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  • 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.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , ,   

    Social Security scams are still targeting seniors 

    Social Security scams are still targeting seniors

    Every once in awhile it’s beneficial to review some of the more common scams that are going on today. One of the most common scams are those that threaten to affect the Social Security benefits of senior citizens. Due to the fact that many seniors are on a fixed income, any threat to their Social Security could be seen as a threat to their very existence.

    How the scam typically works is the scammers will call a senior citizen and claim to be from either law enforcement or from the Social Security Administration themselves. They’ll tell their victims that someone has used their Social Security number in some type of crime. The most common crime they claim is that your number was used to rent a car in another state that was found to have illegal drugs in it.

    The scammers will then threaten that your Social Security benefits could be suspended. However, they’ll say that in order to prove your identity you can make a payment over the phone. This is when the scammers will ask for payment in some untraceable means, usually retail gift cards.

    This happened recently to a woman in Ohio. She was told that she needed to empty her checking account before it would be seized by the government. The scammers kept her on the phone the entire time she was buying Target gift cards. Scammers have started doing this to make sure that someone won’t warn them of the scam such as store clerks or bank employees. Before it was all over, she had sent $4000 to the scammers.

    Please keep in mind that the SSA will rarely call you. The only time they may call you is if you have an ongoing issue with your Social Security benefits where you have already spoken with them in the past. This is important because scammers often spoof the SSA’s phone number when calling victims. Most importantly, the SSA will never ask for any sort of payment over the phone and definitely not in gift cards.

    Again, we ask that if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:02 am on August 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, ,   

    New scam accuses you of heinous crime 

    New scam accuses you of heinous crime

    Police impersonation scams are nothing new. This is where scammers will call you posing as some form of law enforcement. In most cases, they’ll impersonate your local police department but there have been instances where scammers have posed as federal investigators. In all instances of the scam, the scammers are accusing you of having committed some type of crime before attempting to extort money out of you to make the problem go away. In previous instances, the crimes victims have been accused of are minor crimes like traffic violations or small misdemeanors. Now, some scammers are telling their victims that they’re accused of a much more serious crime.

    In King County, Washington, scammers are said to be calling their victims posing as the King County Prosecutor’s Office. The calls are even appearing on victim’s phones as coming from the Prosecutor’s Office phone number. The scammer then tells the victim that they’re being investigated for having inappropriate contact with a minor. Scammers often use fear to intimidate their victims into paying them and nothing is more fearful than being accused of such a reprehensible crime. The victims are then being told to wire $890 through Moneygram to have the charges dropped.

    As scary as this scam might be for some people, there are two simple clues that tip calls like this off to being a scam. The first is that the scammers are asking for money through Moneygram. Scammers often use wire services like Moneygram because once the money is wired it’s untraceable. The second clue is that you received a call in the first place. If you’re ever unlucky enough to be charged with an actual crime, police will never call you to let you know. Instead, they will show up at your home with a warrant or subpoena.

    If you ever receive a call like this, keep in mind that law enforcement agencies will never call you to collect money. Any type of fine that you may owe will always be collected through the mail or through the court system. Otherwise, it’s just a scam and you should hang up.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impersonation scam, , ,   

    Inheritance scam accuses you of being a terrorist 

    Inheritance scam accuses you of being a terrorist

    Residents just outside of Chicago are reporting receiving not only a scam email but some residents have reported receiving a scam letter in their mailboxes as well. In both instances, the scam threatens to have you arrested as a terrorist if you do not comply.

    The letter/email purports to be from the ‘Department of Homeland Security-ICE’ and demand that you send $580 in order to collect on an inheritance from the International Monetary Fund otherwise known as the IMF. However, if you don’t send your $580 within 48 hours, you will be assumed to be a terrorist, tracked down and arrested. The letter/email is then signed off by an officer of the ‘National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’. There’s even a phone number listed to call in Orange County, California. The scam is said to originate from an email address of ‘@homeland-ice.us’.

    Were you able to see what exactly tips the reader off that this is a scam? First off, if there ever was a warrant out for your arrest, you’re not going to receive an email about it or a photocopied email left in your mailbox. Secondly, any email from a federal government organization is going to come from a .gov email address. Anyone can purchase a .us domain name and it holds no governmental value. Lastly, there is no ‘National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’ in the United States. While we do have the DEA, there is no NDLEA which turns out is the Federal agency in Nigeria charged with enforcing that country’s drug policy. Which means that this scam is coming from overseas.

    While this scam may be humorous in its approach, it shows the prevalence of these impersonation scams. In too many scams, the scammer will pose as a member of some domestic law enforcement agency demanding money to make some perceived legal trouble to go away. Just keep in mind that no police force or law enforcement agency will demand money from you over the phone. If you do happen to owe some kind of fine, notices for that will always be delivered in the mail and won’t be a photocopied email.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, ,   

    Social Security scams continue to target the most vulnerable 

    Social Security scams continue to target the most vulnerable

    It seems like Social Security scams are an ever-present problem anymore. For many disabled and senior citizens, their Social Security benefits are their only source of income and for too many, it’s hardly enough to make ends meet. For these reasons, Social Security recipients are seen as easy targets by many scammers.

    We’re not saying that Social Security recipients are more or less likely to fall for scams, however, scammers can be very convincing when it comes to pressuring their victims into doing things they wouldn’t normally do.

    When it comes to Social Security recipients, scammers often pose as employees of the Social Security Administration itself. They’ll relay some phony scenario in which the victim’s Social Security benefits will be cut off if the victim doesn’t act quickly. Threatened with the loss of their only income, too many victims fall for this scam each year.

    Normally, the scammers are after one of two things. In some instances, they’re only looking for your personal information. We say only but the loss of personal information could lead to a world of problems down the line as anybody who had their identity stolen could tell you. Potentially, identity thieves could take out loans or open lines of credit in your name leaving you facing a mound of debt.

    The other trick scammers try to pull is to get you to pay some sort of fee to ‘restore’ your Social Security benefits. As has become the norm, the scammers will try to get you to pay them in either git cards, pre-paid debit cards, or wire services like Moneygram and Western Union.

    These scams have become such an issue lately that some state Attorneys General have issued warnings to their constituents.

    Please keep in mind that the SSA will rarely call you. The only time they may call you is if you have an ongoing issue with your Social Security benefits where you have already spoken with them in the past. This is important because scammers often spoof the SSA’s phone number when calling victims. Most importantly, the SSA will never ask for any sort of payment over the phone and definitely not in gift cards and the like.

    If you receive one of these phone calls, it’s recommended that you hang up right away. You can then call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to verify if there’s an actual issue or you could call the SSA’s fraud line at (800) 269-0271.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impersonation scam, ,   

    The Social Security scam that threatens arrest 

    The Social Security scam that threatens arrest

    There have been reports of another scam going around that targets senior citizens and something that many seniors rely heavily upon. Scammers are posing as the FBI and threatening seniors with either discontinuation of their Social Security benefits, arrest, or both. This scam is largely done in order to get frightened seniors to pay to make fictitious criminal charges go away.

    Recently, reports have come from multiple states where scammers will call seniors posing as FBI agents. The scammers are able to make their phone number appear as if the call is coming from the local FBI office. The scammers will then tell their victim that their Social Security number has been linked to a crime. One of the more common claims the scammers will use is that someone rented a car in the victim’s name which was connected with a major crime. Often the scammers will say that drugs were found in the car as well.

    The scammers will then use this ruse to tell their victim that their Social Security number has been suspended and that the victim would need to pay to get it reinstated. This is where the scammers will ask for payment in their favorite form of currency, gift cards. They’ll instruct the victim to buy an astronomical amount of gift cards and then give the scammers the numbers from the back of the cards.

    Now, you may say that you could never fall for a scam like that. However, many scammers have such a fine-tuned operation that they make the scenario seem more than believable. In many cases, it’s not just one person calling pretending to be a federal agent. Often they’ll keep transferring the victim from one person to another who are all claiming to be part of the FBI while they use psychological tactics to scare the victim into making the payment. These payments are often tallied in the thousands of dollars.

    However, there is always a way these scammers tip their hands and that’s asking for the money in gift cards. We can’t stress enough how often gift cards are not only involved in this scam but also in most scams that happen today.

    If anyone is claiming to be from the government, a utility company, a hospital, or anyone else trying to collect a payment and they ask for a payment on gift cards, it’s almost a certainty that they’re a scammer.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: freedom to breathe card, Global Empowerment Fund, government scams, impersonation scam, , , ,   

    Government impersonation scams 

    Government impersonation scams

    Recently, we’ve heard of three new scams where the scammers are impersonating either the federal or state government. Scammers often imitate various government agencies in order to make their pitch seem more authentic. However, the impersonations are never perfect.

    The Federal Trade Commission is warning citizens about an email phishing scam that is using the agency’s name. The emails claim that you’re eligible to receive funds from the “Global Empowerment Fund” due to the current pandemic. All you need to do to get the money is to provide your bank account information and the money will appear in your account. While the FTC hasn’t said if anyone has fallen for this scam, it’s a safe bet to assume that your bank account will be drained rather than receive extra funds if you were to provide your banking details.

    With the current controversy over whether or not you should wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus, scammers are selling cards that claim to make someone exempt from having to wear a mask. The idea is that you present this card to a business that requires the wearing of masks and you’ll be allowed in without a mask. The card claims amnesty under the Americans with Disability Act and has a fake Department of Justice logo. While these cards may appear official they have no legal authority and no business is required to abide by them.

    Lastly, we have a scam on the state government level. In Michigan, residents there are reporting receiving text messages that claim to be from the state. The messages say that they can reunite the recipient with unclaimed property. The messages then provide a link for you to click on. As always, you should never click on links in text messages from someone you don’t know. Now, unclaimed property is something that most states hold on to. However, in most cases, you have to pursue the state to claim any such assets. Usually, you can start the process through a state website. Very rarely will the state contact you and if they do they wouldn’t do it by text message. If you receive a text like this the best thing to do is delete it.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , , ,   

    Police impersonation scams on the rise 

    Police impersonation scams on the rise

    Within the past few weeks, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of news articles about police impersonation scams. This is where scammers will pose as your local or state police and try to pressure their victims into making a large payment under the threat of arrest. The scammers will often call their victims and make the phone number look like they’re calling from the police department.

    These scams can take a number of forms. One of the most infamous ones is the jury duty scam. This is where the scammers will call you up and tell you that you missed jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. Then they’ll tell you that the warrant can be withdrawn if you just pay them a fine over the phone. Sometimes the scammers will just say that you have a warrant out for your arrest and will forgo the jury duty angle. Other times, the scammers will just say that you owe a fine.

    What all of these scams have in common is that the scammers will try to pressure you into making a payment right away and over the phone. Police departments do not call people to tell them that they have warrants or owe fines. You will almost always receive that information by mail if it is legitimate. Scammers, on the other hand, will try to get you to make a payment either through gift cards or wire transfer. If you weren’t sure if a call you received from someone claiming to be the police was a scam or not, the gift cards should be a dead giveaway as no government agency accepts them as payment. As we have said in the past, gift cards are the currency of scammers due to the fact the cards can be emptied remotely and anonymously.

    If you receive one of these calls, just hang up. Don’t even engage with the scammers. However, you are asked that you report the calls to your local police.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , impersonation scam, , ,   

    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.

     
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