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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FTC, , , , settlement   

    MoneyGram scam victims can get money back 

    MoneyGram scam victims can get money back

    By Greg Collier

    It’s not often that we have good news for readers, but today we have some good news.

    Often, we like to remind our readers that gift cards are the currency of scammers due to the ease in which scammers can empty the funds from gift cards. Prior to the rise in popularity of gift cards, money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram were the tool of choice for scammers to take money from their victims. These services are still used by scammers because a scammer can just walk up to a money transfer county, get their money, and disappear. That and the fact money can be transferred just about anywhere in the world.

    Late last year, we discussed how Western Union settled with the Department of Justice for $153 million after Western Union was accused of turning a blind eye to scammers. In that post, we also discussed how victims of Western Union scams could try to claim part of that settlement. Now, it’s MoneyGram’s time to do the same.

    On June 1st, the Federal Trade Commission announced that victims of MoneyGram scams can claim their portion of a $125 million settlement MoneyGram made with the DOJ. However, there are some requirements before you can file for your claim. You have had to have been a victim of a scam that used MoneyGram between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017. Then you can go to the MoneyGram Remission Website and start your claim. However, you don’t have too long to file a claim as the deadline for filing a claim is Aug. 31, 2021.

    Money transfer services should only be used if you need to send cash to someone you know personally, and you’re 100% sure that they’ll be receiving the money. If not, then there is a good chance you’re sending money to a scammer.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FTC, , ,   

    A record year for romance scams 

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam

    By Greg Collier

    The Federal Trade Commission recently released a report that said that Americans lost a total of around $304 million to romance scams in 2020. That’s a 50% increase since 2019. For the third year in a row, romance scams were listed as the number one scam that was reported to the FTC. The actual amount of money lost is probably even higher since many victims are too embarrassed to ever come forward. The pandemic was cited as the main reason why there was such a spike in romance scam activity. Seniors over 70 lost a median amount of close to $10,000 each while people in their 20s saw the biggest increase in d=falling for these scams.

    However, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. While most of our readers already know what a romance scam is, it doesn’t hurt to explain it to new readers. A romance scam is when a victim meets someone online who isn’t who they say they are. The scammers will often use the photo of someone they found online, often a member of the military but not always. The scammer will lead the victim to believe that they are in some kind of romantic relationship, but the scammer will keep making excuses as to why they can’t meet in public. Usually, the scammer will say they’re either deployed overseas or they’re working out of the country. Before too long, the scammer will start asking the victim for money. In some cases the money will be or gifts, or the scammer will claim they need the money for some kind of emergency. The scammers will keep asking for money until the victim realizes they’re being scammed. The scam has been known to find victims in both men and women.

    In a lot of romance scams, it’s often hard for the victim to believe they’re being scammed. There have been cases where the victim got into legal trouble after stealing money to send to their fictitious romantic partner. As a friend or family member, it may be up to you to do the detective work for them. Do a reverse image search of the photo being used by the scammer. You’ll often find that the picture was stolen from someone with a completely different identity. Also do a search for the job the scammer is claiming to have and include the word ‘scammer’ in the search.

    If you feel like someone you know might be the victim of a romance scam, please let them know before it’s too late.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FTC, , , , U.S. Trading Commission   

    New scam tries to take advantage of scam victims 

    New scam ties to take advantage of scam victims

    The Federal Trade Commission is usually the office of the government that deals with online scammers and returns money to victims. Ironically, the FTC has issued a warning about a website that is impersonating them to scam consumers.

    The scam website claims to be the U.S. Trading Commission. There is no such division of the U.S. Government, but the site fake uses the FTC’s seal and street address. The site claims that it is distributing a ‘personal data protection fund’ to victims of identity theft. It promises that you can receive money instantly on top of it.

    If you click on the link to obtain the money, you’re asked for your banking information, so you can receive the payment. Of course, this is just a ruse to gain access to your bank account, so the scammers can drain it. The FTC also says there’s a potential chance that going to the phony site could download malware to your device. Scammers could not only gain access to your personal information this way, but they could also spread the malware to people in your contacts list.

    Surprisingly, this phony website has claimed victims from all over the world and not just the US.

    If you were a victim of a scam that the FTC reclaimed money from, they would send you a check in the mail. They would not have a link that anybody could click on to try to claim money. The FTC would also not ask for personal identifying information like bank account information, credit card number, or Social Security number before they could deliver their payment.

    If you come across a phony FTC lookalike site, you’re asked to please report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FTC, , ,   

    New email scam tries to get your stimulus money 

    New email scam tries to get your stimulus money

    With the second round of economic impacts in the process of being paid and a third round possibly on the horizon, you might think that taxpayers should now be pretty immune to stimulus scams. However, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to get their hands on yours. It also appears that the scams are becoming even more elaborate to try to steal from you.

    The Federal Trade Commission is warning taxpayers about emails that claim to be from their agency discussing the stimulus payments. The emails even claim to be sent directly from the outgoing chairman of the FTC. According to reports, the email demands that you pay money to receive your stimulus payment. It even includes an official looking ‘certificate of approval’.

