Tagged: San Diego Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , San Diego, , ,   

    Power company CEO almost falls for shut-off scam 

    Power company CEO almost falls for shut-off scam

    By Greg Collier

    The holiday season is probably one of the worst times to be preyed upon by shut-off scammers. Not only is most of the country starting to experience much colder weather, but many of us have a lot on our minds. These are two situations shut-off scammers are hoping to find their victims in.

    In case you’re not familiar with the shut-off scam, this is when scammers call you posing as your local power company. The scammers will say that you’re behind in your bills, and your power will be shut off in 15 minutes. They’re hoping you’ll panic and make a payment to them, usually through some untraceable means like gift cards or cryptocurrency.

    Recently, in San Diego, shut-off scammers unknowingly called the CEO of the local gas and electric company. Posing as representatives of the CEO’s company, they told the CEO there was an issue with his bill, and that his service was in danger of being terminated. The CEO told the phony customer service rep his bill is normally deducted from his bank account.

    According to the CEO, the scammers were ready for that response. They told him this was a problem they were running into and plenty of other customers were saying the same thing. The scammer may have tipped their hand when they told the CEO they could go into his bank account and help him correct the situation. The CEO hung up on the caller and called the actual customer service department of his company, who told him it was a scam. He was even taken aback over how much information the scammers had about not only him, but other members of his family as well.

    We often say that anybody can fall for a scam, regardless of socioeconomic status or education level. Here we had a successful CEO who almost got taken by scammers posing as his own employees.

    But getting back to the scam itself, utility companies don’t threaten customers with termination of service by only giving them a 15-minute warning. If, for some reason, you were to be behind in your account, you would receive a written warning in the mail notifying you of the termination date. Typically, the utilities will give you enough time to try to make some kind of payment arrangement.

    If you receive a call like this that threatens to turn off your service, hang up and call the number to the utility company listed on your bill. This will allow you to not only check the status of your account, but will also warn them about the scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , San Diego,   

    Rental scammer posed as military member 

    Rental scammer posed as military member

    Rental scammers are always looking for new excuses to give their victims as to why they can’t meet them face to face. Most recently, rental scammers used the excuse of social distancing to explain their reluctance to meet. In the past, a popular excuse with scammers was that they claimed to be working overseas on a religious mission. All the excuses are used to achieve the same effect. They do this to try to avoid suspicion in the fact that they don’t have the authority to rent the property they claim to own and to get you to make a payment sight unseen. One of the classic excuses seems to be making a comeback and that’s the scammers posing as members of the military.

    San Diego, California is a huge military town, especially for naval forces. The city has seven military bases mostly for the Navy and Marines with a single Coast Guard base. Scammers will try to use the city’s relationship with the military to their advantage. Unfortunately, it worked against one family in San Diego who were looking for a new place to live. They had found a listing on craigslist that appeared to be a really good deal. The person who claimed to own the property also claimed that they were stationed overseas with the Navy. The family wired $1600 to the scammer before they found out the listing was a fake. The scammers had even used the picture of a real serviceman who passed away a few years ago. This scam isn’t limited to just military towns as it has been used all over the country.

    If a prospective landlord ever says that they can’t meet you in person for whatever reason, it’s almost assuredly a scam. Also, if the landlord requests payment through unconventional means like wire transfer or gift cards, it is also almost assuredly a scam. If they claim to be currently overseas for whatever reason, they are almost assuredly a scammer.

    While you may be in a rush to find a new home it’s always worth taking the time to research the property. You should always do a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. Lastly, you should also check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. This research may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it to avoid finding yourself in a situation like this.

  • Geebo 10:01 am on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cyber Patrol, , San Diego   

    Citizens group takes on human trafficking at the source 

    Citizens group takes on human trafficking at the source

    San Diego, California, has unfortunately long been known as a hot spot for human trafficking for several reasons. Due to its proximity to both Los Angeles and Mexico, and the fact that it has a large military population contributes to the amount of trafficking that takes place there. That’s not to disparage either location or our military, but unfortunately that’s the reality of the situation. However, a group of volunteers has taken the fight against human trafficking to its roots, the men who would buy trafficked women and girls from Backpage.

    The Bunch of Guys Cyber Patrol, or Cyber Patrol for short, have taken it upon themselves to warn those who would respond to Backpage ads are contributing to the human trafficking problem. The Cyber Patrol takes out ads that appear to be one of Backpage’s usual trafficking ads. All they’ll have on the ad is a picture of a woman and a phone number. Once the ad is posted it doesn’t take them long to start receiving phone calls from men looking for a woman, the Cyber Patrol responds with a script that details not only the plight of women and girls who are trafficked but also what could happen to the men who patronize these ads.

    The message goes on to say that many of the women advertising their services are underage, or were coerced into the business as minors, and that their pimps often keep all of the money for themselves.

    They are warned that a conviction for solicitation of a minor could turn them into registered sex offenders.

    While the Cyber Patrol are not law enforcement, they will on occasion turn some more concerning cases over to the Human Trafficking Task Force.

    While they may be just chipping away at a much larger problem, taking on the johns of the world is a tactic we need to see more of. It comes down to simple economics really. If you take away the demand, then there’s no need for the supply. By making the johns aware of the problem they’re contributing to, maybe fewer of them will turn to Backpage or other avenues of human trafficking.

  • Geebo 10:02 am on July 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jewelry, San Diego, ,   

    Avoid this wedding ring scam 

    Avoid this wedding ring scam

    For whatever reason, let’s say that you’re selling a wedding/engagement ring online. Police in San Diego are reporting a scam in their area that involves the online sale of these rings.

    In what has become the norm with these types of scams it’s actually a new twist on an old scam but it’s still designed to separate you from your money or your possessions. In this scam while you’re selling the ring online you’ll be contacted by someone who claims to be in the military and is being sent overseas very soon. Before they ship out they want to propose to their significant other. The seller will then receive a fake e-mail from PayPal saying that they’ve received the money. Some less than careful sellers may then ship the item without realizing they never received the money.

    Anytime that a buyer is claiming that they need to purchase an item with an extreme sense of urgency like that, it should immediately send up a red flag that it may be a scam. For the best results when using online classifieds is to always try to only do business locally, in person in a safe area and with cash only.

  • Greg Collier 9:05 am on March 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , journalist, Kamala Harris, , San Diego   

    Raising Awareness to Aid the Fight against Human Trafficking 

    A friend of mine, knowing that I closely follow news about human trafficking, introduced me to a new resource – a sharp journalist out of San Diego who is doing more than just following criminal cases that involve human trafficking.

    This reporter, a woman named Elizabeth Aguilera, is also looking at the trends around labor and sex trafficking – putting names and faces on the victims and, more importantly, illustrating how this isn’t just a crime that victimizes immigrants. Human trafficking is impacting kids right in our own neighborhoods, the kids we’ve seen grow from toddlers to teens before our very eyes.

    Earlier this month, Aguilera published a piece in the San Diego Union Tribune that raised awareness around a trend that, sadly, isn’t new. The headline of that story speaks volumes: “U.S. sex trafficking victims are mostly American kids.” The headline is based on the revelation in a report released by California Attorney General Kamala Harris last year that 72 percent of human trafficking victims are Americans, not foreigners. More importantly, it was also revealed that victims are now younger – typically ages 12-14, officials said.

    Statistics can be funny things. People like to twist facts and stats to meet the definitions of the point they’re trying to make at any given time. As a journalist, it would have been easy for someone like Aguilera to post the stats, find some official to talk about them and then write a simple story that might easily be overlooked.

    But Aguilera instead focused the beginning of her story around a typical teenager who found a job as a bookkeeper for a small, home-based business and instead found herself forced into a months-long ordeal of beatings and sexual slavery. Her employer – a pimp who set a $1,200 daily prostitution quota for the 17-year-old girl – is now serving 30 years in prison.

    As the owner of a classified ads business, I understand that people are being victimized through the Internet. I understand that predators use classified ads to find their victims and evade authorities. As such, I refuse to give these predators a place to lure victims into worlds of slavery. Geebo does not host personals ads where many of these encounters originate. Sadly, some of my counterparts in the industry still turn a blind-eye about the ads that are running on their sites, so long as the ads generate revenue.

    In the end, it all comes down to awareness – making our young children aware of the dangers on the Internet, making our law enforcement officials aware of the way predators use the Internet and, most importantly, making the public aware that these sorts of things are happening – not just in third-world countries, but in our own neighborhoods with our own kids.

    Trafficking cases are up across the nation – that’s the bad news. The good news is that, through education and awareness, this trend can be reversed. It must be reversed. I applaud journalists like Aguilera who work on the front lines every day to make sure that we, the people, are aware.

    • Marc DuMoulin 12:01 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink

      You can also go to the International Justice Mission (IJM.org) and see the work they are doing in this field.

    • Allison Parks 11:18 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink

      I wish they would finish the research on how the pornography industry goes hand in hand with trafficking these days, girls and women are being heavily trafficked in the porn business these days….they lure them with modeling jobs under false pretenses, isolate them and encourage drug use to keep them compliant.

    • Laurence Hudson 10:58 am on March 25, 2013 Permalink

      Profits of crime, terrorist financing, money laundering seem to be the big three in terms of building statistics, interpolating information from dozens of sources, and making arrrests. How is it that human trafficking does not have the same investigatory systems in place?

    • Derri Smith 8:14 pm on March 29, 2013 Permalink

      Good for Geebo! Great to hear that you do not carry personals.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc