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  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 20, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams,   

    The puppy scam that’s even more cruel 

    The puppy scam that's even more cruel

    By Greg Collier

    The majority of time we discuss puppy scams, we elaborate on the one where the puppy doesn’t even exist. That’s the scam where a puppy will be advertised for sale online, and once the scammers get their initial payment, they’ll try to get additional payments from their victims for things like special shipping crates, insurance, and other fees they can dream up. At least in that scam, there are no actual animals being harmed. We wish we could say the same for the other puppy scam.

    The other puppy scam is perpetrated by what’s called backyard breeders. These are people who will breed a popular breed of puppy regardless of the health and welfare of any animal in their care. Their goal is to crank out as many puppies as they can to get as much money as they can. Too often, the animals used and produced are kept in substandard living conditions, and are often sold after contracting a terminal disease.

    A family in Southern California were recently ordered to pay restitution after they were found to be selling sick puppies on Craigslist. One of their victims paid the family $1100 for a goldendoodle puppy. After getting the puppy home, the puppy began to get severely ill. After taking the puppy to a vet, it was discovered the puppy had the deadly parvovirus. The new owners spent $10,000 to treat the puppy, who thankfully survived. But that wasn’t the end of the scam. About a month later, the puppy’s hair started turning white. The puppy wasn’t a goldendoodle at all and had its hair dyed to pass it off as one.

    To make sure you’re buying a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder, avoid places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. That’s where the backyard breeders mostly post their advertisements, and it’s why Geebo.com doesn’t allow listings for pets. Legitimate breeders will almost always allow you to visit their facility and check their health certifications.

    And as always, we would prefer if you adopted a pet from your local shelter instead. Many wonderful dogs are in need of homes, and adoption is a responsible and humane choice.

    Responsible breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs and will be transparent about their practices. By taking the time to research and ask questions, you can make an informed decision and provide a loving home for a healthy puppy.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , parole scam, Scams,   

    Scam Round Up: Lost pet scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: Lost pet scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    Our first story is a reminder about the shut-off scam. With the cold weather starting to descend on the country, shut-off scammers have ramped up their efforts. It’s gotten to the point where several major utility companies across the nation have warned their customers about it.

    The shut-off scam is when the scammers pose as your local utility company and threaten to shut off your service that day without an immediate payment. When the temperature drops, this can become a matter of survival for many, so they end up paying the scammers.

    Utility providers, such as electricity and gas companies, refrain from contacting customers directly and provide only a day’s notice before discontinuing services—a clear warning sign. Normally, these companies issue multiple warnings via mail before service termination. Additionally, legitimate utility companies never request payments in the form of gift cards, cryptocurrency, or through payment apps like Zelle and Venmo.


    Another scam that is targeting families with incarcerated loved ones involves fraudulent calls claiming to be from the Georgia Parole Board. Families have reported scammers requesting money for the release of their family member, asserting that funds are needed for an ankle monitor before the inmate can be released.

    One family recently lost $2300 to scammers thinking their son was being paroled. They paid the scammer through Cash App. Like police departments, parole boards will never ask for money, and especially not through Cash App.

    The Georgia Parole Board has issued a warning, emphasizing that they never make calls to families soliciting money. Residents of Georgia are urged to verify the current parole status of their family member by checking the official parole board website before taking any action.


    A woman from Tucson, Arizona, was warning her community after she lost her cat. Scammers called her posing as her local animal shelter. The scammers told her they had her cat, but she would need to pay to get her cat back. Then they told her that their computers were down, and they would send her a link where she would need to pay.

    Thankfully, she was suspicious and called her local shelter, who informed her they did not have her cat and the caller was a scammer.

    Ensure the safety of your pet by following these crucial steps. First and foremost, take your pet to the veterinarian to have them microchipped, which significantly enhances the chances of reuniting with them if they happen to wander off. When creating fliers or social media posts to find your lost pet, it’s wise to use your email address instead of your phone number to avoid potential exposure to scammers seeking to exploit your personal information. If someone claims to have found your pet, request a photograph as proof. Exercise caution if they then ask for money transfers or gift cards, as this is a clear indication of a scam attempt.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 16, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    Cable discount becomes reshipping scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Typically, in a reshipping scam, scammers recruit victims through phony job ads offering positions like package handler or product inspector. These are almost always advertised as work from home positions. The victim has products sent to them by the scammers that they’re supposed to inspect for defects before sending the products to a new address. What’s really going on is that the scammers bought these products with stolen credit card information, and the reshippers are just being used as scapegoats in a money laundering operation. Once the reshipper sends the products off, the scammers sell the stolen goods. Now, there is a scam that not only uses a victim as a reshipper, but makes the victim pay for the stolen items as well.

    A major cable and internet provider has warned consumers about this new scam. According to Spectrum, scammers are calling customers and offering service for half-price if the customer makes a one-time payment of $99. The customer is then asked for personal information like their account number and Social Security number, along with their payment information. Many cable and internet providers are also phone providers. So, the scammers use the customer’s information to order mobile devices that are sent to the customer’s address. But the scammers instruct the customer to send the devices to another address. The scammers will even send a shipping label to the customer and have them drop the devices off at the post office or a shipping company like UPS.

    Spectrum says they’ll never call a customer and ask for their account number and PIN, and this can be applied to most if not all cable and internet providers. They also add that if you receive one of these offers through email or text message, you should delete the message. If you reply to one of the scam messages, it will let the scammers know they’ve reached a working phone number or email address. Lastly, the major providers will never ask for payment through cryptocurrency, gift cards or personal payment apps.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 15, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Scams   

    Jury duty scammers find the perfect victim 

    By Greg Collier

    The jury duty scam is a fraudulent scheme where scammers impersonate officials from the legal system, typically claiming to represent a court or law enforcement agency. The scam often begins with a phone call or email informing the targeted individual that they have failed to appear for jury duty and now face legal consequences such as fines or even arrest warrants. To resolve the supposed issue, the scammer then requests sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers, financial details, or even payment for the fabricated penalties. These scams play on the fear of legal repercussions, catching victims off guard and coercing them into providing sensitive information or money to avoid fictitious consequences. If you go by the number of times this scam finds its way into headlines, it may be the most prolific scam going today.

    Recently, in the Atlanta Metro Area, scammers found a victim who had recently gone through an experience which made her the perfect victim for the jury duty scam. The scammers posed as her local police and told her she had missed jury duty. In this instance, they used the name of an actual police officer from that department. They told her a warrant was about to be issued for her arrest, but she could avoid that if she just paid a $3000 fine in Bitcoin. The victim deposited the money into a Bitcoin ATM that was in a local gas station. What made the victim more vulnerable to this scam than most was the fact she had just been excused from jury duty last month, so she thought the phony charge was somehow related to that. It was more than likely a coincidence that scammers found such a victim, as scammers typically cast the widest net possible in order to find as many victims as possible.

    If you receive any communication regarding jury duty, it is essential to independently verify its legitimacy. Contact your local courthouse or law enforcement agency directly using official contact information to confirm the authenticity of the message. Keep in mind that legitimate government entities do not employ aggressive tactics, issue threats, or demand immediate payments over the phone or through email. Should you suspect that you have become a target of a scam, promptly report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and the relevant authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 14, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams,   

    Is Zelle issuing refunds to scam victims? 

    By Greg Collier

    Since this past June, thousands of banks that use the Zelle payment app have been issuing refunds. Why are these banks issuing refunds? For at least the past two years, Zelle has been a boon to scammers. Zelle has been instrumental in allowing scammers to take money from their victims.

    Primarily, Zelle is used in bank impersonation scams. They start out when a victim receives a text message that appears to have come from their bank. The message asks the victim if they recently made a large purchase or transfer and to reply with yes or no. Once the victim replies, the scammers call the victim while posing as the bank’s fraud department. The victim is told their bank account has been compromised, and they need to move their money to a safe account to protect it. The scammers walk the victim through instructions on how to transfer the money to the safe account on Zelle. Then the victim unknowingly transfers their money to the scammer’s account.

    The banks that implement Zelle have been hesitant to issue any refunds to customers. They typically claim that since the customer authorized the payment, there are no grounds for a refund. The banks also claim if they start issuing refunds, then scammers will try to work their way into the refund process.

