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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mail fraud, ,   

    FBI warns of scam letters sent in their name 

    FBI warns of scam letters sent in their name

    By Greg Collier

    The El Paso, Texas office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has issued an alert about scammers posing as their office. Letters are being sent to El Paso residents that are official looking and appear to be on FBI stationery.

    The letter claims it’s regarding an identity theft case that involves Bank of America. The letter goes on to state the recipient’s bank account with Bank of America has now been secured, but was suspected by US Customs and Border Patrol of being part of an identity theft scheme. The scam letter even contains warnings that it is sensitive material and should not be shared.

    The El Paso FBI Office states the scammers are trying to get victims to pay the scammers in cryptocurrency or other funds, but doesn’t explain how. If you take a look at a copy of the letter the FBI has released, it has the official contact information of the El Paso office on it, albeit signed by a fictitious special agent.

    Typically, when scammers send out letters impersonating an agency or business, false contact information will be included, so the recipient would call the scammer, and not the entity they’re impersonating. It could be that the FBI intentionally left that information off the letter, so people don’t call the scammers. Or, these letters could be followed up by a scammer’s phone campaign where they call the letter’s recipients, furthering their scam.

    Either way, it’s easy to spot that this letter is a fake, as the second time they print Bank of America, the bank’s name is not capitalized. Not to mention, many recipients probably don’t even bank with B of A.

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t say this reminds us of a popular phone scam. In that scam, the scammers will call a victim posing as either, the FBI, US Marshals, or Border Patrol. The scammers will tell their victims that a car rented in the victim’s name has been found along the southern border that contained drugs. The victim is typically threatened with arrest, but they can make the warrant go away if they just pay the fake officer or agent directly.

    Please keep in mind, no law enforcement agency will ever call you up or ask you for money, nor will they send letters. If you owe any kind of legal fine or court cost, that correspondence usually comes from the court and not the police.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cheating spouse scam, infidelity letter scam, mail fraud,   

    Scam letter accuses victim of infidelity 

    Scam letter accuses victim of infidelity

    By Greg Collier

    We try to keep our stories as family-friendly as possible. So, please excuse us if we verbally dance around certain topics. However, today’s scam was just too good of a story to pass up. It’s an old scam that predates the internet, and we’re pretty sure it was featured on multiple detective shows from the 1970s and before.

    It’s called the ‘infidelity letter scam’ or the ‘cheating spouse scam’. It typically involves sending a letter to a spouse, alleging that their partner is engaging in an extramarital affair. The scammer aims to create doubt, suspicion, and conflict within the relationship, often with the intention of extorting money or causing emotional distress.

    The letter may contain false evidence, fabricated details, or anonymous claims about the alleged infidelity. The scammer might demand a payment to keep the information confidential or threaten to expose the affair publicly if the recipient does not comply.

    This recently happened in a Houston, Texas neighborhood, where 10 residents have come forward saying they received these letters. In this instance, the letter was supposedly written by a woman named Gina. The letter also included a picture of Gina’s license and Social Security card as proof of authenticity. Unfortunately, whoever’s card they used is also a victim, as that person has a documented claim of identity theft.

    The letter goes on to ask for ‘a reasonable offer’ for the letter writer’s confidentiality. The money is supposed to go to the medical bills for the child the supposed cheating spouse had with the letter writer.

    Of course, the accusations aren’t true, but thanks to social media, it’s not difficult for scammers to find victims and write them by name.

    It’s important to be cautious if you receive such a letter. Seek evidence or clarification before making any decisions. If you suspect a scam, report it to the relevant authorities, such as local law enforcement, to help prevent others from falling victim to the scam.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , macOS, mail fraud, ,   

    Scam Round Up: Scammers entering seniors’ homes and more 

    By Greg Collier

    This week in the Round Up, we have an old scam that homeowners should still be aware of. We also have two new scams, with one of them having chilling implications.


    Do you know why we’re always talking about Windows pop-up scams and not Apple ones? It’s not because macOS is any more secure than Windows. It’s mainly because Apple only has 17.2% of the market share when it comes to computers. Essentially, it’s not worth it for scammers and hackers to target Mac users. That doesn’t mean that macOS is completely free of scams.

    Recently, at least one Mac user has reported getting a scam pop-up on their Mac. It was disguised as one of macOS’ notification pop-ups. It was even complete with the system settings icon. The pop-up says that your iCloud account has been hacked and asks the user to click here to remove the virus. Your iCloud account being hacked and having a virus are two separate things. Never click on anything that says click here now when it comes to potential security risks on your Mac.

    If history is any indicator, if you click the notification, you’ll either have malware injected into your device, or you’ll be taken to a scam site that will ask for your personal information.


    Minnesota’s homeowners are being warned about letters that tell them their home warranty is about to expire. These are scam letters which are trying to get you to divulge your credit or debit card information to the scammers. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, these scammers will try to tell you that they have some kind of arrangement with the mortgage company, HOA, or county deeds office.

    If you receive a letter like this, just dispose of it. If you’re looking to purchase a home warranty, always check for reviews and complaints to make sure the company is legitimate.


    Lastly, the residents of Pulaski County in Virginia are being warned of a disturbing scam that’s targeting seniors. Authorities there have reported that a number of seniors have had scammers showing up to their homes posing as agents of the state’s Department of Health. Once inside the home, the scammers are asking victim’s for personal information and taking pictures of the homes’ interiors.

    If someone like this approaches your home, always ask to see their identification. Also, don’t be hesitant to call police if they start pressuring you to enter your home.


    As always, just because these scams aren’t currently happening in your area, doesn’t mean they won’t come there eventually. Now you have the knowledge to protect yourself from them.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mail fraud, ,   

    New scam targets taxpayers 

    By Greg Collier

    In previous posts about tax season, we’ve warned our readers about the typical scams they might encounter. One of the tips we always give is that the IRS will never call or email you about your income tax return. Instead, the agency sends their notices through postal mail. But what if you got something in the mail that said you owed tax money? That’s what residents of Pennsylvania are having to deal with right now.

    Residents of the Keystone State have already started receiving letters in the mail which claim they owe the state a substantial amount in back taxes. Moreover, the letters residents are receiving threaten them with both wage garnishment and seizure of property if the bill is not paid. The letters are even labeled with “Final Demand for Payment”.

    All of these threats are part of common tactics used in most scams. First, the scammer wants you to have a sense of panic upon seeing the letter. They’re hoping to scare you into sending them a payment without doing any further research. Then the scammers increase the urgency of that fear by using threats of financial loss.

    If you receive a letter like this, don’t panic. Do your research. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, these letters are supposedly being sent by the ‘Tax Assessment Procedures Domestic Judgment Registry’. There is no such office or department in the state of Pennsylvania, or any other state for that matter. A quick Google search turns up a number of state complaints about this scam.

    Also, never call any phone number that may be included in the contents of the letter. That number will just be manned by scammers looking to intimidate you further into making a payment. Instead, go to your state’s Department of Revenues website to locate their direct contact information. They should be able to provide you with correct information about any possible tax balances.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 19, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , mail fraud, ,   

    Scam Round Up: Fake check scam targets lower income families and more 

    Scam Round Up: Fake check scam targets lower income families and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week on the round up we’re bringing you two scams that take advantage of the disadvantaged and one that can affect any business and its customers.


    The business email compromise scam is one of the more insidious scams. While it targets businesses, it’s usually the customers who lose the most. This is when scammers hijack a business’ email client and use it to deceive customers into making payments to the scammers. Typically, we’ve seen this when scammers convince homebuyers to send their closing costs to the scammers.

    More recently, scammers hijacked the email client of a roofing company in Florida. If you’ll recall, many Florida residents are still recovering from Hurricane Ian. The scammers sent emails to customers asking them to send their payments through the Zelle payment app. One customer lost $1800 to the scammers.

    If a business that you’re dealing with that you’re expected to make a large payment to, be wary if you’re suddenly asked to pay in nontraditional means. These can be payment apps like Venmo and Zelle, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency just to name a few. If you receive one of these emails, call the business to verify the payment request.


    Our next scam is one of the oldest scams out there and predates the internet. Residents in Pennsylvania have reported receiving letters in the mail that are promising them an inheritance. This isn’t just a tired plot device from old TV shows, and victims have fallen for this scam.

    One of two things typically happen with the inheritance scam. The victim is either asked to make some kind of payment to secure the inheritance, or they’re asked for their banking information. Either way, it can be a devastating financial loss for the victims, especially if they’re in desperate financial need.

    If you receive one of these letters, toss it in the trash. The odds that the letter is legitimate are slim. If you still think there’s an outside chance it might be real, check your family lineage first before making any payments.


    Our last scam is quite an insidious one. Scammers are sending fake checks to families in traditionally low-income areas. Victims are being told that they’re receiving a payment from UNICEF because of their income status.

    As with any fake check scam, the victims are being instructed to deposit the check and are being asked to send a portion of the payment to a third party. Some of the checks have been as much as $9600.

    If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ll know that the banks will allow the victims to access that money as a courtesy before the bank discovers the check is fraudulent. Then the victim is responsible for paying the amount of the check back to the bank. Meanwhile, the scammers make off with the amount that the victim sent to the third party.

    If you receive a check in the mail you’re not expecting, dispose of it. Especially if you’re being asked to send a part of it somewhere else. That can only end up as a substantial financial loss.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 11, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mail fraud, ,   

    New Social Security scam uses old form of contact 

    New Social Security scam uses old form of contact

    By Greg Collier

    For a few years now, there have been scams that threaten to suspend a victim’s Social Security number. In one of the more common instances of these scams, scammers will call their victims, posing as either law enforcement or the Social Security Administration. Typically, the scammers will their victims that their Social Security number was used in the commission of a crime. The scammers will often tell their victims that a car was rented near the Southern Border using their Social Security number and that drugs were found in the car. If the victims don’t pay an immediate fine, their Social Security number will be suspended and they could face possible prosecution.

    Before we get to the new version of this scam, we’d like to reassure our readers that none of these things can happen. A Social Security number cannot be suspended, and neither the police nor the SSA will ever call you to threaten you with arrest.

    As we said, typically this scam is done over the phone. However, a new version of this scam is using an older method of communication that makes the scam appear more legitimate. People have recently reported receiving letters in the mail that threaten them with the suspension of their Social Security number. The letters claim to be from the SSA and threaten the recipient with suspension in 24 hours. The letters go on to say that due to criminal activity in Texas, the victim’s Social Security number is involved in a multimillion dollar fraud. The letter then directs the recipient to call a toll-free number to settle matters.

    According to news reports, the letters contain clues that it’s a scam. For example, the letters aren’t addressed to anyone by name. The letters also use the European date format, which uses the date first and then the month. That’s not even taking into account that how can a number be suspended in 24 hours if the sender has no idea when the letter will get there?

    While the SSA does its legitimate communications through the mail, any letter that claims to be from them that comes off as threatening should be questioned. No recipient should ever call the phone number in the letter, as it will go to a scammer looking to steal the victim’s money and identity. Instead, call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mail fraud, , ,   

    Scam steals your mail without coming to your home 

    By Greg Collier

    Previously, we’ve discussed scams that involve stealing your mail from your mailbox. Check washing is a major problem with that. Scammers steal mail for a number of reasons, but mostly for identity theft reasons. Even junk mail can open an avenue into your personal information to scammers. However, there are some scammers who don’t even need to go to your home to steal your mail.

    The state of Wisconsin is warning its residents to be aware if they stop receiving mail at their homes. Scammers there are said to be using USPS’ change of address options to have victims’ mail delivered straight to the scammers. . Just about anyone can go to the post office and change someone’s mailing address.

    When someone does fill out a change of address form, the USPS sends a confirmation letter to the old address letting residents know that their mailing address is about to change. While you can check your mailbox every day, a lot of us aren’t home during the day, and scammers have been known to stalk their victims’ mailboxes and take what they need, this could include the confirmation letter.

    However, if you do receive the confirmation letter, and you haven’t changed your address, go to the post office immediately and report it.

    A good way to protect yourself from this scam is to switch to paperless banking and bills. Another good way is to sign up for the USPS’s Informed Delivery service. It’s free, and every day you receive postal mail, you’ll receive an email with pictures of your scanned mail letting you know what to expect in that day’s mail. That way, you can see if a change of address letter has been sent to you before someone can take it from your mailbox.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mail fraud, , ,   

    Anatomy of a job scam 

    By Greg Collier

    When we discuss the reshipping or repackaging scam, we often have to give generic descriptions of it. For example, the reshipping is a job scam that sounds like a real work from home job, but doesn’t actually exist in the workforce. Scammers will often post a work at home position online, that’s supposed to pay really well. The job entails receiving goods at the employee’s home, who inspects the good for damages. The employee is then supposed to ship the goods to a third party.

    As previously stated, this is not a real job. This is a way for scammers to send goods bought with stolen credit cards to a location that can’t be easily traced. More often than not, the employee/victim of the scam is often caught off guard when police show up at their home.

    However, thanks to the Better Business Bureau of Connecticut, we have the specifics of how one scam ring allegedly operated. A company that went by multiple names kept claiming they were based in Connecticut, while offering positions of a ‘shipping and packaging specialist’ or a ‘picker packer specialist’. This company offered $2400 a month for these phony positions. Employees were even required to log in to a company dashboard to report their hours. Victims didn’t even know they were being scammed until it came time to get paid, and the companies would just disappear.

    This scam can hurt its victims in a number of ways. The first way is that the victims are making plans for the money they think they’re going to be paid, such as paying their bills or rent. When that money doesn’t come, victims could now even be more in debt. Secondly, the scammers probably had their victims fill out legitimate looking applications and tax forms. Scammers could now easily steal the identity of their victims. Lastly, and most importantly, this scam could actually land a victim in jail. If a victim of the scam knowingly falsifies shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs, they could face jail time.

    If you think you may be a victim in a reshipping scam, there are steps you can take. If you’ve already received items, don’t mail them. Instead, contact the USPS Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mail fraud,   

    No mailbox is safe from these scams 

    By Greg Collier

    Police in several Massachusetts communities are warning residents about sending checks through the mail. Reportedly, checks that are being sent in outgoing mail are being stolen. This has led to an increase in check washing. If you’re not familiar with check washing, it’s when someone steals a written check out of the mail and dips it in a solution of chemicals to remove the ink. The now blank check is rewritten, so the thief can cash it for themselves. The check is usually rewritten for a much higher amount than it was originally written for.

    Typically, these checks are stolen out of home mailboxes when someone puts out their outgoing mail for the mail carrier to pick up. However, some check thieves will even try their luck with the blue USPS mailboxes we’re all familiar with, even the ones outside the local post office. These thieves will attach something adhesive to the end of string and fish mail out of the mailbox, hoping to find an envelope with a check in it. If they do find a check, it will then be washed before trying to be cashed or deposited. One Massachusetts police department even says that washed checks are often deposited at ATMs, since the machines can’t tell whether a check has been washed or not.

    There are a number of ways to protect yourself from check thieves. One way is to switch to electronic payments for your bills. In some cases, you don’t have to have the payment taken out automatically every month. Another way is to take your mail and drop it off inside the post office itself. This way if you still wish to pay by check you can, and the thieves have much less of a chance to steal it. Lastly, if you write several checks a month, you should do a regular review of your bank accounts. A daily check is ideal, but if you can’t do that, a weekly review might suffice. This will allow you to contact your bank faster if one of your checks is cashed by an unauthorized recipient.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: card shimmers, , , , , mail fraud, , , , , , , urban legend,   

    Scam Round Up: Red light tickets, Homeland Security texts, and more 

    Scam Round Up: Red light tickets, Homeland Security texts, and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week, we’re bringing you a plethora of scams from around the country that you may want to be aware of. You never know when they might come to your area.


    Some residents of Lauderhill, Florida, have reported receiving phony red light tickets in the mail. Typically, if a motorist runs a red light equipped with a camera, they will receive a ticket in the mail. However, these phony tickets have a few red flags attached to them. In one instance, the date listed on the ticket was February 30th. The tickets also had the insignia of the Fort Lauderdale police for an infraction that supposedly happened in Lauderhill. That’s not to say these phony tickets are harmless. Pictures of the recipient’s license plate appear on the ticket. Police believe the scammers are stalking their victims. If you receive a ticket like this, do not make any kind of payment requested. Instead, contact the police department the ticket is supposedly from to make sure the charge is not legitimate.


    Residents of the Houston, Texas area have said they’ve received an alarming text message. The text message claims that phones in the area have been hacked, and you’ll receive a call asking about your vaccination status. Supposedly, if you reply to the phone call, your banking information will be stolen from your phone. It doesn’t end there, though. The text message also claims the Department of Homeland Security is advising citizens to top off the gas in their vehicles and keep cash on hand because of the situation in Ukraine. So what’s the scam here? Well, we don’t think there is one. Instead, we believe that this is an instance of an urban legend. This incident hearkens back to the early days of the internet, when people would forward emails about untrue things like Bill Gates giving away a million dollars, or why you shouldn’t flash your high beams at a car that flashes you first. If you receive a text like this, check with legitimate sources first before proclaiming it as fact.


    Speaking of gas for your car. If you pay at the pump, you may often check the gas pump for card skimmers. These are devices that are attached to the card slot of the gas pump that steals your card information. Most people who do check do so by pulling on the card slot to make sure nothing comes free. However, according to the Better Business of Bureau of Nebraska, there is a new threat at the gas pump to worry about. These devices are called shimmers, and are virtually undetectable. They are paper thin devices that go in the card slot and can also steal your card information. To avoid this scam, you can pay inside the gas station or use a credit card, which has more protection than a debit card.


    Lastly, if you’re a customer of Verizon, you may have received a text message that looks like it came from your number. The text messages claim to be from Verizon and state that your bill is paid and to click a link to receive a gift. In some instances, customers were taken to a website that asked them for personal and financial information. In other instances, customers were taken to a Russian state media network. As always, you should never click on strange links from people you don’t know personally, and even then, you should still be suspicious. If you receive one of these texts, you should delete it immediately.


    We hope we’ve armed you with enough knowledge to protect you from these scams in the future.

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