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  • Geebo 9:01 am on August 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: college, education, financial aid, Scams   

    College students need an education about these scams 

    College students need an education about these scams

    The beginning of the school year for most college students is fast approaching. With that comes a number of concerns not just for returning students, but especially for those heading to college for the first time. As with any life changing moment, there are unfortunately a great number of scammers looking to take students for a financial ride.

    A number of these scams are variations on scams we’ve touched on before. For example, if a student is looking for an off campus place to live and a prospective landlord asks for money in advance without letting them see the property, then it’s obviously a scam. Along the same lines, if a student has placed an online ad looking for a roommate and receives a check for an amount larger than they requested, the check is obviously fake and cashing it could overdraw your own bank account. Other scams are targeted directly at students, like an offer for financial assistance or employment, where money is asked for up front for things like processing fees or background checks. As with most scams, if something doesn’t feel right, or feels too good to be true, it’s better to walk away from it than taking a chance with your finances.

    There are also some things that may not be scams that still look to take advantage of students such as credit card offers. While the offer for a credit card may be legitimate, the card may carry a high interest rate. Another great tip for students is to keep their identification and bank cards secure at all times as dorm rooms can be high traffic areas for identity thieves.

    Hopefully this knowledge will go a long way in helping college students have a less stressful school year.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on August 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: missing pets, Scams   

    Watch out for this scam if you’ve lost a pet 

    Watch out for this scam if you've lost a pet

    In the summer months, our pets spend even more time outside. Unfortunately, that also increases the chance of them running off. Very few things are more heartbreaking than losing a beloved family pet and not knowing where they are or what has happened to them. In our modern technical age it’s easy to take to social media or online classifieds to post virtual missing posters for your pet and they can be helpful. However, there are people lurking out there looking for just such an opportunity to scam you.

    Scammers are always on the lookout to take advantage of such tragedies. Loss of a pet is no different to them than any other moment where they seek to capitalize on your grief in order to make money. If you post your missing pet’s information online along with your phone number you could get a text from someone claiming to have your pet, but they will only return them if you send them money. They don’t have your pet though. So if you send them money you won’t get your pet back and you’ll be out the money.

    The best thing to do if you receive one of these texts is to ask the person for a photo of your pet. If they make some excuse as to why they can’t send a picture they’re more than likely a con artist. You can also better protect yourself by omitting some of the identifying marks on your pet from the description. This will better allow you to tell if someone really does have your missing pet. And as always, never wire any money or send any prepaid debit or gift card numbers to the caller.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on August 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: eclipse 2017, eclipse glasses, Scams   

    Beware of fake eclipse glasses online 

    Beware of fake eclipse glasses online

    On August 21st of this year, a narrow path through the United States will be able to view a complete solar eclipse for roughly 3 minutes. That’s not even taking into account any weather disruptions that may occur along the eclipse’s path. With such a small window of opportunity to view a possibly once in a lifetime event you might think scammers wouldn’t bother with such a small potential pool of victims, yet they are.

    As we all should know, you can’t view a solar eclipse with the naked eye without sustaining severe optical damage. In order to view the eclipse, you would need a pair of eclipse glasses that have special filters. Luckily, eclipse glasses are relatively inexpensive. However, this hasn’t stopped the market from being flooded with cheap imitations and knock offs that could potentially damage your eyes. NASA states legitimate glasses should be designated ISO 12312-2 and should be labeled as such. According to a local news report from a city that’s near the eclipse’s path, if your glasses were made in the U.S., you should be ok.

    What you should probably not do is buy them online, unless they’re from a reputable vendor. A number of ads for eclipse glasses on certain disreputable websites carry little to no information about the glasses they’re selling. The actual glasses are cheap enough and are plentiful enough from legitimate sources that you don’t have to worry about dealing with fakes.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on June 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Denver, , Scams   

    Denver man takes on rental scammers 

    Denver man takes on rental scammers

    If you’re looking for a property to rent online, and you come in contact with an obvious scammer, we don’t recommend engaging with them. Any actual information they can get out of you can be used for their gain. Instead, if you really want to help prevent the activity of these scammers, we recommend contacting the Internet Crime Complaint Center. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate someone who wastes a scammer’s time in the same way they like to waste ours. A man in Denver was looking for an apartment on a certain disreputable classifieds site when he was contacted by a slew of scammers. Here’s how the rental scam usually works.

