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  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grants,   

    If you've been scammed once you can be scammed again 

    If you've been scammed once you can be scammed again

    If there’s one thing that con artists like most it’s an easy mark. The odds are that if you’ve been scammed once you could be scammed again. Or at least you’ll continue to be targeted by scammers.

    This happened to a woman in Memphis. Last year, she was taken in a grant scam. She received a Facebook message that she thought was from a friend. The message said that her friend received money from a government grant and that she probably qualifies for the grant too.

    The message actually came from a Facebook account that had been compromised by scammers. When the woman went to apply for this phony grant she was told that she would have to pay $1000 to receive the grant money. As you can guess, she never received the grant money and was $1000 poorer.

    She never came forward about losing money because, like many scam victims, she was too embarrassed. However, that initial scam experience was able to help her from being taken a second time. More recently, the woman was approached by someone who claimed to be the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. While the report doesn’t go into greater detail, we can hazard a guess that it was probably another grant scam.

    Some victims may not be so lucky as scammers often trade or sell the information on their victims between each other. Or the scammer will try to fleece the victim again with a different scam if they were successful in the past.

    If you ever become the victim of a scam, you should report it to the police immediately. While the scammer may never be apprehended, it will help warn others from falling for the same scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , grants,   

    New scam promises money if you stay home 

    New scam promises money to stay home

    Just when we thought COVID-19 scams were on the decline, we read about one that we would consider impressive if it wasn’t so reprehensible.

    The Florida Attorney General’s office has warned residents of the Sunshine State about this new and elaborate scam. At the heart of the scam is a promise of receiving grant money from the U.S. Treasury if you just stay home during the current pandemic. The scam seems to be mostly targeted at senior citizens. The scammers were even said to have created a phony website that appeared as if it was an official U.S. Treasury website. The phony website was said to be so convincing that it even had phony video testimonials.

    Victims of the scam would often be directed to the phony website by messages from their friends on Facebook. These messages were often sent through hacked Facebook accounts by the scammers themselves.

    The fake website would ask people for their personal information including Social Security numbers and banking information. It would also ask for payment to insure the grant delivery that will actually never come.

    The website has since been removed, however, as the Miami Herald points out, it could reappear at any time.

    In order to prevent falling victim to a scam like this always make sure any federal website address ends in .gov. If it doesn’t, it’s probably not authentic. If anytime a Facebook friend messages you about getting grant money, the odds are more likely that their account has been hacked. Grant scams similar to this one have been spread around Facebook for years.

    If you’ve fallen victim to this website in Florida it’s recommended that you contact the Attorney General’s office. If you’re not in Florida we recommend contacting the Federal Trade Commission.

     
  • Geebo 8:30 am on April 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , grants, money mules, , stay at home order   

    More ways to identify a coronavirus relief payment scam 

    More ways to identify a coronavirus relief payment scam

    Before we get to the heart of the matter today, The Washington Post has provided its readers with a list of what the stay at home orders mean for each state. Please keep in mind that these are orders are not only in place for your protection but the protection of those who may be at risk.

    Now, we have talked about the coronavirus relief payments before. It seems that everybody is concerned about when and where they are receiving theirs. Again, we’d like to remind you that if you received your 2018 or 2019 tax refund through direct deposit, that is where you will receive your relief payment. As we have also mentioned before, these payments have become the biggest target for scammers lately even though they have yet to be issued. For the majority of people, you will not have to do anything to receive your payment. So anyone emailing, texting, or calling you about your stimulus payment is trying to scam you. Another way to tell that you’re being scammed is how the person approaching you refers to the payment. If they refer to it as anything but an economic impact payment they are more than likely trying to scam you.

    For example, a Florida man received what looked like an official check in the mail that claimed to be from an ‘economic automotive stimulus program’. he only had to go to a ‘stimulus relief site’ to receive his funds. The so-called stimulus relief site was a used car lot that was using the guise of relief payments to get customers.

    The FBI has even put out a warning to consumers to try to stop them from becoming money mules during the pandemic. This is when scammers will have their victims place funds in the victim’s bank account then have the victim remove it and send it to a third party. Sometimes the funds are real and are using the victims to launder the money, other times the money may not even exist while the victim deposits a fake check in their bank account before sending the funds to someone else. These schemes could take the form of work at home scams and charity scams.

    Lastly, the Better Business Bureau is warning about a new twist on an old scam taking place on Facebook Messenger. The BBB is saying that Facebook accounts are being hijacked by scammers who use them to tell victims about grants they may qualify for during the pandemic. The victim believes they’re talking to a close friend when in fact they’re talking to a scammer. The hook with these scams is that they want you to pay a fee in order to receive the grant. However, once payment is made there is no grant money coming.

    Money is tight during the current crisis. Once again, we ask that you don’t let the fear surrounding the pandemic sway you into making choices that may cost you in the long run. Please stay safe and healthy.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grants, , , , ,   

    Scams that veterans should be aware of 

    Scams that veterans should be aware of

    With today being Veterans Day it only seems fitting that we should look out for those who have given so much for our country. It seems that veterans are often targeted in government impostor scams. Since veterans often have to deal with several government agencies about benefits and services hearing from the government may not seem that out of the ordinary. Scammers will try to take advantage of the frequency that veterans deal with the government in hopes that the victim of their scam will believe that they are calling from the government. However, most of the scams they try to commit are also some of the same scams civilians have to deal with.

    The most common scam reported by veterans is the IRS impersonation scam. This is where scammers will pose as IRS agents and try to persuade their victims into believing that they owe back taxes. The scammers will try to pressure their victims into making a payment as soon as possible either through wire transfer or gift cards. The next common scam for veterans is the grant scam where the victim will receive a message on social media from a friend’s compromised account telling the victim they can get federal grant money. The scammers will then say that in order to get the grant the victim will need to pay a processing fee which will disappear as soon as it’s paid. And lastly, scammers will pose as being from the VA in order to try to get medical and healthcare information from the victim.

    As with most government scams, the ways of prevention remain the same. If the government really needs to get a hold of you they will more than likely contact you by mail. The government will also never ask for payment over the phone through wire transfer or gift cards. Those are tools of choice used in most scams today. And as always, if you receive one of these calls and you may believe that there is an issue with one of these agencies, hang up and call the agency back at their proper phone number.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on February 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , grants, , , , ,   

    Just another day of classifieds crime 

    Just another day of classifieds crime

    One might think that after over 20 years of having online classified ads being so prevalent online that most people would become more aware of the pitfalls that have become inherent when using some of the less reputable sites and apps. Here are some of the stories that have happened just over the past 24 hours.

    While not technically a classified site even though it does have Facebook Marketplace, a tired old scam has targeted Facebook messenger uses. It’s the grant scam which promises users large government grants to do with what they wish. The only catch is that you have to pay a fee, usually of at least several hundred dollars, in order to process the grant. Of course, you’re expected to wire the money to whoever is supposedly managing the grants. To be clear, the government does not use Facebook Messenger to offer grants and they never offer grants unsolicited. Also, you should always be suspicious of any transaction that requires you to wire money as once the money is wired it’s virtually untraceable once it’s gone.

    In Youngstown, Ohio, there has been a rash of robberies through the marketplace app LetGo. In these robberies, the buyers are posing as men in their 30s and 40s but when the seller shows up to the meeting place they’re approached by teens who then rob them. The article we linked to does have some good safety tips but leaves out the most important one. Don’t just meet someone during the day in a well-lit and well-traveled area as even there robberies and worse have been committed. Instead, insist on meeting at a local police station. This one simple step goes a long way in discouraging scammers and thieves from trying to take advantage of you.

    In the Kansas City area, one man was swindled out of close to $400 after buying tickets from a supposed seller off of craigslist. The scammer had official looking documentation that carried the Ticketmaster branding, the only problem with that is the arena where the concert was being held doesn’t use Ticketmaster to distribute their tickets. The tickets never appeared and the would-be buyer was out of $400 before buying more legitimate tickets from a reputable dealer. The victim, in this case, was an IT specialist who admits that he should have known better showing that it’s people of all stripes and backgrounds that can fall for a craigslist scam.

    For our next story, we stay in Ohio, Hilliard to be precise where police have discovered a counterfeiting operation that was using OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace transactions to allegedly try to launder the money. In this instance, the phony bills were not theatrical money as has been the more popular counterfeit scam lately. Instead, these bills were manufactured and ranged in denominations from the humble $1 bill to the much more respectable $100 bill. Again, the article we linked to has several tips to prevent yourself from being ripped off by counterfeiters even claiming that the marker test isn’t always reliable as some fake bills will show as genuine when the special anti-counterfeit marker is used. In this case, the bills should have been easy to detect as they had markings on them in one of the Chinese languages.

    While not every marketplace platform is perfect, there are very few that go the extra mile in trying to protect its users. For example, Geebo reviews every ad in order to try to weed out the ads that are obvious scams and setups. Maybe if our competitors were more concerned about user safety they wouldn’t keep cropping up in the daily headlines for all the wrong reasons.

     
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