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  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , phone scam,   

    Scammers keep elderly victim from asking for help 

    Elderly victim loses thousands in FBI scam

    An elderly Pennsylvania woman was recently taken for over $5,000 by scammers pretending to be FBI agents. The scammers called her and claimed that her bank account had been compromised by criminals. They then told her not to tell anyone else as it could jeopardize the investigation. However, in order to assist with the investigation, they needed her to withdraw money from her account.

    The scammers kept her on the phone while she withdrew money from the bank. The bank was concerned that this withdraw may have been part of a scam. When they asked the woman what the withdraw was for, the scammers were said to have instructed the woman to tell the bank it was for an emergency medical procedure.

    It was at this point the scammers instructed the woman to purchase gift cards with the money she withdrew. The store where she bought the gift cards even tried warning her that this was a scam. Unfortunately, she went through with the purchase anyway. She then gave the phony agents the numbers off the back of the cards.

    While it’s not expressly mentioned in the news report, we can imagine that there were probably some threats of arrest if the victim didn’t comply with the scammers’ requests.

    Keeping the victim on the phone while they withdraw money and buy gift cards is a disturbing new trend that we saw start to take hold this year.

    If you receive one of these phone calls with someone claiming to be from a law enforcement agency asking you to make some kind of payment, hang up. No law enforcement agency will ever ask you for any kind of money over the phone. Also, no real law enforcement agency would ever have you buy gift cards for any reason.

    Due to their almost untraceable nature, gift cards have become almost the de facto currency for scammers. If anyone asks for payment in gift cards, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phone scam, ,   

    Police scam takes affluent area for millions 

    Police scam takes affluent area for millions

    Every once in a while, when we get feedback from one of our posts someone will inevitably say that they can’t believe that someone fell for whatever scam we’re posting about that day. The reality is that anyone can fall for a scam if they don’t have the information to recognize a scam. Things like economic status and education level mean do not automatically protect you from con artists.

    For example, take Montgomery County, Maryland, Not only is the Washington DC suburb one of the most affluent counties in the United States, its residents have the highest percentage in the country of residents over 25 years of age who hold a post-graduate degree. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped various police impersonation scams from taking $1.5 million from local residents.

    While the scammers are using different variations of police impersonation scams, they are tweaking them slightly for their upscale targets. In one case, the scammers called a psychotherapist and told them that they avoided a subpoena in a case where they were supposed to testify as an expert witness. In order to avoid arrest, the victim was told to pay a $7000 fine. They were instructed to buy a prepaid debit card because no one could come into the police department because of COVID.

    With other victims, the scammers have used the rental car trick. They’ll pose as police to tell the victims that a rental car was found in their name that contained drugs. Again, the scammers will request payment to ‘clear up’ the situation, usually through some untraceable form of payment like gift cards, prepaid debit cards, money transfer, or cryptocurrency. In Montgomery County’s case, the scammers added that if the victim pays quickly they’ll avoid media attention.

    In one case, someone made payment to the scammers by putting $100,000 into a shoebox before mailing it to California.

    In the majority of cases, police will almost never call you to resolve any kind of legal matter. You’ll either be contacted by mail or officers will come to your home. Also, no legitimate government agency will accept payment in untraceable means like the ones listed above. If you ever receive a phone call like this and think there might be an issue, hang up and call your police department’s non-emergency number and explain the call to them.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phone scam, ,   

    Social Security scams are still targeting seniors 

    Social Security scams are still targeting seniors

    Every once in awhile it’s beneficial to review some of the more common scams that are going on today. One of the most common scams are those that threaten to affect the Social Security benefits of senior citizens. Due to the fact that many seniors are on a fixed income, any threat to their Social Security could be seen as a threat to their very existence.

    How the scam typically works is the scammers will call a senior citizen and claim to be from either law enforcement or from the Social Security Administration themselves. They’ll tell their victims that someone has used their Social Security number in some type of crime. The most common crime they claim is that your number was used to rent a car in another state that was found to have illegal drugs in it.

    The scammers will then threaten that your Social Security benefits could be suspended. However, they’ll say that in order to prove your identity you can make a payment over the phone. This is when the scammers will ask for payment in some untraceable means, usually retail gift cards.

    This happened recently to a woman in Ohio. She was told that she needed to empty her checking account before it would be seized by the government. The scammers kept her on the phone the entire time she was buying Target gift cards. Scammers have started doing this to make sure that someone won’t warn them of the scam such as store clerks or bank employees. Before it was all over, she had sent $4000 to the scammers.

    Please keep in mind that the SSA will rarely call you. The only time they may call you is if you have an ongoing issue with your Social Security benefits where you have already spoken with them in the past. This is important because scammers often spoof the SSA’s phone number when calling victims. Most importantly, the SSA will never ask for any sort of payment over the phone and definitely not in gift cards.

    Again, we ask that if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , phone scam,   

    New scam demands you stay on the phone 

    New scam demands you stay on the phone

    The invention of the cell phone/smartphone may go down in history as one of the greatest inventions of all time. While it seems like just an everyday thing to us now, these phones have given us communication availability at all times. However, with almost any tool or invention, there are those looking to take advantage of being able to reach you anywhere you are.

    Plenty of scams that find victims today do so over the phone. The majority of these scams will use pressure tactics to try to get you to make some kind of untraceable payment to them. Most of them will ask for payment through either wire transfer services like Moneygram or Western Union or gift cards to big box stores or giant online retailers.

    Even if a scammer finds a victim who believes them, there’s a chance that the scam could be detected one they hang up. In the past, store employees, bank tellers, and even police have stopped victims from losing money in these scams.

    Now, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press, scammers are increasingly attempting to keep victims on the phone for as long as possible to walk them through every step of the scam.

    For example, let’s say that the scammers is posing as a police officer and tells you that you have a warrant out for your arrest. They say that you need to pay a fine or you’ll be arrested. Now, they’ll tell you that if you hang up the phone you’ll be arrested. They’ll then stay on the phone with you as you go to a store or bank to get your money. If the teller or store employee starts asking questions, the scammer will tell you exactly what to say in order to avoid suspicion.

    The best way to protect yourself from these kinds of scams is to always keep in mind that no legitimate company or agency is going to ask you for payment in untraceable means like cryptocurrency, gift cards, or money transfer. No police department is going to call you and threaten you with arrest if you don’t pay a fine. Most legitimate transactions like this are done through the mail.

  • 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, ,   

    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, , , 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.

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