    In Denver, the scammers kept asking the man for a picture of a check written out for a phony deposit. The Denver man kept sending the scammers e-mails with no attachments, links to URLs that went nowhere, and a picture of broken image error message. It was a number of back and forth e-mails before the scammers realized they were being trolled.

    While this man recognized the red flags that led him to realize there were scammers afoot, not everyone does. Just as a reminder, if a rental price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a ‘landlord’ wants you to send money without letting you view the property, it’s probably a scam. If they ask you to wire money to them or send money using prepaid credit cards or gift cards, it’s most definitely a scam. Education is the key. If more people are aware of these scams, less people will fall for them and that will begin to drive the scammers out of business.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on May 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams   

    The BBB issues Summer warning about job scams 

    The BBB issues Summer warning about job scams

    With the Summer fast approaching, a number of businesses will be looking for seasonal help. In turn, a number of scam artists will be looking to take advantage of those in need of employment. These con men will not just be using the sub-par pages of craigslist to find victims, but will be taking to more legitimate employment sites like Monster and CareerBuilder Recently, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) released their tips on how to avoid being taken advantage of.

    Some of the tips include…

    • Being wary of ads that say “immediate start” “no experience necessary”
    • Be careful of generic sounding job titles
    • Go to the company’s website directly rather than clicking on a link
    • Never give them your financial information
    • Never give them any money
    • Look up the business’ location

    A job may also be a scam if you are asked to be interviewed in a coffee shop or fast food place if that’s not the job you’re applying for. You should also be wary if you’re asked to be interviewed either in your home or someone else’s. Unfortunately, with these potential job scams, not only is your money at risk but your well-being could be as well.

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on February 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: court fines, , IRS, , Scams   

    Don’t pay your fines through Facebook 

    Don't pay your fines through Facebook

    Recently in Detroit, a new twist on an old scam has reared its ugly head. People posing as city employees are sending messages to people on Facebook telling victims that they owe court costs to the city. Instead of mailing a check to city hall the victims are informed to wire the money in order to receive a discount on their alleged fine. As is usual with the wire scam, when you wire money to someone you don’t know they make off with your money and you have little to no recourse to get your money back, and you’ll still owe your fine if you own one. Unless it’s too a friend or relative that has approached you personally, never wire money for any kind of transaction. It’s too easy to be ripped off.

    This is reminiscent of the IRS scam where people posing as the IRS will call you demanding payment over the phone claiming that you owe back taxes. The IRS has repeatedly told the public that they do not contact taxpayers by phone.

    So please keep in mind that municipal or government agencies will not contact you through social media since social media accounts could actually belong to anybody and not necessarily the person they would try to reach. If you receive any kind of correspondence from a government agency that you believe may be a scam, look up the number for that agency and give them a call.

     
  • Geebo 10:50 am on December 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams, Super Mario Runner   

    Super Mario Scammers 

    Super Mario Scammers

    The character of the little Italian plumber Mario has been a mainstay of video games for over 30 years ever since his introduction as ‘Jumpman’ in the arcade classic Donkey Kong. So it should come as no surprise that when Nintendo released a Mario game for Apple devices recently, that it broke download records for iOS devices. It should also come as no surprise that scammers were immediately trying to take advantage of the game’s popularity.

    The game, called Super Mario Runner, comes in two versions. There is a free stripped-down version and a deluxe version that unlocks the full game for $9.99. Several places online are offering to unlock the game for free but as the saying goes there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Most of these offers are nothing more than phishing attacks that ask you for your personal information with the promise of unlocking the game for free on your iPhone or iPad. Of course that never happens and now you’ve just provided and identity thief with all the information they could ever need.

    Many of us have fond memories of Mario somewhere in our childhoods. Leave it to the lowly scammers to take something so cherished and innocent and corrupt it. While not the lowest of the low, these scammers are at least in the top ten of the low, or bottom ten depending on your perspective.

     
  • Geebo 10:51 am on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , pyramid scheme, Scams, wine   

    ‘Tis the season to get scammed on Facebook 

    'Tis the season get scammed on Facebook

    With Christmas fast approaching the scam artists have come out in full force, and where better to scam someone then where fake news rules supreme. In case you’re wondering, I mean Facebook.

    Reports are coming in about secret gift exchanges, such as the ‘Secret Wine Bottle Exchange’. In this particular Facebook post the poster asks for 6 to 36 wine lovers to buy a bottle of wine and send it to someone on the gift exchange list. Then your guaranteed to receive 6 to 36 bottles of wine yourself. While not quite on the level of Bernie Madoff, this is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. Once the person at the top of the pyramid receives their 6 to 36 bottles of wine, they have their ill-gotten booty and the rest of the pyramid is left holding the wineskin. For pyramid schemes to work you have to keep recruiting more and more participants. Eventually it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit more people and the lower tiers of the pyramid are left empty-handed while the top levels have already abandoned this set of marks and have moved on to something new.

    It’s not just wine exchanged though. These scams could appear with a myriad of titles, most referring to some type of ‘secret’ gift exchange promising you unreal returns. If you see someone on your Facebook feed sharing these posts you may want to politely let them know that they’re being scammed.

    While Christmas is a time for sharing and giving, it’s also the most wonderful time of the year for scammers and con artists as they love to prey on people’s spirit of generosity during this season.

     
  • Geebo 10:56 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    Beware of this Amazon scam on Cyber Monday 

    Beware of this Amazon scam on Cyber Monday

    Today is known as Cyber-Monday, an internet alternative to Black Friday. It’s supposed to be a day of deals, but it can also be a day of scams.

    While you wouldn’t think of Amazon.com being a haven for scammers it sure can be. Not unlike Ebay, Amazon has a number of third-party vendors. Some of these vendors can be potential scammers, especially if they’re asking for payments in Amazon gift cards. A number of people claim that they’ve ordered something on Amazon, bur they were asked to contact the seller before purchasing the item. The seller would then request that the buyer purchase an Amazon gift card, then give them the serial number of the card. The problem was that the sellers were scammers and got away with the gift card money. Sadly, Amazon is not being very consumer friendly when it comes to the victims trying to get their money back. Amazon basically says that once the gift card is exhausted, the matter is out of their hands.

    There can be some good to take out of this story. When purchasing something online, whether it’s Amazon or not, never make a payment with gift cards to a third-party. This is a scam that has been going on since the dawn of gift cards. No legitimate retailer will ever ask you to pay this way.

    So on this Cyber-Monday, gift cards still make a great gift for someone on your Christmas list. However, they’re not good for making payments outside of the vendor itself.

     
  • Geebo 10:04 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hurricane matthew, , Scams   

    Beware of hurricane work scams 

    Beware of hurricane work scams

    When huge disasters happen in our country it usually unites us in aiding those affected by the calamity. While they can bring out the best in us these disasters can also bring out the worst in us as it gives scammers and con artists a new opportunity to take advantage of our willingness to help.

    One of those disasters from recent times was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Once the spill was contained many workers were needed to help clean up the spill and reclaim the environment. Online ads started popping up promising paying jobs to help clean up the spill. However, a lot of these jobs turned out to be scams that left people stranded without money.

    In that vein, a man from Wichita, Kansas, recently came across a similar scam involving Hurricane Matthew. Matthew did a lot of damage from Florida to the Carolinas and the Wichita man saw an ad that was offering work to help repair the damage done to the Southeast. When the man called the number in the ad the man on the other side of the line asked for $100 for transportation but the man would need to find his own job once he got there. Luckily, the man realized that this was a scam before he lost any money.

    To keep yourself safe from these scams just keep in mind that no legitimate employer will ever ask you for money up front. A lot of these scams will ask for a processing fee, a background check fee, or a drug test fee. If any potential employer asks you for any of these, it’s a good indicator that it’s a scam and there is no job.

     
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