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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lost pet scam, parole scam, ,   

    Scam Round Up: Lost pet scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: Lost pet scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    Our first story is a reminder about the shut-off scam. With the cold weather starting to descend on the country, shut-off scammers have ramped up their efforts. It’s gotten to the point where several major utility companies across the nation have warned their customers about it.

    The shut-off scam is when the scammers pose as your local utility company and threaten to shut off your service that day without an immediate payment. When the temperature drops, this can become a matter of survival for many, so they end up paying the scammers.

    Utility providers, such as electricity and gas companies, refrain from contacting customers directly and provide only a day’s notice before discontinuing services—a clear warning sign. Normally, these companies issue multiple warnings via mail before service termination. Additionally, legitimate utility companies never request payments in the form of gift cards, cryptocurrency, or through payment apps like Zelle and Venmo.


    Another scam that is targeting families with incarcerated loved ones involves fraudulent calls claiming to be from the Georgia Parole Board. Families have reported scammers requesting money for the release of their family member, asserting that funds are needed for an ankle monitor before the inmate can be released.

    One family recently lost $2300 to scammers thinking their son was being paroled. They paid the scammer through Cash App. Like police departments, parole boards will never ask for money, and especially not through Cash App.

    The Georgia Parole Board has issued a warning, emphasizing that they never make calls to families soliciting money. Residents of Georgia are urged to verify the current parole status of their family member by checking the official parole board website before taking any action.


    A woman from Tucson, Arizona, was warning her community after she lost her cat. Scammers called her posing as her local animal shelter. The scammers told her they had her cat, but she would need to pay to get her cat back. Then they told her that their computers were down, and they would send her a link where she would need to pay.

    Thankfully, she was suspicious and called her local shelter, who informed her they did not have her cat and the caller was a scammer.

    Ensure the safety of your pet by following these crucial steps. First and foremost, take your pet to the veterinarian to have them microchipped, which significantly enhances the chances of reuniting with them if they happen to wander off. When creating fliers or social media posts to find your lost pet, it’s wise to use your email address instead of your phone number to avoid potential exposure to scammers seeking to exploit your personal information. If someone claims to have found your pet, request a photograph as proof. Exercise caution if they then ask for money transfers or gift cards, as this is a clear indication of a scam attempt.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 4, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , lost pet scam,   

    Why you should never give code numbers to strangers 

    By Greg Collier

    Today, we have two scams, while having different paths of entry, they both have the same outcome. That outcome is to get you to give the scammers a brand new phone number in your name.

    The first scam is very popular on Facebook Marketplace. When someone lists something for sale, they’ll get a message from a scammer posing as an interested buyer. The buyer says they want to make sure they’re not dealing with a scammer, so they’ll ask for the seller’s phone number.

    The seller will receive a text message on their phone containing a six-digit verification code. The scammer will then try to convince the seller to share that code. But in reality, what these scammers are up to is creating their own Google Voice account linked to the seller’s number. Once they have that Google Voice number, they can carry out more scams, and the trail leads back to the seller instead of the scammer.

    Again, the second scam is similar but more distressing. In this version of the scam, the scammers will look for missing pet notices, either on social media or posted around town. The scammers will call the number listed and claim to have the lost pet from the notice. This time, the scammer will again have a code sent to the lost pet’s owner, and then the scammer will ask for the code to supposedly verify the owner’s identity. Instead, they’ll use that code to open a Google Voice account using the pet owner’s phone number.

    It’s crucial to never share online authorization codes with strangers who call you. These codes often provide access to your accounts and sensitive information. Scammers may pretend to be someone trustworthy, but giving them these codes can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and other security breaches. Always verify the identity of the caller independently and refrain from sharing any sensitive information, especially authorization codes, to protect yourself from fraud and cyberattacks.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lost pet scam, , , ,   

    Should you give a stranger an authorization code to get your pet back? 

    Should you give a stranger an authorization code to get your pet back?

    By Greg Collier

    Proving that they’re completely heartless, scammers will even try to scam people whose pets have gone missing. The most common lost pet scam is when the scammers claim they have your dog before asking you for money, either as a reward or as a ransom. In most cases, the scammers never had your dog and are hoping to catch you at a vulnerable time. More recently, we’ve seen a report about a new type of lost pet scam that online sellers have been the target of.

    In Ohio, The Better Business Bureau is warning about this scam, which is currently targeting local residents. One resident stated that she put up a social media post about her lost dog with her phone number attached. Within minutes of posting, she received a phone call from a California number. The caller said they had found the dog. However, in order to verify the owner, the caller said they would be sending a six-digit code through a text message and that the dog’s owner should give that code number to the caller.

    If you’re a frequent online seller, you may recognize this as the Google Voice scam. Google Voice is a service that allows you to have a second phone number. The second number is not only ted to your Google account, but it’s tied to your primary phone number as well. The six-digit code is an authorization code for when you sign up for Google Voice. If you give that code to a scammer, they’ll get a phone number they can use in future scams that is tied to your phone number. While this scam may not cost you any money, it can cost you a lot of inconvenience if the number gets traced back to you.

    If you ever lose a pet and someone has claimed to have found them, ask the caller for a picture of the pet. This way, you can verify if they really have the pet. If they give you an excuse like their camera is broken, it’s more than likely a scam. To help prevent scams like this, we recommend getting your pets microchipped, even if they’re indoor pets. You can never plan for when your pet may make a run for it.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , lost pet scam, ,   

    FBI warns about Google Voice scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Google Voice is a pretty cool service as it allows you to have a second phone number for free. One of the benefits of having a Google Voice number is that you can give it to stores and retailers who constantly ask for your phone number instead of giving out your primary phone number. Or, if you have multiple numbers such as work and home, you can have your Google Voice number ring both numbers. You can also put your Google Voice account on do not disturb, so any call to your Google Voice number will go straight to a voicemail message. However, as with many beneficial technology tools, scammers are using Google Voice to perpetuate more scams.

    The Google Voice scam tends to target people who are selling items online, especially through Facebook Marketplace. The supposed buyer will tell you that they want to verify that you’re not a scammer. To achieve this, a text message will be sent to your phone number with a six digit verification code. The scammer will then ask you to provide them with that code. What the scammers are really doing is setting up a Google Voice account for themselves that is attached to your number. They’ll then use that Google Voice number to perpetuate more scams, while that number can be traced back to you. It’s gotten so bad, not only has the FBI issued a warning about the scam, but the scammers are also targeting people who have posted about lost pets on social media.

    If someone you don’t know asks for a code that was sent to your phone, there’s a good chance that it’s an authorization code that scammers can use to wreak all sorts of havoc. They can be trying to get you to turn your bank account over to them, or you could be giving them access to any one of your online accounts.

    If you think you’ve fallen victim to this scam, Google has instructions on how to reclaim the number.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: lost pet scam, ,   

    Beware of people claiming they found your pet 

    Beware of people claiming they found your pet

    By Greg Collier

    During the pandemic, many families and households added pets to their lives in order to fend off the loneliness. Unfortunately, this has also led to many pets going missing. If you belong to any type of community group online, you may have noticed that this is not only an issue in your neighborhood but across the country as well. This has not gone unnoticed by scammers either as they will try to use your lost pet as a way to inject themselves into your life.

    In Missouri, a woman recently lost her dog and posted that he was missing on a community Facebook page. She received a text message from someone who said they had her dog. The person texting her then said “You know lots of people are fake. So at first I need to verify you from six digits code.” Thankfully, the woman did not respond to any code the texter might have offered. If she had, she may have lost control to any number of her online accounts. While the report we read didn’t elaborate what the code was for, it could have been a code that’s used to change passwords on online accounts. This could range from your email to your bank account.

    Some scammers will even claim that they’re holding your pet hostage. They’ll ask for money in the usual forms of scam payment such as gift cards, cryptocurrency, or money transfers. The odds are very unlikely they actually have your pet.

    Scammers love to take advantage of emotionally charged moments in someone’s life. They do this in hopes that their victim is not thinking clearly and a lost pet can definitely leave you emotionally strained. Keep in mind that if someone says they found your pet, ask them for a photo of the pet they found. While not 100% guaranteed to dissuade scammers it will go a long way in verifying of the pet is yours.

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