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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , charlotte, , north carolina, PNC Bank,   

    Bank promotion leads to identity theft 

    Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the major banking capitals of the US. While the primary banking center of the country is New York City, Charlotte has traded the #2 spot with San Francisco for many years. Many national banks either have their corporate headquarters in Charlotte or have a large corporate presence there. Unfortunately, this large banking presence has not stopped bank scams from happening as the local police recently found out.

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have said they recently encountered dozens of residents who have had bank accounts opened in their name. The residents have said that they’ve received letters in the mail thanking them for opening accounts with PNC Bank. Some of the letters even have debit cards included with them. PNC seems to be the target of this scam since they’re running a promotion where a customer can receive $300 for opening an account.

    It’s believed that the residents targeted in this scam must have had their private information leaked in a previous data breach. While reports have not stated it, in similar scams, scammers have had debit and credit cards sent to the victims home address where the scammer is watching the mail so they can intercept the card.

    If you receive a letter like this from PNC or any other bank, you need to act immediately. Call the bank at the customer service number that’s provided with the letter to tell them you did not open that account. It’s also recommended that you contact your local police department as well. Then it’s strongly recommended that you put a freeze on your credit. You can also get a credit alert that will notify you if anyone tries to open credit using your information.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , north carolina,   

    Victim loses $16,000 in Amazon scam 

    Victim loses $16,000 in Amazon scam

    By Greg Collier

    Amazon scams are nothing new. To be clear, we’re not talking about scams perpetrated by the online retailer giant. Instead, we’re talking about scams that use the Amazon name. The most infamous of these scams is the brushing scam. The brushing scam is when you get sent packages to your home of things you didn’t order. Usually, these packages come from Amazon and contain low-cost items. This is done so third-party vendors that sell through Amazon can give themselves good online reviews in your name, and the review shows up on Amazon as a verified purchase giving the phony review more legitimacy. In turn, this leads to these products being more recommended by Amazon. Sometimes, these items are charged to someone’s Amazon account.

    Today, we’re going to talk about what we’re going to call the false order scam. In this scam, the victim receives an email that looks like it came from Amazon. The email claims that expensive and high-end items have been charged to you. It then conveniently goes on to say that if you didn’t order these items, call the toll-free number contained in the email. The phone number goes to a phony customer service department that will either try to steal your personal and financial information or your money.

    Recently, a woman in North Carolina fell victim to this scam and lost $16,000. She received a scam email and when she called the fake customer service number she was instructed that she needed to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards to cancel the phony purchase. What made this scam particularly egregious was when the scammer stayed on the phone with the woman the entire time she went from store to store buying multiple gift cards. When she started suspecting this was a scam the scammer allegedly said that “You called us, scammers call you.”

    This is nowhere near being true. Scammers often set up phony customer service numbers for popular platforms. The Cash App customer service scam is one that immediately comes to mind.

    There are several ways to protect yourself from this kind of scam. The first is to check the email address from the sender. If it’s not from Amazon.com, it’s a scam. Also, before you go calling anyone suggested by the email, you can go into your Amazon account and check your order history to see if the order is real or not. Lastly, if you actually need to call Amazon, you can click on the Customer Service tab at the top of Amazon’s website for more information.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on February 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: north carolina, , , ,   

    Payment app scam preys on your kindness 

    Payment app scam preys on your kindness

    Most of us have some form of banking or payment app on our phones. Whether they’re through our local bank or one of the many mobile payment services available, a lot of us make payments or transactions through these platforms. But how many of us really have these apps secured on our devices? You may have your phone locked using a PIN or fingerprint check, but what if someone was able to bypass your phone lock?

    A woman in Charlotte, North Carolina recently found out the hard way what happens if you don’t secure your apps. She was working at home when a man knocked on her door and asked if he could use her phone. He claimed he had locked his possessions in his car and needed to text a relative. Being a kind person, she allowed the man to use her phone to get help. After using the phone, the man handed the phone back to the woman. That’s when she noticed the emails from Venmo. In that short amount of time, the man is said to have sent close to $1000 to himself through Venmo. The problem with many of these apps like Venmo is that once payment goes through, the victim of a scam can be blocked by the scammer making retrieval of your money almost impossible.

