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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , paypal scam, , , twitter bots, twitter scam,   

    Twitter bots are scamming PayPal and Venmo users 

    Twitter bots are scamming PayPal and Venmo users

    By Greg Collier

    We didn’t intend to write three stories in a row about payment app scams, yet here we are. Apps like PayPal and Venmo have become so common, it’s almost expected for scammers to try and weasel their way into our electronic wallets. We have documented quite a number of scams that involve not only PayPal and Venmo, but Cash App, Zelle, and other platforms as well. Those scams usually involve some kind of fraudulent transaction, but it seems at least one group of scammers have stepped up their game when it comes to finding new targets.

    Scammers have recently set up bots to look for any mention of the names PayPal or Venmo. For example, if someone were to ask another person on Twitter if they had a PayPal, so they could pay them for an item or support a content creator for example, the bot picks up on that mention. What happens next borders on evil genius territory.

    The bot will then make an almost duplicate Twitter account of the person being asked if they have PayPal. They’ll block the account they’ve cloned, then respond to the person who asked about their PayPal account with a link that goes to the scammers account. So the person who is supposed to be receiving the money doesn’t even see the fake account responding to the person who asked them about their PayPal account. In a normal Twitter conversation, it would go something like this.

    Person 1: Hey, I like your content. Do you have a PayPal?

    Impersonated Account: I sure do. (With attached link to scammer’s PayPal)

    Meanwhile, Person 2 never sees the impersonated account respond, and loses out on a sale or support.

    If you feel the need to discuss someone’s PayPal or Venmo account with them on social media, make sure to do it through private messages and not in a way where everyone can see it. Also, if you’re someone who solicits donations for their work through PayPal, it’s best not to list your PayPal details in your public profile as bots could be targeting you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , paypal scam,   

    PayPal scam targets the elderly 

    PayPal scam targets the elderly

    By Greg Collier

    Yesterday, we talked about Venmo has been used in various scams, but today is all about Venmo’s big brother, PayPal. For those who may not know, Venmo is owned by PayPal. Anyway, PayPal is also no stranger to scams. Scammers have been fleecing PayPal users before Venmo was even a thing. Historically, PayPal was used as a scamming tool by shady eBay sellers. This was around the time when eBay owned PayPal, but has since spun off the payment app. We’re not saying that PayPal is responsible for the scams, but since PayPal has become so common in internet commerce, it has become a major avenue of scammers.

    A report out of Southern California says that there is a PayPal scam going around targeting elderly users of the platform. Most PayPal users get an email every time they make a purchase using PayPal. PayPal users will be most familiar with the email that comes with the PayPal logo that tells you where you made the purchase and how much the purchase was. A 67-year-old woman from San Diego received one of these emails, but it was for a purchase she didn’t make that was for an exorbitant amount. Legitimate PayPal emails also contain PayPal’s customer service number. This scam email also contained a phone number, but it went to a scam call center instead of PayPal.

    The phony customer service representative asked to log into the woman’s account in order to reverse the charge. The woman was also asked for banking information, since PayPal accounts are required to be linked to a bank account. Thankfully, the woman caught on that this was a scam and did not give up any of her information.

    If you are a PayPal user, and you receive an email that claims you were billed for a purchase you didn’t make, the first thing you should do is log into your account. Then check the transactions to see if the fraudulent purchase is there or not. If it’s not there, you can delete the email and forget about it. If a fraudulent transaction is there, call the customer service number listed on PayPal’s website or the back of your PayPal debit card. Whatever you do, don’t Google for the phone number, as that could lead you to a fraudulent call center. Also, avoid using any phone numbers contained in emails, as they could also direct you to a group of scammers as well.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alaska, , , paypal scam, ,   

    Scammers use missing persons to commit fraud 

    Scammers use missing persons to commit fraud

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve often said that scammers will stoop to any lengths to try to get one over on their victims. We also say that scammers will try to take advantage of any kind of tragedy to make a quick buck. Now, think of one of the worst tragedies that can befall a family. Then imagine that family having to deal with a scammer that’s trying to take advantage of that tragedy. That’s what’s been happening to many families in Alaska.

    Due to the sheer amount of untamed wilderness that Alaska has, the state has an inordinate amount of missing persons cases per capita. This has led to scammers trying to extort money out of the families involved in these cases. Even we were taken aback when we read about this scam as it’s beyond cruel.

    The scammers take to social media looking for posts that deal with a missing person. They’ll then use that information to contact the missing person’s family. The scammers will say that they are holding the missing person hostage and that the missing person is now ill. The family will be instructed not to contact police and that their loved one will be released if they make a ransom payment. The ransom payment is then demanded to be paid through a payment app like PayPal or Cash App.

    This is a variation of the virtual kidnapping scam with the only difference being is that the person being used in the scam is actually missing. The reason this particular scam is doubly cruel is that not only are the scammers harassing an already distraught family but in some cases, it’s giving them a false sense of hope that they may be getting their family member back.

    Whenever one of these scams come up, we like to remind our readers that kidnapping for ransom is actually very rare in the US.

    We hope that anyone reading this never has to deal with a missing person in their family. However, if the unthinkable happens, and then you receive a scam call like this, you should contact your local police immediately.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , paypal scam, ,   

    Police impersonation scams using payment apps 

    Police impersonation scams are one of the more stressful scams you can find yourself in. Scammers will spoof the number of your local police department and try to convince you that there is a warrant out for your arrest. For most people, this will catch them off guard and probably instill more than a little fear into them. The scammers like using high-pressure tactics like this to get their victims to send them a phony payment. Often, the scammers will ask for the payments in untraceable ways like gift cards and wire services. Now, some of these impersonators have switched to a new way of taking money from their victims.

    In the San Antonio area of Texas, police there are reporting that police impersonation scammers are now asking for payment through PayPal. Meanwhile, in South Florida, police there are reporting something similar except the scammers are using Cash App. Just like in most police impersonation scams, the scammers are saying the victims have a warrant out for their arrest, but it can be resolved if the victim makes a payment to the person on the phone. We can guess that some scammers are moving to these payment apps because not only do they get their payment instantly, but it’s also easy to block the victims from trying to get their payments back.

    As with most scams, the scammers are trying to get you flustered emotionally, so they can pressure you into making a payment. If you get one of these calls, take a moment to think about the situation. We know this is easier said than done sometimes, but it is imperative to avoid being taken in a scam like this. If there was a warrant out for your arrest, even an erroneous one, police are not going to call you. They will send officers to your house. If there is a warrant out for somebody’s arrest, you can’t just resolve the warrant by making a payment over the phone. Any payments that need to be made in regard to the process almost always need to be made in person.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , paypal scam, , ,   

    Two PayPal scams you should be aware of 

    Two PayPal scams you should be aware of

    PayPal is probably one of the most trusted online payment systems today. There aren’t many online retailers that don’t accept PayPal as a payment option. PayPal also allows those who are underrepresented by banks to not only shop online but to also have a debit card that the consumer can use like any bank debit card. However, this post isn’t meant to be free publicity for PayPal. While PayPal does offer many protections to their users, it can still be used in various scams as we’re about to take a look at now.

    Security experts are warning about a new series of text messages going around that are designed to steal your PayPal login information. The text messages claim that there has been fraudulent activity on your PayPal account and that your account is now limited. That would mean that you would be restricted in the use of your own PayPal account. The text then directs you to click on a link to verify your account. If you click on the link, you’ll be taken to a phony PayPal page that resembles the genuine article. If you enter your login information on this phony page, your information has just been stolen. Since many PayPal accounts are linked to bank accounts, your bank account could be in jeopardy as well. If you feel like you’ve clicked on one of these links and given them your information you should immediately change your PayPal password.

    The other scam is more hands on so to speak. A woman in Georgia was selling a cell phone on Facebook Marketplace. She met a buyer at a local restaurant. The man agreed to buy the phone using PayPal. The buyer showed the woman a fake email that looked like he had just paid her through PayPal. However, the woman wasn’t seeing the payment in her account. The man then made it appear as if he was calling PayPal himself and told the woman that the payment would be in her account in a couple of hours. As you can expect, the payment never showed up. PayPal doesn’t work like this as payments are almost instantaneous. Once you make or receive a payment you should be notified by PayPal right away. If you’re not notified you shouldn’t take a stranger’s word for it that you’ve been paid.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , paypal scam, , ,   

    A Cash App scam that could happen on the street 

    A Cash App scam that could happen on the street

    Most scams that happen on payment apps like Cash App happen online. However, we just came across one that happens on the street.

    The report we found about this scam comes out of Nashville, Tennessee but could happen in any city. In Nashville, the city is known for its music scene so there are a number of street musicians looking to get their name out there. There are also a number of scammers looking to take advantage of those interested in the music scene.

    The scammers will pose as a street musician and will approach a victim. The scammer will ask for the victim’s phone so they can pull up their music video on YouTube. Instead, the scammer accesses one of the victim’s payment apps like Cash App, Venmo, or PayPal and sends the victim’s money to themselves before fleeing the scene.

    While this particular approach may be exclusive to Nashville or any other city with a vibrant music scene, this scam could happen anywhere. You could be approached by someone asking to use your phone for an emergency where instead of calling someone they could be draining one of your payment app accounts.

    There are several ways to protect yourself against a scam like this. First off, it’s generally a good idea to never hand your phone over to someone you don’t know. Secondly, most of the leading payment apps have security features that prevent other people from accessing your account on your phone. Known as two-factor authentication, you can have a PIN set up to open the payment app or you could use your phone’s fingerprint reader to access your account. When these features are enabled, it goes a long way in preventing others from accessing your accounts on your phone.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apple pay, , , paypal scam, ,   

    “Oops! Can you send that back?” 

    "Oops! Can you send that back?"

    Payment apps are a great convenience. They mean that we don’t necessarily have to carry cash on us and can be used to pay for various goods and services while maintaining social distances. These apps like Venmo, Cash App, Paypal, and the like have been around for a long time and have been the targets of scammers almost since the beginning. Now, scammers have come up with a new way to try to steal money from your payment app account and it relies on the politeness of others.

    If you use one of these apps and you receive a payment from someone you don’t know, don’t spend it and don’t send it back. Scammers are sending payments to random app users along with a message that says something along the lines of “Oops! Can you send that back?” These are payments sent using stolen credit cards or other stolen financial information. If you send the payment back to them it becomes real money in their account. However, once the credit card is reported stolen that money will come out of your account and you will be out the amount of the ‘Oops’ payment. This is very reminiscent of the phony check scam only in digital form.

    If you receive one of these payments, instead of sending the money back ask them to cancel the payment. If they refuse or try to pressure you into sending it back it’s more than likely a scam. Report the payment to whichever app you’re using and whatever you do, don’t touch that money. It should just be removed from your account but as we said, if you spend the money you’ll ultimately be responsible for that amount.

    This is an unprecedented time for scammers so please keep your wits about you when dealing with digital payments.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , paypal scam, , , , ,   

    The Armslist gun sale scam and more 

    The Armslist gun sale scam and more

    We’re back again with another trio of scams to be on the lookout for.

    It seems that the much-criticized Armslist isn’t immune to scams as a woman from Western Pennsylvania has been charged with defrauding users of the website. The woman allegedly advertised several firearms for sale on the controversial site and collected the payments for them in money orders. However, she did not have any of the actual guns for sale and she’s accused of keeping all the money for herself. There’s no word on whether or not any background checks were completed on any of the victims.

    ***

    A man from Silver Lake, Washington was trying to sell his late wife’s wedding ring on craigslist when he was approached with an out-of-state offer. The man then received a bogus email stating that the money for the ring had reached his PayPal account. The man sent the ring but the money wasn’t actually there. Amazingly, after he contacted the police the ring was found in Illinois. This is a rare occurrence on the scale of a solar eclipse. Ok, maybe not that rare but it is remarkable that the man was able to get the ring back as in most cases once the item has been shipped it’s usually gone forever. In most cases, you should only deal locally and only in cash and when completing the transaction it should be done at a local police station.

    ***

    Lastly for today, a rental scam that we’ve discussed before has started popping up again and that’s the lockbox scam. The scam works like the typical rental scam where someone claiming to be a landlord will rent you a property sight unseen if you wire them a deposit. With the lockbox scam, the phony landlords have somehow gained access to the realtor’s lockbox on the property that contains a key to the home. A family in Phoenix, Arizona recently fell for this scam and even moved into the property after wiring their money to a scammer. Sadly, they had to be evicted from the property. Under no circumstance should you ever wire funds to someone you’ve never met. Most legitimate property managers will do background checks on prospective renters and will meet them in person.

     
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