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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit, , , ,   

    Victim sues banks for failing to prevent $500K loss 

    Victim sues banks for failing to prevent $500K loss

    By Greg Collier

    A 74-year-old woman from Hilton Head, South Carolina, is suing three major financial institutions for allegedly failing to prevent large transactions of hers being used in a months long scam. But before we get to that, please read how scammers tormented this poor woman.

    It started out when she received an email that appeared to come from PayPal. In actuality, it was a phishing email which said her account had been hacked. The email also offered customer service software that could prevent her account from being hacked. The software was actually malware that allowed scammers to take control of her computer.

    This allowed the scammers to access her bank accounts and take thousands of dollars from her. They also convinced her to withdrawal large sums of money and convert it to cryptocurrency to send them. This occurred through most of 2022.

    The victim’s son received a surprise anonymous text where he was warned by scammers that the last of his mother’s money was about to be stolen. It seems even scammers can have a change of heart. The son even received texts about how much information they had on his mother, including logins for close to a dozen of the woman’s online accounts.

    Her son then went out and bought her a new phone with a new number, and it wasn’t long before the scammers started contacting her through the new phone.

    The woman is now suing PayPal, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo for not better protecting consumers. The suit alleges all three corporations “failed to take corrective actions” while the fraud took place, which included large in-person transactions. According to the suit, the large transactions were never questioned.

    What do you think? Are the banks partially responsible for not putting a stop to these transactions? Or is the elderly woman just an unfortunate victim?

    Since this all started with the victim downloading malware from an email, it’s a good time to remind our readers not to click on any suspicious links from emails, even if they’re from a company you do business with regularly. That email may not actually be from that business. Instead, login directly into your account and address any issues from there.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 23, 2023 Permalink | Reply
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    Are retailers responsible for gift card scams? 

    Are retailers responsible for gift card scams?

    By Greg Collier

    We can’t hear the term ‘git card’ without almost immediately thinking of scams. They’ve become synonymous with scams, since they’re often used as a form of untraceable payment in a vast number of scams. Gift cards can also be the scam itself.

    One common gift card scam is when scammers visit stores to capture the information from the back of gift cards. They patiently wait until someone loads money onto the cards, and then use the funds for their own purposes, leaving the cardholders at a loss.

    Another version of that scam is when gift card scammers frequently visit different stores and scratch off the security strip from the card. They then take note of the card number and replace the security strip with a sticker.

    What both scams have in common is that the scammers need to go into the stores themselves. Because of this, some believe the retailers that sell the cards are partially responsible for when the funds are stolen from the cards. 21 states have filed a class action lawsuit against the Target retail chain, accusing Target of knowingly selling compromised cards. Does the lawsuit have merit? Possibly.

    Retail stores almost always have gift card kiosks out in the open, where potentially anyone could interfere with the cards’ validity. Some advocates have called for the cards to be kept behind counters or in vending machines.

    However, until that day comes, there are ways to protect yourself from buying a faulty gift card.

    To avoid falling victim to gift card fraud, there are a few precautions you can take. Firstly, always inspect the back of the card to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Check a handful of cards from the rack to make sure they are similarly marked on the back, as scammers often place tampered cards up front to get the money quicker. When purchasing a card, consider buying one from the middle of the pack instead.

    It’s also advisable to pay for gift cards with a credit card whenever possible. Credit cards offer better protection against loss than cash or debit cards.

    If you do happen to receive an empty card, you can try contacting the customer service number on the back of the card. However, be aware that it is unlikely they can recover the lost funds or offer a refund.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 27, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit, ,   

    Scam victims sue bank for failing to protect accounts 

    By Greg Collier

    In the past year or so, some of the nation’s largest banks have been notoriously ambivalent when it comes to helping their customers who have been scammed. For example, many of the victims who were scammed through Zelle have been told their money can’t be recovered since the customer authorized the transfer. Although, some of the victims have gotten reimbursed after going to their local media.

    One bank that seems particularly obstinate in helping their customers is Chase bank. A number of incidents have been reported in the media lately where Chase customers have been scammed in a similar way to the Zelle scam. Chase customers have reported receiving phone calls that appear to come from Chase, but are spoofed calls from scammers. The scammers tell the customer there’s been some kind of fraudulent activity on their account before getting the customer to transfer the money in their account to the scammer. This is typically done through the guise of ‘protecting’ the customer’s account. Not only has Chase refused to assist some customers, but in at least one instance have accused the customer of being the scammer themselves.

