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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , gift cards, ,   

    Used car scams continue to find victims 

    Used car scams continue to find victims

    Even with many of us traveling less frequently than we used to, there are still those in the market for a vehicle. While many scammers may have rejected used-car scams in favor of scams more favorable to current crises, that doesn’t mean that used car scams aren’t still being pulled. It even seems that used car scams have been on a recent uptick all around the country.

    These scams can even affect seasoned professionals like a used car dealer. One man from Arkansas found some vehicles online that he wanted to have for his lot. The vehicles were for sale in St. Louis. The seller supposedly had the titles and the vehicle history reports showed the vehicles as being legitimate. However, after the car dealer sold those vehicles to other lots, they came back as stolen. It seems that sometimes police reports can take weeks or months to process which will delay such discrepancies from showing up on vehicle histories like CarFax. In a case like this, it’s recommended that you match the seller’s driver’s license information with the name on the title.

    In Texas, a man found a truck for sale on a social media marketplace. The seller of the truck claimed to be from Montana and was not only selling the truck at a bargain price because her husband died but that she was also deploying with the military. The seller then said that the vehicle would be delivered by eBay even though that’s not where the vehicle was being sold. All the buyer would have to do is send the seller eBay gift cards. This particular scam sends up a number of red flags. When a seller claims either a death in the family or military deployment as wanting to get rid of the vehicle there’s a good chance the sale could be a scam. This scammer put both of those stories out. Also, eBay may be a platform to sell vehicles but they do not ship them. Lastly, gift cards should never be used in a purchase like this as they are virtually untraceable once they land in the hands of scammers.

    Lastly in New Mexico, a woman fell for a similar scam. She had also found a car she needed on a social media marketplace. Her seller told her that her son just died and was also being shipped by eBay. Again, eBay gift cards were requested as payment. Once she sent the $1400 in gift cards the seller disappeared.

    You can never be too careful when shopping for a used car. However, if you keep some of these tips in mind they could go a long way in helping you avoid a scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gift cards,   

    A simple solution to gift card scams 

    A simple solution to gift card scams

    As we tend to say, gift cards are the currency of scammers. They are used as payment in just about every phone or online scam. Scammers will often pose as a police department, government agency, or any kind of entity that demands payment.

    The phony payment request is usually accompanied by some kind of threat such as an arrest or termination of vital services. The scammers will say the whole matter can disappear with payment in retail gift cards. They’ll then have the victims go to a local store to by an astronomical amount in gift cards then have the victim read the card numbers back to them. The gift cards are then quickly redeemed of their value and the scammers pocket the money. This is just a prevalent example of a scam involving gift cards as the sheer amount of scams that use them are too numerous to list individually.

    One part of the country seems to have had enough of these scams and has taken an ingenious yet simplistic approach to combat them. A number of communities in Northern Arizona have banded together to ask businesses to display a warning sign by their gift card displays.

    The signs look like a traffic stop sign but list many of the ways gift cards are used in scams. The sign informs customers that if they are buying gift cards for things like fines, taxes, lottery winnings, utility bills, etc. that you’re more than likely being scammed.

    With just about every store offering the ability to purchase popular gift cards, more retailers should be adopting a similar policy to help ward off scammers. While many retailers do train their employees to recognize potential gift card scams, an extra step in the process could be a great way to help put a stop to more gift card scams.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , gift cards, ,   

    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam 

    Scammers are still using COVID in car scam

    Even though some restrictions have been lifted, scammers are still using the current COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. In the case of used car sales, they’re using it as an excuse to either not show the car or to not allow you to take a test drive.

    For example, a mother was recently looking for a car so she could shop for groceries and take her kids to the doctor. She was shopping for cars on craigslist. She says that she found a used 2008 Honda in her price range for $1200. Unbeknown to the mother of two, the red flags started almost immediately.

    First, the seller said that they were looking to sell the car as soon as possible because her son had passed away. The seller then added that they didn’t want to do any in-person transactions because of COVID-19.

    The woman was then instructed to go to a website that purported to be eBay Motors. The website instructed the woman to buy the car’s price in eBay gift cards to purchase the vehicle. The woman bought the $1200 in gift cards and gave the card numbers to the seller.

    As you might have already guessed, the seller made off with the woman’s money and the car never existed and the eBay Motors website was a phony website that was specifically designed for the scam.

    The red flags are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The first red flag was that the car was priced well below market value. This is how scammers lure you in at first. Then the scammer had a sob story as to why they were selling the car so cheaply. This often involves a story about a death, an illness, or someone shipping off to the military but it can take almost any form. This is used to tug on the buyer’s heartstrings to lull them further into a false sense of security.

    The use of COVID-19 in the scam is a believable cover as to why the buyer can’t see the car before purchase.

    Another common red flag was the use of eBay Motors. If you find a car on one platform and the seller directs you to eBay Motors saying that eBay are handling the shipping then it’s more than likely a scam. eBay Motors does not do any shipping of vehicles.

    Lastly, the final red flag was the use of gift cards as payment. Gift cards can be drained of their funds almost immediately with the scammers disappearing with the money.

    Hopefully, now you’re forewarned with knowledge on how to recognize such a scam so you don’t lose your money.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gift cards, ,   

    Apple sued over gift card scam 

    Apple sued over gift card scam

    We’ve always warned our readers to never pay anyone you don’t know personally in gift cards. As we like to say, gift cards are the currency of scammers due to the fact that they’re virtually untraceable. We’ve detailed as many gift card scams as we can but the gist of them is the scammer will likely pose as someone they’re not and try to pressure you into making a payment for some phony fine or fee with gift cards.

    With gift cards from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, scammers will buy high-end items with the gift cards. They’ll then sell the items themselves for cash.

    One of the more popular gift cards scammers like to receive are from Apple. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple claiming that Apple has the capability to stop scammers from claiming the money that’s been taken from their victims. This lawsuit also gives us a better look into why some scammers prefer the Apple gift cards.

    The scammers who ask for Apple gift cards are said to own apps on the Apple App Store. This way the scammers can purchase the app over and over again with 70% of the money stolen going to the scammers. The remaining 30% is the cut Apple gets.

    The lawsuit states that Apple has been telling customers that once they’ve been scammed, there’s nothing Apple can do for them. However, Apple is said to hold on to the money owed to app owners for 4-6 weeks meaning that Apple allegedly has that time to return the money to scam victims.

    So, in theory, Apple should have no excuse for not helping scam victims as far as the lawsuit is concerned. The question then remains, why has Apple supposedly not helped scam victims in the past?

     
    • James E Doty 7:19 am on July 31, 2020 Permalink

      Same reason the big web companies won’t go after scammers & hackers, it will reduce the number of possible customers and that will effect the advertising revenue those companies rely on. Its you & me that lose money due scammers and not the internet provider, so why should they do anything about you & me losing money? It doesn’t effect their bottom line and if we want them to feel the crunch like we do then, the government should impose on these companies a duty to take half of the lose that these scammers get from us. This would place 50% blame for allowing scammers a safe haven to work. As for the companies who sell money based cards used to transfer funds, its simple and easy to fix the problem… remove the one word that protects the scammers & companies who sell those cards “Gift”. This would allow the buyer to take those who don’t keep their promises that were made in getting the person to send those cards. They made promises and didn’t keep those promise and can be taken to Small Claims Court. That one word is a scammers greatest treasure they can do whatever they want with complete immunity.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , gift cards, ,   

    Can you get your money back after a gift card scam? 

    Can you get your money back after a gift card scam?

    If you’re one of our regular readers, there’s a good chance that you’re tired of hearing about gift cards. That’s understandable, we talk about them a lot However, there is a very good reason why we talk about them all the time. If there’s a new scam going around or an old one showing a resurgence, there’s a good chance that gift cards are somehow involved.

    If you’re a new reader, the reason that scammers covet gift cards is that they’re an easy way to get virtually untraceable money from their victims. If someone is trying to pressure you into making any kind of payment through gift cards, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam.

    For example, a couple in Arizona recently paid $13,000 in gift cards to a scammer who claimed to be from Apple and told the couple that their Apple accounts had been compromised. All they needed to do was buy $13,000 in Apple gift cards and give the gift card numbers to the phony Apple representative to get their accounts restored. They were told they would be reimbursed but they never were. The couple called Apple directly who informed them that they had been scammed.

    Unfortunately, it was too late for this couple but there is a way to prevent your money from being taken if you act quick enough. As we noted in a previous post, gift card scammers employ people they call runners. Once the scammers have the gift card numbers the runners go to various outlets to try to get the money off of the gift cards. In theory, there’s a brief window between the time you give the scammers the card numbers and the time the runners cash out the cards.

    If you realize you have just been scammed, you should immediately call the customer service number on the back of the gift cards. Remember, you still have the physical cards and the customer service representative should be able to help freeze those numbers if you get to them in time.

    Just remember that gift cards are the currency of thieves and scammers. No legitimate business or agency will ever ask you to make payment through gift cards.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gift cards, , ,   

    The Social Security scam that threatens arrest 

    The Social Security scam that threatens arrest

    There have been reports of another scam going around that targets senior citizens and something that many seniors rely heavily upon. Scammers are posing as the FBI and threatening seniors with either discontinuation of their Social Security benefits, arrest, or both. This scam is largely done in order to get frightened seniors to pay to make fictitious criminal charges go away.

    Recently, reports have come from multiple states where scammers will call seniors posing as FBI agents. The scammers are able to make their phone number appear as if the call is coming from the local FBI office. The scammers will then tell their victim that their Social Security number has been linked to a crime. One of the more common claims the scammers will use is that someone rented a car in the victim’s name which was connected with a major crime. Often the scammers will say that drugs were found in the car as well.

    The scammers will then use this ruse to tell their victim that their Social Security number has been suspended and that the victim would need to pay to get it reinstated. This is where the scammers will ask for payment in their favorite form of currency, gift cards. They’ll instruct the victim to buy an astronomical amount of gift cards and then give the scammers the numbers from the back of the cards.

    Now, you may say that you could never fall for a scam like that. However, many scammers have such a fine-tuned operation that they make the scenario seem more than believable. In many cases, it’s not just one person calling pretending to be a federal agent. Often they’ll keep transferring the victim from one person to another who are all claiming to be part of the FBI while they use psychological tactics to scare the victim into making the payment. These payments are often tallied in the thousands of dollars.

    However, there is always a way these scammers tip their hands and that’s asking for the money in gift cards. We can’t stress enough how often gift cards are not only involved in this scam but also in most scams that happen today.

    If anyone is claiming to be from the government, a utility company, a hospital, or anyone else trying to collect a payment and they ask for a payment on gift cards, it’s almost a certainty that they’re a scammer.

     
  • Geebo 8:04 am on July 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, ,   

    How the gift card scam actually works 

    How the gift card scam actually works

    We often discuss how so many scams often involve gift cards. They’ve become so synonymous with scams that we’ve started referring to gift cards as the currency of scammers. Basically, when someone online or over the phone asks you to make payment in gift cards, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re talking to a scammer. The reason scammers try to get payment in gift cards is that the cards can be almost immediately drained of their value while being virtually untraceable.

    Scammers don’t even need the physical card itself. Instead, scammers will get their victims to provide the code number off of the back of the card. What happens from there to get the value off of the card works almost like a heist movie.

    Recently, a woman was arrested in Central California for allegedly being part of a scam ring that dealt with gift cards. She was referred to as a runner, meaning while she didn’t run the scam but she was a part of it.

    According to reports, she would receive the card numbers from Walmart gift cards. Using the card numbers she would use her phone to create a UPC code. She would then use the UPC code at Walmart to buy gift cards from online retailers like the Apple Store, Google Play, and Steam. She would then take pictures of the numbers of the newly purchased gift cards and send them to other people involved in the scam who then cash in those cards. In this instance alone, the woman was said to be in possession of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulently obtained gift cards.

    While we may refer to it as the gift card scam for the sake of consumers, it has a more serious name when it comes to the law, money laundering. Scamming operations like this can rake in millions of dollars in a short time frame before disappearing into thin air.

    Again, if you receive a call, text message, or email and someone is pressuring you into making some kind of payment with gift cards, they’re more than likely trying to scam you.

     
  • Geebo 8:09 am on June 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, , ,   

    The real-world effects of the tech support scam 

    The real-world effects of the tech support scam

    The tech support scam can take many forms. One of the more common versions of the scam is when your device will show a warning similar to the one above. It will say that your device has been infected by a virus and you’ll be directed to a phone number to call to have the virus removed. Another common version of the scam is when the scammers call random people up posing as a big tech company like Microsoft, Google, or Facebook and will tell the person they call that their computer has been infected with a virus.

    Both scams will have you grant remote access to your computer or device to remove the virus. In reality, your device does not have a virus and the scammers will not only charge you for a phony virus solution but they could also plant any type of malware on your device.

    This unfortunately happened recently to a man in Wisconsin. The scammers posed as a well-known virus protection company, called told the man he had a virus on his computer. The scammers requested remote access to his computer and $900 in gift cards to ‘fix’ the problem.

    The man made the payment but after doing so he noticed that his bank account had an additional $300 taken out of it. This was done through malware that the scammers had left on his computer while they had remote access.

    If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ll know that anyone asking for payment in gift cards is a giant red flag indicating a scam. No legitimate company or agency will ask for remote payments through gift cards. Due to the fact the cards are virtually untraceable once their serial numbers are given out, they’ve become the de facto currency for scammers. Secondly, no company will ever call or contact you to tell you that you have a virus on your device or computer.

    If you receive one of these calls, you should hang up immediately. If you see a pop up like the one pictured above, close the window and run a malware scan on your device. For Windows PCs and laptops we recommend either using the Windows Security Scan built into Windows 10 or using a commercial malware detection tool like Malwarebytes. There is a free version of Malwarebytes that is available for download.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    A new series of scams to look out for 

    A new series of scams to look out for

    Here are some new scams that we’ve found out about that are going on around the country. Please keep in mind that just because they are not currently happening in your area doesn’t mean that they can’t.

    Another victim has been scammed through the freelancer platform Upwork. In Pennsylvania, a woman had accepted an editing position that she had found on Upwork. She was sent a check for $2000 by her ’employer’ in order to buy equipment for her position. She was then instructed to send what wasn’t spent back to her employer through Venmo and gift cards. The $2000 check later turned out to be fraudulent. Upwork has said that you should not communicate with a client outside of the Upwork platform. If you receive a check in the mail and are asked to send a balance back through untraceable means like Venmo or gift cards, it’s almost a guarantee that the job is a scam.

    In Northern California, at least one resident has reported a new scam that had happened to them. They say they received a text message where a cybercriminal claimed that they had total control of the victim’s cell phone including the microphone and camera. The scammer then tried to extort $1500 in cryptocurrency out of the person they texted. The odds are very slim that your phone will be hijacked in this way. That’s also not taking into account that when you pay a purported blackmailer like this, they will continue to try and squeeze as much money out of you as possible. If you receive a text like this you are asked to report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

    Lastly, in Tulsa, Oklahoma man fell for a customer service scam that left him out of $1500. The man was having issues with his Cash App account. He called what he thought was Cash App’s customer service department but was actually a scammer. Before it was all over, the man’s Cash App account had been drained by the scammers. In this day and age of everything being online, not every company has a customer service number you can call. Often scammers take advantage of this by advertising phony customer service numbers. If you need to contact a company for customer service, go directly to that company’s website and look for a link that either says ‘contact us’ or ‘support’. Don’t just do a web search for ‘company x’s customer service number’ as there’s a good chance that number could be fake.

     
  • Geebo 8:06 am on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , gift cards, , , ,   

    There is no 2nd stimulus payment 

    There is no 2nd stimulus payment

    With life in the United States currently adapting to the everyday changes brought on by the global pandemic, scammers and con artists have been adapting as well. With every change, they continue to tweak and transform their scams into whatever can best serve them now while disregarding the untold victims they leave in their wake.

    By most reports, the majority of those who were eligible to receive the economic impact payments have received them. That doesn’t mean that there still aren’t those who could use additional stimulus benefits. There has been talk among lawmakers to issue additional payments, but as of the time of this posting (5/26/2020) no additional stimulus payments have been approved by the government.

    That hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to fool their victims into believing that a second stimulus payment is on its way. The reason the scammers are doing this is so they can pull the same scams they tried when the initial stimulus payment was being issued.

    A report from the Georgia Attorney General’s Office is warning residents about one such scam where the scammers are posing as IRS employees. They’re saying they can provide additional funds as long as the consumer installs a certain software on their device. The victims are then asked for a $1,000 gift card to pay for the software.

    So in this particular scam, the scammers are double-dipping their victims. Not only are the scammers trying to steal consumers’ money by asking for payment by gift card but they’re also installing software on consumers’ devices. This software can be anything from malware designed to steal your security credentials or ransomware that can lock you out of your device.

    If the IRS needed to contact you for any reason, they will contact you by postal mail. They will not contact you unwarranted by phone, text, or email.

     
    • Robert Jamison 2:31 pm on May 27, 2020 Permalink

      I’m on SSI and I haven’t received my stimulus check or has been direct deposited into my account and the IRS has all my info on my direct deposit but I got the nice letter from the POS Trump be nice to get the stimulus first before you get the letter

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