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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , phone scam, ,   

    Police impersonation scams on the rise 

    Police impersonation scams on the rise

    Within the past few weeks, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of news articles about police impersonation scams. This is where scammers will pose as your local or state police and try to pressure their victims into making a large payment under the threat of arrest. The scammers will often call their victims and make the phone number look like they’re calling from the police department.

    These scams can take a number of forms. One of the most infamous ones is the jury duty scam. This is where the scammers will call you up and tell you that you missed jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. Then they’ll tell you that the warrant can be withdrawn if you just pay them a fine over the phone. Sometimes the scammers will just say that you have a warrant out for your arrest and will forgo the jury duty angle. Other times, the scammers will just say that you owe a fine.

    What all of these scams have in common is that the scammers will try to pressure you into making a payment right away and over the phone. Police departments do not call people to tell them that they have warrants or owe fines. You will almost always receive that information by mail if it is legitimate. Scammers, on the other hand, will try to get you to make a payment either through gift cards or wire transfer. If you weren’t sure if a call you received from someone claiming to be the police was a scam or not, the gift cards should be a dead giveaway as no government agency accepts them as payment. As we have said in the past, gift cards are the currency of scammers due to the fact the cards can be emptied remotely and anonymously.

    If you receive one of these calls, just hang up. Don’t even engage with the scammers. However, you are asked that you report the calls to your local police.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phone scam, ,   

    Scammers threaten to shut off your power 

    Scammers threaten to shut off your power

    Leave it to the con artists to leave no stone unturned during these difficult times. With economic uncertainty looming over the nation, scammers are once again trying to prey upon that fear to try to steal your money. With so many people losing their jobs either temporarily or permanently there are many among us who legitimately have to worry about paying their utilities. The scammers have taken it upon themselves to try to leverage this fear to their financial advantage.

    Scammers have been calling people posing as a local utility company. They’re sophisticated enough that when they call it looks like the call is actually coming from the utility companies. They’ll then threaten that service will be terminated if payment isn’t made right then and there. They’ll call many random numbers hoping to get the homes that are actually concerned about their service. The scammers will even try to pressure their victims into making a payment by saying that the service will be shut off within 30 minutes. This way they can get their victims into a panic and not have them take a moment to think about what’s really going on.

    The majority of utility companies will not call you to tell you that service is being terminated. They will send several notices in the mail before service is terminated. However, with the trying time that we’re all in right now, many utility companies have suspended terminating any services during the current crisis. If you are concerned about a vital service to your home being cut off, check with your local utility company to see if they have a grace period in effect currently.

    We’re all a little scared right now. We shouldn’t have to live in fear of these scammers. Hopefully, with the information we provide you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phone scam, , voice cloning   

    Are you safe from voice cloning? 

    Are you safe from voice cloning?

    It used to be if you saw someone’s voice being mimicked on the phone it was either in a movie or TV show. Now, thanks to advancements in technology voice cloning has become a reality. All someone would need is just a few recorded phrases from you to use artificial intelligence to construct a program that imitates your voice almost flawlessly. There have already been instances where voice cloning has been used against businesses where a cloned voice was used to direct funds to a con artist. it’s now being reported that individuals are being targeted as well.

    The way scammers can get a recording of your voice is just by calling you and trying to get you to interact for just a few minutes. With that, they can then pose as you on a voice call to do any number of things. One of the biggest concerns about voice cloning is it being used in grandparent scams. If the scammers have a voice copy, they can pretend to be anyone related to their victim and swindle them out of their savings. The potential of voice cloning being used in grandparent scams has gotten to the point where even the Attorney General of Florida is warning residents about it.

    To better protect your loved ones against such scams it’s recommended that you set up a code word to ensure that they’re talking to the person they say they are. If you receive a call that you suspect may be a cloned voice you can always ask the caller a question that only they would know. And as always, if you can call someone else in your family to make sure that the person calling is who they say they are.

    With the number of scams that are taking place over the phone these days, could we be seeing the decline of phone calls as a way of communication? Within a generation will we all be using devices that only text and make no calls or will a voice cloning detector be developed by then? Only time will tell.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phone scam, process server,   

    Scammers are posing as process servers 

    Scammers are posing as process servers

    If you’re someone who has never had to deal with a process server the situation can be quite unnerving when it happens for the first time. Depending on the situation, it can cause the recipient to go into a state of panic. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that there are those out there who are using this panic to take advantage of the public who may not be as informed on how process serving works.

    Process servers will occasionally call the people they’re trying to serve papers to. This is done in order to try to set up an amicable meeting so the legal process can move forward. However, what they won’t do is threaten you over the phone or try to collect money from you. Process servers don’t collect debts or any other fees themselves, as the job title describes their only purpose is to deliver legal documents to the person being served. That hasn’t stopped scammers from posing as process servers and demanding money from their victims. The scammers will also threaten their victims with legal action which is another thing real process servers will not do.

    If you receive one of these phone calls and you’re not aware of any legal action against you ask as many questions as you can. Real process servers will have all the information you could need concerning a court case such as the plaintiff’s name or the docket number. If these calls come from a number that is well outside your local area this could be another indicator of the call being a scam. Since this scam involves the legal process you should contact your local police if you receive one of these calls.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phone scam, ,   

    Social Security scams are now the #1 phone scam 

    Social Security scams are now the #1 phone scam

    This past Wednesday, the Senate Aging Committee released a report claiming that social Security scams are now the nation’s leading phone scam. For the first time in five years, social Security scams have outpaced IRS scams when it comes to financial losses. These scam calls resulted in the loss of $38 million in 2019 with most of the losses coming from seniors. The Social Security Administration has promised to bolster education efforts when it comes to warning recipients about these scams. This will include mailers sent to recipients and a banner across the SSA website warning recipients of ongoing scams.

    We’ve discussed Social Security scams multiple times in the past. The way they generally work is that the victim will receive a phone call telling them that either there’s been suspicious activity attributed to their Social Security number or that their Social Security benefits are about to be suspended. Sometimes even both these options are threatened. Often these calls will appear as if they’re coming from the SSA’s customer service number which can be easily spoofed. The scammers will then instruct the victims that the problem can be resolved with some kind of payment. This can range anywhere from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Unless you have an ongoing case that requires resolution with the SSA, they will never call recipients. If there is an issue with your Social Security number or benefits, the SSA will always reach out by mail. If you receive one of these phone calls that threaten you with legal action or request some form of payment, you’re asked to hang up and report the call to the Office of the Inspector General. If you know someone who could potentially be targeted in a Social Security scam please show them this post, the article we linked to above, or this warning page from the SSA.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: free gas, hitman, , phone scam,   

    When the hitman texts 

    When the hitman texts

    In Maine, police are warning residents about a scam involving text messages. In this scam, the victim receives a text stating that they’re being targeted by a hitman. The text goes on to say that if the victim doesn’t respond in 48 hours they will be killed. The report doesn’t entail what the endgame of this scam is but we would imagine that it’s designed to extort money from its victims. Most people living in the US don’t ever have to worry about being the target of an actual hitman. It’s also unlikely that an actual hitman would ever divulge his intentions through texting. If you were to receive one of these texts you should not respond and contact your local police.

    In Ohio, the local branch of the Better Business Bureau is reporting about an online shopping scam that could cost you a lot of money. In this scam, a shady website will instruct you to pay through PayPal. You’ll then receive an email with your shipping information like you normally would. However, the shady merchant has changed the delivery address. This way it looks like the merchandise has been delivered, just not to you. According to the BBB, PayPal has been reluctant to issue any refunds because the packages have all been marked as delivered.

    In the Nashville, Tennessee area, residents there have said they’ve been seeing social media messages that promise them free gas if they text a certain phone number. People who have texted the number have reported that they’ve received a message that their phones had been hacked. While free or discounted gas promotions aren’t unheard of, they’re usually more trouble than they’re worth. However, just because a message is circulated on social media, that doesn’t make it true no matter how good the offer may sound.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phone scam, ,   

    Father almost falls for kidnapping scam 

    Father almost falls for kidnapping scam

    One of the cruelest scams that we’ve ever posted about has to be the virtual kidnapping scam. The scam entails receiving a phone call from someone who claims to have kidnapped one of your loved ones. The scammers may even have someone with them acting like the person they claim to have kidnapped. Due to the potential harm that could come to your loved one, rational thinking gets thrown out the window. You’re then instructed to have the ransom wired somewhere before your loved one will be released. After you give the scammers the money is when you find out that no one has been kidnapped at all.

    While many of us are aware of this scam, a hard-working father had to find out about this scam the hard way. The home inspector received a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped his daughter. He even had heard a voice that resembled his daughter calling out for help. The supposed kidnappers told the man that they would kill his daughter if he did not wire them $1,000. Luckily, the man had the wherewithal to write a note to a client he was with for them to call the police. When the situation was related to law enforcement they advised the man to try to call his daughter on another phone. Sure enough, his daughter was fine and had not been in any danger.

    Kidnapping for ransom is quite rare in the United States and is more of a Hollywood trope. However, it’s understandable how a high-pressure situation like this could lead to even the savviest people to fall for such a scam. If you were ever to receive one of these phone calls and you don’t want to take the chance that a loved may be in danger, do what this father did. Get access to another phone and call the person who is the supposed victim. The odds are pretty good that they will actually be safe and sound. Whenever you receive a high-pressure call that requires you to take some financial action like this, take a moment to gather your thoughts before making any decisions that could cost you a fortune.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phone scam, ,   

    Kidnapping scam claims more victims 

    Kidnapping scam claims more victims

    We’ve discussed the virtual kidnapping scam before. While it’s an uncommon scam, it does seem to be becoming more prolific. It sounds like something out of a movie or TV show where you receive a call telling you that a loved one has been kidnapped and you need to pay the ransom. Actual kidnappings for ransom, no matter the amount asked, are incredibly rare. However, when you receive a phone call telling you that a family member has been kidnapped, you may not act in the most rational way since you believe that someone close to you is in danger.

    Recently, a woman in Alabama received such a phone call. The person on the other end claimed to be her grown son and that he was in trouble. Another person got on the phone and told the woman that her son’s friend owed a gang $5,000 and they were keeping her son hostage until she paid them the money. The scammers had her pay by making her purchase pre-paid debit cards, known as vanilla cards However, they didn’t stop there. The scammers also made her wire part of the phony ransom and made her send the rest in gift cards. The scammers even instructed her on what to say if any store employee got wise that this was part of a scam. In the end, her son was never in danger and the caller even admitted that they scammed her.

    If you receive one of these phone calls, you should hang up and call police. If you end up engaging the caller, don’t say the name of the person they’ve claimed to kidnap. If you are concerned about your loved one’s safety, try texting or emailing them while you’re on the phone with the supposed kidnappers. A similar occurrence happened recently in Kentucky as well. The scammers are hoping to capitalize on you being in an emotional state, but if you just stay calm you can prevent these scammers from terrorizing you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , fund raising, , phone scam, , ,   

    Scammers took advantage of late teen’s fundraiser 

    Scammers took advantage of late teen's fundraiser

    Here are some more scams happening to various communities from around the country. Always keep in mind that if they’re happening in one place, they could be happening somewhere near you.

    In Arkansas, a 15-year-old boy passed away after a freak accident that happened at his home. His grandparents took to social media in order to raise funds for the boy’s funeral expenses. While the family was able to raise the money needed, scammers set up fake social media accounts also posing as the boy’s family. The scam targeted people who already donated asking for phony donations in Amazon gift cards. Thankfully, many of the victims were able to get their money back. However, it shows what depths scammers will stoop to just to make a few hundred bucks.

    In Central Texas, a local police department is warning residents about a phone scam that has been worrying local residents. In it, the scammers pose as agents from the Social Security Administration claiming that there have been bank accounts opened using your Social Security number and that they’re tied to criminal activity. They threaten to freeze all of your bank accounts unless a payment is made over the phone. These calls are reportedly coming from overseas while appearing to be from local phone numbers.

    The last scam may seem like it’s an urban legend passed around on Facebook but according to police in Indiana, it has happened to a number of victims. Police there say a man has been going to WalMart and using the self-checkout to scam victims. The scammer has been allegedly using the self-checkout to scan gift cards but not paying for them. Then, the next person who uses the self-checkout inadvertently ends up paying for the gift card that the scammer scanned. While this sounds like a simple scam to foil, anyone could fall for this if they’re not paying attention. Always make sure that there are no already scanned items on the self-checkout screen. If there are, go to another scanner or contact a store employee.

     
    • Nk 9:36 pm on November 5, 2019 Permalink

      I spoke yesterday to a young man who was in India who originally claimed to be from social security. I admonished him for lying and stealing from people. He was very serious and proud of himself and his team because they don’t wipe out anyone’s money. They only take half. He said that if they have $1000 in their account, they only take $500. He said that’s because they show compassion.

  • Geebo 8:30 am on July 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Equifax, , phone scam, ,   

    Just how bad are military romance scams? 

    Just how bad are military romance scams?

    In a military romance scam, the scammer poses as a member of the US military and target potential victims. Like in most other romance scams, they’ll have the victim believing they’re in some type of relationship before asking for money. These scammers are largely from Nigeria where many of the scammers claim that these scams pay more than honest work. It’s become such a problem that the Department of Defense has employees that constantly scan social media for phony military accounts and report them to the platform in question. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command receives numerous complaints about these scams but since the scams actually involve civilians it’s out of their jurisdiction.

    If you’ve been following the news lately you may be aware of the settlement that credit reporting company Equifax has been ordered to give because of a massive data breach that happened in 2017. The Federal Trade Commission has ordered Equifax to pay $425 million to consumers affected by the breach. his has meant that you may be able to claim $125 from the settlement. Of course, where there’s a payout there’s likely to be a scam. Fake websites are popping up claiming to be the official Equifax settlement website. The goal of these phony websites is to either to get you to give up your personal information or pay for a settlement that will never come. The official FTC settlement site can be found at https://www.ftc.gov/Equifax.

    Speaking of payments, a number of news outlets are reporting about a bank scam that’s affecting consumers. In this scam, you’ll receive a text message warning you that there’s been fraudulent activity on your bank account. You’ll then receive a phone call that appears to be from your bank with someone asking you to input your PIN. Once you do this the scammers will have control of your bank account. It’s easy for just about anyone to spoof a phone number to make it look like it’s coming from your bank. If you receive one of these calls the best thing to do is hang up and call the bank at the official number listed on the back of your credit or debit card.

     
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