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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: florida, , nurse practitioner,   

    Medical professional charged in grandparent scam 

    Medical professional charged in grandparent scam

    By Greg Collier

    In South Florida, the demand for cosmetic procedures like Botox injections can command a substantial price tag. We’re pretty certain that the medical professionals who provide these services are paid handsomely. That’s why it was somewhat surprising to hear this story about a cosmetic medial professional who was arrested for allegedly participating in a grandparent scam ring.

    The person arrested was a 31-year-old Nurse Practitioner who practices at a premier medical spa that specializes in cosmetic procedures. She is said to have taken close to $50,000 from only two victims of the scam. In both cases the alleged scammer is believed to have called both victims and claimed that a relative of the victims had been involved in an accident. We haven’t read what pitch the Nurse Practitioner used in her scam, but usually the scammers either ask for bail money or money for medical expenses that have resulted from the fictitious accident.

    In one of the instances, the Nurse Practitioner is said to have had $20,000 wired from a victim directly into her bank account. The victim reported the scam to their bank and an investigation began. When a bank investigator confronted the Nurse Practitioner about it, the NP claimed that the money was from a friend who paid the money for a Super Bowl party. When the bank investigator told her that the transfer may have been fraudulent, the NP reportedly replied with “How is that my problem?”

    When we think of scammers like this, we tend to think of scammers from overseas who participate in a complete scamming industry. However, this story shows that scammers can be from just about anywhere and have any type of economic status. Not only that, but this story also shows to just what lengths scammers will go to, so they can keep their ill-gotten gains.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , florida, , , , ,   

    New unemployment and stimulus scams emerge 

    New scams involving both unemployment and stimulus

    Two of the biggest scams that dominated the headlines in 2020 were scams involving either the stimulus payments or unemployment benefits. Early in the year, scammers were hot to get their hands on the $1200 economic impact payments issued to eligible citizens. Then later on in the year, a massive wave of scammers filed for billions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits taxing already overburdened unemployment systems in each state. With 2021 just barely being underway, it seems like we’re in for more of the same for now.

    Previously in unemployment scams, the scammers would file for fraudulent benefits using stolen identities. Sometimes, they would be filed in the name of people who were still employed. This tipped off the employers that unemployment benefits were filed falsely for current employees. Employers could then notify employees who could notify the state about the fraudulent filing. More recently, the state of Illinois has discovered a new tactic being used by unemployment scammers. Somehow, the scammers are changing the employer’s address when filing for benefits, so the employer does not get a notice. This removes a key barrier to preventing fraudulent benefits from being claimed. The state says they are already taking steps to prevent this information from being altered and are notifying any potential victims.

    In Florida, scammers are looking to take advantage of not just the unemployed but those awaiting their economic impact payments as well. Phishing emails have already gone out that look like they’re from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The legitimate looking emails are being sent to those already on unemployment and promise recipients a payment of $12,600. The email then asks you to click on a link that says ‘Accept My Claims’. A copy of the email can be viewed here. If you’ll notice, the email says that payment will be in USD. That’s kind of redundant since this supposedly from a US-based organization. Anytime USD is used in an email like this, it’s almost a guarantee that it’s an overseas scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , florida,   

    New scam targets seniors’ bank cards 

    New scam targets seniors' bank cards

    Through no fault of their own, senior citizens are often the targets in scams. This can often be attributed to the fact that in their day, phone calls were largely important communications. Today, it seems almost unthinkable to answer a phone call from a number we don’t recognize, but back then, people would rush to the answer the phone without even knowing who was on the other line. This could be why two senior Florida residents were taken in a very brazen scam recently.

    In Boynton Beach, Florida, two senior residents had their bank cards physically stolen by someone claiming to be a bank representative. In the first instance, a 77-year-old woman received a call from someone claiming to be from Chase Bank telling the woman that one of her cards had been used in a fraudulent transaction. She was then told that a bank representative would come to her house to take her old cards and give her new ones. A woman in a navy blue dress showed up to her home and took her cards. As you can suspect, the cards given to the woman in the navy dress were used in various fraudulent transactions and $2500 was taken out of the woman’s checking account. A similar incident happened to an 89-year-old man in the same area except he was told that it was Wells Fargo who was calling.

    A question we get often is who falls for scams like these. Scammers like to cast as wide a net as possible in order to trick a handful of victims. It only takes a small number of victims to make these scams profitable for scammers. We would imagine this scam or scammers called an inordinate amount of people just to find these two victims. While you may recognize this as a scam, not everyone would. We discuss these scams so you could potentially help someone who may be a vulnerable target for scammers.

    If you or someone you know receives a call like this, it’s advised that you hang up and report the call to police. If your bank suspects fraudulent activity on your account, they will call you to ask if you made the purchase or transaction. If one of your cards had been used fraudulently, your bank would more than likely cancel your current one and either send you a new one in the mail or have you pick up a temporary card at your local branch. They would also instruct you to destroy your current card. They would not ask to reclaim your old card.

    Also, please keep in mind that even though this scam may not have happened in your area, it could show up near you at any time.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , florida, ,   

    New scam promises money if you stay home 

    New scam promises money to stay home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • Geebo 7:10 am on August 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: florida, ,   

    State launches price gouging app ahead of hurricane 

    State launches price gouging app ahead of hurricane

    Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane within the next few days. Governor Ron DeSantis has already declared a state of emergency in preparation for the potentially devastating storm. Whenever a hurricane is expected residents in the affected area will always be in a mad scramble for supplies and lodging that they might need during the emergency. Unfortunately, this can lead to price gouging with some vendors and hotels as they may look to take advantage of the situation. However, the Sunshine State has taken steps to try to combat price gouging.

    The Florida Attorney General’s Office has released a smartphone app called ‘No Scam’ that is designed to help Florida residents to report price gouging. The app is available on both Apple and Android phones. The app will allow residents to add pictures and copies of receipts from their phone speeding up the reporting process. Florida takes price gouging very seriously as those caught artificially inflating prices can be fined $1,000 per infraction and can be fined up to $25,000 in a 24 hour period.

    For whatever reason, if the app were to give you any kind of trouble you can still report price gouging to Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226, or their website at myfloridalegal.com. It is recommended that you either keep your receipt or take a picture of the inflated charge before submitting a report.

     
  • Geebo 9:23 am on March 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: coupon scam, florida, , ,   

    Social Security Suspension, Fake Coupons, Florida is #1, and cancer patient scammed out of $32K 

    Social Security Suspension, Fake Coupons, Florida is #1, and cancer patient scammed out of $32K

    It’s that time again to bring you the scams of the week that are happening around the country that could eventually come to your area. This week, we also have one that is particularly heinous.

    First up is a new scam targeting senior citizens. A number of our more mature members of society are stating that they are receiving phone calls that tells them that their Social Security numbers are being suspended. Since many seniors rely on Social Security benefits they could be prone to fall for this scam. The FTC is warning seniors that Social security numbers cannot be suspended and to not give any information to anyone calling you pretending to be the government and that if there is an issue with your Social Security the government will contact you by mail.

    Next, we have an online coupon scam that seems to be circulating on social media. If you see a coupon for the pizza chain Little Caesars promising you three free pizzas for their 60th anniversary it’s a scam. If you click on any links regarding this phony coupon it could lead to malware being installed onto your system. Little Caesars themselves has even issued a warning to consumers to avoid this coupon at all costs.

    In scam related news it turns out that Florida is the scam capital of the nation but the victims aren’t who you might think. While many seniors either live or spend a lot of time in Florida they’re not the main targets of scammers. Instead, scammers are targeting people of the so-called Millennial generation. Victims have fallen prey mostly to debt collection scams which seems to track since many Millennials are burdened with outrageous student loan debt. Once again, consumers are being warned about making any kind of payment through wire service or gift cards as these are clear indicators that any collection calls they receive may be a scam.

    Lastly, we have quite the heartbreaking story out of Northern California where a man in the Sacramento area has been taken in by a scam to the tune of $32,000. What makes this particular scam egregious is that the victim is currently struggling with cancer. The man wanted to travel the country with his wife in a motorhome. Unfortunately, the man wired money to someone posing as eBay Motors. Again, wiring money is usually a sure sign of a scam as once the money is wired it’s almost impossible to get it back.

    If you feel like you’ve been the victim of an online scam it is recommended that you contact the FTC at their complaint website.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on February 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: florida, , , ,   

    Why the charges against Patriots owner Robert Kraft matter 

    Why the charges against Patriots owner Robert Kraft matter

    New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft

    It was made public this past Friday that the owner of the New England Patriots, 77-year-old Robert Kraft, had been charged with two counts of allegedly soliciting prostitution in Florida. These charges stemmed from a much larger human trafficking investigation that targeted massage parlors in Orlando, Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Investigators claim that they have video evidence of Kraft in the act. Kraft has not yet been arrested but a warrant may be issued shortly. While Kraft is the biggest name among those arrested for solicitation, other prominent figures have been arrested during the same investigation.

    The investigation itself is said to have revealed that women were being held against their will inside the massage parlors after being brought over from overseas. In many similar cases, the victims of sex trafficking are brought into the country and are forced to work off their ‘debt’ to the traffickers by being forced to work inside the massage parlors. The victims are also often shuffled from location to location among other massage parlors not only to try to law enforcement off the tracks of the traffickers but to also prevent the victims from knowing where they are or where they can get help.

    While it’s refreshing to see that high-profile johns are being charged in this investigation, the fact that a man like Robert Kraft may be engaging in the solicitation of prostitution almost normalizes trafficking in the eyes of some. Add to that many of these massage parlors are not just in seedy urban areas but many of them are ensconced in strip malls all throughout suburbia. Comments surrounding the Robert Kraft story have already been of the ‘I don’t see what’s so wrong about it’ variety, and then the cycle of trafficking continues. If people refuse to see that holding women hostage in multiple locations and coercing them into performing these acts is wrong than what hope do we have for fighting this crisis.

    In the long run, Kraft could not only have the charges against him reduced or dropped but the NFL will probably not sanction Kraft in any real damaging way and that’s where the problem is. If johns are only going to receive slaps on the wrist for encouraging human trafficking then fighting the problem is only going to continue to be like trying to hold the ocean back with a broom.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , florida,   

    Don’t fall for the craigslist copycat rental scam 

    Don't fall for the copycat rental scam

    On other classifieds sites, there are rental property scams abound. One of the most common scams is that the con artist will copy an ad from a legitimate real estate site, then will repost the ad on a site like craigslist claiming that they are in control of renting the property. Since a lot of people’s first go to site for rental properties may be craigslist scammers will use that site in droves to try to take your money. But what if you see an ad on a real estate site then see an ad on craigslist for the same property at a different price?

    While this is a rare occurrence, a woman from New York was looking to find a rental property in Florida. She first found a property on a legitimate vacation rental site but then found the exact same property for rent on craigslist for a cheaper price. Wanting the better deal, the woman sent money to the person who allegedly placed the craigslist ad. The woman sent $3500 for a rental deposit, the check was cashed and the woman never heard back from the craigslist renter. The alleged con artist also tried this scam on a Canadian family and law enforcement was involved leading to the suspect’s arrest.

    If you see two ads for the same property and the one on craigslist is at a lower price, it’s almost guaranteed that the craigslist ad is a scam. On craigslist the ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ adage applies more than on any other classifieds site since craigslist doesn’t moderate their ads or submit them to any kind of review process. They only care about the quantity of ads and not the quality.

     
  • Geebo 9:05 am on May 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 13th Amendment, , florida, Florida Abolitionist, ,   

    Anti-trafficking group uses new approach to sue Backpage 

    Anti-trafficking group uses new approach to sue Backpage

    Backpage has been no stranger to lawsuits in its controversial history. In the past, many of its lawsuits have been dismissed due to protections afforded them by the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which stated that a website was not responsible for third-party content posted by a user. Even with the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) being passed into law and the criminal charges being filed against Backpage, a lawsuit win against Backpage still isn’t a slam dunk. However, an anti-trafficking group from Florida is trying a new tactic in an attempt to ensure judicial success against the website.

    In one of their arguments, Florida Abolitionist is claiming that Backpage violated the 13th Amendment rights of the women FA is representing by allowing them to be trafficked on Backpage’s listings. For those of you who may not be familiar with the 13th Amendment, it’s the Amendment that was supposed to end slavery in the United States. The text of the Amendment states…

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    While the 13th Amendment was designed to end slavery in the wake of the Civil War, the Amendment has rarely been used to show a violation of rights has been committed. With Former Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer recently admitting that Backpage was complicit in the practice of sex trafficking, maybe we’ll see a new landmark case where the 13th Amendment is instrumental in addressing the future rights of trafficking victims.

     
  • Geebo 9:29 am on May 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: florida, , ,   

    Elaborate used car scam hits OfferUp 

    Elaborate used car scam hits OfferUp

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recently released a report detailing a used car scam that has unfolded in Florida. In Daytona Beach, a man found himself out of $20,000 after purchasing a vehicle through the marketplace app OfferUp. The lengths to which the scammer went to can almost be seen as ingenious if they weren’t so contemptible.

    After the man purchased the truck he took the title to the Florida DMV who told him the title was a fake. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) came back to a truck of similar make and model that was being sold on a car dealer’s lot in California. After contacting police, investigators found there had been three different VIN plates glued to the car. To make matters even worse, police found a GPS tracking device inside the vehicle. Investigators suspect the scammer was tracking the vehicle to try to steal it and resell it.

    Any worthwhile classifieds app or website will have the VIN included in the ad for the car. For example, Geebo vehicle ads require a VIN to be placed with the ad. This way a consumer can check it with one of the many services that provide a car’s history. And as always, if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is.

     
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