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  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phone scam, ,   

    Social Security phone scams on the rise 

    Social Security phone scams on the rise

    You may be familiar with the IRS scam that plagues your phone. Someone calls purporting to be an agent of the IRS claiming that there’s some kind of issue and you need to give them your personal information. Often they try to intimidate you into giving the information by claiming you’re in danger of running afoul of the law. The problem with this scam is that the actual IRS doesn’t call taxpayers if there is a problem. They will contact you by mail instead. But what if you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency that does call people?

    According to this report by Forbes, the Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone has issued a warning saying that there has been an increase of con artists posing as employees of the Social Security Administration. As the Forbes article points out, the SSA does sometimes reach out to Social Security recipients in certain but rare circumstances.

    This is a particularly egregious scam since it mostly targets the elderly. So what should you do if you receive one of these unsolicited calls? Hang up immediately. Do not engage the caller, and if it’s a recording do not press any buttons except to hang up. If you answer any of their questions, even with an automated recording, it could give the scammers information that could result in more phone calls at the least and your identity be stolen at worst. Even if you feel the call may be legitimate hang up and call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phone scam   

    Don’t buy a locked iPhone 

    Don't buy a locked iPhone

    Previously, we’ve discussed the inherent problems with buying an iPhone through a less than reputable site like craigslist. Whether it’s an old scam like wiring the money to a seller, or a new one like the cloned knock off iPhone, there is a minefield of traps you need to avoid when buying one of Apple’s most coveted products used.

    Recently, a man on Falls Church, Virginia, bought a used iPhone 8 off of craigslist and the phone seemed to pass all the tests in being a legitimate working iPhone. That was until he tried to activate the phone and found that the phone was blocked, or a more accurate term may be blacklisted. The phone was purchased through a payment plan with the phone’s carrier rather than being bought outright. The previous owner failed to make payments and when that happens the phone is immediately blacklisted and can not be activated ever.

    One of the things you can do to protect yourself is to try to activate the phone while the seller is there with you. Another is to check the IMEI or ESN numbers, a form of cell phone identification, with a number of websites that can check to see if the phone is blacklisted or not. Also, try using a more reputable site than craigslist. And as always, meet the seller at a police station. Not only does this go a long way in keeping you physically safe, but someone with a blocked phone may not be so willing to sell the phone where they can be recorded.

  • Geebo 10:59 am on February 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: electricity, heating, phone scam   

    Be careful of heating and power scams this winter 

    Be careful of heating and power scams this winter

    With the amount of winter storms that have hit the country this winter, reports are coming in stating that there have been an uptick in scams involving heating and electricity. According to Marketwatch, the scam works in one of two ways.

    The first is that the scammers cold call their victims offering a discount on their heating or electricity bill by way of some sort of bogus federal program. Once they receive your personal information the scam artists will steal your identity for various other illegal purposes. The second way is that the scammers will call you stating that you have an outstanding and overdue balance with one of your utility companies. They’ll then ask you to make payment either through wiring the money or a prepaid debit card, both of which are untraceable one the money has been taken.

    These are old-school style scams that resemble the modern phishing scams, but instead of using emails or social media it uses the age-old phone call. Much like the phishing scams don’t ever trust any kind of unsolicited phone call. Scammers like this ignore the Do Not Call registry since they’re not legitimate companies. If someone claims to be from your utility company hang up and call the number that appears on your bill, and ask them if there is an issue with your account.

  • Geebo 11:41 am on October 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phone scam,   

    Con artists cashing in on the election 

    Con artists cashing in on the election

    With election season now in full swing, it has brought out all the liars, cheats and thieves, and that’s not just the candidates. *rimshot*

    Consumer Affairs is reporting that with such a heated presidential election, phone related election scams have increased by multitudes. As they point out the election season is such a fertile breeding ground for phone scams because political organizations are exempt from the national do not call list. This has allowed scammers to pose as various members of election rated organizations to try to separate you from either your money or your personal information.

    The top three of these phone scams are people asking you to re-register to vote, campaign donations and the political survey that promises a prize. First off, once you’re registered to vote you do not have to ever re-register unless you move to a new municipality and that can not be done over the phone. With the survey prize offer, that could turn out to be either an attempt to get your personal information or to try to get you pay a ‘processing fee’ to claim the non-existent prize. Lastly the campaign donation is a simple one in that they just want to get your money. As Consumer Affairs suggests, even if you are being solicited for a legitimate campaign donation, you should go to the candidate’s website to make the donation.

    As a common rule you should never give any information or money to anyone who calls you unsolicited. Whether they claim to be the IRS, an election campaign or a charity, do not give any of your information over the phone.

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