    If you make any motions towards actually making a payment to the scammers, you’ll be told that the payment is for a State Department certificate that proves the funds are not related to any terrorist activity. That may sound made up, but the FTC is assuring us it isn’t.

    If you receive one of these emails it is recommended that you just delete it or mark it as spam.

    The indicators that this email is a scam are numerous. The first is that the FTC has nothing to do with economic impact payments. That is all handled by the IRS, and they’re not emailing anyone asking for money either. One of the other indicators is that you don’t have to pay for your stimulus payment. The majority of taxpayers just have to keep an eye on their bank account if they have direct deposit, or their mailbox if they don’t. Even if you’re a non-filer and received the initial stimulus payment, you should receive this one the same way.

    If you have any further questions about how the economic impact payments are being made, we recommend going to the IRS’s Get My Payment website.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FTC, , , terrorism   

    The FTC doesn’t really think you’re a terrorist 

    The FTC doesn't really think you're a terrorist

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is one of the government organizations that try to protect consumers from scams. So, it’s kind of ironic that the scammers are posing as the FTC to commit one of the more disturbing scams to date. It’s a variation of the law enforcement impersonation scam. In that scam, the scammers will call you and claim to be calling from local or federal law enforcement. They’ll then tell you that they’ve found suspicious criminal activity has been connected to your financial accounts but you can pay money to make the charges go away. However, this new scam takes it one step further to scare the victim into paying.

    The FTC is warning the public that some people have received letters on official-looking FTC letterhead. The letters say that your financial account information has been linked to terrorist activity and money laundering. The letter will then be followed up with a phone call with scammers asking for money to resolve the phony issue. While the FTC hasn’t commented on this part of the scam, it’s more than likely that the scammers will then instruct the victims to purchase various gift cards to make the ‘payment’. As we have said in the past, gift cards have become the currency of scammers due to the fact that gift cards are almost always untraceable once the money is spent.

    The FTC says that they will only send out letters if someone writes them first. However, they will never send a threatening letter to the public. The FTC would like to remind the public that no government agency will ever ask for payment by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. Anyone who asks for that form of payment is more than likely a scammer. If you receive one of these letters, you’re asked to contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or their website.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FTC, , , , ,   

    Getting scammed after being scammed 

    Getting scammed after being scammed

    If you’ve ever been scammed you may have reported the scam to your local police, the Better Business Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While you should report scams to the FTC, if you have, you may want to be on the lookout for a scam that comes from reporting the scam. According to reports, people who report scams to the FTC are sometimes targeted by a new set of scammers. These scammers claim to be a company that can help you get your money back from the original scammers. While a service like this sounds great, sadly, it’s just another scam.

    Residents of the Denver area have been reporting they’ve been getting calls from people posing as the Denver Police Department. The scammers will tell their victims that they’ve been the victim of identity theft then ask for their banking information. Once the information was given the scammers would just hang up. If police discover that you’ve been an actual victim of identity theft, they will send an officer to your home rather than call you. And as always, you should never give your financial information over the phone to any stranger, even if they claim to be the police.

    In Greenville, South Carolina, authorities there have warned elderly residents to be aware of various scams that have affected the area. At least two elderly residents were taken for a combined total of $80,000. One of the victims gave control of her computer remotely to a scammer who claimed to be helping process an unexpected refund. This led to the scammer advising the victim to buy a number of gift cards in order to receive the phony refund. Control of your computer should never be given over to strangers even with the promise of money as this could lead to ransomware or malware being placed on your computer or your personal information being stolen. And as always, no legitimate service, business, or agency will request payment by gift cards.

    Please always keep in mind just because these scams aren’t happening in your area doesn’t mean they’re not on their way.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FTC, , Match.com, ,   

    Dating site sued over romance scams 

    Dating site sued over romance scams

    We’ve talked about romance scams a lot lately. We’ve mostly discussed how to recognize a romance scam and how just about anyone can find themselves as a victim in one. We’ve even touched on the legal ramifications romance scams could have for both perpetrators and victims. What we haven’t talked about is what the law is doing to try and prevent these scams outside of arresting a handful of scammers. Now, the Federal Trade Commission seems to be getting serious about them by going after one of the major platforms where romance scammers find their victims.

    Dating sites are one of the biggest online services where romance scammers troll for their victims. One of the biggest dating platforms online is Match.com. The FTC is suing Match over alleged dubious business practices that have allowed romance scams to flourish on Match. The FTC says that Match is aware that close to a quarter of all Match profiles may be fraudulent with many of them allegedly being used to run romance scams. The FTC claims that not only did Match know these profiles were fraudulent but left the profiles on their platform to attract other users to their service. Match is a paid subscription service and you can’t communicate with other members without signing up for a subscription.

    Of course, Match has denied the allegations. They had a chance to settle with the FTC a while ago for $30 million and a chance to clean up their act but Match rejected the offer. The problem with dating sites and apps whether they’re free or paid is that they’re filled with fake profiles. Whether it’s to attract new users or the users are actively trying to catfish the new members, online dating services are rife with con artists and frauds. Loneliness can be a heavy cross to bear and it can impair your judgment when it comes to accepting a new romantic interest into your life. While the heart wants what it wants, you should also listen to your gut. Once again, the FTC has a website about how to recognize a potential romance scam.

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