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  • Geebo 10:47 am on November 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , scam, , Secret SIster   

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season 

    Avoid the Secret Sister scam this season

    The old saying goes that the stores start advertising for Christmas earlier and earlier each year. In my opinion, it seemed like as soon as the calendar turned to November, the flood of yuletide advertisements began to assail our televisions and internet devices. The holidays are also a time when scam artists come out in droves since people are more likely to open their hearts and wallets during the holiday season than any other time of the year. This year, an old scam that I haven’t thought about in years is being proliferated through social media and while the risk appears to be minimal, the consequences could have far-reaching effects long after the holidays are over.

    I’m talking about the ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange where someone posts on social media asking you to add your name to a list where and send in a small $10 gift. In return, you’re promised to receive up to 36 of the gifts. According to the Better Business Bureau not only is this a pyramid scheme, but it’s also illegal since you need to use the US Postal Service to send the gift which can be considered mail fraud. And as usual, when it comes to scams like this, it’s highly unlikely you’ll receive any gifts in return.

    Since the scam seems to proliferate on social networks like Facebook, I decided to see if any of my Facebook friends were soliciting for this scam. While none of my friends were, there were friends of friends who were definitely being taken in by this scam. The post usually looks something along these lines.

    The problem with this scam is not only is it illegal as I mentioned above but if you decide to participate in the alleged gift exchange you’re also putting your personal information out to potential strangers who could use the information to their benefit and your detriment. Identity theft comes immediately to mind but the information could be used for even more nefarious purposes.

    Just because a friend of yours may be participating in the Secret Sister exchange on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a Bernie Madoff in the making. They could potentially be a victim in all of this. If you’re worried about one of your friends being caught up in this scam, you may want to remind them that the Secret Sister gift exchange is considered illegal and show them this post or the BBB information. People are more likely to start thinking more critically if there’s potential for them to be in trouble with the law. NO one wants to be investigated for mail fraud for the holidays.

     
  • Geebo 9:10 am on August 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blackmail, , , scam   

    New Facebook extortion scam hits Texas town 

    New Facebook extortion scam hits Texas town

    Before the advent of Facebook, craigslist was ground zero for most internet scams. While craigslist is still used for a multitude of scams, a lot of con artists have moved to Facebook due to the sheer number of worldwide users Facebook has. A number of these scams involve blackmail or extortion where the con artist lulls the victim into a false sense of security in order to gain some kind of private information from the victim that the scammer can use for financial gain. In the past, these scammers would try to obtain very intimate photos of the victim before threatening to publish them if the victim didn’t pay. Now, a small Texas town is finding out that the blackmailers don’t even need intimate photos of you to try to extort money from you.

    As reported by NewsWest9.com, police in the city of Floydada, Texas, have been receiving a number of reports about someone trying to blackmail local residents on Facebook. How this new scam works is that the scammer befriends the victim on Facebook in order to get the victim to engage in a video chat. The chat doesn’t even have to be risqué as the scammer just wants an image of your face. Then the scammer superimposes your face onto an explicit photo and threatens to send it to everyone on your friends list if you don’t pay the blackmailers.

    I’m sure you’re asking why you should be concerned about what’s going on in a small city probably nowhere near you. The reason you should be concerned is that if it’s happening in small-town America, it can happen anywhere in the country, even where you live. To protect yourself from this scam don’t accept Facebook messages from people you don’t know personally. Sometimes people will try to pose as someone already on your friends list but under a different profile. Always check to make sure your friends are who they say they are. If you’ve been threatened by one of these scammers, it is never advised to pay them as blackmailers will usually keep requesting money after they receive the first payment. With Facebook recently announcing the testing of their new dating app, I can see this particular scam proliferating in the near future.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , 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 9:29 am on May 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , scam,   

    Elaborate used car scam hits OfferUp 

    Elaborate used car scam hits OfferUp

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recently released a report detailing a used car scam that has unfolded in Florida. In Daytona Beach, a man found himself out of $20,000 after purchasing a vehicle through the marketplace app OfferUp. The lengths to which the scammer went to can almost be seen as ingenious if they weren’t so contemptible.

    After the man purchased the truck he took the title to the Florida DMV who told him the title was a fake. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) came back to a truck of similar make and model that was being sold on a car dealer’s lot in California. After contacting police, investigators found there had been three different VIN plates glued to the car. To make matters even worse, police found a GPS tracking device inside the vehicle. Investigators suspect the scammer was tracking the vehicle to try to steal it and resell it.

    Any worthwhile classifieds app or website will have the VIN included in the ad for the car. For example, Geebo vehicle ads require a VIN to be placed with the ad. This way a consumer can check it with one of the many services that provide a car’s history. And as always, if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is.

     
  • Geebo 9:13 am on April 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Facebook lottery, , scam,   

    The Facebook lottery is a lie 

    The Facebook lottery is a lie

    Back in the early days of the internet, there was an infamous hoax that said if you forward an email from Microsoft founder Bill Gates you’ll get cash for each time the email is forwarded. That hoax was largely harmless and mostly resulted in annoyance and some susceptible people wondering where their money was. Now there’s another impersonation hoax that’s causing its victims to lose thousands of dollars apiece. It’s colloquially known as the Facebook lottery scam.

    The way the scam works is that Facebook users will receive texts or Facebook messages claiming to be from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg. These messages will say that the user has won a Facebook lottery that only a small number of people have ever won. They’ll claim the prize is anywhere from $500,000 to $500,000,000, but as you might expect, there’s a catch. In order to claim the alleged winnings you’ll need to either wire a processing fee, or give the processing fee in gift cards.

    This is not a new scam with some reports stating that it’s been around since 2011, however, it seems to have really ramped up in the past month with stories about it being reported all over the country, most notably in the New York Times. While each story has some differences, they all have the same result, an elderly person being scammed out of large sums of money.

    While some may easily spot this scam before they fall victim, there are still others who are not as educated in these matters. If you know someone who thinks the Facebook lottery is real show them this blog post and the other stories where people have fallen victim to the scam. Reason with them that if Facebook was giving away money, which they don’t do, they wouldn’t need money for so-called processing fees. Also remind them that wiring money or sending gift cards to strangers is the sure sign of a scam.

     
    • Melissa Trewern 2:50 am on June 29, 2018 Permalink

      I think i have been recently scammed someone told me I’ve won $80,000 in cash from this thing and am expected to pay u[p $550 bucks delievery fee to the agency to get it delieved i reckon its bull*** really

    • Geebo 4:09 am on June 29, 2018 Permalink

      Do you mind if I ask if you paid them any money?

    • Melissa Trewern 3:52 am on June 30, 2018 Permalink

      Nope I haven’t sent any cash away to anybody.

    • Geebo 5:22 am on June 30, 2018 Permalink

      Good. That’s great to hear. If you’re ever asked to pay money to get money it’s more than likely a scam.

  • Geebo 9:04 am on April 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Long Island, rice, scam   

    LetGo users scammed into buying boxes of rice 

    LetGo users scammed into buying boxes of rice

    Most of us have heard the tip that when you accidentally drop your phone in water, you should then place it in a bag of rice. But what do you do when your phone is a bag of rice? That’s what happened recently to some users of the mobile marketplace app LetGo when they were trying to purchase iPhones.

    In Suffolk County in New York on Long Island, three people were arrested recently for selling iPhone boxes full of rice to people who thought they were buying the renowned smart phone through LetGo. The scammers allegedly claimed that they were selling brand new iPhones still in the box and factory sealed when in reality the boxes were filled with nothing but rice to simulate the weight of an iPhone and its accessories. When police investigated the residence where the operation was taking place, they reportedly found an industrial sealer, a heat gun, and a roll of clear plastic wrap among the packages of rice.

    If you’re buying something from a classifieds site or app always be skeptical of anything listed as sealed in box. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to reseal a box and there have been many stories over the years where people have been sold sealed boxes that have been filled with bricks, carpet samples, and many other bits of detritus. This is yet another reason to use safe exchange zones such as police stations to make your transactions. Not only do these zones go a long way in helping to protect your safety, but they also go a long way in preventing you from getting ripped off.

     
  • Geebo 9:18 am on April 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fallon Blackwood, , , , scam   

    Craigslist scam may have led horses to slaughter 

    Craigslist scam may have led horses to slaughter

    A somewhat disturbing story has come out of the Southeastern United States about a craigslist scam involving the supposed re-homing of horses. An actual third-year veterinary student is accused of taking horses from people on craigslist who are looking for a new home for their animals, and then for all intents and purposes, the student is making the horses disappear.

    23-year-old Fallon Blackwood, of Boaz, Alabama, is accused of allegedly promising people all over the Southeast that she would re-home their horses with her own horse. At least in one incident when Fallon was pressed for information on how one horse was doing she reportedly told the horse’s former owner that both horses had been struck by lightning. Sadly, none of the horses were able to be found. A non-profit called NetPosse that tracks horse theft around the country is fearful that the horses have been sold for slaughter. As Geebo CEO Greg Collier pointed out in a 2014 blog post, it’s illegal to sell horses for slaughter in the United States, however, in neighboring Mexico the practice is still allowed. That’s only one of the many reasons why selling or giving away of animals is no longer permitted on Geebo.

    Re-homing a pet is difficult enough as too many people want puppies or kittens and not full-grown animals. Horses are a whole other matter as they are expensive to house and maintain. If you’re looking for a new home for your horse don’t just offer it to just anyone online. First, try to see if someone in your local community can take your horse for you. Then, if you find someone who can, ask them for a reference from their veterinarian to make sure their capable of taking care of such animals.

     
  • Geebo 9:29 am on March 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car title, lien, scam   

    Make sure you buy a car with a lien-free title 

    Make sure you buy a car with a lien-free title

    Unless you live in a major metropolitan area like New York or San Francisco, it’s almost impossible to get around in our country without a car. This is especially imperative for lower-income families who may have trouble paying for things such as insurance or the many state fees included with car ownership. That’s why you need to be extra careful when buying a used car online. We’ve detailed many used car scams before, but now we’re hearing of a new one that could leave you broke and without a vehicle.

    In Glendale, Arizona, a woman recently purchased a used car from a seller on a classifieds app. The seller had a sob story about how she had to pay for a recent funeral and didn’t even have money for food or their cell phone. The buyer, feeling sorry for the seller, not only bought the car, but bought groceries for the seller and paid for the seller’s cell phone bill. It wasn’t too much longer after the transaction that the car was repossessed and the buyer was then out of her money and no longer had the car. The car had a lien on it from title loan company. Even though the car was sold to a new owner the title loan company had the legal right to repossess the car.

    Whenever buying a used car, always do a history check of the car even if you’re pressed for time in needing a vehicle. Always obtain the vehicle’s VIN number which can be usually found on the driver’s side toward the bottom of the windshield as you look into the car. Many states provide a free or low-cost service where you can see if there are any liens on the car. You can also use the more expensive independent services like Carfax and others to get a more detailed history of the car.

    Not having a car today is a major inconvenience to say the least. To not have a car and losing a big sum of money in the process can be crippling for some families. So please take the time in researching a car before purchasing.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , scam   

    Why online modeling jobs are bad news 

    Why online modeling jobs are bad news

    Earlier this week, we put up a blog post about two girls from California were saved from potential human traffickers after being offered a bogus modeling job. More recently, another modeling scam appeared, this time in Michigan where someone was offering modeling jobs on craigslist and Facebook for a store whose owner had no idea their store was being used in a scam. While the false promises of modeling jobs are often used by human traffickers, they’re used by online predators as well.

    While those are drastic situations, there are other modeling scams that involve trying to get you to spend money on things you shouldn’t have to. For example, many ads for modeling jobs that you’ll find online or hear about on the radio aren’t jobs at all. There actually more of a sales pitch to get you to buy things like classes and photos, but only through them.

    While you may be able to find one or two legitimate modeling jobs online, for the most part legitimate modeling jobs are done through modeling agencies. If someone is advertising for models on craigslist it’s more than likely they don’t have the best intentions in mind to say the least. The Federal Trade Commission website has some tips on how not to get scammed by modeling ads.

     
  • Geebo 10:28 am on January 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , scam   

    Fake lift ticket scams hitting the slopes 

    Fake lift ticket scams hitting the slopes

    With winter weather hitting the country hard recently, a number of people are using it as an opportunity to hit the ski slopes in many of the nation’s ski resorts. Unfortunately, scammers are also using this opportunity to defraud those looking for a fun time in the snow. In Colorado, there have been reports of phony lift tickets being sold on craigslist.

    This particular lift ticket scam works the same way many phony ticket scams do. The scammer purchases the tickets using a stolen credit card hoping they get the tickets before the fraudulent charges are caught. They then advertise the tickets for a deep discount. However, when the buyer reaches the slopes, the phony charges have been caught by then and the tickets are rendered null and void leaving many skiers and snowboarders stranded at the bottom of the hill.

    It’s not just ski resorts that deal with this problem either. Many vacation hotspots such as theme parks have encountered this scam as well.

    When buying any kind of vacation ticket, stick to purchasing the tickets from authorized vendors or the destination itself. If a price online seems too good or comes with some kind of story attached, it is more than likely too good to be true.

     
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