Tagged: impersonation scam Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 5, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , ,   

    Elderly victim loses $100K in PayPal scam 

    By Greg Collier

    An elderly man, from the Boston area, recently lost close to $100,000 to scammers who were posing as PayPal. PayPal is the oldest and possibly the most reliable online payment service. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not without its scammers.

    The scammers called the man and told him that $100 had accidentally been deposited into his bank account. The man was walked through directions on his computer by the scammers, which granted them remote access.

    Then, the man was shown what appeared to be a $100,000 deposit into this bank account. The scammers claimed that it was actually $100K accidentally deposited into his account and not just $100. Typically, at this point in the scam, the scammer will claim that they’ll lose their job if the victim doesn’t help them out by sending the accidental payment back.

    It’s unknown if that’s what happened in this instance, but the scammers convinced the man to send two cashier’s checks for $49,800 each. They even ordered the man to tell the bank the money was for a new car if they asked. Unfortunately, the bank did not question the large amount being withdrawn by an elderly customer.

    Even if a PayPal employee, or any similar company’s worker, were to make a mistake this large, it is never the customer’s responsibility to pay that money back themselves. If an error was made on PayPal’s part, it would be their responsibility to fix it. If the employee claims they’ll lose their job over the error, that’s not your problem. Also, please keep in mind, if the payment was made electronically, it can be reversed electronically by the company itself. If you’re ever instructed to ‘move’ your money for any reason by someone you don’t know, it’s more than likely a scam.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 29, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, ,   

    Anyone can fall prey to the SIM-swapping scam 

    Anyone can fall prey to the SIM-swapping scam

    By Greg Collier

    You may have head of the term SIM-swapping before. You may even know SIM-swapping is part of a larger identity theft scheme. What you may not know is that the term SIM-swapping is a type of misnomer. SIM-swapping makes it sound like someone needs physical access to your phone so they can steal your SIM card. A more appropriate term would be SIM-hijacking, since the scam itself is committed remotely.

    A SIM-swapping attack is a type of cyberattack where a malicious actor fraudulently convinces a mobile carrier to transfer a victim’s phone number to a SIM card under the attacker’s control. This is typically done by impersonating the victim or exploiting vulnerabilities in the carrier’s verification processes.

    The attacker contacts the victim’s mobile carrier, posing as the legitimate account holder. They may use gathered information to convince the carrier’s customer support representatives that they are the actual owner of the phone number.

    Once the attacker successfully convinces the carrier to transfer the phone number to a new SIM card, the victim’s phone loses network connectivity. The victim may not be aware of this until they try to make a call or use data services.

    With control of the victim’s phone number, the attacker can receive the victim’s text messages and phone calls, which may be used to bypass two-factor authentication (2FA) on various accounts linked to the phone number. This can lead to unauthorized access to email, social media, financial, or other online accounts.

    In the past, when we’ve discussed SIM-swapping attacks, we’ve heard from readers who said their phones are immune from these attacks since their phone doesn’t have a SIM card. Unless you’re still carrying a flip phone you bought from Sprint in the mid-2000s, chances are your mobile phone has a SIM card in it. You may not have placed the card in the phone yourself, but without a SIM card, your phone wouldn’t be able to communicate with your phone carrier and provide you service. There’s also what’s known as an eSIM. This is a SIM card that can be embedded in your phone, meaning it can’t be removed. In essence, if you have a reasonably modern mobile phone, it has a SIM card. And if it has a SIM card, it’s vulnerable to these attacks.

    A woman from California, recently fell victim to one of these attacks. After scammers successfully had her phone company transfer her service to the scammers’ SIM card, they were able to get access to at least one of her bank accounts. They drained her account of $49,000 before it was all said and done. The victim tried to work with both her bank and phone provider, but they denied any of her requests. As with many bank-related scams, it wasn’t until the victim contacted her local news station before she received a refund from her bank.

    There are several effective strategies to safeguard yourself from SIM-swapping. One approach is to opt for an authenticator app instead of relying on text messages for two-factor authentication. Authenticator apps are tied to a specific device rather than a phone number, enhancing their security. Additionally, it’s crucial to refrain from using easily discoverable information, such as high school mascots or pet names, for security questions on online accounts, as such details are often accessible on social media. Finally, you can enhance security by reaching out to your carrier and requesting the restriction of any device switches on your account. It’s important to note that to lift this restriction, you might need to visit a carrier store and provide identification.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 16, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, ,   

    Cable discount becomes reshipping scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Typically, in a reshipping scam, scammers recruit victims through phony job ads offering positions like package handler or product inspector. These are almost always advertised as work from home positions. The victim has products sent to them by the scammers that they’re supposed to inspect for defects before sending the products to a new address. What’s really going on is that the scammers bought these products with stolen credit card information, and the reshippers are just being used as scapegoats in a money laundering operation. Once the reshipper sends the products off, the scammers sell the stolen goods. Now, there is a scam that not only uses a victim as a reshipper, but makes the victim pay for the stolen items as well.

    A major cable and internet provider has warned consumers about this new scam. According to Spectrum, scammers are calling customers and offering service for half-price if the customer makes a one-time payment of $99. The customer is then asked for personal information like their account number and Social Security number, along with their payment information. Many cable and internet providers are also phone providers. So, the scammers use the customer’s information to order mobile devices that are sent to the customer’s address. But the scammers instruct the customer to send the devices to another address. The scammers will even send a shipping label to the customer and have them drop the devices off at the post office or a shipping company like UPS.

    Spectrum says they’ll never call a customer and ask for their account number and PIN, and this can be applied to most if not all cable and internet providers. They also add that if you receive one of these offers through email or text message, you should delete the message. If you reply to one of the scam messages, it will let the scammers know they’ve reached a working phone number or email address. Lastly, the major providers will never ask for payment through cryptocurrency, gift cards or personal payment apps.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 14, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Is Zelle issuing refunds to scam victims? 

    By Greg Collier

    Since this past June, thousands of banks that use the Zelle payment app have been issuing refunds. Why are these banks issuing refunds? For at least the past two years, Zelle has been a boon to scammers. Zelle has been instrumental in allowing scammers to take money from their victims.

    Primarily, Zelle is used in bank impersonation scams. They start out when a victim receives a text message that appears to have come from their bank. The message asks the victim if they recently made a large purchase or transfer and to reply with yes or no. Once the victim replies, the scammers call the victim while posing as the bank’s fraud department. The victim is told their bank account has been compromised, and they need to move their money to a safe account to protect it. The scammers walk the victim through instructions on how to transfer the money to the safe account on Zelle. Then the victim unknowingly transfers their money to the scammer’s account.

    The banks that implement Zelle have been hesitant to issue any refunds to customers. They typically claim that since the customer authorized the payment, there are no grounds for a refund. The banks also claim if they start issuing refunds, then scammers will try to work their way into the refund process.

    In that vein, Zelle has been pretty quiet about how consumers can go about requesting a refund. Nor has it given any indications on any kind of timeline for refunds or whether refunds can be requested retroactively. However, in their defense, Zelle has enacted new prompts within the app that are supposed to warn users if the app feels like the user is making a risky transfer. Zelle claims this has significantly cut down on scams.

    But the best way to protect yourself is to not take the scammer’s bait. Your bank will never tell you that you need to move your money to protect it. That’s just not a thing. If you receive a text message or phone call that claims to be coming from your bank, do not respond. Instead, call your bank at the customer service number from your debit or credit card, and they’ll be able to advise you on if there is anything wrong with your account. And also keep in mind that Zelle is only supposed to be used between friends and family. Anyone else who is asking for payment through Zelle could be trying to scam you.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 26, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fraud department, impersonation scam,   

    Elaborate bank scam wipes out life savings 

    By Greg Collier

    One of the more common scams lately is the bank impersonation scam. This scam can start out with either a text message or a phone call. In either case, the scammers are posing as your bank’s fraud department. They tell you that there’s been fraudulent activity on your account, or your account has been hacked. You’re then instructed you need to move your money to protect it. This typically results in the scammers having you send them your entire bank account through electronic means like payment apps or cryptocurrency, or through more manual means like gift cards or wire transfers. Usually, these scams take less than a day to occur and sometimes can happen in just minutes. However, one bank scam strung a victim along for a month.

    A woman from Wisconsin lost her life savings of $200,000 to scammers like this. They initially made contact with their victim by posing as Wells Fargo’s fraud department. They called her and told her that her identity had been stolen. The victim even says there were unusual transactions she didn’t recognize on her bank account.

    Then she was transferred to someone who claimed to be a federal agent for the Federal Trade Commission. That person had a lot of personal information about the victim, including her Social Security number, former addresses, and where the victim attended college. They even sent her copies of the supposed agent’s badge and ID card.

    The scammers told the victim to close all of her financial accounts in order to open new accounts with a new Social Security number. Or in other words, they wanted her to move her money. The victim sent the scammers her money through money transfers, gift cards, and cryptocurrency. All the while, they were sending her certified letters that appeared to come from an attorney, which lent legitimacy to the scam.

    Another tactic scammers like this use is threatening their victim with arrest, which was also done here. The scammers told the woman if she didn’t comply, she would be arrested for money laundering.

    As always with scams like this, if you receive a call from your bank about fraudulent activity or identity theft, hang up. Then manually call the bank at their correct customer service number, which can be found on their website or on the back of your debit card.

    It’s also recommended if you receive a phone call like this to reach out to family and friends to get their feedback.

    Also, please keep in mind that if your identity is stolen or your bank account is hacked, no one is going to call you. To the banks, they consider it the customer’s responsibility to report any unauthorized transactions. And moving your money, or paying yourself to protect it is not a real procedure.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 24, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , ,   

    USPS warns of $2M email scam 

    USPS warns of $2M email scam

    By Greg Collier

    The United States Postal Service (USPS) has had to issue many scam warnings in its recent past. The one you might most be familiar with is the undelivered package scam. This is when scammers send out text messages purporting to be from the USPS. The text messages say the USPS could not deliver the recipient’s package and needs additional information to make the delivery. These text messages often contain a link where the recipient will either be asked for personal or financial information. Now, the USPS is issuing a warning about an email scam they’ve discovered.

    According to the USPS, scammers are sending out emails asking for the recipient’s personal information such as street address and phone number, among other information. The emails look like they’re coming from the USPS, but they’re not. Much like the text messages, the emails also claim that a delivery is trying to be made to the recipient. However, in order to potentially get as much information as possible from the recipient, the scam emails are dangling a large incentive in front of them.

    The emails claim the recipient is receiving a $2 million cashier’s check along with $50,000 in money orders. The email then instructs the recipient to send their personal information to another address. From there, the recipient’s identity could be easily stolen. The USPS hasn’t said if anyone has fallen victim to this scam yet.

    As always, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No one is sending out $2M checks out of the goodness of their hearts. Even if they were, the check would more than likely not be sent through the regular mail. Subsequently, the USPS does not reach out to customers through text, email, or phone call about undeliverable packages. They never ask for personal or payment information, either.

    If you receive an email like this, you’re asked to forward it to spam@uspis.gov before deleting the email.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 5, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, phantom hacker scam, , ,   

    What is the phantom hacker scam? 

    What is the phantom hacker scam?

    By Greg Collier

    FBI offices across the country are warning citizens about a new scam that’s said to be plaguing Americans. The scam is called the ‘phantom hacker’ scam and is bears a striking similarity to the pop-up tech support scam.

    If you’ll recall, in the pop-up scam, internet users can receive a pop-up on their device that claims the device has been hacked, This pop-up will also claim to be from a big tech company like Microsoft or Apple, and will include a phone number for the device’s owner to call for tech support. The phone number actually goes to a call center that’s part of a larger scam ring.

    The user will be asked to give remote access to the supposed tech support person. After a scan, the scammers will tell the user, the user’s bank account has been hacked. The tech support scammer then tells the user, they’ll be receiving a call from their bank’s fraud department. The victim will then be directed to mover their money to a ‘safe’ account for protection. That safe account is actually a bank account that belongs to the scammers.

    Now, the scam has been modified. After receiving a call from the scammers posing as the bank, victims are instructed to move their money to a government protected bank account. To make the scam appear more legitimate, victims have been receiving correspondence that appears to come from the Federal Government. The correspondence provides instructions to the victim on how to move their money to the government protected account by wire transfer.

    The reason it’s called the phantom hacker scam is because there is no actual hacker involved. If someone were to hack into someone’s bank account, the account would be drained instantly. There is no time-limit that hackers have to wait for before stealing someone’s money or data.

    To better protect yourself from this kind of scam, educate yourself and others about the common signs of pop-up scams, such as unsolicited pop-ups or alarming messages, and never share personal or financial information with unknown sources. By following these precautions and maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism online, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to pop-up scams and protect your digital security.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 13, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Doctor falls prey to money laundering scam 

    By Greg Collier

    One of the main points we try to drive home when discussing scams is that anyone can fall victim to a scam. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager working a part-time job, or an established academic, there’s a scam designed just for your particular circumstance.

    And speaking of academics, the victim in today’s story is a doctor. Whether someone is a medical doctor or a doctor of letters, they’ve spent years, if not decades, of constant learning. When advances in their respective fields are made, that’s even more studying and researching that has to be done. They can’t become successes in their field without being studious and knowledgeable. Yet, they still get scammed like everyone else.

    One of the more common scams that targets doctors is a variation of the jury duty scam. In these instances, instead of being told they missed jury duty, they’re told they’ve missed testifying as an expert witness. The doctors are told to make a payment to the scammers posing as police to avoid being arrested.

