an apt description of scammers as well. They will use any opportunity to scam someone, no matter what the cost may be to the victim. And if that victim has been scammed before, then that just means they can be scammed again, according to scammers. Even if the intended victim didn’t fall for the scam, that doesn’t mean scammers won’t try to scam them again.

    A Rhode Island widow says she was scrolling Facebook on her computer when she started receiving a number of pop-ups that said her computer was infected and to call Microsoft at the number listed. Avid readers of this blog will recognize this as the pop-up scam. The phone number doesn’t actually go to Microsoft and instead goes to a scammer’s call center.

    After calling the number, the widow was told that her American Express card had been compromised, and she was about to be charged $16,000 for a fraudulent purchase. She was then connected to another scammer posing as an American Express agent. That scammer told her she would need to buy $8000 in Macy’s gift cards to override the fraudulent charge. The victim went and bought the gift cards while the scammer stayed on the line with her.

    The scammer told her to scratch the backs of the cards and give him the code numbers. The victim gave him one before realizing this may be a scam. Instead of giving the remaining numbers to the scammer, she went to the police. But the story doesn’t end there.

    The victim didn’t want anyone else to fall victim to the same scam she did. She posted a warning about it on Facebook. It didn’t take long for her to receive a comment from another scammer. This scammer said that the FBI helped them get their money back and the victim would need to text a phone number left by the scammer. The supposed FBI agent kept asking the victim for personal information in exchange for assistance. Thankfully, the victim realized this was a scam and ceased all communications with the scammer. Scammers never stop scamming.

    While the first scam is one that we’ve gone into detail before, the second scam is not so well known. That scam looks for scam victims on social media, and will try to send victims to a phone number or social media account that can supposedly help a victim get their money back. This is just another scam. Once money is lost to a scam, no recovery service can get it back, no matter how much someone promises you they can.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook, , ,   

    Romance scammers steal life savings of elderly victim 

    By Greg Collier

    The holiday season is the time of the year when romance scammers strike the hardest. After all, most people to be alone for the holidays. That loneliness can make anyone vulnerable to the promises of a romance scammer. Romance scammers often pose as well-off individuals, such as doctors or international businessmen. The stability of some of these positions make them more attractive to their victims. It also doesn’t help that when someone is lonely, the heart can often overrule the mind, and red flags are often ignored.

    That happened to an elderly Pennsylvania woman who lost almost $40,000 to scammers. Her scammer claimed to be a doctor who was working in Iraq for the United Nations. It was because the scammer was said to be in Iraq that it made it easy for them to avoid meeting the victim. It also made it easy for the scammer to make excuses as to why they couldn’t talk on FaceTime or why the ‘doctor’ was unable to carry any money on him.

    For months, the scammer cultivated an online relationship with their victim. At first, they would talk every day through online chats. Then the chats became phone calls where they would talk every day. The scammer was said to have talked like someone who was in love, even saying things to the victim like ‘How was your day?’. Things that many of us might take for granted when we’re in relationships.

    Then it finally became time for the scammer to pull the trigger on the scam. At first, the money requests started small. The first one was for a $100 pre-paid debit card that the victim took a photo of and sent to the scammer. Then came larger amounts for things like cell phone service, food, and a plane ticket for the ‘doctor’ to meet the victim. However, instead of the meeting taking place, the victim received a phone call from someone claiming to be the doctor’s lawyer.

    That person said that the doctor had been arrested because of the drugs in his bag, and he needed $20,000 bail. By this time, the victim had already gone through her savings, but the supposed lawyer pressured her into finding more money. She was told to sell her car, cash out life insurance policies, and beg from her family if need be. It was then the victim realized she had been scammed.

    The photos the scammer used turned out to be of an actual doctor from Spain, whose picture was being used in all manner of romance scams.

    The victim had lost everything to the scam, but was fortunate enough to have family her took her in. She believes she was taken advantage of because she had listed herself as a widow on her Facebook page.

    The romance scam probably comes with the most victim blaming, as many people say they can’t believe someone would fall for such a scam. That’s when we like to remind people that anybody can fall victim to a scam, no matter their education level or socioeconomic status. Recently, a Texas man pleaded guilty to being part of a romance scam that took $1.2 million from just one victim. You don’t accrue that kind of money without being a little smart.

    The best way to protect yourself from romance scammers is to do a reverse image search of any picture they send you of themselves. If the results come back to someone who isn’t who they say they are, then your best bet is to cut off any communication with them. It goes doubly so if they start asking you for money if you haven’t even met yet.

    If you know someone, especially an elderly person, who might be caught in a romance scam, please show them this blog post or the Romance Scam page from the FTC’s website.

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