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  • Geebo 10:47 am on November 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams, 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 9:15 am on November 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Scams, , spoofed calls   

    Be careful of the Social Security spoofing scam 

    Be careful of the Social Security spoofing scam

    With just about everyone owning a smartphone today we’ve all experienced a spoofed call. Normally these calls disguise themselves as being from a local number. Fearing it may be a neighbor or loved one in distress we answer the call only to find out it’s either a robocall or a telemarketer that’s not even from your local area. A scam that uses the spoofing method of disguising a phone number is targeting the elderly.

    According to the Social Security Administration, scammers are not just posing as Social Security employees but they’re also disguising their phone number to make it look like their calling from the national Social Security office. The number that appears on a phone’s caller ID is 1-800-772-1213 which is the national customer service number for Social Security. If someone were to answer the call the scammer would more than likely promise to increase the victim’s Social Security benefit if they could just get more information from the victim. The caller may even start to get belligerent if you don’t provide them with the information they’re looking for. Of course, this is all designed to gather your personal information to either sell your personal information to the highest bidder or use it to steal your identity.

    In the rare instances that Social Security will call one of its recipients, they will never promise to increase your benefits nor will they threaten you. Even if you think the call is legitimate, hang up, and call the SSA back by manually dialing the customer service number listed above. The SSA also recommends that if you receive one of these calls to report it to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or on their website.

     
  • Geebo 11:02 am on October 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , kansas city, , Scams   

    Real Estate agent saves renters from scam 

    Real Estate agent saves renters from scam

    Online con artists are always changing and adapting. That’s part of why the term ‘con man’ is actually short for ‘confidence man’. When the general public starts catching on to one scheme, con artists will tweak the scam ever so slightly that it almost becomes a brand new scam. For example, in the past scammers would list a property for rent in craigslist that isn’t there’s and would use various excuses as to why you had to wire them the deposit money before even seeing the property. Some of the more popular ones were that the ‘landlords’ were leaving the country either because they were church missionaries or they were in the military having just been deployed.

    It’s rare when I hear about a new rental scam but today seems to be that day. In the Kansas City area, a Real Estate agent saved a family from losing out on their money after one of the realtor’s property was listed on craigslist. The renters were about to send money to someone in Texas who was claiming to be the landlord of the property. The phony landlord claimed they were having problems with the realtor and decided to rent the house out themselves. Luckily, the renters called the realtor before sending any money. The realtor informed the renters that the scammers had copied the realtor’s ad and reposted it on craigslist, which is usually the heart of the scam.

    Rental scams are one of the most prolific scams on classified sites that don’t monitor their ads. Usually, the scammers try to rope you in with a too good to be true price and some kind of story designed to lower your defenses. If you’re ever unsure about who is truly renting a property you can always check with the county assessor’s website or office. Taking that little extra step could mean the difference between finding a new home or losing that down payment you needed for a new place.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on October 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elderly, grandparent scam, Scams   

    The grandparent scam is making the rounds again 

    The grandparent scam is making the rounds again

    Scammers love to target the elderly. The scammers count on their victims being more trusting and not tech savvy in order to scam the elderly out of what little money they might have. A scam that has become quite prevalent os what’s known as the grandparent scam. In it, the scammer calls an elderly person and claims to be one of their grandchildren who has been arrested somewhere out-of-state and needs bail money. They then instruct the victim on where to send the money. Too often the victims send the phony bail before they realize it’s a scam.

    While the scam sometimes varies the scammers often employ some concerning tactics to try to get their victims to send the money. In a lot of cases, scammers have some very personal information about the victim including who their grandchildren are and where they live. When a person becomes suspicious that this may not be their grandchild the scammer will say that they’ve received injuries that prevents them from talking correctly. A tip-off that this may be a scam is if the ‘grandchild’ asks for money to be wired or the victim is asked to buy gift cards. In one case, an elderly couple was asked to actually mail the money.

    The AARP website has a great article on how to avoid this scam with such tips as asking the caller something that only they would know. They also recommend that if you receive one of these calls you should collect yourself first before making any actions. Then call a relative who would know the whereabouts of the person in question and verify with them where this person currently is. This way if it does turn out to be an actual emergency you can respond in an appropriate manner.

    If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this scam please talk with them or share this post with them.

     
  • Geebo 9:08 am on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams   

    The craigslist modeling scam rears its ugly head 

    The craigslist modeling scam rears its ugly head

    One of the more disturbing scams that can usually be found on craigslist is the modeling job scam. The scammer places an ad on craigslist for a modeling job that is guaranteed to be easy money. The reality is that most of these ads are designed to do one of many things. They can lead from everything to you being bilked out of thousands of dollars for portfolios and modeling classes, to extortion, and human trafficking. Unsurprisingly, since craigslist refuses to moderate their own site, these dangerous scams continue to proliferate.

    In Colorado Springs, one such ad popped up on craigslist promising $500 to $1000 for a photoshoot. The ad requested that potential models submit headshots and pictures of the applicants in bikinis. The supposed shoot wasn’t even taking place in any kind of studio but rather in some guy’s house. I can almost guarantee that if anyone has sent in pictures to this so-called photographer that the conversation quickly turned towards requests for more explicit photos as this was probably someone allegedly looking for women to be in adult videos.

    Not everyone can be a model but these scammers, predators, and traffickers target victims who believe they have a shot in the modeling industry and take advantage of their dreams. If someone is advertising for models on craigslist or social media, they probably don’t have the best intentions in mind. The Federal Trade Commission website has some tips on how not to get scammed by modeling ads.

     
  • Geebo 9:08 am on September 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    Most customer service numbers found online are fake 

    Most customer service numbers found online are fake

    Seems legit.

    In Memphis, Tennessee, a man found the money emptied out of his online debit account. The man was trying to assist his mother who had the same type of account and called a customer service number he had found online that was supposed to be for the service. As you can probably guess, the customer service number that the man had found online was a fake, and the scammers had taken the man’s login information to take his money. Phony customer service numbers are one of the most prolific scams that can be found online today.

    As you can see from the video above, the customer support scam isn’t just exclusive to money apps. A number of scammers list customer service numbers online for many different services including, Facebook, Google, and many other free online services. This scam tends to target elderly internet users who tend to be more comfortable speaking to someone on the phone to try to solve their online issues. More often than not, most online services do not have any customer service options that can be accessed by phone.

    A lot of these fake phone numbers are listed on free services like craigslist and Facebook. Here at Geebo, we often receive ads for many of these customer service scams, however, since we moderate all of our ads we do not allow these ads to be displayed on our platform in order to better protect our customers.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Scams   

    The aftermath of hurricanes bring out scammers in its wake 

    The aftermath of hurricanes bring out scammers in its wake

    Hurricane Florence is set to make landfall in the Carolinas either late today or early tomorrow. Even though the storm has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm, it is still set to create a lot of property damage in the affected areas. Whether it’s through flooding or wind damage, residents in the path of the hurricane could be facing a long road back to restoring their homes to habitable conditions. Unfortunately, there will also a number of con artists looking to take advantage of people who have been negatively impacted by the tragedy.

    For people living in the storm-damaged areas, people claiming to be contractors will be coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, trying to pressure you into having them fix your home. While you may want to have your home back to normal as quick as possible, never let someone pressure you into making a deal. Always do your research and make sure that any contractor has the proper license. Also never pay cash, never pay up front, and be wary of anyone who just shows up at your door offering to make repairs.

    For people living outside of the hurricane zone but want to help the victims of the storm, be aware of who you’re donating to. Charity scams tend to be the other big scam that happens alongside a natural disaster like this. Make sure you know exactly who you’re donating to. Don’t ever make donations in gift cards or by wiring money as these are the most used methods by scammers to take your money. Also be wary of crowdfunding sites that give vague generalities about where the money is going to. If the site claims to be going to the ‘victims of’ whatever disaster happened most recently. It could just be a scammer trying to make some money off of tragedy.

     
  • Geebo 8:58 am on September 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Carolina Panthers, , , , Scams,   

    New football season brings about old ticket scams 

    New football season brings about old ticket scams

    This past weekend, or this past Thursday if you want to be pedantic, was the start of the NFL pro football season. And with the start of the new season comes the mad scramble for tickets to see the games live. If you’re not a season ticket holder, good tickets can be hard to come by sometimes. In days gone by this would lead you to enlist the services of a ticket scalper. While the tickets were inordinately expensive, they were more often than not the genuine article. In today’s electronic world, tickets have become easier to fake and have led to an increase in ticket scams.

    For example, a woman in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area recently lost almost $1800 to a craigslist ticket scammer. The victim, a real estate agent, wanted tickets to yesterday’s Carolina Panthers home opener against the Dallas Cowboys. She had sent the money to the scammer after communicating with the alleged scammer over the phone and friending him on professional social networks. After she sent the money the scammer stopped taking her calls and never sent the tickets. This particular scammer is said to be so prolific that even the Panthers organization is familiar with him. The victim herself is said to be no stranger to craigslist scams since she deals with them in her day job but sadly fell for one anyway. This is even after the Panthers and many NFL teams limited customers in the way many of them receive electronic or paper tickets.

    If you’re looking to attend a football game this season, try to avoid places like craigslist for buying tickets. You may think you’re saving money or buying a hard to get ticket, but in the long run, you could end up losing your money and not being able to attend the game. While the prices for NFL tickets may be exorbitant these days, we do recommend that you only buy them from either the team themselves, licensed retailers, or authorized resellers. This way you can assure yourself that you and your family won’t be turned away from the gate on game day.

     
  • Geebo 8:47 am on September 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams,   

    Fake check scam hitting new highs 

    Fake check scam hitting new highs

    If you’ve been following our blog for a while you’re probably familiar with the fake check scam. It’s a scam that has been around since the early days of craigslist but has since expanded into other avenues. If you’re unfamiliar with the scam, a scammer will send you a check for various reasons and will ask you to deposit the check into your banking account then will have you wire them back a large portion of the money they sent you. The problem is, by the time the bank finds out the check is a fake, you’ve already sent the money back and you’re stuck with repaying the check amount back to the bank.

    Since this scam has been around for such a long time and has been written about a myriad of times, one could assume that the scam was on the decline. Not so says the Better Business Bureau as a new report they recently released claims that as many as 500,000 people in the US fell victim to this scam last year at an average rate of $1200 per person. If their estimation is correct, that means scammers cost their victims around $600 million altogether.

    As I previously stated, this scam has evolved into taking many different forms although there are many common ones. The most common is when you’re trying to sell something online and you receive a check for more than the amount your asking. Another common tactic the scammers take is tied to an employment scam, like secret shoppers. They’ll send you a check for phony expenses and have you wire the money to a phony vendor. Sweepstakes scams are another favorite tactic of fake check scammers where they will send you a check but you need to wire someone the taxes or fees needed to handle the cost.

    Any time someone you don’t know personally asks you to deposit a check into your bank account is more than likely trying to scam you. Another good tip-off to being scammed is when you’re asked to wire any kind of money to a third-party. Scammers have been taking advantage of money wiring services for years as in many cases they can receive the money anywhere and walk away with your cash completely anonymously.

     
  • Geebo 9:36 am on August 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Scams   

    Beware of these scams targeting college students 

    Beware of these scams targeting college students

    Back when I was in college, the only scam you really had to look out for was predatory lenders offering ‘great deals’ on credit cards. Being young at the time I did, in fact, fall for that particular scam and it ended up being a black mark on my credit report for years. Today, with so many avenues scammers have to approach college students, they have to be even more vigilant in watching out for multiple scams.

    If you have a child who’s currently getting ready to attend college you probably know about how much pressure they can feel about securing student loans or grants in order to try to secure funding for their education. As is their usual M.O., scammers always love to prey on those who are in stressful situations, especially when it comes to financial ones. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that scammers are targeting students of one Michigan college where the scammers will pose as the college financial office threatening that their classes will be dropped if they don’t pay an additional fee and that the fee must be paid over the phone then and there. Of course, the college does not accept payment over the phone.

    Other common scams appear as offers that will either reduce your student loan or claim to offer some kind of financial assistance. In many of these cases that can appear as text messages or emails, will either try to get the student’s financial information or will try to get the student to pay some kind of upfront fee. Sometimes the fee requested will be in some form of a gift card which should be a dead giveaway that it’s a scam.

    In today’s controversial world of colleges and financing, our students have enough on their plate without having to worry about scammers trying to take their money. While they may be smart, students at that age can still be impressionable. If there’s an incoming college student on your family or circle of friends, please let them know about these scams so they don’t have to keep paying for their mistake for years to come.

     
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