    The doctor from Cleveland who recently fell victim to a scam was targeted in a licensing scam. He received a call that claimed to be from the Ohio State Medical Board. The phone number on the caller ID even matched that of the Medical Board. The 57-year-old doctor was told his license was being suspended because he was being investigated by the FBI for money laundering. He was instructed to wire $20,000 to have his license reinstated. After the doctor wired the money, he called the actual Medical Board to see if the payment was received. That’s when he learned he had been scammed.

    It’s essential to recognize that scams don’t discriminate. They can infiltrate the lives of individuals from all walks of life, irrespective of their economic or educational background. Falling victim to a scam doesn’t reflect a lack of intelligence or judgment; it underscores the cunning tactics employed by fraudsters to exploit our vulnerabilities. By staying informed, vigilant, and sharing our experiences, we can collectively build a stronger defense against scams and protect ourselves and our communities from the pervasive threat they pose.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 21, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , ,   

    Scam victim arrested for scamming 

    Scam victim arrested for scamming

    By Greg Collier

    It’s a rare occurrence for a scam victim to be arrested for allegedly being part of a scam, but it does happen. Typically, it happens in the reshipping scam. In those cases, scam victims can be charged with a crime if they willingly falsify shipping documentation as directed by the scammers to bypass US customs. This isn’t a story about that, but it’s just as heartbreaking.

    A 71-year-old man from Des Moines, Iowa, fell victim to a police impersonation scam. It hasn’t been reported which police impersonation scam he fell for, but the scammers did pose as federal agents. It wasn’t enough to take the man’s money, as the scammers used him to pick up money from their victims. The man is said to have collected money from the scammers’ victims, and deposited the money to the scammers at a Bitcoin ATM.

    The regrettable part of this story is that even after being scammed himself, the man thought he was legitimately helping federal investigators. Des Moines police even warned the man what he was doing was illegal, but the man persisted anyway. The police say they had no choice but to arrest him. The man has been charged with money laundering.

    Protecting yourself from police impersonation scams involves being vigilant, informed, and cautious when dealing with any situation involving law enforcement or authority figures. Remember, legitimate law enforcement officers will not threaten you over the phone, demand immediate payments, or use aggressive tactics. Taking the time to verify the authenticity of any communication can go a long way in protecting yourself from scams.

    As one investigator said, “Unless you’ve got a police officer or a legit government official standing in front of you, I wouldn’t trust anybody on that phone.”

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 15, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Maui wildfires bring out the scammers 

    Maui wildfires bring out the scammers

    By Greg Collier

    In case you haven’t been following the news, the island of Maui in Hawaii has been experiencing the worst wildfires in over a century. And whenever there is a natural disaster of this scale, the scammers are sure to follow. In that vein, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is trying to get ahead of the scammers and has issued a warning not only to the residents of Maui, but also those looking to help the victims of the fires.

    The first type of scam the FTC is warning residents about is the FEMA impersonation scam. After natural disasters, scammers will often impersonate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to try to get personal information or money from victims of the disaster.

    Fraudsters masquerade as FEMA representatives and contact individuals, offering aid related to disaster relief or financial support.

    These impostors deploy a variety of tactics to target potential victims, utilizing means like phone calls, emails, text messages, or social media posts. They might assert that the person has been granted financial aid, or insist on the need for personal particulars to facilitate aid distribution.

    After winning the victim’s confidence, the scammers proceed to request sensitive personal and financial data, including Social Security numbers, bank account specifics, or credit card particulars. Additionally, they might solicit funds or persuade the victim to acquire gift cards under the guise of receiving assistance.

    In actuality, authentic FEMA representatives never solicit personal or financial details through phone calls or emails, nor do they ask for monetary contributions or gift cards as prerequisites for disaster relief. Should you receive a suspicious communication purporting to be from FEMA, it’s advisable to directly contact the agency to authenticate the legitimacy of the message.

    Then there are the charity scams, which almost always appear following a disaster like this. Individuals seeking to contribute to a relief fund should exercise caution when encountering phone or email solicitations from entities with generic names such as ‘Disaster Relief Fund’. If a charitable organization seems to be exerting undue pressure on you to donate, whether via phone conversations or online platforms, there’s a strong likelihood that they are operating as scammers.

    You have the option to verify a charity’s authenticity by visiting platforms like Charity Navigator and Give.org. These resources can provide insights into which charities are genuine and which ones should be approached with skepticism. Additionally, you can cross-check with the IRS to determine whether a charity is officially registered with them; this step significantly contributes to establishing the legitimacy of the charity.

    And please keep in mind, you can always donate money or blood to the Red Cross. This will not only help the people of Maui but the victims of other disasters as well.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc