Tagged: impersonation scam Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:01 am on September 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , impersonation scam, , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Counterfeit Cash, Timeshares, and more 

    Getting scammed after being scammed

    By Greg Collier

    Here we are bringing you another handful of scams that you should be aware of.

    ***

    We start off with a scam out of the state of Delaware. A restaurant in the state’s capital, Dover, received a call from someone posing as the U.S. Marshals Service. The caller told an employee that they received complaints that the restaurant had been giving out counterfeit money as change. The caller also said that they would be at the restaurant in 30 minutes to ‘inspect the cash’. The employee was even threatened by the caller, stating they were currently watching the restaurant. The employee called the actual police instead. We’re not sure what the endgame of this scam was, but keep in mind that law enforcement will never call you to tell you what they’re investigating.

    ***

    In the state of New York, the Attorney General’s office is having to deal with scam letters that were sent out posing as the AG’s office. The letters indicate that the recipient is entitled to money due to a debt settled over the sale of timeshares. The NY Division of Consumer Protection has come out to let the public know that these letters are fraudulent, even though they contain the state seal. If we had to hazard a guess, we’d say that the scammers were probably trying to get New York residents to pay a ‘service fee’ to get their supposed pay out. This is known as the advance fee scam. If you get a letter like this and have doubts to its authenticity, call the agency at a phone number on their website and not one that’s on the letter.

    ***

    Police in Grand Island, Nebraska, are warning residents about a number of complaints they’ve received about scammers posing as employees of Apple. The scammers are telling residents that there has been suspicious activity on their Apple accounts and that they need to remotely access your computer to resolve the problem. As you can guess, once scammers have access to your computer, they can take all the information from it, including your banking info if you use your computer for that. Monolithic companies like Apple will never call you to tell you there’s a problem. The same goes for Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. If you can’t even call some of these companies, they’re not going to call you. Anyone who asks you for remote access to your computer is almost always going to be a scammer.

    ***

    While these scams might not be happening to you now, they could in the future. Hopefully, you’re now prepared to recognize them.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: border patrol, impersonation scam, , ,   

    FBI: The Border Patrol is not coming to get you 

    FBI: The Border Patrol is not coming to get you

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, we’ve seen the Border Patrol scam target seniors almost exclusively. In this scam, the scammers would call up an elderly target posing as an officer from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The scammers claim that someone rented a car using the target’s identity near the Mexican Border, and the car was found with drugs in it. The target will then be informed that there’s now a warrant out for their arrest. However, the scammers will say they believe that the target’s identity has been stolen. They’ll just need a payment in some non-monetary form to supposedly secure the target’s identity. Without the payment, though, they’ll still be forced to arrest the target.

    The FBI is now warning citizens that there has been a dramatic increase in this scam, and it’s not just targeting the elderly. A reporter from Los Angeles recently received one of these calls. She knew it was a scam and played along with it anyway. It was a robocall that warned the recipient that CBP has seized a car registered under their name that contained illicit drugs. The reporter was then asked to press 1 to speak to a CBP officer. When the ‘officer’came on the line, the reporter said she knows this is a scam and wanted to know where the caller was from. The caller said he was from Afghanistan and threatened to blow up the reporter’s home. According to an FBI agent, there’s no evidence to indicate that the caller was from Afghanistan or that the threat was credible.

    As with most scams, the FBI recommends not answering phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize. In this case, the scammers used a block of numbers used by the reporter’s employer. So even if it looks like a local call, the number can be spoofed. Also, if you take a moment to think about it, the call makes less sense. No law enforcement agency is going to call someone that they’re supposedly investigating. Even if it was a case of stolen identity, and the car full of drugs existed, agents would want to speak to you in person. Lastly, you may also want to keep in mind that police or federal agents will never ask you for money over the phone.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impersonation scam, , , ,   

    FBI twist added to sweepstakes scam 

    FBI twist added to sweepstakes scam

    By Greg Collier

    Police in Oregon are warning about a new rash of sweepstakes scams or advance fee scams, as they’re sometimes known. In this scam, the scammers pose as a sweepstakes company, usually Publishers Clearing House since they’re the most well-known. The victim will receive a call, text or email telling them that they’ve won a big jackpot, except they need the victim to pay them taxes or a processing fee. Also, the victim needs to keep this matter private, so the local media supposedly doesn’t find out. These scams often target the elderly and when a victim pays once, the scammers will keep coming back for more. Now, scammers are using a new tactic to make sure the victim keeps paying.

    According to a report out of Oregon, the sweepstakes scammers make the victims pay by check. Once the scammers receive that check, they’re calling the victim back, posing as the FBI. The phony investigators tell the victim that the check they wrote was fraudulent. The scammer then threatens the victim with arrest if they don’t make another payment. Essentially, the scammers are combining two scams into on, the advance fee scam and the police impersonation scam. As you probably surmised, the police impersonation scam involves scammers posing as police, usually telling the victim they have a warrant out for their arrest, and that the victim needs to pay over the phone to make the warrant go away.

    Please keep in mind that you can’t win prizes from a sweepstakes you never entered. Plus, it’s also illegal for any sweepstakes to make you pay for any prize. As far as the FBI goes, no law enforcement agency will call you on the phone asking for money and threatening you with arrest if you don’t pay. The report from Oregon gives a great tip when it comes to police impersonation phone calls. Ask the caller for their phone number and tell them that you’ll call them back after speaking with your attorney. If they try to pressure you into staying on the phone, it’s more than likely a scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , ,   

    Your Venmo friend may not be your friend 

    Your Venmo friend may not be your friend

    By Greg Collier

    Payment and wallet apps like Venmo have been a great convenience for consumers. They can allow you to make payments to friends or make purchases without having to carry cash or a card that could be easily lost. As a modern society, we seem to be more protective of our phones than our methods of payment. However, we also sometimes seem to forego security over convenience, which has led to a number of these apps being used in scams. Venmo is not a stranger to these scams, but a new scam has emerged which may have Venmo looking at one of its features.

    In our opinion, the major drawback to using Venmo is that by default, your purchases and transactions are available on a public feed. That means anyone who knows your Venmo username can see who you’ve paid and where you’ve shopped. Scammers are well aware of this and are now creating Venmo accounts that look exactly like one of your friends’ accounts. The scammers will then contact their targets asking for money, and once that money leaves your Venmo account, it’s almost impossible to retrieve. Why this public feed is considered a feature on Venmo is beyond us.

    There are steps you can take to make your Venmo account more secure. The first thing you should do is make all your transactions private, which you can find the instructions for here. The second thing you can do is verify with your friends if they’re the ones actually asking you for money. That may require an awkward conversation depending on the situation, but that’s better than losing your money. You should only use apps like Venmo with people you know and verified merchants. Anybody else could be a security threat. Enable two-factor authentication to keep opportunists out of your account if they become in possession of your phone. Lastly, if you have the ability to do so, link a credit card to your account, as it will give you more protection than these apps offer on their own.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impersonation scam, ,   

    Your church isn’t calling to arrest you 

    Your church isn't calling to arrest you

    By Greg Collier

    One of the more common scams is the police impersonation scam. As you can probably guess, this is when scammers spoof the police’s phone number and try to convince you that there’s a warrant out for your arrest. The scammers will then pressure you into making a payment over the phone that they claim will make the warrant go away. Usually, they’ll ask for payment in nontraditional and untraceable means, like gift cards or cryptocurrency. It seems that people aren’t exactly picking up phone calls that purport to be from their local police department as much as they used to. Recently, scammers have changed one of their tactics to get their victims to answer the phone.

    In the Springfield area of Missouri, scammers have taken to spoofing the number of a local church to try to get their targets to answer the phone. Churches are no stranger to being used as part of a scam. Often, scammers will send out emails posing as a priest or pastor asking their congregation to buy them gift cards. However, in this instance, the scammers are still posing as police to threaten victims with arrest. While police are allowed to use a certain level of deception when conducting an investigation, It would be a huge PR nightmare for them if they posed as a church to make threatening phone calls.

    The arrest warrant scam at its heart preys on people’s lack of knowledge on how arrests actually work. No law enforcement agency is ever going to call you on the phone if you have a warrant out for your arrest. You might receive a notification in the mail, but more than likely you’ll be visited by the police in person. So, even if your church seems to be calling you, you can’t be arrested over the phone.

    We wonder how long it will be before scammers are able to spoof the numbers of your immediate family members. Once they can do that, almost no phone call will be able to be trusted.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , impersonation scam, , pet sitting, , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Pet sitting, Bitcoin, and Magazines 

    By Greg Collier

    Today, we’re bringing you another trio of scams that warrant your attention. This week, we have three scams that variants of other scams we’ve discussed.

    If you’re in college, or have a child in college, the Better Business Bureau is warning about a particular job scam. It appears that in both Florida and New York, college students are being offered part -time pet-sitting jobs for a pretty good wage. However, this is just a ruse to send the college student a fake check as payment. The students will be told to deposit the check, purchase some supplies, and return a portion of the check. While the bank will honor the deposit at first, they will eventually determine it’s fake and put the financial burden on the student since they were the one that deposited the check.

    ***

    In Northern Ohio, authorities there are reporting victims there are falling for a Bitcoin scam, but it’s more like the police impersonation scam. The scammers are posing as federal investigators who tell the victims that someone in Texas near the Mexican border has rented a car in the victim’s name and a large cache of illegal drugs were found in the car. In order to avoid arrest, the victim is told to pay a substantial amount of money. Previously, the scammers would have victims mail cash or buy gift cards. In this case, the scammers are instructing victims to make payments through Bitcoin ATMs, which we’ve previously discussed here. No law enforcement agency is ever going to threaten you with arrest if you don’t make a payment in cryptocurrency or other untraceable means of payment like gift cards.

    ***

    Lastly, in Rhode Island, an alert FedEx clerk saved a man from falling for a scam that could have cost the victim thousands of dollars. When the clerk asked about the man’s shipment, the man claimed it had $500 worth of old magazines in it. The clerk was suspicious and was worried that the man was being scammed. With a manager’s approval, the clerk opened the package and there was $15,000 worth of cash inside. While the news report doesn’t say what kind of scam the man had almost fallen for, the man said that he was promised a bigger payout if he mailed the cash. This sounds an awful lot like an advanced fee scam or sweepstakes scam where that victim was told to send cash intertwined in the pages of magazines. Remember, that you don’t have to pay any fees for a prize like that. Taxes for such prizes are usually figured out later.

    ***

    Hopefully, these scams don’t come to your area, but now you’ll be prepared if they do.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , impersonation scam, ,   

    NY warns the boss scam is back 

    NY warns the boss scam is back

    By Greg Collier

    With the Delta-variant of COVID-19 causing so many new outbreaks, a lot of employees are going back to working from home. Many other employees never even returned to the office and retained their work at home positions. However, due to the most recent outbreaks, a scam targeting work at home employees has been on the rise again, at least according to the state of New York, and if it’s happening in New York, you can bet it’s only a matter of time before it starts hitting other parts of the country.

    While it’s not a new scam, the Empire State is warning work at home employees to be wary of any emails or texts you receive from your boss asking you to buy gift cards. The messages will appear like they’ve come from a high-ranking official from within your company, but the address and phone numbers on these messages can be spoofed. You’ll be asked to buy a bunch of gift cards for a ‘business emergency’ and then you’ll be instructed to give the numbers to the scammer posing as your boss.

    There’s another version of this scam that’s even more costly. In some cases, employees that work in accounting departments, human resources, or accounts payable have been asked to cut checks to scammers or switch bank accounts to a scammer’s account.

    When it comes to dealing with corporate funds or corporate purchases that seem out of the ordinary, take the time to verify with either your direct supervisor or the person who’s supposedly sending the messages with a phone call. While it may seem like an inconvenience to some, it’s better than losing a bunch of your company’s money. Also, keep in mind that no legitimate business will make payments to anyone with gift cards. As we are fond of saying, gift cards are the currency of the scammers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , ,   

    The jury duty scam is becoming more sophisticated 

    The jury duty scam is becoming more sophisticated

    By Greg Collier

    As we have previously mentioned, the jury duty scam is probably one of the most prevalent scams going on out there today. As you may know, scammers will call their victims posing as local or federal authorities. The scammers then tell their victims that they missed jury duty and there’s a warrant out for the victim’s arrest. Then the scammers ask the victim for money, so the victim can avoid arrest. Like most scams, they’ll ask for payment in virtually untraceable ways like money transfers, gift cards, and cryptocurrency.

    The first tip off that this may be a scam is the fact that the scammers are calling you. If you actually missed jury duty, you would receive a summons in the mail from whatever court you were supposed to be reporting to. It seems that enough people have caught on to the jury duty scam that the scammers are changing their tactics, and it begins with a letter in the mail.

    According to law enforcement in the state of Oklahoma, residents have been receiving official looking documents in the mail telling residents that they’ve missed jury duty. However, the letters are being followed up with phone calls to the residents, with the scammers once again posing as law enforcement and threatening arrest. They’re then telling the residents that they need to pay a fine right then and there over the phone.

    The phone call is the tell because law enforcement will never call you to threaten you with arrest, and court fines are not paid over the phone.

    If you receive one of these letters or a letter like this, call the agency or office in claims to be from. Don’t use any phone number that may be listed on the documentation. Those could lead you directly to the scammers. Instead, get the phone number from the agency’s or office’s website. It should be listed on their ‘contact us’ section.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , , , , ,   

    Woman poses as man in $500,000 romance scam 

    $4,000,000 stolen in romance scam

    By Greg Collier

    One of the earliest memes that shows the anonymity of the internet was not even first published on the internet. It was from one of the famous cartoons in New Yorker Magazine from 1993. It was a cartoon of a dog sitting at a computer talking to a smaller dog while saying “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”. 28 years later, that cartoon is still relevant. Even today, when many people are using their real names on social media, you can still slip into a false identity just about anytime you want. For one woman from South Carolina, her online persona was that of a male Texas oil rig worker for the purposes of a romance scam.

    The 68-year-old woman recently pleaded guilty to elder abuse and theft. She posed as the oil rig worker on Facebook and approached a 74-year-old widow from Wichita, Kansas. After the scammer convinced the woman to be in an online relationship, the money requests started coming in. The phony oil rig worker told the widow that ‘he’ wanted to live with the widow when he retired, but needed money. The widow eventually sent multiple cashier’s checks that totaled $532,000. The widow’s family told her she was being scammed, but she didn’t want to believe it. When investigators finally caught up with the scammer, the scammer claimed the checks were for a business arrangement.

    Anybody on the internet can tell you they’re an oil rig worker, that doesn’t necessarily make it true. The position of oil rig worker is often used in romance scams because it’s difficult to verify and gives scammers a reason to not communicate by phone or meet in person. The same can be said for a military member who says they’re stationed overseas or an international businessman.

    This story also dispels the stereotype of the overseas scammers, who tend to be young and male. A scammer can be from anywhere, including your own neighborhood.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: impersonation scam, , , ,   

    Law enforcement scam claims to give you money 

    Law enforcement scam claims to give you money

    By Greg Collier

    Police impersonation scams are probably one of the most common scams out there. We’ve seen scammers imitate everyone from your local sheriff’or police department to federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency. The scams are generally the same, however. The impersonators will threaten you with arrest if you don’t pay them to resolve some imaginary indiscretion. Usually, this involves some nontraditional form of payment like gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency. Now, we’re seeing a law enforcement agency being used in a typical scam along with a not so typical scam.

    Some scammers are now said to be posing as agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In a familiar sounding scam, the phony Border Agents will call their victims and tell them that they’ve intercepted a package that was addressed to the victim. It will then be claimed that the package contained drugs or some other illicit substance. In some cases, the scammers are asking for personal information to ‘verify’ who you are. This is done to steal your identity. In other cases, you’ll be asked to pay the phony agents to avoid arrest. In both cases, you’ll be threatened with arrest if you don’t comply.

    In a twist on the police impersonation scam, some scammers are posing as CBP Agents to tell you that they’ve intercepted a package that contains a large sweepstakes prize for you. Rather than being threatened with arrest, you’re asked to pay a large fee to pay for special shipping labels. This is a new variation of the sweepstakes scam where scammers will typically ask you to pay a processing fee to receive winnings from sweepstakes that you probably didn’t even enter. These scammers usually claim to be from Publisher’s Clearing House instead of a federal law enforcement agency.

    In either instance, a wary consumer needs to keep two things in mind. The first is that no real law enforcement agency will threaten you with arrest for not making a payment over the phone. The second thing is that you can’t win sweepstakes that you never entered. There’s really no such thing where someone is called out of the blue and told they’ve been chosen at random to win a big prize. That only happens in TV and movies.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel