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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: phone scam, , virtual kidnapping   

    What to do when a kidnapper calls! 

    What to do when a kidnapper calls!

    We’ve all seen it in movies or on TV. You receive a phone call from a stranger telling you that a family member has been kidnapped. You’re instructed not to call the police and you have to take a briefcase full of cash to a seedy part of town to make the exchange. In reality, kidnappings for ransom are extremely rare. However, that hasn’t stopped high tech scammers from fleecing victims of their money in what’s being called virtual kidnappings.

    The virtual kidnapping scam works by the scammer calling their victims using a spoofed number to make it look like they’re calling from a relative’s phone. They’ll claim to be kidnappers and that they have taken your relative hostage. They’ll instruct you to not call the police and then have you send them money either by making you buy pre-paid debit cards and giving them the card’s numbers or by having you wire the money somewhere. By the time the ordeal is over, you find out that your relative was never in any danger but the scammers have made off with your money and are virtually untraceable.

    So what should you do if you receive one of these phone calls? Most experts agree that you should hang up immediately and call the police. If you do actually speak on one of these phone calls never give out any personal information especially the name of your relative that they’ve claimed to kidnap. If there’s another avenue of communication available, like another phone, call the loved one in question to make sure they’re ok. The FBI contends that these virtual kidnappings will only become more frequent over time so being prepared will allow you to better recognize one of these calls.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Mauritania, one ring scam, phone scam, Sierra Leone, wangiri   

    Call this number back at your expense 

    Call this number back at your peril

    While this particular phone scam has been around for years, the FCC and other government officials are warning consumers about the ‘wangiri’ or one ring scam. The term ‘wangiri’ was coined by the Japanese and is said to refer to the scam’s method of ringing someone once and hanging up. The way the scam works is that the scammer will call your phone once and then hang up before you can answer. They will do this multiple times usually late at night trying to make it seem like it’s an urgent phone call. They’re trying to get you to call the number back, but once you do they’ve got you.

    The calls are coming from overseas. According to reports, the most recent calls are coming from either Mauritania or Sierra Leone. The phone numbers will show the international calling codes of either 222 or 232. If you call these numbers back you could be charged exorbitant fees by your phone provider. Not only is international calling expensive, but these numbers are set up as pay numbers much like 1-900 numbers. So on top of your carrier’s fee, you will be charged an additional by the minute fee from the overseas number.

    The best way to protect yourself against this scam is to not call back a number you’re not familiar with. If the call is important. they’ll leave a message. There are also apps you can get for your phone that can block robocalls or overseas calls as well. Don’t expect your phone carrier to be willing to waive the charge either. By most accounts, the phone carriers are saying that it’s the customer’s responsibility to keep from being scammed.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arrest warrant, phone scam, , , utitlitiy company   

    Are these the top phone scams? 

    Are these the top phone scams?

    Residents of San Angelo, Texas have been reporting that there have been three particular phone scams plaguing them this year. While you may not be a resident of San Angelo if these scams are prevalent there then there’s a likely chance they’re prevalent in a lot of American towns.

    The first phone scam is someone calling you claiming to be from a local police department stating that you have a warrant out for your arrest for either failure to appear or missing jury duty. They’ll then try to pressure you into making some form of payment. When someone has a warrant issued for their arrest, police do not call them on the phone. Instead, they’ll take a more personal approach by sending officers to your door. If you receive one of these phone calls do not give out any personal information and call your local police department to report it.

    The second phone scam being reported is that of someone posing as a local utility company threatening to turn off power if payment is not made right away. If your account is in arrears you should receive several notices with your bill that the power could be turned off. The scammers may also try to pressure you into making a payment with either a gift card or pre-paid debit card. As usual, this should be a red flag that the call is more than likely a scam. If you receive a call like this one, once again hang up and call the number of the utility company that appears on your bill if you have any questions about your account.

    Lastly, is the most common phone scam that targets seniors and that’s the Social Security scam. In this scam, someone will call claiming to be from Social Security telling you that your benefits are about to be cut off or your Social Security account will be suspended because your Social Security number was used in a crime. These scammers are either looking for you to give them your Social Security number or will once again ask you to make a payment through gift cards. Social Security rarely calls recipients and will never ask for payment, especially not through gift cards. If you receive one of these calls hang up and call Social Security directly at 800-269-0271 during business hours.

     
  • 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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