    If you’re the type of person who tends to be a good Samaritan you should be commended for being willing to help others that you may not even know. There is still a way for you to lend someone your phone without exposing your financial apps. Most financial apps have some form of two-factor authentication available to you. A PIN or biometric scan like a fingerprint or face unlock can be enabled. This means that even if your phone is unlocked for someone to use, your financial apps will still be secure. If they don’t offer this service, you may want to consider using an app that does. While you may think that enacting these measures may make it more inconvenient for you, in a short time you’ll hardly even notice the small amount of extra time it takes you.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: north carolina, , ,   

    Two TV reporters hit by unemployment scam 

    Two TV reporters hit by unemployment scam

    Once again, it seems like the current spate of unemployment scams show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. For those who may be unaware, domestic and foreign scammers are filing for unemployment benefits using stolen identities. The stolen identities were said to be obtained from previous corporate data breaches that exposed their customers’ information. These scams are overwhelming state unemployment systems due to the current pandemic. California alone is said to have paid out close to $2 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims.

    Many of these scams were discovered by people who are still employed. They either find out through their employer who is wondering why their employee filed for unemployment, or when the employee receives the unemployment payment in the mail. When scammers have the payment sent to the victim’s home address, it usually means they’ll try to convince the victim into transferring the fraudulent payment over to the scammer. Since the states are overwhelmed, trying to notify them you received a fraudulent payment has been time-consuming and frustrating.

    While North Carolina does not have nearly the same population as California, they’ve still paid out $11 million in fraudulent unemployment claims. Two of those claims were paid to two TV reporters who work for the same station out of Raleigh. One of the reporters is even a consumer protection reporter. One of the reporters had even taken steps to try to prevent being targeted in this scam. The news anchor reportedly put a freeze on his credit that should have prevented claims from being filed under his name. Both reporters said that they had difficulties explaining their situations to the state when they called the states’ fraud hotline. They felt like the representatives taking their calls were not trained well enough to deal with fraud claims. Both reporters also said they received the fraudulent payments in the mail before their employer even knew about the claims being filed. The state claims that they’re having a difficult time balancing between preventing fraud and paying out legitimate claims.

    The country is already facing an economic crisis because of the pandemic. If states don’t start getting a handle on unemployment fraud, the crisis could become worse than we ever thought.

  • Geebo 9:15 am on December 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , north carolina,   

    New Cash App scam drains man’s bank account 

    New Cash App scam drains man's bank account

    Cash App can be a great resource for people who have been historically underserved by traditional banks. However, it is also open to an inordinate amount of scams. This leaves Cash App users in a particularly vulnerable position when they could use better support from Cash App.

    A man from Raleigh, North Carolina is a landlord and allows his tenants to pay through Cash App. After collecting the rent from his tenants, he had over $20,000 in his Cash App account. He wanted to transfer the money out of his Cash App and he received a call from someone claiming to be from Cash App customer service. The caller gave the man directions on how to transfer his money out but in reality, they were instructing the man to give scammers his money. Not only that but they also raided his bank account which was connected to his Cash App account. Before it was all said and done, the man lost close to $25,000.

    What you may not know is that Cash App does not have a customer service department that can be reached by phone and they don’t randomly reach out to users of the app. In the past, we have seen instances where people have called what they thought was a customer service number they found online only to be scammed out of their money. This is the first instance we’re aware of where the scammers reached out to a Cash App user first.

    Even after being contacted by a local news station, Cash App didn’t appear to be much help. It seems like all they did was to issue a statement saying essentially ‘people should be more careful’. The man who lost his money stated that when he was in contact with Cash App customer service, they were no help in trying to get his money back.

    Cash App doesn’t seem to have any good system in place to protect consumers from fraudulent charges. On its own help page, it says to wait until the transaction is marked as complete, then contact the merchant to dispute the charge. But Cash App makes it too easy for the scammers to just block the person they just scammed.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , north carolina, , ,   

    Rental scam could leave family homeless for the holidays 

    Rental scam could leave family homeless for the holidays

    A family in North Carolina is facing possible homelessness after falling prey to a rental scam. The family was already down on their luck when they came in contact with a scammer. They have a struggling business that’s been hit hard by the pandemic. They also have two young children who test positive for COVID. On top of that, they had to quickly find a new home due to safety concerns.

    Unfortunately, they went to one of the worst places you can go to find a new home, Craigslist. They found a listing with reasonable rent. When they contacted the supposed realtor from the listing, they were told when the property would be open for viewing. They wanted to move in so they paid an $800 deposit through PayPal. However, when they went to meet the realtor to get the keys at the new home, the realtor never showed. As with most rental scams, the Craigslist listing had been copied from a legitimate realtor’s website. Now the family could be out $800 and they’re scrambling to find a place to stay.

    Sadly, they are the type of victims that rental scammers love to fleece. Scammers are always hoping to find victims who are in a desperate situation who may not be thinking clearly. If the victims are under some kind of impending deadline, that’s even better for the scammer.

    While we hope this family lands on their feet, their story can be used as a warning for anyone looking to rent a home on short notice. Even if you’re under a time crunch, research the property before making any kind of deposit. We always recommend checking with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who is actually renting the property. Also making any payment through a payment app like PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App should be a red flag that you might be getting scammed. It’s easy for scammers to block victims once the payment is made leaving the victims with little to no recourse.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , north carolina, ,   

    Family loses puppy to illness in Craigslist scam 

    Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been warning consumers about one version of the puppy scam. This is where phony online dog breeders will sell you a puppy that doesn’t actually exist. After they’re paid, the scammers will start asking for more money in the form of things like shipping fees or special travel crates. Even though a victim may lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, at least an animal isn’t being actually abused.

    Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the second type of puppy scam. This is where people will breed puppies with little regard for the animal’s health and well-being. The animals are often bred in squalid conditions without receiving any medical care. The term backyard breeder is often used to describe these scammers as they are usually not certified to be actual breeders.

    One family in North Carolina recently purchased a puppy from a Craigslist seller for $300. When asked about shots, the sellers told the family that they did the shots themselves because they didn’t want to take the puppy to the vet due to COVID-19 concerns. Once the family got the puppy home it became obvious that something was wrong. The family took the puppy to the vet where it was diagnosed with hookworms, roundworms, and anemia. Within less than 24 hours of bringing the puppy home, the puppy had to be put down. When the family tried to contact the seller, the phone number had already been turned off.

    As always, when it comes to adding a new pet to your family we recommend adopting from your local shelter. More often than not, not only will the animals have had competent medical care but the odds are they’ll be with your family for quite some time. If you decide to buy from a breeder, make sure they are a licensed breeder that’s in your area.

  • Geebo 9:07 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , north carolina, , ,   

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane 

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane

    With the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence looking to be a storm of a lifetime event in the Mid-Atlantic, three states have declared states of emergency. Those states being South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in one those states later this week. To make matters worse, whenever a hurricane is set to hit an area, there are usually those whose intent is to make a king’s ransom of profit over helping those in need during a time of crisis.

    Price gouging is when a merchant or lodging provider charge an exorbitant amount for their goods or services during a crisis when need is in high demand. Thankfully, the three states mentioned, all have laws in place to prevent price gouging when a state of emergency has been declared. With so many people looking for supplies, fuel, or alternative lodging, it’s refreshing to see governments looking to make sure that people in need aren’t being taken advantage of.

    However, that doesn’t mean that price gouging won’t occur. For example, if you were to leave the area where an emergency has been declared, you may be at the mercy of an unscrupulous vendor. If you live in South Carolina and evacuate to Georgia, where a state of emergency has not been declared, you may see an exorbitant price increase for food, gas, and lodging. If you are in a state that has declared an emergency some vendors may still take to price gouging in defiance of the law. If that is the case, these articles from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia all have the information you need to contact the proper authorities.

    To everyone who is facing the wrath of this potentially devastating storm, please stay safe.

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