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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Text scam says you have covid-19 

    Text scam says you have covid-19

    So far, we’ve seen some insidious scams that have preyed on the fear of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but this one may just take the proverbial cake. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is warning residents about a new coronavirus scam that is targeting its victims through text messages. The text messages say something to the effect of “Someone who came in contact with you tested positive or has shown symptoms for COVID-19 & recommends you self-isolate/get tested.” The text also contains a link that is supposed to contain more information. In all likelihood, the link goes to a website that either tries to steal your personal information or injects malware on to your device. We recommend that you shouldn’t click any links provided by anyone you don’t know personally whether they’re sent through text, email, or social media.

    The State of New Jersey has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic due to its proximity to New York. The New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has been warning the Garden State about several scams taking advantage of the current crisis. Most of these scams we have gone over previously. However, one particular scam that Mr. Grewal is warning about caught our attention. That would be the impersonation scam or grandparent scam. Normally, this scam is when a scammer calls an elderly victim and poses as a grandchild and that they’re in some kind of trouble. They’ll then ask for money for things like bail or emergency medical expenses that have to be paid right now. Now, scammers are using the cover of covid-19 to perpetrate these scams. The scammers will say they’re infected with covid-19 and need money. As with most scams, they’ll ask for the money through gift cards or wire transfer. Instead of immediately reacting, call the person the scammers are claiming to be directly to verify that they’re actually ok.

    Previously, we’ve detailed scams where the scammers are disguising themselves as workers for the CDC, the Red Cross, and local hospitals selling various coronavirus tests or cures for a fee door to door. Of course, neither the tests or cures they sell are legitimate and they are just looking to make a few hundred dollars a pop. If that wasn’t low enough reports in Las Vegas have surfaced stating that some of these scammers have taken to posing as employees from Veterans Affairs Hospitals. For many of our veterans, the VA is the only place where they can receive medical treatment so some older veterans may be trusting of anyone who claims to be from the VA. In response to this, the VA has stated that they won’t come to your home without scheduling an appointment first.

    If you know someone who could be susceptible to these scams, please check in on them even if it’s just a phone call. They’ll probably appreciate that you’re looking out for them.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , grandparent scam, , , ,   

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams 

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams

    As with any time of crisis, there is no shortage of scammers during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not just talking about people buying insane amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and trying to sell them with enormous markups. A number of scams that are preying upon covid-19 fears are just age-old scams dressed up in a coronavirus suit. Here are some more coronavirus scams to look out for.

    Johns Hopkins University has a very useful real-time map showing the spread of the coronavirus. The map from Johns Hopkins is safe as can be. However, there are malicious sites out there that have similar looking maps but are injecting malware into the user’s device that is designed to steal passwords. This malware can then spread to other devices and continue the process. If you think your device may be infected, run an antimalware application like Malwarebytes to remove the malware.

    Scammers are continuing to call people promising at home coronavirus tests. In at least one case, scammers are promising Medicare recipients a coronavirus testing kit. This is similar to many scams that prey upon Medicare patients by offering them a free medical item such as a back brace. As in other cases, the scammers are trying to get the victim’s personal information such as their Social Security number and other identifying information for potential identity theft. Please keep in mind that at the time of this posting there is no home test kit for covid-19. Testing can only be done at approved medical facilities and clinics. If you think you may have covid-19 symptoms, please call your doctor and they’ll advise you on how to get tested.

    The impersonation scam, or grandparent scam, is also having a coronavirus layer attached to it. Usually, in this scam, someone will call an elderly person and tell them that one of their grandchildren are in some kind of trouble and need money to rectify the situation. In this new version of the scam, people are being told that a loved one is in the hospital with coronavirus and can’t be treated until a deposit is paid. As much as the US healthcare system revolves around money, no hospital is going to turn away a covid-19 patient for any reason.

    Fear is to scammers like blood in the water is to a shark. These times are stressful enough without having to worry about being scammed. Don’t allow fear to override your sensibilities and you’ll be able to get through this.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grandparent scam,   

    Terrifying twist on scam that targets the elderly 

    Terrifying twist on scam that targets the elderly

    We’ve talked about the grandparent scam before. In it, scammers target the elderly and pose as grandchildren or some other younger relative that claims to be in trouble. Usually, the scammer will try to coerce the elderly victim into making a payment by gift cards or money transfer that is supposed to be for bail, a medical expense, or some other emergency situation. Previously, if someone was taken in one of these scams the only thing they’d have to worry about is losing money. Now, one report is stating that a new frightening wrinkle has been added to the scam.

    A consumer reporter for the New York Post is stating that he has received reports of the scammers coming to people’s doors to collect cash instead of gift cards or wire transfers. The scammers are posing as some kind of collection agents for the scams. In some cases, the people who are instructed to pick up the money don’t even know e=why they’re picking up money from the victims. It’s not just New York City where this is happening either. The scam has reached across the country to the Los Angeles area.

    If the scam is happening on both coasts then it can happen anywhere in between. If you receive one of these phone calls, don’t make any kind of payment or arrangement until you speak with a relative who can verify the location of the person in question. You could also ask the caller a question that only that person would know. You should also contact your local police as well so they can try to prevent other people from falling victim to the scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam,   

    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 September 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grandparent scam, , ,   

    Alarming new twist on grandparent scam emerges 

    Alarming new twist on grandparent scam emerges

    We’ve discussed the grandparent scam before. It’s when a scammer will call an elderly person claiming to be one of their grandchildren who has been arrested and needs bail money. The victim then will wire the money before realizing that their grandchild is safe and had not been arrested. Scammers often target the elderly in this scam because they 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. Now, there’s been a new twist on the grandparent scam that makes the phony calls seem even more legitimate than before.

    People across the state of Missouri have been reporting that they’ve been receiving calls that appear like they’re coming from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The calls appear on the victim’s phone as either ‘US Government’ or ‘US District Court’. The caller then poses as a grandchild asking for money to help get them out of jail. Phone numbers purporting to be from agencies like this can be easily spoofed, however, these spoofed numbers add a degree of pressure and urgency in order to try to get the victim to send money as quickly as possible.

    Advocacy groups like the AARP recommend asking the caller something that only they would know. While this can go a long way in preventing fraud it’s not infallible as scammers can gather these details from social media. Instead, if you receive one of these calls you should above all else remain calm. If you can’t discern if this is actually one of your grandchildren calling, call someone in your family who would know the whereabouts of the relative in question and ask where this person currently is. This way if it does turn out to be an actual emergency you can respond in an appropriate manner.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on October 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam,   

    The grandparent scam is making the rounds again 

    The grandparent scam is making the rounds again

    Scammers love to target the elderly. The scammers count on their victims being more trusting and not tech savvy in order to scam the elderly out of what little money they might have. A scam that has become quite prevalent os what’s known as the grandparent scam. In it, the scammer calls an elderly person and claims to be one of their grandchildren who has been arrested somewhere out-of-state and needs bail money. They then instruct the victim on where to send the money. Too often the victims send the phony bail before they realize it’s a scam.

    While the scam sometimes varies the scammers often employ some concerning tactics to try to get their victims to send the money. In a lot of cases, scammers have some very personal information about the victim including who their grandchildren are and where they live. When a person becomes suspicious that this may not be their grandchild the scammer will say that they’ve received injuries that prevents them from talking correctly. A tip-off that this may be a scam is if the ‘grandchild’ asks for money to be wired or the victim is asked to buy gift cards. In one case, an elderly couple was asked to actually mail the money.

    The AARP website has a great article on how to avoid this scam with such tips as asking the caller something that only they would know. They also recommend that if you receive one of these calls you should collect yourself first before making any actions. Then call a relative who would know the whereabouts of the person in question and verify with them where this person currently is. This way if it does turn out to be an actual emergency you can respond in an appropriate manner.

    If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this scam please talk with them or share this post with them.

     
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