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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , ,   

    Police impersonation scams are never ending 

    Police impersonation scams are never ending

    We haven’t discussed police impersonation scams in a while. We felt the need to remind our readers about them because they are probably one of the most common scams occurring today. Whenever we are researching a new type of scam, we’ll come across multiple stories about scammers posing as local police departments. Just today we found stories of police impersonation scams from New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and they happen in towns both big and small.

    Police impersonation scammers will spoof the phone number of a local police department. That will make it appear like your local police department is calling you. The scammer will identify themselves as a police officer, and they often use the name of an actual police officer. They’ll give one of several reasons why they’re calling you. It can be as something as innocuous as a traffic fine or something as serious as a major criminal investigation that your name has been implicated in. The most common scam is that you have a warrant out for your arrest. The scams all have one thing in common. They’ll want you to make a payment over the phone to ‘clear everything up.’

    They’ll want that payment to be made in non-traditional means like gift cards, cryptocurrency, or wire transfer. These are all potentially untraceable once the payment is made.

    No real police department will ever ask for payment over the phone. If you’re overdue on a traffic fine you’ll receive a notice in the mail. If police are investigating a crime, they’ll send an officer to your home to speak with you. No legitimate agency or business will ever ask for gift card payments over the phone.

    If you ever receive one of these calls it’s recommended that you contact your local police department at their non-emergency number. Don’t just press redial because that will just have you back talking to the scammer.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , ,   

    New scam threatens you with human trafficking arrest 

    New scam threatens you with human trafficking arrest

    Police impersonation scams are nothing new. They can range from something innocuous like owing a traffic ticket to something major like your Social Security number being involved with a major crime. All of these impersonation scams rely on one thing, and that’s a fear of being arrested. Scammers will use that fear to try to pressure you into either making a payment to them or giving them your personal information. A new scam not only tries to take advantage of that fear of arrest but also uses the fear of potential public embarrassment.

    Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado are warning residents about an impersonation scam that’s affecting their area. Scammers are posing as police detectives and calling their victims to tell them that the victim’s phone number was found in a human trafficking ring. While the report we’ve seen doesn’t specify, we imagine that the scam’s victims are being told that their phone number was found to have been used soliciting the services of a human trafficking ring.

    Usually, in a scam like this, victims are told that payment can make a situation like this go away. The payment is almost always made in some form of untraceable funds like gift cards, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. However, in the case of the Colorado Springs scam, the scammers are directing victims to a website and enter their personal information. The victims are also being told that if they don’t go to the website, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. It seems like these scammers aren’t after a quick payout but are after identity theft for a bigger score.

    More often than not, if your phone number were to pop up during a police investigation, investigators would be sent to talk to you personally. However, if you were to receive one of these phone calls, it’s recommended that you take down the caller’s name and badge number then contact the department’s non-emergency number to verify if what the caller says is true or not.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bail bonds scam, , impersonation scam,   

    Bail bondsman scam has familiar ring 

    Bail bondsman scam has familiar ring

    If you’ve ever had to deal with a bail bondsman, it can be a harrowing experience. Not because of the bail bonds office but for the fact that you’re unexpectedly trying to bail a loved one out of jail. Not everyone is familiar with the experience which can lead to people being taken advantage of by scammers claiming to be a bail bondsman.

    First off, let’s clarify what a bail bondsman does. If you’ve been arrested, the arraigning judge will set a bail amount to guarantee that you’ll appear in court. If you can afford your bail the bail amount will be returned to you after you appear in court. If you can’t afford your bail, you may obtain the services of a bail bondsman. The bondsman will usually ask for around 10%-15% of your bail in a non-refundable fee. They will then put up their money to the court to allow you to be released.

    Here’s the thing though. If you or a loved one has been arrested. You have to approach the bail bondsman yourself. A bail bondsman will not call you out of the blue to tell you that a loved one has been arrested. That’s what’s been happening in Washington County, Maryland. Residents there have been receiving phone calls from scammers posing as a bail bondsman. The scammers will say that a loved one has been arrested and will try to get the victim to make some kind of payment over the phone. If a victim makes a payment, the scammers then call back seeking additional payments to have the victim’s loved one released. In some cases, these phony bail bondsmen have sent people to the victim’s home to collect the money.

    If this sounds a lot like the grandparent scam to you, it is incredibly similar. In the grandparent scam, the scammer will target an elderly victim and claim to be one of the victim’s grandchildren who has been arrested. The scammers will then also ask for some kind of payment over the phone.

    If you receive one of these phone calls from someone claiming to be a bail bondsman, hang up. Then call the person that the caller claims has been arrested. If they have been arrested, a legitimate bail bondsman can not accept payment over the phone. You would have to visit them at their office not only to make payment but to sign contracts.

    Another red flag that you’re dealing with a scammer is if they ask for payment in non-traditional means like gift cards, prepaid debit cards, money transfers, and the like.

    Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a situation like this. But if you do, now you’re better prepared.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impersonation scam, ,   

    Scammers keep elderly victim from asking for help 

    Elderly victim loses thousands in FBI scam

    An elderly Pennsylvania woman was recently taken for over $5,000 by scammers pretending to be FBI agents. The scammers called her and claimed that her bank account had been compromised by criminals. They then told her not to tell anyone else as it could jeopardize the investigation. However, in order to assist with the investigation, they needed her to withdraw money from her account.

    The scammers kept her on the phone while she withdrew money from the bank. The bank was concerned that this withdraw may have been part of a scam. When they asked the woman what the withdraw was for, the scammers were said to have instructed the woman to tell the bank it was for an emergency medical procedure.

    It was at this point the scammers instructed the woman to purchase gift cards with the money she withdrew. The store where she bought the gift cards even tried warning her that this was a scam. Unfortunately, she went through with the purchase anyway. She then gave the phony agents the numbers off the back of the cards.

    While it’s not expressly mentioned in the news report, we can imagine that there were probably some threats of arrest if the victim didn’t comply with the scammers’ requests.

    Keeping the victim on the phone while they withdraw money and buy gift cards is a disturbing new trend that we saw start to take hold this year.

    If you receive one of these phone calls with someone claiming to be from a law enforcement agency asking you to make some kind of payment, hang up. No law enforcement agency will ever ask you for any kind of money over the phone. Also, no real law enforcement agency would ever have you buy gift cards for any reason.

    Due to their almost untraceable nature, gift cards have become almost the de facto currency for scammers. If anyone asks for payment in gift cards, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , airport jail scam, family impersonation scam, impersonation scam,   

    A new airport scam just in time for the holidays 

    A new airport scam just in time for the holidays

    With many people getting ready to travel for the holidays, even though they should stay home, a new scam has popped up. It’s a type of impersonation scam that takes many of its cues from the grandparent scam. Let’s call it the airport jail scam.

    In this scam, the scammer calls the victim pretending to be a friend or relative. They’ll claim that they’re being detained at the airport for whatever reason and need you to wire them money so they can be released. Sometimes the scammers will have a second person pose as someone in authority like a lawyer or police officer to make the scam sound more convincing and to place extra pressure on the victim. As with most scams, once you wire the money, the scammer disappears and you never see the money again.

    Now, most major airports do have a detention center where people who have been arrested are held. However, unless they’ve been arrested on a federal offense, an arrestee wouldn’t be able to make a phone call until they were transferred to the local police department for processing. We first heard of this scam using Fresno Yosemite International Airport in Fresno, California as the place where the alleged friend was being held in ‘airport jail. This airport is not a major airport like LAX or Newark International and does not have a detaining area.

    And just like in the grandparent scam, it is recommended that if you receive one of these phone calls that you don’t immediately make arrangements for payment. Instead, you should try to contact the person claiming to be in ‘airport jail’. You can also ask the person a question only they might know that couldn’t be gleaned from social media.

    While you think you may not fall for a scam like this, reports say that some people have already fallen for it. It’s easy to be led down that path when you think a loved one may be in danger. if your friend or relative is being detained, they will not get into any additional trouble if you verify their story.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DEA, , , impersonation scam, ,   

    Elderly man loses over half a million dollars in scam 

    Elderly man loses over half of a million dollars in scam

    Imagine working hard your whole life to be able to retire with a substantial amount of money. Then imagine losing over $500,000 of that retirement money to scammers. This recently happened to an 82-year-old man from Sioux Falls, South Dakota when he fell victim to an impersonation scam.

    The man received a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. The caller claimed that a car in the man’s name was found to have drugs in it.

    This is a common tactic used in a number of scams. Often, the victim will be told that a rental car in their name was found in Texas near the Mexican border with drugs in it. Often the scammers will say that the victim’s Social Security number and benefits will be suspended if they don’t pay to clear things up which is what the phony IRS agent told the man.

    This was followed up by similar calls from scammers posing as both the FBI and the DEA. The man ended up making payments to the scammers through money transfers and gift cards. Before it was all over, the man had ended up paying $550,000 to the scammers. While it’s not mentioned in the report, we have to wonder how much of his life savings did that entail? For most people, they would have been cleaned out much earlier in the scam.

    However, a few lessons can be learned from this man’s experience. The first is that agencies like the IRS, FBI, and DEA will not call you about such matters. The IRS would contact you by mail but a situation like this is out of their jurisdiction. While it is in the jurisdiction of the FBI and DEA, they would more than likely send an agent or two to your home to discuss such matters.

    Speaking of government agencies, none of them would ever ask for payment over the phone and if they did, they wouldn’t ask for payment in such unorthodox means like money transfers or gift cards.

    If you receive a phone call like this, it’s best to hang up and call your local police department at their non-emergency number. They’ll be able to tell you if the call is a scam.

    If you ever fall for one of these scams, it signifies to scammers that you could potentially fall for other scams as well. Scammers ceaselessly preyed upon this poor man until he was out of over half a million dollars.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , , ,   

    A reminder that some scams never go away 

    A reminder that some scams never go away

    While we haven’t seen any new developments in scams today, we thought we’d help you brush up on some of the old classics. As always, just because these scams are being reported from different parts of the country, they can likely be applied to your region if they show up near you.

    Always be careful when buying a car online, especially if the price is too good to pass up. A woman in Oklahoma found what she thought was a great deal on a car for her son on Facebook Marketplace. The seller claimed the price was so cheap because her husband died and she also happened to be deploying with the military. On top of that, the seller asked for payment in gift cards and that the car will be shipped by eBay. Always be wary of any sob stories that come with bargains. Also, be suspicious if payment is requested in gift cards or some other untraceable form of payment. And keep in mind that eBay does not ship vehicles even if the vehicle is purchased on eBay.

    Social Security scams are abundant but the one that seems to be the most popular these days is what we call the impersonation scam. A man in Pennsylvania received a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The man was told that his Social Security number had been compromised. The scammer recited the man’s name, age, address, and the last four digits of his Social Security number and then asked the man to verify that information. Thankfully, the man recognized it as a scam and hung up. The SSA usually only communicates with recipients through the mail and would already have the information that the scammer was trying to verify.

    Lastly, a woman in Tennessee was taken in a romance scam recently. She met a man on a dating site. The man said that he had to go to Singapore for work but once he got there the man supposedly contracted COVID and was in ICU. The man said he needed money to be treated. Then a ‘friend’ of the man said that he needed to fly out to Singapore to help the first man so she paid for the plane ticket. She later found out that the pictures being used by the scammers were two evangelists from Brazil. Never send money to someone you haven’t met face to face. Romance scammers will go to great lengths in convincing their victims they’re in a relationship.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , ,   

    Police scam takes affluent area for millions 

    Police scam takes affluent area for millions

    Every once in a while, when we get feedback from one of our posts someone will inevitably say that they can’t believe that someone fell for whatever scam we’re posting about that day. The reality is that anyone can fall for a scam if they don’t have the information to recognize a scam. Things like economic status and education level mean do not automatically protect you from con artists.

    For example, take Montgomery County, Maryland, Not only is the Washington DC suburb one of the most affluent counties in the United States, its residents have the highest percentage in the country of residents over 25 years of age who hold a post-graduate degree. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped various police impersonation scams from taking $1.5 million from local residents.

    While the scammers are using different variations of police impersonation scams, they are tweaking them slightly for their upscale targets. In one case, the scammers called a psychotherapist and told them that they avoided a subpoena in a case where they were supposed to testify as an expert witness. In order to avoid arrest, the victim was told to pay a $7000 fine. They were instructed to buy a prepaid debit card because no one could come into the police department because of COVID.

    With other victims, the scammers have used the rental car trick. They’ll pose as police to tell the victims that a rental car was found in their name that contained drugs. Again, the scammers will request payment to ‘clear up’ the situation, usually through some untraceable form of payment like gift cards, prepaid debit cards, money transfer, or cryptocurrency. In Montgomery County’s case, the scammers added that if the victim pays quickly they’ll avoid media attention.

    In one case, someone made payment to the scammers by putting $100,000 into a shoebox before mailing it to California.

    In the majority of cases, police will almost never call you to resolve any kind of legal matter. You’ll either be contacted by mail or officers will come to your home. Also, no legitimate government agency will accept payment in untraceable means like the ones listed above. If you ever receive a phone call like this and think there might be an issue, hang up and call your police department’s non-emergency number and explain the call to them.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , shut off scam,   

    New twist on utility scam 

    New twist on utility scam

    Utility shut off scams are nothing new. It doesn’t matter what time of year is, scammers will try to convince you that your power is about to be shut off for non-payment. If that happens during warm weather, a lot of victims will think they’re about to lose their air conditioning among other necessities like TV and internet. if the scam happens in colder weather, a number of victims will think they’re about to lose their heat. Although, that scam can also apply to gas utilities as well.

    The scam works as other impersonation scams do. The scammer will pose as a local utility company. While they often pose as the power company, it’s not unheard of scammers posing as other utilities such as gas and water. The scammer will tell you that the victim is behind on payments and will threaten to have their service turned off in A short amount of time. The scammers will usually say anywhere between 10-30 minutes. The scammers will then pressure the victim into making an immediate payment demanding that payment be made through gift cards.

    More recently, a scammer or group of scammers have started a new version of the scam that adds extra pressure to victims into making immediate payments. These scammers have been posing as the victim they’re about to call and will call the utility company saying that there is a service issue. This way, an actual utility employee shows up at the home while the victim is on the line with the scammers. This makes it look like the utility employee is there to shut off service.

    If you still receive your bills through the mail, you’ll receive a written warning in the mail before your service is discontinued. If you use electronic billing, you would receive an email first. Let’s also not forget the first rule of looking out for scams. No legitimate business or agency will ask for payments in gift cards. Gift cards should only be used for the retailers they were intended for.

    If you think that one of your utilities is in danger of being shut off, contact that company through either the phone number on your bill or their website.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , , nursing,   

    Familiar scam targets nurses 

    Familiar scam targets nurses

    There’s a prevalent Social Security scam that’s been going around the country for a while. Scammers will call Social Security recipients and tell them that their Social Security Number has been used in a crime. Usually, the scammers will say that a car was rented using the Social Security Number of the person the scammer has called. The phony rental car is almost always said to be found in Texas.

    The scammers will then claim that drugs were found in the car. Because of this, the Social Security recipient will be told they’re in danger of losing their benefits because of the crime unless they pay a fine. Of course, none of what the scammer says is real but it hasn’t stopped scammers from preying on the elderly.

    A similar scam is said to be preying upon those in the nursing profession. Nurses in Missouri have reported receiving calls from scammers who spoof the phone number of the Missouri State Board of Nursing. The scammers will tell the nurses that someone in Texas has used their nursing license number to write illicit prescriptions in Texas.

    The scammer threatens that the nurse’s license will be suspended if they don’t pay a fine. One scammer tried to collect a fine of over $17,000. Since the report advises against paying anyone over the phone in gift cards we’re going to assume that’s how the scammer asked for the imaginary fine.

    In another version of the nurse’s scam, official-looking letters are sent out making the same threats.

    What the scammers don’t seem to know is that’s not how infractions are dealt with by the state Nurse’s Board. In reality, nurses in Missouri have an appeals process that they can go through if something like this were to truly happen. The State Board does not have the authority to issue fines.

    Now you may not be a nurse in Missouri. You could be a nurse from another state. When a scam like this hits one state, it’s not usually long before it starts hitting others. So please be wary if you receive a phone call or letter that accuses your license of being used in criminal activity.

     
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