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  • Geebo 7:19 am on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Nextdoor, , Scams   

    Romance scams are not just for dating sites 

    Romance scams are not just for dating sites

    With everyone social distancing more people are turning to online methods of communication to stay in touch with each other. Some are even going online to make new friends that could assist them during the current crisis. Once again, the scammers are there looking to take advantage of people’s emotions during this trying time. They’re also using new avenues to achieve this.

    When we talk about romance scams, they usually start on dating sites or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It seems that some romance scammers are taking to unconventional platforms to find victims. For example, the New York Times is reporting about an attempted romance scam that started on Nextdoor.com. If you’re unfamiliar with Nextdoor, it’s a platform that helps people stay informed with what’s going on in their own neighborhood. Local residents can post questions or concerns about what’s happening in their neck of the woods. In many cases, cities also use Nextdoor to get important news out to citizens.

    In at least one woman’s case, a scammer used Nextdoor to try to ensnare his victim in a romance scam. The scammer told the woman that he lived on a specific street in her neighborhood and started pouring on the charm. It wasn’t too long that the scammer asked if they could communicate outside of Nextdoor. Soon after, the scammer started making excuses for why he couldn’t meet the woman in person. Then the pitch finally came.

    At first, the scammer started small asking the woman for a $100 Netflix gift card. The scammer claimed that he was on assignment in Europe. Then the scam ramped up rather quickly with the scammer asking for $2600 for tools that he had supposedly lost for his job. It was at this point that the woman realized she was being scammed and blocked the scammer. She was only out $100 but others have not been so lucky usually losing thousands of dollars.

    Anybody can pretend to be somebody else online. In most romance scams, the picture the scammers use will have been taken from someone else. If you suspect a scammer, try doing a reverse image search to see if the picture is being used elsewhere. If someone claims to be working overseas, they probably live there. And if they ask for money without meeting then it’s definitely a scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corona Antivirus, , , , medical fraud, , , quarantine, Scams   

    Kickbacks and more coronavirus scams 

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/coronavirus-kickbacks-fbi-arrests-georgia-man-large-scale-unnecessary-testing-n1172101

    We thought by now that we might be seeing a decline in new scams related to the coronavirus pandemic but we are woefully mistaken. With more recent news, it seems like the scams are still on the rise.

    Medical fraud is one of the more common scams in the United States. Often, many dishonest medical providers will order unnecessary tests in order to either defraud healthcare insurance carriers or get kickbacks from the testing facilities. A Georgia man who ran a marketing company was recently arrested by the FBI for accepting kickbacks from medical testing companies for referring people to these companies to get unnecessary covid-19 testing. We keep hearing about how testing materials are scarce and are only available for the worst cases yet here is a man wasting them for the sake of greed.

    If this next scam didn’t involve covid-19 it might have almost been funny. However, leading antimalware maker Malwarebytes is reporting that there is a fake app out there calling itself ‘Corona Antivirus’. The fake app claims that if you install this app on your computer it will protect you from the actual coronavirus. If only it were that easy. Corona Antivirus is actually a piece of malware that could do a number of unpleasant things to your device.

    In the state of Washington, at least one police department is warning residents of a quarantine scam. Residents there have complained they’ve been getting calls from someone claiming to be the local police. The scammer tells the victim that they’ve been reported for violating the quarantine and must pay a fine over the phone before asking for your financial information. Police will never call you to ask you to pay for a fine over the phone.

    If you see images on social media that look like tweets from President Obama or President Trump stating that you’re eligible for $1,000 from PayPal, it’s a fake. The images had been circulating on Instagram before the accounts posting the images were pulled. Neither PayPal nor any other payment app is offering free money.

    In Illinois, a woman had her home robbed after she let a man into her house claiming to be an inspector. The man claimed he was a plumber and said he needed to check the water because people in the area contracted covid-19 form the water supply. The CDC states that covid-19 has not been detected in drinking water.

    Lastly. we’d like to remind you that if you’re receiving a coronavirus relief payment, you do not have to sign up for anything. If you filed your taxes for 2018 or 2019 and received your refund through direct deposit, the relief payment will be deposited into the bank account that the IRS has on file. There is nothing anyone can do to make the payment get to you faster. So if someone claims that they can get you the payment faster, they’re trying to scam you. Please do not give out any of your financial information to people you don’t know.

    Again, this has become a boom period for scammers. Don’t let the fear of coronavirus push you into making bad decisions that could cost you later.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Scams,   

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams 

    Grocery shopping assistance and other coronavirus scams

    We think it goes without saying that the global coronavirus pandemic has launched a new boom period for scammers. Not only have old scams increased with new coronavirus twists, but new scams are popping up all the time now. Scammers and con artists are now taking every opportunity they can to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty that comes with this crisis.

    With the current travel restrictions and advisories in place, many people are finding it difficult to shop for their weekly groceries. Some scammers are posing as good samaritans offering grocery delivery service. The majority of these scammers are targeting senior citizens. The scammers will then ask for your payment information before making off with it. Many supermarkets and delivery services are now offering free delivery to seniors. You can check with your local retailers to see what services may be available to you.

    Speaking of groceries, many people are now without jobs because of the pandemic are finding it difficult to even pay for groceries for themselves or their families. Now, a text message scam is taking advantage of that desperation. Reports say that there are text messages going around claiming to offer recipients emergency money for groceries. As with most text messaging scams, the text contains a link that if you click on it, you’ll be taken to a website that could either steal your personal information or inject malware into your device. Never click on links sent from strangers no matter how tempting the offer may be. We know it’s cliche at this point but if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Previously, we’ve discussed scammers going door to door offering home covid-19 inspections. Now, more scammers are going door to door posing as workers from either the Red Cross or the Centers for Disease Control offering covid-19 testing. Some of these scammers are even dressed in lab coats to further perpetrate the scam. Neither of these organizations are testing people at their homes. The scammers want you to simply pay a fee for a phony test that could actually put you in danger.

    To keep up with the latest coronavirus scams you can see our previous posts on the matter or check with the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

     
  • Geebo 8:10 am on March 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mail fraud, Scams,   

    Social Security Office warns of new scam 

    Social Security Office warns of new scam

    It’s difficult to find a scam these days that isn’t somehow related to today’s global crisis. Many of these scams have been targeting either the elderly or the underprivileged. The scam we’re discussing today does both.

    The Social Security Office of the Inspector General is warning recipients of a new scam. Due to the current pandemic, many local Social Security offices have been temporarily closed. Social Security itself is still open and functioning. However, scammers have been trying to take advantage of the possible confusion. The scammers have been sending official-looking letters in the mail claiming that Social Security benefits will be terminated or suspended unless they call a phone number contained in the letter. It’s during this call where the scammers will either try to get your personal information or try to get you to make some form of payment. Scammers will try to get victims to pay using such untraceable methods like gift cards, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, or even mailing cash.

    While using pandemic fears as a catalyst is new, this is a twist on a scam we’ve seen used before. Scammers are constantly looking for Social Security recipients to intimidate into thinking their benefits are about to be cut off. In the past, they’ve told victims that their benefits will be suspended because the victim’s Social Security number was used during a crime.

    According to the Social Security Office, they will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefits during the current crisis. Also please keep in mind that Social Security will never threaten you with arrest or ask you for a payment in any of the aforementioned ways. If you receive any kind of notice threatening suspension of benefits, it’s more than likely a scam. If someone were to receive one of these notices, you’re asked to report it to Social Security at their website.

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

    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 8:00 am on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cattle ranchers, , , , , , Scams   

    More coronavirus scams to watch out for 

    More coronavirus scams to watch out for

    Before we get started, we here at Geebo.com hope that you and your family are coping during these trying times. Unfortunately, we have several new scams that are trying to take advantage of all of us during this global pandemic.

    In the past week, there have been a number of reports claiming that some scammers have been going door to door offering to do home covid-19 inspections for a fee. In some cases, these scammers have even posed as hospital employees. These are not legitimate services and you could be allowing bad actors into your home. If you encounter a scammer like this it is recommended that you decline their services and contact your local police.

    Previously, we’ve discussed how phony coronavirus websites are on the rise. Now, there is at least one Android app that’s trying to capitalize on the recent wave of panic. At first, you’ll receive a random text offering you safety masks. The text message will contain a link that will download an app to your device. However, the app will hijack your contacts list and send texts with the same message to everyone in your contacts. There is also the probability that the app will install some form of malware to your device. Even in times of solace, you shouldn’t be clicking on random links sent to you by strangers through text messages or emails.

    Some scammers are still trying to push ‘miracle cures’ for the coronavirus onl9ine. One such scam purported to be a Fox News article claiming that a CBD oil treatment can be used to prevent coronavirus. While CBD oil may have benefits for certain conditions, there is no evidence to suggest that covid-19 is one of those conditions. While progress is being made, there is still currently no vaccine or cure for covid-19.

    Lastly, there is apparently no field or demographic that the coronavirus scammers won’t target. In this particular scam, even cattle ranchers are being scammed. These cattle farmers are being targeted by scammers with high-pressure tactics that now is the best time to sell their cattle because of the pandemic. The scammers will then send phony checks to the ranchers that are over the amount the ranchers were asking for. The scammers will then ask for the difference back once the rancher cashes the check. By the time the bank realizes the check is a fake, the scammers will have disappeared and the rancher will be responsible for the amount of the check to their bank.

    The scams have gotten so bad around the country that many state and federal task forces are being deployed to combat these scams.

    While we should be helping each other to the best of our abilities during this unprecedented crisis, you should also have the knowledge to protect yourself from scammers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , e-skimming, , Scams   

    FBI warning about shopping scam 

    FBI warning about shopping scam

    With many of us staying home these days while practicing social distancing, a lot of us will be ordering items online so we can avoid the crowds at stores. As can be expected, scammers are trying to take advantage of this situation too. The most concerning part is that this particular scam can affect legitimate retail sites and gives no indication that your information is at risk. This is why the FBI is warning consumers to keep an eye on their billing statements to make sure there are no unwarranted charges on your statements.

    According to the FBI, in an attack known as e-skimming, cybercriminals are injecting code into the websites of retailers. This code then allows the scammers to copy the information on your credit or debit card. With the way e-skimming works, neither the retailer not the customer will know that they’ve been scammed until it’s too late. The scammers will then sell the card information online to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, there is no way to detect if the retail site you’re using has been infected by the e-skimming code.

    While these types of attacks are usually caught by retailers within a few days there are steps you can take to protect your information. One of the ways is only using a credit card online as credit cards have better fraud protection than most debit cards. Your bank may also be able to provide you with temporary one-time card numbers that you can use once and won’t work when copied. If your bank does not provide this service there are legitimate online platforms that can provide this service.

    While the odds of e-skimming happening to you are small, they’re not zero. It’s better to have the protection and not need it than needing it and not having it.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Scams   

    Beware of scammers bearing checks 

    Beware of scammers bearing checks

    Currently, the Federal Government is considering sending economic relief checks to many Americans due to the effect the current pandemic has had on the economy. It is unclear just who will be eligible for those checks and how much the checks will be for. Senator Mitt Romney has stated that the government should send $1,000 checks to all Americans. Meanwhile, other reports have stated that the checks could potentially only go out to those whose employment has been affected by the pandemic. This consideration is still in its early stages and it’s important to keep in mind that no affirmative plans have been put into action at the time of this post.

    This hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to take advantage of the economic situation. Before the plan has even been finalized, scammers have been taking to the phones promising people a quick delivery of their relief checks, for a fee of course. According to the Better Business Bureaus of North Dakota and Minnesota, scammers have already been calling people promising them that they can receive their checks immediately. The scammers will then ask for your personal and financial information which they will use to either steal your identity, clean out your bank account, or both.

    If and when these stimulus checks go out, you will never have to pay a fee to receive them. The government is the last organization that would need your identifying information since they have it already. So if someone is asking for Social Security number or any other identifying information then they’re probably not with the government. The government will also never ask you to pay a fee in order to receive a payment.

    While we are currently living in uncertain times, it’s always best to have a good head on your shoulders and to not give in to panic and fear as these can be used against you by those looking to take advantage of you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Scams   

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams 

    Coronavirus puts new twist on old scams

    As with any time of crisis, there is no shortage of scammers during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re not just talking about people buying insane amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and trying to sell them with enormous markups. A number of scams that are preying upon covid-19 fears are just age-old scams dressed up in a coronavirus suit. Here are some more coronavirus scams to look out for.

    Johns Hopkins University has a very useful real-time map showing the spread of the coronavirus. The map from Johns Hopkins is safe as can be. However, there are malicious sites out there that have similar looking maps but are injecting malware into the user’s device that is designed to steal passwords. This malware can then spread to other devices and continue the process. If you think your device may be infected, run an antimalware application like Malwarebytes to remove the malware.

    Scammers are continuing to call people promising at home coronavirus tests. In at least one case, scammers are promising Medicare recipients a coronavirus testing kit. This is similar to many scams that prey upon Medicare patients by offering them a free medical item such as a back brace. As in other cases, the scammers are trying to get the victim’s personal information such as their Social Security number and other identifying information for potential identity theft. Please keep in mind that at the time of this posting there is no home test kit for covid-19. Testing can only be done at approved medical facilities and clinics. If you think you may have covid-19 symptoms, please call your doctor and they’ll advise you on how to get tested.

    The impersonation scam, or grandparent scam, is also having a coronavirus layer attached to it. Usually, in this scam, someone will call an elderly person and tell them that one of their grandchildren are in some kind of trouble and need money to rectify the situation. In this new version of the scam, people are being told that a loved one is in the hospital with coronavirus and can’t be treated until a deposit is paid. As much as the US healthcare system revolves around money, no hospital is going to turn away a covid-19 patient for any reason.

    Fear is to scammers like blood in the water is to a shark. These times are stressful enough without having to worry about being scammed. Don’t allow fear to override your sensibilities and you’ll be able to get through this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Scams, ,   

    Tech support scams could be on the rise 

    Tech support scams could be on the rise

    Yesterday, when we discussed phishing scams that could affect people working at home for the first time, we were remiss not to mention another scam that could be targeting new remote workers. The scam we’re referring to now is the tech support scam. This scam has been a known nuisance to home computer users for years now. This scam has also ended up costing its victims thousands of dollars apiece.

    The tech support scam usually works in one of two ways. The first and most ubiquitous way is when the victim sees a pop-up on their device that tells them their device has been infected with some kind of virus or malware. The pop-up then instructs the victim to call a number that claims to be some form of official tech support for that device. Other tech support scammers will just cold call people posing as a company like Microsoft or Apple telling their victims that they have a computer virus.

    In some cases, the tech support scammers will ask for remote access to your computer. With that access, they can do a number of malicious things. For example, a man in New York State was locked out of his computer by the scammers and was told to overnight cash while thinking he was paying to have his computer repaired remotely. In other cases, the scammers could inject malware into your system that logs your usernames and passwords. And in even more cases, scammers will just rummage through your computer looking for any information that they could find valuable.

    As far as the pop-ups go that say you have a virus, you should always ignore them and close the window where they appear. You should only be concerned by warnings that are given to you by whatever antivirus protection you already have installed on your device. As far as phone calls go, companies like Microsoft, Apple or Google will never call you to notify you that you have a virus. While these companies do have a global reach, they’re not monitoring your computer for viruses. If you receive one of these phone calls, just hang up. Don’t even engage with these scammers as your number could be shared with other scammers if they know someone will answer.

    Anytime some stranger is asking you online for money to fix your ‘virus’ problem, it’s more than likely a scam.

     
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