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  • Geebo 9:03 am on January 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, , , ,   

    Man loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents 

    Man almost loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents

    A man in Michigan almost lost $50,000 after falling prey to a very threatening scam. Unfortunately, the man did lose $30,000 to the scammers before the scam was noticed. For many, especially the elderly, that is not an insignificant amount of money to lose. The scam that was used against him was a combination of scams that we’ve discussed previously. At first, it involved a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. They told the man that a car had been leased in his name using his name and Social Security number. From here it became more frightening for the man.

    He was then transferred to someone claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Agency and that if he didn’t pay them money he would go to jail. The man didn’t believe them and he hung up. He then received a call from someone claiming to be from the local barracks of the Michigan State Police telling him he would be arrested if he didn’t cooperate with the supposed DEA agent. The scammers then instructed the man to purchase $10,000 in gift cards and provide them with the numbers. The next day the scammers called back and instructed him to overnight $20,000 in cash to a location in Texas. The scammers tried to get another $20,000 out of the man but his bank informed him that he was likely the victim of the scam.

    There are a lot of red flags in this story. The first is that Social Security rarely calls recipients and that’s usually only when there’s an ongoing issue that the recipient initiated. Secondly, law enforcement will never call someone asking for money. Lastly, no government agency accepts or requires money through gift cards. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up and call your local police. If you believe there may be some kind of issue that needs your attention through Social Security or law enforcement, call them back at their official numbers.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gift cards,   

    The email scam that will scare your friends! 

    The email scam that will scare your friends!

    Recently, a man from Amarillo, Texas started getting messages and texts from friends and colleagues asking him if he was ok. They were concerned for his well-being after they received an email that said the man was in a serious car accident that left him with spinal injuries. Thankfully, the man was fine but understandably confused why he was receiving so many messages about his health status. It turns out that his email account had been hacked and emails had been sent to everyone in his contact list. So why would a scammer send an email like this to everyone the victim knows?

    Well, it’s the second part of the email that gives away the scam. After telling people that the victim had been in a serious wreck the email goes on to ask for money. Not just money but gift cards. The victim’s friends first received an email that said: “Hi, I need to ask a favor, can you write me back.” If someone responded to the first email they would get the second email that told them about the fake accident. In that same email, they were asked to buy an Amazon gift card that’s intended for the victim’s niece’s birthday. Here is the email’s contents in full…

    I need to get an Amazon gift card for my niece, it’s her birthday, but I can’t do this now because I was involved in a car crash a few days ago, I have fractured my lumbar L1 and fractured my wrist. I’ll pay you back as soon as I’m back. Kindly let me know if you can handle this.

    It’s unknown if any of his contacts fell for the scam but they did the right thing when they received it. They contacted the man to see if the email was legitimate. That is exactly what you should do if you receive an email like this, preferably through another means of communication like text messaging. If you reply to the email, the victim might not receive it if their account has been hijacked. To better protect yourself from having your email account hijacked we recommend enabling two-factor authentication on all of your email accounts. Not only that, but your accounts should be protected with their own individual passwords that aren’t used on other accounts.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, , mothers lounge,   

    Alleged gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again 

    Gift card scam targeting expectant mothers again

    We originally bought this story to your attention back in November (3rd paragraph). Back then, a number of expectant mothers received a number of gift cards in the mail that included what looked like a handwritten note congratulating them. Some women who weren’t expecting had also received these gift card packages. The notes were all signed by a ‘Jenny B.’ All the gift cards were actually coupons for the same online retailer. It was alleged back in November that the retailer was using shady business practices such as intentionally changing prices depending on what coupon was being used or charging exorbitant shipping fees.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, these faux handwritten gift card bundles have returned and are once again being sent to women whether they are pregnant or not. From all reports, it seems the method has not changed at all as the cards are signed by Jenny B. and all appear to be handwritten even though they are said to be actually computer-generated. They even have ink smudges printed on the card intentionally to make it appear more like a handwritten note. And once again, if the gift cards/coupons are used, the shipping cost is said to wipe out any potential savings.

    The company that’s running this campaign is called Mothers Lounge and sometimes goes by the name ThoughtfulGiftCards.com. The BBB has given Mothers Loung an F rating not only for the gift card campaign but the BBB has also received reports of the goods being sold being allegedly substandard or counterfeit. Mothers Lounge has said that they only send out these packets to people who have signed up for maternity deals and coupons through a third-party marketing company. So be careful who you give your information to as one vendor could potentially send it to hundreds of others.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: check paper, , gift cards, ,   

    New scam makes victims print their own fake checks 

    New scam makes victims print their own fake checks

    Police in Iowa are reporting about a scam that combines a number of scams into one. If reports are to be believed, this scam combines the phony job scam with the phony check scam and the ubiquitous gift card scam. To make matters even worse, the scam even makes the victim of the scam print out their own phony check. If you’ll recall, if someone deposits a phony check into their bank account, they’ll be able to access the money before the bank finds out it’s fake. Once the bank finds out the check isn’t genuine, the person who deposited it into their bank account will be responsible for the money spent.

    The new scam works by scammers placing job ads for a personal assistant. Usually, these ads are aimed at college students who may not be wary of such scams. Once the victim has gotten the fake job, they’re paid with an online check. The victim is then instructed to buy check paper so they can print out the check they were just sent. They’re then instructed to deposit the phony check and then buy gift cards from various retail outlets including Amazon, WalMart, and Apple. The phony employer will tell the victim that they’re out of the country or give some other excuse as to why they can’t meet face to face.

    In any online transaction, whether it’s for a job or something else if you’re asked to deposit a check or purchase gift cards the odds are pretty great that you’re dealing with some form of con artist. It’s also recommended to be suspicious if someone instructs you to buy check paper. If something ever feels off about any kind of online transaction your instincts are probably right and you should walk away. If you ever receive an email like this you should contact your local police.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: barcode, , gift cards, ,   

    Why are scammers putting barcode stickers on gift cards? 

    Why are scammers putting barcode stickers on gift cards?

    With Christmas almost upon us this week, many people are most assuredly picking up gift cards as last-minute gifts. However, if shoppers aren’t careful, they could end up with more trouble than they bargained for. In the past, we’ve discussed the myriad of ways that scammers can alter gift cards so you end up paying the scammers rather than giving a gift to a loved one. Now, we can add one more scam to that list that could possibly fool any eagle-eyed shopper looking for a quick Christmas present.

    Police in Florida are reporting that shoppers in their area have purchased gift cards that have barcode stickers placed over the actual barcode on the back of the card. Scammers will do this to fool the shopper and the store to add the value of the purchase to the scammer’s card and not the shopper’s card. This means the scammer can collect the card’s value without being anywhere near the store. All the scammer needs to do is put the phony barcode sticker on a series of cards hanging on a store’s rack and they could rake in the cash virtually undetected. Meanwhile, the recipient of the card may not even notice until they try to use the card.

    Whenever you purchase a gift card from a store you should always examine it for any kind of tampering as this is just one way in which scammers try to steal from gift cards. Also, when possible, take a gift card from the middle or back of the pack as scammers tend to target the ones in the front so they can get their money as soon as possible. And while cash may seem a bit impersonal as a gift, you can always dress it up to seem more personal. Plus, a person can’t be scammed out of cash as easily as a gift card.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gift cards, , ,   

    When family comes calling for gift cards 

    When family comes calling for gift cards

    In the past, we’ve talked about family impersonation scams such as the grandparent scam. We’ve also talked about the numerous scams that involve retail gift cards. Now, we have reports of the two scams coming together like an evil chimera of scams. Once again, the scammers are upping their game during the holiday season and are looking to prey on your bonds with your family in order to try to get you to part with your hard-earned money under false pretenses. In short, they’re looking to take advantage of the charity you have for your family for their own gain,

    A report out of Northern California has revealed a new type of scam where scammers are posing as your relatives through email. The scammer will ask you to buy a gift card for their niece or nephew while the scammer claims that they’re traveling and can’t buy it themselves. They’ll either have you send the gift card to an address or have you email them the gift card serial number off of the back of the card. Either way, the phony relative disappears with your money from the gift card.

    If you receive one of these emails, check the email address to make sure if it’s the one that belongs to your relative. Even if it matches you should still call that relative to make sure they didn’t send that email. The request for the gift card itself should send up a red flag. Gift cards can be bought at almost any store from dollar stores to the bog box markets. Even gas station mini-marts sell various gift cards. If your relative claims to be traveling then they really should have no problem buying a gift card on their own. If they say otherwise, it’s more than likely a scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gift cards, ,   

    You can’t win a sweepstakes you never entered 

    You can't win a sweepstakes you never entered

    It’s time again for more scams that are happening around the country.

    In Iowa, authorities are warning residents who receive a letter from the “North America Consumer Promotion Draw.” The letter states that you’ve won some kind of sweepstakes prize and that you should call one of their agents so you can claim your prize. Of course, in order to claim your winnings, you have to pay a $1,000 processing and insurance fee. Instead of claiming any prizes, you’ll just be out of a grand. By and large, random people don’t get entered into giveaways that they haven’t entered themselves, and legitimate sweepstakes won’t ask you to pay a fee to claim your prize.

    In Wisconsin, a man fell victim to the bank texting scam. The man received a text from a scammer posing as his bank stating that there was fraudulent activity on his account. When the man texted back that those transactions weren’t him he received an automated phone call asking for his account’s PIN. Once he provided his PIN an actual fraudulent charge was made to his debit card for $500. If you receive any kind of notification stating that there’s a problem with your bank account, contact your bank directly. Don’t use the number that the text number may have provided and never give your PIN unless you’re absolutely sure you’re talking to your bank.

    Lastly, a Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky is warning local businesses about a gift card scam targeting their employees. A number of people have received emails posing as their bosses asking the employees to go out and buy gift cards. Once the gift cards were purchased the employees were instructed to send pictures of the gift card PINs through text message. If you receive an email like this, always verify with the person who is supposedly sending the email. If in doubt, call the person who sent the request to make sure you’re not falling victim to a scam.

    Please keep in mind that any number of these scams could be coming to your area at any time.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , gift cards,   

    Gift card scams in time for the holidays 

    Gift card scams in time for the holidays

    We’ve talked about gift cards a lot. Mostly how you should never pay anyone with gift cards who claim to be in some position of authority. That’s one of the biggest red flags that you’re being scammed. Gift cards have become the literal currency of con artists. However, that’s not the only type of scam that can be committed with gift cards. Since the shopping season for the holidays has already begun gift cards are being purchased more and more but that could lead to even more consumers being scammed.

    If you’re buying gift cards for your family this holiday season, there are some warning signs to look out for that require you to physically inspect the cards themselves. If you get a card with the PIN already being exposed it’s likely that card has been purchased already with the scammer putting the card back on the shelf hoping that someone will add additional funds to the card that the scammer could then use without your knowledge. Another variation of this scam is when a scammer will scratch the protective coating off of the card’s PIN then replace it with a sticker after writing down the number.

    Another prevalent gift card scam is the trading of gift cards. Scammers will post online that they have a certain brand of gift card that they supposedly have no use for. They’ll say they want to exchange it for a gift card they could use. Once the gift cards are exchanged, the victim finds out that they traded their actual gift card for one with little to no funds on it. While gift cards are incredibly convenient for gift giving and receiving, there are many pitfalls you need to look out for so you don’t have a complicated Christmas.

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

    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 9:00 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , gift cards, , , ,   

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account? 

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account?

    Today, we’re bringing you scams that are happening locally in communities around the country. As we always say, if it’s happening there it could also be happening in your community.

    First up is a report out of Westchester County, New York where police there are warning residents about calls claiming to be from Amazon. Residents have complained about receiving calls from someone claiming that their Amazon Prime accounts have been compromised and need to be renewed. Victims of the scam are then asked for their financial information to resolve the non-existent issue. In one case, a victim was asked to remotely give control of their computer to the scammers so they could ‘improve the security settings.’ So this scam appears to be a hybrid of phishing and the tech support scam.

    A student at Texas A&M recently found herself scammed out of $10,000 in a Social Security scam. She received a phone call with the caller claiming that her Social Security information was misused with some drug issues in El Paso. They threatened her with arrest or she could pay them $10,000. The student was then instructed to transfer money to the scammers by way of BitCoin and gift cards. No government agency will call you on the phone like this and they especially wouldn’t ask for payment in BitCoin and gift cards. If you suspect there may actually be an issue with your Social Security, call the Social Security Administration yourself at their official customer service number of 1 (800) 772-1213.

    Lastly, if you get an unsolicited phone call from someone promising you a great cable deal, it’s more than likely a scam. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of these fraudulent phone calls. The caller will promise you a discounted deal on your cable bill if you pay a certain number of months upfront. As with many scams, they ask you to make the payment by using pre-paid debit cards. Like gift cards, one the scammers are able to get the money off of the pre-paid debit card there’s no way of getting it back.

     
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