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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Scams, Spokane,   

    Amazon job scam is permeating NW Washington State 

    Amazon job scam permeating NW Washington State

    Previously, we’ve mentioned how Amazon is hiring for new work at home positions and how job scams topped the BBB’s list of worst scams in 2018. Now, those two stories seem to have converged into one. One of the states where Amazon is looking to hire new employees is Washington. They are also looking to open a new fulfillment center in Spokane that promises an additional 1500 positions. Due to those factors. among others, scammers have decided to use Amazon’s hiring initiative in the are to embark on a massive fleecing of Amazon hopefuls.

    The scam appears to be overly elaborate but effective at the same time. It starts out with a robocall going out to local residents offering positions with Amazon that supposedly pay $27 an hour. The robocall directs victims to go to a website that has the Amazon name in the site’s address but isn’t an official Amazon website. Once there, victims are instructed to enter personal and financial information while the phony website makes it look like the victim is applying for a job at Amazon. More than likely, any unsuspecting victim of this scam will have their identity and possibly their finances stolen.

    Another aspect of the scam has the scammers trying to get their victims to pay the scammers money for phony employment fees such as processing fees or background check fees. The scammers will try to get this money through either requesting the money be wired to them or paid through gift cards, two of the most prevalent calling cards of a scammer. Amazon themselves have commented on this scam stating that they will never ask a prospective employee for financial information or request any kind of employment fee. These tips not only apply to Amazon but also to most major employers. If these tips are kept in mind hopefully your potential job search will be a relatively stress-free one.

     
  • Geebo 9:23 am on March 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: coupon scam, , Scams, ,   

    Social Security Suspension, Fake Coupons, Florida is #1, and cancer patient scammed out of $32K 

    Social Security Suspension, Fake Coupons, Florida is #1, and cancer patient scammed out of $32K

    It’s that time again to bring you the scams of the week that are happening around the country that could eventually come to your area. This week, we also have one that is particularly heinous.

    First up is a new scam targeting senior citizens. A number of our more mature members of society are stating that they are receiving phone calls that tells them that their Social Security numbers are being suspended. Since many seniors rely on Social Security benefits they could be prone to fall for this scam. The FTC is warning seniors that Social security numbers cannot be suspended and to not give any information to anyone calling you pretending to be the government and that if there is an issue with your Social Security the government will contact you by mail.

    Next, we have an online coupon scam that seems to be circulating on social media. If you see a coupon for the pizza chain Little Caesars promising you three free pizzas for their 60th anniversary it’s a scam. If you click on any links regarding this phony coupon it could lead to malware being installed onto your system. Little Caesars themselves has even issued a warning to consumers to avoid this coupon at all costs.

    In scam related news it turns out that Florida is the scam capital of the nation but the victims aren’t who you might think. While many seniors either live or spend a lot of time in Florida they’re not the main targets of scammers. Instead, scammers are targeting people of the so-called Millennial generation. Victims have fallen prey mostly to debt collection scams which seems to track since many Millennials are burdened with outrageous student loan debt. Once again, consumers are being warned about making any kind of payment through wire service or gift cards as these are clear indicators that any collection calls they receive may be a scam.

    Lastly, we have quite the heartbreaking story out of Northern California where a man in the Sacramento area has been taken in by a scam to the tune of $32,000. What makes this particular scam egregious is that the victim is currently struggling with cancer. The man wanted to travel the country with his wife in a motorhome. Unfortunately, the man wired money to someone posing as eBay Motors. Again, wiring money is usually a sure sign of a scam as once the money is wired it’s almost impossible to get it back.

    If you feel like you’ve been the victim of an online scam it is recommended that you contact the FTC at their complaint website.

     
  • Geebo 9:08 am on March 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    BBB: Job scams were the worst in 2018 

    BBB: Job scams were the worst in 2018

    The Better Business Bureau is reporting that in 2018 job and employment scams topped their list of riskiest scams. More people lost money to job scams than any other scam the BBB tracks last year. The job scams even beat out standard scams like the fake check scam, phony online purchases, and tech support scams. In most employment scams the scammers will try to get you to pay some kind of advance processing fee for things like background checks while most legitimate employers will burden this cost themselves. Any prospective job that asks you for money is almost definitely a scam and should be avoided at all costs. Not only could you lose money but your identity could be stolen as well.

    So why were employment scams so prolific in 2018? The BBB attributes most of the job scams to Amazon’s search for their second headquarters last year. Not that Amazon is to blame but scammers took advantage of Amazon being in the news so much by offering fictitious Amazon jobs to unsuspecting victims often using websites and social media posts that mimic Amazon in a very convincing way. Amazon has only one official job application portal that can be found at amazon.jobs.

    The BBB also issued warnings against the other typical job scams to be on the lookout for. We’ve already mentioned any job that asks for money in advance. There’s also the work at home jobs that you have to be wary of since many of them are scams. You should also be wary of any job that offers you an immediate position without arranging an interview first. No legitimate employer would hire someone sight unseen. Lastly, you should be on the lookout for anyone trying to charge you to get you a government job as all government jobs are posted publicly by the government themselves. In today’s job market where so many people are desperate to find ways of supporting their family, this desperation can lead to not thinking clearly when it comes to finding a job.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on March 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Homeland Security, , , , , Scams, ,   

    Tax collection, Homeland Security, and yet another puppy scam 

    Tax collection, Homeland Security, and yet another puppy scam

    It’s time again to bring you some more scams that are happening around the country that could ultimately impact your area and possibly someone you know.

    First up is a twist on the typical IRS scam. In the typical IRS scam, someone will call a victim on the phone pretending to be from the IRS trying to pressure the victim into making an immediate payment on a tax bill that doesn’t actually exist. The flaw in this scam is that the IRS rarely calls a taxpayer to settle any taxes owed. Instead, the IRS is known for mailing out any delinquent tax notices. That’s where this new scam being reported out of Sullivan County, Tennessee takes it up a notch. The scammers are mailing out letters claiming to be from a “Tax Enforcement Department” which then directs potential victims to call a phone number to make a payment. If you receive a letter like this and you feel like you may owe the IRS some money always call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.

    Speaking of government agencies, our next scam involves possible the most fear-inducing branch of the government and that’s the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS recently released a warning stating that scammers were calling people posing as the DHS by spoofing official DHS phone numbers. That way when someone receives the call it appears to be from DHS itself when in reality it’s just a scammer. The scammers are said to be claiming that the people they call have been victims of identity theft and ask the victims for personal information or threatening people with immigration offenses if they don’t make a payment right then and there. Some of these scammers are even sending out emails using an uscis.org email address. That is similar to but not the web address of DHS which is actually uscis.gov If you receive one of these phone calls or emails, the DHS requests that you call them at 1-800-323-8603.

    Lastly, we have an online puppy scam that has an added level of cruelty added to it. Luckily, no puppies actually exist in this scam if you can call that lucky. An online puppy scammer is said to be taking money from victims over PayPal as a deposit for a purebred puppy. The phony breeder then directs all of their victims to an address in Atlanta, Georgia to pick up the fictitious puppy. According to FOX 5 Atlanta, people have driven from as far away as Detroit. The man who lives at the Atlanta address has had to tell all the people who showed up on his doorstep that they’ve been scammed. Buying puppies online is always a risky venture as there are a plethora of scams involving puppies, some of which end up with puppies being bred in backyard puppy mills. When searching for a new pet for your family you should always deal with a locally licensed breeder or your local shelter. You’re less likely to run into scammers this way.

     
  • Geebo 10:03 am on February 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: brushing scam, housing scam, jury duty scam, Scams,   

    Brushing, jury duty, and a housing scam that could cost you a lot 

    Brushing, jury duty, and a housing scam that could cost you a lot

    Once again, it’s time to bring you three scams from across the country that could potentially affect you in your area.

    One scam that is being reported out of Raleigh, North Carolina is called a brushing scam. The scam may seem innocuous at first but has the potential to be costly. In the brushing scam, online retailers will send you a product of their’s unsolicited and at no charge to you. It’s all part of an international scheme to try to get favorable reviews online so the company can boast of getting higher star ratings. While getting free stuff sounds like a great deal, the products are often shoddy or something you have absolutely no use for. The potential for abuse comes from the fact that someone may have opened an account in your name to have the products delivered which could lead to fraudulent charges.

    In northwestern Iowa a phone scam is proliferating that threatens to send you to jail if you don’t pay a fee. In this scam, someone calls you posing as a county authority accusing you of skipping out on jury duty then demands a fine from you in the form of a gift card or PayPal payment in order for you to avoid arrest. If a government body has any kind of issue like this more often than not they will send you something in the mail rather than calling you, and as always you should never make payments over the phone using gift cards as they are virtually untraceable once the serial number is given out to someone. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and contact your local law enforcement.

    The last scam for today is not only pretty scary but could end up costing you your life savings. A man in Massachusetts was getting ready to close on a new house. He was waiting for an email on how to make the final payment. He first received one email with the proper instructions then almost immediately received an identical email stating that the previous email was wrong and for him to wire the money under these new instructions. It turns out the man wired $300,000 to a scammer who had gained access to his email account. According to the FBI in Boston, this scam has cost potential homebuyers $53,000,000 just across Massachusetts. If you receive emails like this contact the financial institution or realtor you’ve been dealing with immediately to determine which of the instructions is the correct one.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on February 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , grants, , , , Scams,   

    Just another day of classifieds crime 

    Just another day of classifieds crime

    One might think that after over 20 years of having online classified ads being so prevalent online that most people would become more aware of the pitfalls that have become inherent when using some of the less reputable sites and apps. Here are some of the stories that have happened just over the past 24 hours.

    While not technically a classified site even though it does have Facebook Marketplace, a tired old scam has targeted Facebook messenger uses. It’s the grant scam which promises users large government grants to do with what they wish. The only catch is that you have to pay a fee, usually of at least several hundred dollars, in order to process the grant. Of course, you’re expected to wire the money to whoever is supposedly managing the grants. To be clear, the government does not use Facebook Messenger to offer grants and they never offer grants unsolicited. Also, you should always be suspicious of any transaction that requires you to wire money as once the money is wired it’s virtually untraceable once it’s gone.

    In Youngstown, Ohio, there has been a rash of robberies through the marketplace app LetGo. In these robberies, the buyers are posing as men in their 30s and 40s but when the seller shows up to the meeting place they’re approached by teens who then rob them. The article we linked to does have some good safety tips but leaves out the most important one. Don’t just meet someone during the day in a well-lit and well-traveled area as even there robberies and worse have been committed. Instead, insist on meeting at a local police station. This one simple step goes a long way in discouraging scammers and thieves from trying to take advantage of you.

    In the Kansas City area, one man was swindled out of close to $400 after buying tickets from a supposed seller off of craigslist. The scammer had official looking documentation that carried the Ticketmaster branding, the only problem with that is the arena where the concert was being held doesn’t use Ticketmaster to distribute their tickets. The tickets never appeared and the would-be buyer was out of $400 before buying more legitimate tickets from a reputable dealer. The victim, in this case, was an IT specialist who admits that he should have known better showing that it’s people of all stripes and backgrounds that can fall for a craigslist scam.

    For our next story, we stay in Ohio, Hilliard to be precise where police have discovered a counterfeiting operation that was using OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace transactions to allegedly try to launder the money. In this instance, the phony bills were not theatrical money as has been the more popular counterfeit scam lately. Instead, these bills were manufactured and ranged in denominations from the humble $1 bill to the much more respectable $100 bill. Again, the article we linked to has several tips to prevent yourself from being ripped off by counterfeiters even claiming that the marker test isn’t always reliable as some fake bills will show as genuine when the special anti-counterfeit marker is used. In this case, the bills should have been easy to detect as they had markings on them in one of the Chinese languages.

    While not every marketplace platform is perfect, there are very few that go the extra mile in trying to protect its users. For example, Geebo reviews every ad in order to try to weed out the ads that are obvious scams and setups. Maybe if our competitors were more concerned about user safety they wouldn’t keep cropping up in the daily headlines for all the wrong reasons.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams   

    Immigration scam targeting college students 

    Immigration scam targeting college students

    As we’re sure you’re well aware of, immigration has been a hot button topic in this country for a few years now. It’s such a divisive topic that the subject has stopped the US government from fully functioning. Even though most ‘illegal’ immigration comes from people overstaying their visas instead of our southern border hasn’t stopped our government officials from fighting over a wall that would accomplish little to nothing. In today’s politically charged environment just imagine how those here on foreign visas must feel. Well, leave it to the scammers of the world to take advantage of just such a situation.

    A phone scam is targeting foreign college students who are here on study visas. The caller purports to be from either the US Government or the embassy of the victim’s home country. The students are told that they are in danger of being deported. Being thousands of miles away from your family coupled with a potential language barrier could cause victim’s of this scam to panic and give in to whatever the scammers are demanding. As usual, the scammers are either looking for personal information or money. In one instance a student at Carnegie Mellon University was instructed to transfer close to $30,000 to a foreign bank account as ‘collateral’ for her to stay in the US. While the latest round of this scam is targeting college students, foreign citizens here on work visas aren’t immune from this scam either.

    If you or someone you know is a student visiting this country and may have been a target of this scam please let them know this is not how matters like this are handled in the US even in today’s political climate. It’s extremely rare for any government agency to contact someone by phone let alone demanding money. With today’s politics of fear, it’s understandable how successful this scam could be, however, you shouldn’t have to live in fear while visiting here. If you receive one of these calls contact your school’s administration and they should be more than happy to assist you.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ad sellers, , Rent your Facebook, Scams   

    Renting out your Facebook account could lead to trouble 

    Renting out your Facebook account could lead to trouble

    BuzzFeed News recently reported on a Facebook scam that we had previously unheard of until now. Apparently, there are shady ad dealers that promise you that you can make at least hundreds of dollars a week if you just hand over your Facebook credentials. This is done so the ad dealers can create a Facebook page under your name in order to serve ads that are usually frowned upon by Facebook such as online gambling. There are many ad dealers that use this promise of easy money and here’s a YouTube video showing what the pitch usually looks like. We found this particular video posted to multiple YouTube accounts.

    What they don’t tell you in the video is that in order to make money you have to grant these ad dealers almost complete access to your computer. That means the ad dealer can remotely access just about anything on your computer which could lead to financial or identity theft. In some cases, the ad dealers will send you a free laptop that is filled with these virtual backdoors that allow the ad dealers to continue running ads on Facebook in your name even while the browser is closed.

    Another issue that can arise from renting out your Facebook account is that it violates Facebook’s terms of service. If Facebook discovers that your Facebook account is being rented out they could delete your account. While you’re locked out of Facebook the ad sellers just move on to the other accounts that they’ve rented out. That means all your posts, photos, and connections that you’ve made are gone and it’s unlikely you’d ever have access to them again.

    The old adage of “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” applies here as the ad sellers don’t care what happens to your Facebook account. Also, if a platform that says you can’t make a lot of easy money isn’t a scam you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s more than likely a scam.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , prop money, Scams,   

    Movie money props used in craigslist scams 

    Movie money props used in craigslist scams

    Police in Stafford County, Virginia, are reporting an uptick in crimes involving counterfeit money. There have been at least two reports of people who were selling an item on craigslist who were paid in phony cash. Not just any phony cash mind you, but bills that were specifically printed to only be used in theatrical or film production. So how did movie prop money end up in the hands of con artists? It’s actually easier than you think.

    Most movie prop houses work closely with the Secret Service to make sure that their fake money looks legitimate on screen but no so real that it can be passed off as the real thing. In the past, it may have been difficult and expensive to obtain such prop money, however, in these days where anyone with a camera-enabled smartphone where just about anyone could make a movie, prop money has become much more easy to obtain. For example, one movie prop company will sell you a $10,000 stack of prop $100 bills for just $25.00. While the bills could not obviously fool professionals, they have been known to fool many an average consumer. Here’s a video that goes into great detail showing the differences between prop money and the real thing.

    Of course, there are several ways to prevent yourself from being ripped off like this. The first and most important is to always meet the buyer at a local police station. While not foolproof, a scammer is less likely to try to pull something like this when there are several police officers around. The second thing is to inspect the money for markings that say something like “For motion picture use only” or something to that effect. Lastly, there are markers you can buy that if you mark the money with them they can tell you if the money is real or not. Since just about anyone can buy this prop money, just about anyone can be fooled by it. So don’t be just anyone. Also, you probably shouldn’t use craigslist as it’s rife with scammers like this.

     
  • Geebo 10:37 am on January 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dallas Cowboys, , , Scams,   

    Man loses close to $1000 on fake Cowboys playoff tickets from OfferUp 

    Man loses close to $1000 on fake Cowboys playoff tickets from OfferUp

    With the NFL season getting ready to draw to a close a number of teams still in the hunt for that elusive Super Bowl Championship. One of those teams is the Dallas Cowboys who came out victorious against the Seattle Seahawks this past weekend. Tickets for the NFL playoffs game are selling at a premium no matter which team you may be rooting for but as one Cowboys fan found out not all ticket sellers are legitimate.

    While many Cowboys fans were watching America’s Team beat the Seahawks this past Saturday, one man and his girlfriend were turned away the gate of AT&T Stadium for having phony tickets. The man had purchased the tickets from a seller he had found through the marketplace app OfferUp for $900. The seller was said to have not only produced legitimate looking tickets to the game but also produced a receipt and credit card that had numbers matching those used to originally purchased the tickets. Sadly, as we posted about at the beginning of this NFL season, this scam has become all too common. More than likely the scammer purchased the tickets using a stolen credit card before the card was reported stolen. The tickets are then issued before the credit card is reported stolen and once the card is reported stolen the tickets are made null and void. However, since the tickets appear to be the genuine article fans looking to get into a high demand game are being taken for a fortune.

    Much like any other item you may purchase through a classifieds site or app, there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from being swindled. For example, you can ask the seller to meet you at a local police station since many stations have areas set up for just such a transaction. You can also try to take a picture of the seller prior to the transaction. If the seller protests at any of this then the tickets advertised may not be your best bet. In the long run, don’t let your passion for your favorite team cloud your judgment when it comes to buying expensive tickets. Most times you’re better off buying the tickets from the box office or authorized resellers.

     
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