    In that vein, Zelle has been pretty quiet about how consumers can go about requesting a refund. Nor has it given any indications on any kind of timeline for refunds or whether refunds can be requested retroactively. However, in their defense, Zelle has enacted new prompts within the app that are supposed to warn users if the app feels like the user is making a risky transfer. Zelle claims this has significantly cut down on scams.

    But the best way to protect yourself is to not take the scammer’s bait. Your bank will never tell you that you need to move your money to protect it. That’s just not a thing. If you receive a text message or phone call that claims to be coming from your bank, do not respond. Instead, call your bank at the customer service number from your debit or credit card, and they’ll be able to advise you on if there is anything wrong with your account. And also keep in mind that Zelle is only supposed to be used between friends and family. Anyone else who is asking for payment through Zelle could be trying to scam you.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 13, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Scams   

    Scammer sells own father’s house out from under him 

    By Greg Collier

    A man from the Houston, Texas, area is currently on the run from the law after failing to appear for his court appearance. The suspect had been arrested for allegedly selling properties that didn’t belong to him, including one that belonged to his father.

    The suspect’s father allowed his son to stay at the father’s condo. The suspect forged the documents necessary to put the house in his name before selling the condo, and keeping the money for himself. This incident is said to be when the suspect realized he could sell other properties he didn’t own.

    The suspect was able to con his way into transferring the ownership of at least two multi-million dollar properties into his name. According to reports, the suspect would forge deeds and notary signatures in order to steal the properties. The plan was to sell the properties for pennies on the dollar before the actual owners could find out. Properties that had no financial liens on them were said to be the suspect’s main targets.

    A realtor became suspicious when one of their clients was trying to buy a $5 million property for less than half of the market value. This property was being sold by the suspect, which he didn’t actually own. When the realtor contacted police, they found the suspect was trying to sell another property he didn’t own.

    Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. We’ve posted before about victims who were told to leave their homes after scammers submitted forged deeds to the county showing they were the new owners. We’ve also shared stories about vacant lots being targeted in similar scams. If you own a property outright, you may want to pay attention to scams like this.

    Thankfully, there is a way to protect yourself. It’s recommended you go to your county appraiser’s website regularly to monitor the ownership of your property. If your county appraiser does not have a website, you can go to their office. Some counties even have a program where you can be alerted if anything changes on your deed.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 10, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Scams, , ,   

    Gift exchange scam is back for the holidays 

    Gift exchange scam is back for the holidays

    By Greg Collier

    The old joke says Christmas decorations and sales start earlier every year. Just this year, it seemed like stores started getting into the Christmas spirit as soon as Halloween was over. Well, we have our own indicator of the start of the holiday season, and that’s a pyramid scheme disguised as a Christmas gift exchange.

    Recently, the Better Business Bureau sounded the alarm on what’s called the Secret Sister gift exchange. If you’re unfamiliar with the Secret Sister scheme, it’s a scam primarily directed at women, evident from its name. The process initiates with a social media post urging participants to include their name and address in a list, accompanied by sending a modestly priced gift. In exchange, they are assured of receiving as many as 36 gifts. Additionally, participants are encouraged to enlist at least six more individuals into the gift exchange.

    A clear indicator of the pyramid scheme nature emerges when you’re urged to recruit more participants to progress in the exchange, be it gifts or money. In pyramid schemes, the individuals at the pyramid’s summit enjoy the benefits of the scam, leaving those at the bottom with little to gain and often facing unfavorable outcomes.

    Also, by submitting yours and your friends’ addresses, you’re putting yourself and your friends at risk of being the target of identity theft.

    One alarming aspect of social media pyramid schemes like this is the potential legal consequences for victims. Pyramid schemes are prohibited in the United States, and even if participants are unknowingly exploited, involvement in recruiting others for the exchange could lead them to legal trouble. It’s crucial for individuals to be aware of the legality surrounding such schemes to avoid unintentional legal complications.

    If you receive an online invitation to participate in one of these gift exchanges, it’s advisable to politely decline. However, if the invitation comes from someone close to you, it might be worth explaining the potential risks associated with such exchanges. By doing so, you could potentially save them from encountering significant troubles down the line. Educating those close to you about the perils of these schemes can be a valuable preventive measure.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 9, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams,   

    Venmo issues its own warning about scam 

    Venmo issues its own warning about scam

    By Greg Collier

    As you may know, Venmo is a personal payment app, with the emphasis on personal. It’s intended to be used between friends and family to send money quickly and effortlessly. It’s not supposed to be used between strangers, but this hasn’t prevented scammers from using it as an avenue of taking money from their victims. Scammers often use Venmo because once a victim pays a scammer, the scammer can quickly block the victim, preventing any kind of refund.

    Venmo itself recently issued a warning to not only its customers, but the general public about a scam that’s been plaguing its users. In this scam, a Venmo user receives a payment from someone they don’t know. The stranger then messages the user and claims the payment was sent by mistake. Then the user is asked to make a payment back to the stranger.

    These ‘accidental’ payments are often made by scammers using stolen credit or debit cards. If a user pays back the stranger, once the initial payment is found to be fraudulent, that payment is revoked. However, the user’s payment to the scammer is not. This gives the scammer free money and leaves the victim with much less money in their account.

    Venmo stated, if you receive a payment from a stranger, do not pay them back. Instead, a customer should contact Venmo through the app to have the payment reverse the payment. Users should also block anyone who sends them unsolicited payments.

    Another way to protect your Venmo account is by changing your payment feed to private. It is set to public by default, which means anyone can see your Venmo history.

    For more information about Venmo scams, you can use their online help center.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Scams, ,   

    Used car scammers are selling rental cars 

    Used car scammers are selling rental cars

    By Greg Collier

    A woman from Houston, Texas, was shocked when two men showed up in her driveway looking for the car she had just bought. She had just purchased a 2019 Toyota Camry for $11,000 through a Craigslist seller. A little below Blue Book value, but not an unreasonable price. She even did a car history check, where nothing unusual turned up. Yet, there were the two men saying the car was theirs.

    The two men had rented the car and tracked it using an Apple AirTag. Now, that may sound like a scam itself, but according to police, their claim was legitimate. This left the woman confused because she had the car’s title. Unfortunately, the title turned out to be a fake.

    The car was returned to its owner, leaving the victim out of her $11,000. A man was arrested for selling her the car and producing a fake title.

    Houston police said you can tell a title is fake by holding it up to the light, if you don’t see the state seals, the title is fraudulent. They also suggested taking the title to a local police department and having them check if the title is valid.

    Buying a used car from a private seller should be treated just like any other purchase. If you don’t want to be ripped off or robbed, the best place to complete the transaction is at your local police department. This will dissuade a lot of scammers and thieves from pulling their scam on you.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 7, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emergency scam, , Scams   

    College parents targeted by this scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Parents of college students are being targeted in a new scam, but it’s actually an old scam with new targets. It’s more infamously known as the grandparent scam. As you may know, that scam targets the elderly, with scammers trying to convince their victims that one of their grandchildren is in trouble. Often the scammers will claim to be the grandchild. It’s all done to try to squeeze money out of the victims disguised as bail money or some other legal fee. Meanwhile, the grandchild is safe and unaware they’re being used in a scam.

    As you can surmise by the headline, some scammers have decided to target a new demographic, but it’s still the same old scam. Now referred to as the emergency scam, scammers are calling college parents and telling them their child has been arrested. The scammers then ask for bail money that needs to be paid through apps like Venmo or Zelle. With a student possibly being states away from their parents, this could put the parents into a panicked state where they’re not thinking clearly. This is what the scammers are hoping for, so parents don’t have time to logically think about the situation.

    So, how do scammers know which parents to target? Social media, of course. The scammers look for college students on social media, and from there it’s usually not hard to find the student’s parents.

    It also doesn’t help that scammers are now using AI-generated voice cloning technology to imitate the voices of students. If a student is active on social media and have posted videos of themselves, it’s not difficult for the scammers to get a sample of their voice to use in their schemes.

    However, if you’re aware of the scam, it’s easy to beat. Even if it sounds like your own child is telling you they’re in jail, be suspicious. Instead, attempt to contact them directly, either using another phone or text message. You can also call the police department where they’re supposedly being held. And keep in mind that bail is never paid through payment apps, gift cards, cryptocurrencies, or money transfers. Setting up a code word with your child that’s only to be used in the case of an emergency will also go a long way in protecting your family from this scam.

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