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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: free piano scam, , , movers, , ,   

    Scam Round Up: The free piano scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: The free piano scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week in the Scam Round Up, we have the reemergence of an old scam, a new twist on an old scam, and scam we’ve not heard of until now.

    ***

    As our readers know, gift cards are being used in all manner of scams. Often, the advice about gift cards is to only use them for gifts. But even then, you can still be scammed. In Centennial, Colorado, a woman purchased a gift card in the amount of $500. However, no funds appeared on the card. A scammer had replaced the barcode on the back of the gift card with sticker. The sticker had a barcode that redirected the $500 to a card the scammer had bought. When buying gift cards, check the card for tampering before taking it to the register. You should also take the cards from the middle of the stack as they are less likely to be tampered with.

    ***

    Another scam our readers should be aware of is the arrest warrant scam. This is where scammers will pose as your local police department or sheriff’s office. Typically, the scammers call their victims and threaten the victims with arrest. In the majority of cases, the scammers will say that the victim missed jury duty, but other fake infractions have also been used. The scammers tell the victim that they can avoid arrest by paying a fine over the phone. Again, scammers usually ask for these payments in gift cards.

    One county in Northeastern Pennsylvania is receiving these threats in the mail instead of over the phone. The letters appear to be an arrest warrant from a federal court. The letter also says the arrest is on hold for 24 hours and can be avoided by purchasing gift cards.

    As always, no law enforcement agency in the United States accepts gift cards as payment.

    ***

    Lastly, we have the scam we’ve not heard of before which is saying something. It’s called the free piano scam. Have you ever seen an online ad for a free piano? They’re out there. It seems really plausible when someone says they have a piano that no one uses, and they just want to get rid of it. As with most things that are too good to be true, there’s a catch. If the seller says that the piano is on a moving truck and the buyer needs to contact the moving company, there is a scam afoot. The scam is when the moving company asks the buyer for money to have the piano shipped to them. Once the buyer sends the money, the movers disappear with the money.

    If you’re in the market for a piano and find an ad for a free one, unless you pick it up yourself, or hire your own movers, it’s best left alone.

    ***

    While these scams may not be currently appearing in your area, it could be a matter of time before they are. But now, you’ll be ready.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , movers,   

    New scam targets online sellers 

    By Greg Collier

    If you sell something online, there are a number of scams that you have to look out for. One of the most common ones is the fake check scam. In this scam, scammers will feign interest in whatever you’re selling before sending you a check for more than the price you were asking. They’ll claim a mistake was made and will ask you to deposit the check and send them the overage amount. It’s typically not until the seller sends back the overage that they find out the check was fake. At this point, the seller becomes responsible for the entire amount of the check, plus any service fees to their bank. Meanwhile, scammers make off with the amount that the seller sent them.

    According to a report out of New England, scammers are using a new ploy to try to get online sellers to deposit the scammers’ phony checks. Some scammers are said to be targeting people who are selling high-end items of larger sizes. For example, a couple from Maine were trying to sell living room furniture on Craigslist. The scammers said they would need to hire movers to pick up the furniture. The sellers were sent a cashier’s check and were told to hire the movers themselves using the overage from the check. The movers the scammers told them to use were said to also be in on the scam. That likely means that the movers don’t even exist and are just a part of the scam. Thankfully, the couple did not fall for the scam.

    Anytime you’re dealing with an online marketplace, there are a few good rules to follow to avoid being scammed. You should really only deal with people who are local. Scammers will often give excuses as to why they can’t meet in person, such as being from out of state. Only accept cash, as most other forms of payment can be manipulated in such a way that a seller may receive no payment at all. Lastly, whenever it’s feasible, make the transaction at your local police department. Again, while it’s not a guarantee you won’t get scammed, meeting at a police department will go a long way in discouraging not only scammers but other bad actors as well. Many police departments now have designated areas for making such an exchange.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: movers, , , ,   

    New moving scam dumps your belongings 

    By Greg Collier

    It wasn’t too long ago that we discussed a moving scam that was taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina. In that scam, illegal moving companies would pack up a person’s belongings, but instead of delivering them to their destination, the con artists would hold the belongings hostage under the pretense of needing additional fees. Now, a similar scam has appeared in the Seattle area, but it seems that the scammers are more interested in quick cash than a long con.

    A woman in King County, Washington was recently taken in one of these scams. She was moving some of her items to another property in Austin, Texas. She had enlisted the services of a moving broker, bur right as she was about to board her flight to Austin, the broker switched to a new moving company. The woman had previously paid the movers with a cashier’s check. The woman arrived in Austin, but her belongings never did. Both the movers and the broker would give excuses before cutting off all contact with her.

    King County Sheriffs believe that her belongings may have been abandoned in a storage unit somewhere in the area. This gives the thieves the opportunity to dump their cargo, so they can immediately move on to another victim. Rather than extortion or trying to sell stolen goods, the illegal movers seem to be more interested in getting the payment more than anything. They tend to ask for payment in cash or cashier’s checks, so the money is virtually untraceable.

    Moving brokers may offer convenience in helping find a moving company, but they can also be just another fly-by-night company. If you’re going to use a broker, make sure they’re registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is part of the US Department of Transportation. Also, you should only use movers that are also registered with the FMCSA.

    If a company gives you an estimate sight unseen, they may also be trying to scam you. Always get at least three estimates from three different movers and get them in writing. Never make payment in full upfront, and make sure that the movers provide full-value protection insurance. Lastly, if anything feels out of the ordinary with your movers, don’t be afraid to go with another company.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , movers, , ,   

    Moving scam steals families’ belongings 

    By Greg Collier

    With the increasing demand for housing, many families are in the process of moving. Whether it’s across town or across the country, many families are turning to professional movers to transport their belongings to their new homes. Unfortunately, like a lot of other service industries, there are a number of scammers posing as legitimate moving companies.

    For example, families in the Charlotte, North Carolina area have reported to police that their belongings disappeared after hiring what they thought was a moving company. Several families have reported that the so-called movers packed up their stuff and just made off with it. The phony movers were even said to have appeared legitimate, as they had a professional looking website and a customer service department. However, once the families lost their belongings, the website and phone numbers would disappear.

    That’s only one moving scam that can affect families. A more prevalent scam is when shady long-distance moving companies hold your belongings hostage while they demand extra payment. These fly-by-night companies often end up going out of business, leaving customers’ belongings in a state of legal limbo which is difficult to recover.

    Just like any other major life decision, you should do a lot of research before picking out a moving company. Check online reviews and ask friends on social media for recommendations. You can also check the mover’s license number with the Department of Transportation to see their complaint history and if they’re not registered with the DOT, that can be a big red flag that the company may not be legitimate.

    If a company gives you an estimate sight unseen, they may also be trying to scam you. Always get at least three estimates from three different movers and get them in writing. Never make payment in full upfront, and make sure that the movers provide full-value protection insurance. Lastly, if anything feels out of the ordinary with your movers, don’t be afraid to go with another company.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , movers, ,   

    Phony movers could hold your property hostage 

    Phony movers could hold your property hostage

    By Greg Collier

    Recently, in the Kansas City area, many people have come forward claiming that they’ve been ripped off by a moving company that they found online. The company is not only accused of allegedly damaging a lot of customer’s possessions, but they’re also accused of holding on to a lot of the items while asking the customers for more money. One man claimed that the company is holding on to half of his belongings while the other half were mostly damaged. The man claims it’s been six months since his move to Kansas City and still hasn’t gotten the rest of his possessions.

    The problem with some online moving companies is that anybody can put up a website and claim to be a moving company. A quick web search of the moving company mentioned in the Kansas City news story brought us to a Better Business Bureau page which stated that the company had not obtained required licenses for the city and state they’re supposedly headquartered in.

    Scam movers may not even have warehouses or trucks. Some of these companies may not even have employees as some just hire day laborers to load their trucks.

    There are many ways to tell if you’re dealing with a shady moving company. If they give you an estimate over the phone without coming to your home to inventory your belongings, they’re probably not on the up and up. If you call their office, and they answer with a generic sounding name like ‘moving company’ the odds are they’re a fly-by-night operation. Lastly, if their moving vans are just rental trucks they’re obviously not legitimate.

    That’s not to say that all moving companies are bad. You should just do some research before business with them. Even if the movers were referred to you by a realtor or broker you should still do your research.

     
  • Geebo 8:03 am on July 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: movers, ,   

    Long-distance moving scam 

    Long-distance moving scam

    While not as many people are thinking about moving right now there are still plenty of people looking to plant new roots. Whether it’s a local move or a move across the country, the job may be too much to handle by yourself. In that case, you may be considering hiring a moving company. if so you don’t want to hire just any moving company. There are a plethora of ads on the internet for moving companies but some of them could lead to disaster.

    Just about anyone can post an ad online calling themselves a moving company. That doesn’t necessarily make them one although an unlicensed moving company might be the least of your worries. Some moving companies are just out to hold your possessions for ransom. For example, a man from Cleveland, Ohio was moving to Alabama. He hired a moving company to take his belongings to Alabama but then a number of problems arose.

    After giving the man an estimate, the movers said that the man had more boxes than were estimated and demanded more money. Then after taking the items to be moved, the movers asked for an additional payment as a pickup fee to move the man’s items from their warehouse to his new home. Thousands of dollars and nine months later, the man still doesn’t have his belongings and the alleged moving company is now out of business.

    Just like any other major life decision, you should do a lot of research before picking out a moving company. Check online reviews and ask friends on social media for recommendations. You can also check the mover’s license number with the Department of Transportation to see their complaint history and if they’re not registered with the DOT, that can be a big red flag that the company may not be legitimate.

    If a company gives you an estimate sight unseen they may also be trying to scam you. Always get at least three estimates from three different movers and get them in writing. Never make payment in full upfront and make sure that the movers provide full-value protection insurance. Lastly, if anything feels out of the ordinary with your movers don’t be afraid to go with another company.

     
  • Geebo 9:56 am on May 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: movers   

    Why you shouldn’t hire the first mover you see 

    Why you shouldn't hire the first mover you see

    Recently a family from the Atlanta area in Georgia lost most of their possessions after hiring some movers they found online. The movers showed up in a rental van and they never made it to the family’s new house. Instead they made off with the family’s possessions and it turned out the truck was stolen as well.

    In order to avoid a situation like this you should always use a licensed mover. Ask around to your family and friends for recommendations or use review websites like Yelp to see what experience others have had with local movers. Lastly, if you fins a mover you like check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have had any complaints against them.

    This may seem like a laborious procedure but in the long run it’s worth it.

     
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