    Now, two customers from the Dallas area have decided to take Chase to court. One of the customers lost $51,000 in a tech support scam. She went to her local Chase branch for assistance, and they allegedly told her that the transfer was caught in time, and she won’t lose the money. A few weeks later, the money was gone from her account.

    The other victim lost $3500 to a fake Chase representative who also claimed they were trying to protect the account. This caller was said to have the customer’s account information already. Like the first customer, she went to her local Chase branch and closed her account and opened a new one. She was told the bank would launch a fraud investigation. A week later, she was told the claim was denied since she authorized the transfer.

    So, even after notifying the bank of the scams and being told the transfers have been caught, Chase allegedly failed to protect their customers. Instead, they’re unintentionally, at least, supporting the scammers.

    While you may have been a loyal customer to your bank for decades, these days, most of us are just numbers to them. They’re not in the business of trying to protect you. If you receive a call from your bank asking about fraudulent charges, hang up, and call them back at their customer service number from the back of your debit card. If you receive a text message, don’t respond. Instead, call your bank or go to your local branch.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Scam Round Up: New scam targets veterans and more 

    Scam Round Up: New scam targets veterans and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week in the Round Up, we’re bringing you three scams that might not be affecting you now, but you should be aware of.


    Our first scam has to be more than distressing to its victims. Scammers are targeting the families of inmates who are incarcerated in a county jail in Alabama. The scammers are posing as jail employees, telling the families that their family member has died in custody, when it isn’t true.

    From what we’ve researched, this is not a common scam, but has happened before. However, we couldn’t find any information on what the scam is hoping to achieve, since the scammers have not asked for any kind of payment. If we had to hazard a guess, we’d say this might be some kind of identity theft ploy.

    According to the local sheriff’s department, if an inmate were to die in custody, the family would be informed by the coroner’s office. If you have a family member who is incarcerated, you may want to find out what the procedure is for that jurisdiction.

    Sadly, this is not the only scam the family’s of inmates have to worry about. They are often targeted by scammers who promise their family member better privileges or an early release. These scams often ask for money. Someone receiving these offers should always check with the institution first to see if these programs are actually available, and should never give anyone their personal information over the phone.


    It always seems like social media has a never-ending stream of scams to deal with. It also seems that the short-form video platform TikTok is no exception. Lately, they’ve been dealing with a string of videos where scammers claim they can help you make a profit investing in cryptocurrency.

    The videos usually have someone flaunting stacks of cash or other signs of wealth while promising to make the viewer money. However, this is just a variation of the money flipping scam that has plagued Instagram. The scammers will promise they can get viewers thousands of dollars if they just send the scammer a few hundred.

    The scammers end up keeping the money sent to them and often ask victims for more money using promises of returning even more profit to the victim.

    Cryptocurrency on its own is already flush with scammers. Unless you know the cryptocurrency market intimately and can afford to lose an investment, you shouldn’t let other people invest in it for you, especially people you don’t know personally.


    Recently, an act was passed into law that allows U.S. veterans and their family to sue the government if they were exposed to toxic burn pits at military bases. The Better Business Bureau is reporting that scammers are using this new law to their advantage by promising veterans and their families they can sue the government for them. Once they get the veteran’s money and information, the scammers disappear.

    Another scam targeting veterans is one where the scammers are posing as Veterans Affairs. Again, the scammers are after the veteran’s personal information for identity theft purposes.

    The VA recommends that if you received unsolicited communication from someone claiming to be from the VA, you should contact the VA through their website. You can also find if you’re eligible under the new law here.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Walmart sued over money transfer scams 

    By Greg Collier

    Before Zelle and cryptocurrency became all the rage among scammers, money transfer services were in vogue. In many of the scams we’ve detailed over the years, money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram were used to extort money out of scam victims. This was done because once a scammer collects the money from a money transfer location, they can disappear into the wind. This meant that once a scam victim sent their money to a scammer through one of these services, the money was gone and could not be recouped.

    This did not go unnoticed by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC sued both MoneyGram and Western Union for failure to protect their customers from scams and frauds. Both services were ordered to pay restitution to scam victims. As expected, the losses of both companies ended up being in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Now, the FTC has gone after the one company that has a MoneyGram or Western Union in each of its locations. That would be the retail giant Walmart. The FTC is suing Walmart, claiming the retail chain also did not do enough to protect their customers from money transfer scams. Walmart is accused of turning a blind eye to scams while collecting money for the transfer fees. In its complaint, the FTC claims Walmart did not properly train its employees and failed to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of using money transfers. The FTC is looking to have Walmart also pay restitution to scam victims.

    To be fair, when we do post about scams that involve money transfers, the victim is almost always instructed to use one of the services at a Walmart.

    In its defense, Walmart claims that the FTC has overreached its boundaries, considering they’ve already won lawsuits against both MoneyGram and Western Union for their failure to prevent fraud.

    What do you think? Is Walmart responsible for allowing scams to happen, or has the FTC done enough already? Please let us know in the comments.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit,   

    Apple sued for gift card scam 

    Apple sued for gift card scam

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve said many times in the past that gift cards are the currency of scammers. Scammers frequently try to get their victims to pay in gift cards, since the cards can be drained if their funds almost instantly. Rarely do gift card scam victims ever get their money back. The retailers who issue these gift cards typically say that there’s nothing they can do once the gift card is spent. However, an ongoing lawsuit may have retailers changing their tune.

    Apple is being sued in a class action lawsuit over their gift cards. Apple gift cards are highly sought after by scammers since they can use them to purchase high-end laptops and phones, then sell them for a profit. Although, the lawsuit claims that there is another use for Apple gift cards where Apple profits along with the scammers.

    The lawsuit contends that Apple profits from these scams since scammers will use the gift cards to buy an app from the Apple App Store multiple times. The scammers run these apps and get a large cut from their sale. In turn, Apple gets a 30% cut of those sales. Apple is accused of allegedly being in a position to return the ill-gotten funds to victims, but chooses not to. According to the suit, Apple holds 100% of those funds for 4-6 weeks before paying the app developer/scammer.

    Apple had been trying to have the suit dismissed, claiming that they have a refund policy printed on the gift cards that says no refund is possible once the card has been redeemed. Recently, a judge dismissed this claim, allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

    It will be interesting to see if Apple will be held liable. If so, it may change the gift card scam economy. But don’t think this will slow scammers down any. Many scammers have already stopped asking for money in gift cards and instead are now asking for money in cryptocurrency, most commonly Bitcoin.

    As always, the best way to avoid many of the gift card scams is to keep in mind that no legitimate business or agency will ask for payment in gift cards.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , lawsuit,   

    Should banks be held responsible when the elderly are scammed? 

    Should banks be held responsible when the elderly are scammed?

    By Greg Collier

    An interesting legal issue has arisen in Florida, and it deals with one of the more common scams, where the elderly are usually the targets. Of course, we’re talking about the grandparent scam where scammers call the elderly to tell them that one of their grandchildren is in trouble, and they need money. This scam has claimed far too many elderly victims. However, there have been instances where banks have intervened on their customer’s behalf. Some banks have trained their employees to ask their customers questions about large or frequent withdrawals if they believe the customer might be the victim of a scam. The issue at hand here is just how responsible banks should be when it comes to protecting their customers like this?

    An elderly woman in Tampa lost $700,000 to scammers who had convinced her that her granddaughter had been in a car accident and was in legal trouble. One of the scammers posed as her granddaughter and told the woman not to tell anyone else in the family. Another scammer got on the line posing as a local attorney. As most of these scams start out, the first request was for bail money. Then more requests came in stating that money needed to be paid to the people who were supposedly injured in the accident.

    This resulted in 13 withdrawals from her bank. In some instances, the victim was instructed to leave packages of cash for couriers to pick up. The bank did ask why the woman was withdrawing so much money, but she told the bank she was renovating her home and paying a contractor who preferred to be paid in cash. This is what the scammers told her to tell the bank if they started asking questions. It’s been reported that someone did call the state’s abuse hotline, but the woman was allowed to keep withdrawing large sums of cash after the call was made.

    The victim has since sued the bank for negligence. So what do you think? Did the bank do its due diligence, or should they even be required to do so? Or is this just an unfortunate collision of coincidences that allowed the scammers to prosper?

    • Wally 9:54 pm on October 20, 2021 Permalink

      I’m on the fence with this. I worked for a small bank for 8 years and really enjoyed my customers. However, one challenge that you always are scammers trying to customer’s money. Some people come into the back saying they need to withdraw X amount or do cashier’s checks to send people they don’t know.

      As a previous banker I would always ask multiple times why they are sending the money and to whom and try to deter them as much as possible and even get managers involved. Some customers [not all] will realize that it’s a scam while others will question you as the banker why you won’t give them their money so they can do what they want. I truly feel really sorry for anyone who is scammed out of their hard earned money. I have sometime refused to handle many transactions if a client refuses to take our advise.

      Banking is becoming more and more riskier everyday and I have seen it cripple some banks wit the losses they have suffer being in some installs they may have to reimburse their clients up to FDIC limits. But again, I think it’s TERRIBLE for the elderly or anyone to be scammed.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Debt can have an expiration date 

    Debt can have an expiration date

    Debt collection is an unusual business. In some states, you have to have a perfect credit record in order to work in debt collection. You’d think they’d hire people with bad credit since they’re the ones who know how to avoid collectors. It’s also not unusual for certain debts to be passed on from the initial vendor to a debt collection agency and then to other debt collectors down the road. So it may not come as much of a surprise that some of these debts end up in the hands of collectors who may not follow the law when it comes to trying to get money out of people who probably don’t have it.

    Debt collectors can sue you for any amount that’s been sent to collections. However, they only usually bother with lawsuits if they’re owed a substantial amount of money. On top of that, they have a limited window in which to file suit depending on the state. Due to the vast amount of debt some of these collectors have purchased, they don’t always meet the deadline to file a lawsuit. According to the Better Business Bureau, this hasn’t stopped some debt collection agencies from trying to collect on debts by threatening lawsuits even though the statute of limitations has been reached.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2VFeQgZ0-w%5D

    Each state has its own statute of limitations. So before you agree to any kind of payment, not only should you check to make sure the debt is legitimate or not, but you should also make sure if the statut of limitations has been reached. In many states, if a collector is threatening to sue you after the statute of limitations that can be considered as harassment. Sadly, that’s not the only underhanded tactic that some debt collectors use. Maybe in the future, we’ll have more posts about how to protect yourself from underhanded debt collectors.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit, Match.com, ,   

    Dating site sued over romance scams 

    Dating site sued over romance scams

    We’ve talked about romance scams a lot lately. We’ve mostly discussed how to recognize a romance scam and how just about anyone can find themselves as a victim in one. We’ve even touched on the legal ramifications romance scams could have for both perpetrators and victims. What we haven’t talked about is what the law is doing to try and prevent these scams outside of arresting a handful of scammers. Now, the Federal Trade Commission seems to be getting serious about them by going after one of the major platforms where romance scammers find their victims.

    Dating sites are one of the biggest online services where romance scammers troll for their victims. One of the biggest dating platforms online is Match.com. The FTC is suing Match over alleged dubious business practices that have allowed romance scams to flourish on Match. The FTC says that Match is aware that close to a quarter of all Match profiles may be fraudulent with many of them allegedly being used to run romance scams. The FTC claims that not only did Match know these profiles were fraudulent but left the profiles on their platform to attract other users to their service. Match is a paid subscription service and you can’t communicate with other members without signing up for a subscription.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cihtDOElatM%5D

    Of course, Match has denied the allegations. They had a chance to settle with the FTC a while ago for $30 million and a chance to clean up their act but Match rejected the offer. The problem with dating sites and apps whether they’re free or paid is that they’re filled with fake profiles. Whether it’s to attract new users or the users are actively trying to catfish the new members, online dating services are rife with con artists and frauds. Loneliness can be a heavy cross to bear and it can impair your judgment when it comes to accepting a new romantic interest into your life. While the heart wants what it wants, you should also listen to your gut. Once again, the FTC has a website about how to recognize a potential romance scam.

  • Geebo 8:06 am on July 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit, University of Chicago Medical Center   

    Did a major hospital expose medical records to Google? 

    Did a major hospital expose medical records to Google?

    Last week, The University of Chicago Medical Center and Google had a class action lawsuit filed against them. The suit contends that when the Medical Center entered into a partnership with Google it allegedly exposed hundreds of thousands of medical records to the search giant. At the heart of the lawsuit is the allegation that the medical records provided to Google contained identifiable patient information which violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA as it’s better known.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY1l5s8ED5c%5D

    According to reports, The University of Chicago Medical Center entered into this partnership with Google in order to assist with Google’s artificial intelligence researchers. The researchers are looking for a way to help doctors better diagnose patients with the help of AI. The medical records provided to Google were said to be stripped of all identifiable information which is permitted under HIPAA. However, the lawsuit claims that the dates of service the patients were seen at the medical center were contained within the medical records. The law firm that has filed the suit states that Google could easily identify a patient with just the dates they were seen because of their knowledge of their users’ search histories.

    So is this a legitimate concern or is this a frivolous lawsuit filed by a paranoid patient? While theoretically, it could be possible for Google to determine a patient’s identity through the records received and their own resources it doesn’t make sense for them to do so. Google has an incalculable number of users and many of them don’t even sign into Google when using the service for search. It also makes no financial sense as Google would not only be open to lawsuits like this but the wrath of the government as well. HIPAA violators tend to be fined very heavily and right now, the government and Google aren’t exactly on the best of terms. So until there is better evidence that Google acted maliciously, it appears that your medical records are currently safe.

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