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  • 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.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , award scam, business owner, gift cards, maternity, ,   

    That business award may just be a fake (and other scams) 

    That business award may just be a fake (and other scams)

    Today, we end the week the same way we began it, with a roundup of scams that have turned up across the country. As always, just because the scam isn’t currently happening in your town doesn’t mean it won’t.

    The first scam is kind of an unusual one. A woman in Highlands Ranch, Colorado owns a dog training business. She received an email from someone claiming to be from the Highlands Ranch Award Program and that she had won an award for being the best dog trainer in the area. To claim a specially engraved plaque all she would need to do is send them $169. When the woman received the plaque it was of dubious quality and the Highlands Ranch Award Program was actually based in New Jersey. As it turns out, shady companies will scan news articles for ‘best of’ lists for business owners they can prey on.

    A number of women in Arkansas have received what look like handwritten greeting cards in the mail congratulating them on their pregnancies. The problem is that a great many of them aren’t pregnant. It turns out that these cards were sent from an online retailer of baby items and the card was actually a coupon. However, some of the women allege that when you enter the coupon code at the retailer’s website the price of shipping became so outrageous that it would wipe out any potential savings. The Better Business Bureau is investigating.

    And lastly, we have a scam that has a neighborhood in San Diego quite concerned. This neighborhood has been having a problem with porch pirates stealing packages from their doorsteps. Now, someone has been going around allegedly posing as an Amazon salesman trying to get residents to install the Amazon Key service in their homes. The real Amazon key allows delivery people to place packages inside the home if instructed. However, Amazon does not sell door to door. Amazon has also confirmed that the man was not an employee of theirs.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, ,   

    Scam targets distraught pet owners 

    Scam targets distraught pet owners

    Losing a beloved family pet is one of the most heartbreaking experiences that anyone can endure. In some ways losing a pet is worse than having a pet pass away as when a pet gets loose and runs off you may never know what has happened to them. It doesn’t help when there are those out there who are looking to take advantage of your loss. That’s right, there are scammers and con artists out there who are going to try to make money off of you while you’re trying to find your lost pet.

    In a recent report out of the Orlando, Florida area, a local animal shelter there has reported that scammers have tried to prey on at least one family who recently lost their dog. The scammer will get the victim’s contact information off of a flyer or social media post. They’ll then tell the victim that they have their pet but will demand a gift card as a type of reward before giving the pet back. In reality, the scammer does not have the pet and just wants the gift card so they can drain the gift card of its value and disappear.

    If you have lost a pet and receive notification of someone claiming to have your pet, ask them for a current picture of your pet. If they can’t produce one or send one that is obviously not the pet then they’re trying to scam you. You can also better protect yourself by omitting some of the identifying marks on your pet from their description on any missing pet posts. This will better allow you to tell if someone really does have your missing pet. If someone does provide proof they have your pet, have them meet you at a local police station to minimize any potential threat. And as always, never make payments over the phone to strangers with gift cards.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , fund raising, gift cards, , , ,   

    Scammers took advantage of late teen’s fundraiser 

    Scammers took advantage of late teen's fundraiser

    Here are some more scams happening to various communities from around the country. Always keep in mind that if they’re happening in one place, they could be happening somewhere near you.

    In Arkansas, a 15-year-old boy passed away after a freak accident that happened at his home. His grandparents took to social media in order to raise funds for the boy’s funeral expenses. While the family was able to raise the money needed, scammers set up fake social media accounts also posing as the boy’s family. The scam targeted people who already donated asking for phony donations in Amazon gift cards. Thankfully, many of the victims were able to get their money back. However, it shows what depths scammers will stoop to just to make a few hundred bucks.

    In Central Texas, a local police department is warning residents about a phone scam that has been worrying local residents. In it, the scammers pose as agents from the Social Security Administration claiming that there have been bank accounts opened using your Social Security number and that they’re tied to criminal activity. They threaten to freeze all of your bank accounts unless a payment is made over the phone. These calls are reportedly coming from overseas while appearing to be from local phone numbers.

    The last scam may seem like it’s an urban legend passed around on Facebook but according to police in Indiana, it has happened to a number of victims. Police there say a man has been going to WalMart and using the self-checkout to scam victims. The scammer has been allegedly using the self-checkout to scan gift cards but not paying for them. Then, the next person who uses the self-checkout inadvertently ends up paying for the gift card that the scammer scanned. While this sounds like a simple scam to foil, anyone could fall for this if they’re not paying attention. Always make sure that there are no already scanned items on the self-checkout screen. If there are, go to another scanner or contact a store employee.

     
    • Nk 9:36 pm on November 5, 2019 Permalink

      I spoke yesterday to a young man who was in India who originally claimed to be from social security. I admonished him for lying and stealing from people. He was very serious and proud of himself and his team because they don’t wipe out anyone’s money. They only take half. He said that if they have $1000 in their account, they only take $500. He said that’s because they show compassion.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, ,   

    91-year-old man taken in grandparent scam 

    91-year-old man taken in grandparent scam

    If you haven’t heard of the grandparent scam it can be a particularly heartbreaking story. The scam targets the elderly and how it works is that the scammer will call their target pretending to be one of their grandchildren. They will ask the grandparent for money claiming they’re in some kind of jam such as being in jail or an emergency room. They’ll also ask the grandparent not to say anything to the parents because they’re too embarrassed when in reality it’s just to keep the target’s adult children from finding out about the scam. Scammers count on their victims being more trusting, more willing to answer a call from an unfamiliar number, and not being as tech-savvy as younger segments of the population.

    Unfortunately, a 91-year-old man from Indiana was scammed out of almost $3,000 in one of these scams. He received a call from someone claiming to be his grandson who claimed to be in jail and needed bail money. The phone was then handed over to someone pretending to be the arresting officer who instructed the man that bail could be paid with eBay gift cards. The man ended up buying $2,600 worth of gift cards in two separate trips to his local supermarket. The man then gave the gift card serial numbers to the scammers. Even after thew scammers got the money from their victim, they kept calling him asking for more money. His daughter finally intervened and had his calls forwarded to her line where she confronted the scammers. Sadly, the money the man spent will more than likely not be recovered.

    We know we say this a lot but that’s only because it’s such a common trait in most scams; don’t ever pay for anything over the phone with gift cards. If you or a family member receive a call like this and they ask for payment in gift cards or prepaid debit cards it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam. You should also handle these phone calls calmly if you receive one and don’t give in to the pressure the caller will try to apply. If they claim to be a family member, ask them something that only that family member would know. You should also call another relative who is more familiar with that person’s current location to make sure they’re not in any kind of trouble. And if you have elderly friends or relatives, especially if they live alone, please share this information with them so they can better handle any scam calls they might receive.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , gift cards,   

    Don’t ignore the red flags of an online scam 

    Don't ignore the red flags of an online scam

    A story recently came out from the Allentown, Pennsylvania area about a man who was scammed out of $2,500. The man was looking to buy a camper and found one on an online listing. The number of red flags that we noticed while reading this story could have been its own semaphore corps. While you may be aware of the signs to look out for when purchasing something online, unfortunately, not everybody is. So every once in a while we like to go over some of the more common scams in order to educate those who may not be aware of them.

    As we’ve said, this scam is an example of a typical scam that you’ll find online. When the man responded to the local ad for the camper he was told by the person who placed the ad that he would have to deal with the ad placer’s mother since it was her camper. The ‘mother’ said that she was stationed with the Air Force and was getting rid of the camper because she was retiring. However, the camper was currently located in Minot, North Dakota. That’s roughly 1,700 mikes from the Allentown area. The man was then told that the transaction would be handled through eBay and all he would need to do to have the camper shipped to him was send the asking price in eBay gift cards. After the man paid the initial $2,000 the woman said she needed $1,000 more for shipping and insurance. The man was able to talk her down to $500 but still paid in eBay gift cards.

    By now you’ve probably guessed there was no camper and sadly, the victim was out $2,500. For many of us that can be a life saving’s worth of money. The first red flag that should have been noticed is that the ad placer handed off the transaction to someone else. The second red flag was the seller claiming to be in the military. That’s often used as a reason as to why the item is either miles away or why the item can’t be inspected. Many scammers will try to pressure the victim into buying the item sight unseen because the scammer claims they’re shipping out immediately. The next red flag was the transaction supposedly being shifted from the classifieds ad to eBay. While eBay does sell vehicles, they only do so through listings on their site and not as a third-party between people who list their vehicles on other marketplaces. The gift cards should have been the biggest red flag as once the serial numbers are given to the phony seller they can make off with your money largely untraced. Lastly, scammers will always try to get even more money from a victim if they were able to before.

    The more people who are forewarned of such a scam will be better able to spot a scam like this in the future. So please, if you know someone who may be vulnerable to this type of scam please share this story and our blog with then for more consumer protection advice.

     
  • Geebo 8:10 am on August 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, , realtors,   

    Gift card scam targets new victims 

    Gift card scam targets new victims

    Gift card scams are nothing new. They’ve almost become as prevalent as the fake check scams. With the gift card scam, scammers will normally pose as various authorities with threatening situations in order to get their victims to pay them with gift cards. For example, in one scam the scammers will pose as local police and tell their victims that they have a warrant out for their arrest but they can avoid the arrest if they pay a fine with any number of gift cards. The point of this scam is for the scammers to get the serial numbers of the gift cards which are virtually untraceable once the numbers are given to the scammers. Now, scammers are targeting a new demographic with this scam.

    According to a report out of Idaho, scammers are targeting real estate agents with the hopes of getting the gift card numbers. The scammers have been texting or emailing agents posing as the agents’ bosses asking the agents to pick up gift cards that are supposedly meant for clients. The messages come in on email addresses and phone numbers that are close to the head realtor’s but are obvious fakes. One realtor has stated that he thinks that they’re being targeted since due to their profession they’re very visible on social media.

    Once again, if someone contacts you trying to get you to pay some kind of fee or fine with gift cards it’s more than likely a scam. The only places that tend to accept gift cards as payments are the services they were intended for. No legitimate government agency or bill collector will ask for gift cards as payment. If you receive one of these threatening calls or emails first contact the service the scammers are posing as directly to make sure it is a scam, then contact your local police. While the scammers may not be caught, at least the public could be warned about the scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on July 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gift cards, influencers, , ,   

    This Snapchat scam can cost you thousands! 

    This social media scam targets the young!

    When you hear the term ‘influencer’ thrown around today you’re almost certain to roll your eyes. While the term may make the person claiming to be an influencer sound vapid, it can be pretty lucrative if you’re successful at it. Depending on how many followers you have on your social media platform of choice, you could have advertisers lining up at your virtual doorstep hoping that you’ll promote their product or service. Many of these influencers have been able to turn their social media presence into a successful full-time job. However, for those just starting out, there are those who will look to take advantage of you.

    Once again, the Better Business Bureau is reporting a scam targeting young would-be influencers. The scam is said to be specifically targeting users of the photo-sharing app Snapchat. The scammer will offer a Snapchat user an advertising opportunity but will ask the user to pay for this opportunity by sending the scammers gift cards. If that wasn’t a big enough scam the scammers will then ask for the user’s login information before changing the login information essentially locking the user out of their own account. Then posing as the user, they’ll invite the user’s friends and followers to the same phony advertising offer perpetuating the cycle.

    As you’ve probably figured out by now, any time someone asks you to pay for something in gift cards, it is most definitely a scam. However, the younger social media users among us may not yet be aware of the gift card scam. If you buy any type of gift card and give the card’s ID number to a third-party, they can quickly empty that card and disappear without a trace. If you see one of your friend’s or followers on social media offering one of these bogus opportunities, their account may have already been taken over by con artists.

     
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