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  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social media   

    Government grant scammers trying new trick 

    Government grant scammers trying new trick

    The government grant scam is one of the older scams that came along with the advent of social media. How it normally works is you’ll receive a message from someone on your friends list. They’ll tell you about a great opportunity where you can qualify for a government grant and basically receive free money. The message would then direct you to a website where you can apply for the supposed grant.

    If you apply for the grant one of two things usually happens. You could have your identity stolen after submitting your personal information when applying for the grant. The other thing that could happen is that the grant issuers will ask you for a processing fee before issuing the grant.

    What actually has happened is that your friends social media account has been hacked and scammers are using it to send out these grant messages. The grants don’t actually exist and you could be out personal and financial information along with a chunk of your savings.

    Social media platforms have gotten wise to these messages and the scammers know this. Now, these scam messages will try to direct you off of the platform your,e using to try to avoid detection. The message will say something like ‘text me your number if you want to talk about it’. This way the scammers can try to fool you without the social media company seeing the messages.

    if you receive one of these messages on social media, do not respond. If it’s from someone you know personally, use another method of communication to contact them to let them know their account has been compromised.

    As this scam often targets the elderly you may want to let your older family members aware of this scam before they’re taken advantage of.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social media   

    Blessing Loom pyramid scheme is back 

    Blessing Loom pyramid scheme is back

    The last time we heard about the Blessing Loom pyramid scheme, scammers were trying to take advantage of people who had just received their economic impact payments. Now, we’re seeing reports of the pyramid scheme returning to social media if it ever left at all. With so many Americans having financial difficulty during the current crisis, the Blessing Loom could be finding new victims.

    While a Blessing Loom may be shaped like a circle, it’s essentially just window dressing for a pyramid scheme. In a Blessing Loom, someone will promise their victims that they can exponentially increase their initial ‘investment’ if they just recruit new people into the ‘loom’. In theory, once the outer circle of the loom is filled the person in the middle gets all the investments from that circle. Once you move to the center is when you’re supposed to get your big payout. Except, the only people who truly make money through these are the people who set it up in the first place. Once they receive the investment money through apps like Venmo or Cash App, your money is gone and you just made someone else richer for doing almost nothing.

    These pyramid schemes often go by other names as well with all of them designed to lull you into a false sense of security. Using such names as ‘Money Board’ or ‘Gifting Circle’, scammers will try to make these schemes appear as friendly as possible to try to recruit as many people as possible into their scheme.

    The other drawback to Blessing Looms besides losing your money is that they’re illegal. If you try to recruit someone into one of these circles, you could be held criminally responsible even if you’re not the initial organizer.

    As we’ve said before, you wouldn’t give a stranger on the street your money if they told you they’ll give you $500 if you give them $50, so why would you give it to someone on social media?

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social media, ,   

    TikTok text is a scam 

    TikTok text is a scam

    TikTok is a social media app and platform that allows you to make and view short video content. It is insanely popular among today’s younger generations. As such, younger users may not be especially familiar with certain scams that have been affecting the platform.

    For example, some TikTok users have been reporting that they’ve been receiving text messages claiming to be from TikTok. These messages state that the user needs to verify their TikTok account. The message then provides a link to click on in order to verify the account. While the reports we’ve read do not specify it, we imagine the link takes you to a phony page that looks like TikTok and asks the user for their login information. This is known as a phishing attack.

    With this information, the TikTok account can be hijacked and then used to try to phish information from that user’s followers. However, access to TikTok accounts is not the only goal in this attack. A lot of people will use the same login information on multiple online accounts such as their email and financial accounts. Access to those accounts could allow these scammers to essentially take over someone’s life. This could result in not only lost money but could also lead to things like having credit cards and loans applied for in the user’s name. If one of these text messages is received, it’s best to ignore it and delete it.

    Our readers tend to be in a different age demographic than those who are TikTok’s target audience. So why are we telling you about this TikTok scam? If you have young children or grandchildren the odds are that they’re using TikTok. These young users may not be familiar with the ways in which online scammers will try to take advantage of them. Many kids can be a little obsessive about their TikTok account and will react to any message that claims they’re in jeopardy of losing their account. It’s our job as their mentors to teach them about things like this so they can be better prepared for the world.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Coca-Cola, Little Caesars, , , social media, ,   

    Commercial scams to watch out for 

    Commercial scams to watch out for

    Scammers will not hesitate to pose as even the most successful and trusted brands in our country to try to steal something from you. Whether it’s money or information, scammers will promise you the world to get what they want from you. Here are three recent scams that have posed as large commercial entities.

    On social media, a scam has been going around offering free pizza. Scammers are posing as pizza restaurant chain Little Caesars. The phony post is telling users that if you share the post and comment on it, you’ll receive a free pizza at your local Little Caesars. This is being posted by a fake Little Caesars account. The real Little Caesars account will have a verified checkmark next to their name. According to investigators, this scam is designed to get you to put some form of malware on your device.

    If you thought that a company as large as Coca-Cola can’t be used in a scam, think again. An email is currently being circulated congratulating recipients that they’ve won the Coca-Cola sweepstakes. This is a scam that’s as old as the internet itself. The email asks that you give your contact information to the phony Coke company in order to collect your winnings. Security experts say that these emails are an attempt to gather your personal information to use for future phishing attacks that could compromise your device or financial information. Remember, that you can’t win a contest you never entered. If you receive an e-mail like this, your best course of action is to delete it.

    Lastly for today, a number of AT&T mobile customers have said that they’ve been the targets of a scam. They’ve been receiving text messages that say their payments have not gone through. The text message includes a number to call to resolve the issue but the number doesn’t belong to AT&T. While no one has reported falling for the scam, we imagine it’s not unlike the tech support scam where the scammer will ask for money to try to fix the non-existent issue. If you receive a text like this, it’s best to check your account online to make sure there are no payment issues. If you need to call customer service, use the number that is on your provider’s website.

     
  • Geebo 8:25 am on April 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media,   

    Kidnapping scams, among others, continue 

    Kidnapping scams, among others, continue

    For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing scams that have been related to the coronavirus pandemic whether it’s directly or indirectly. While fears surrounding the pandemic have been a boon to many con artists, some are still running the same old scams without using coronavirus as a tool in their arsenal.

    In Denver, the police have been receiving complaints about kidnapping scams taking place. This is when a scammer will call a victim and tell them that they’ve kidnapped a loved one. The scammers will then demand a ransom either through wire transfer, gift cards or other hard to trace payment options. The trick to this scam is that nobody has been actually kidnapped and the scammers are hoping the fear generated in the situation will cause the victim to pay the phony ransom. Often, these scammers are able to find the names of their pretend victims through social media making the threatening call more convincing. If you ever receive one of these phone calls, always get someone you trust to call the suspected victim while you keep the virtual kidnappers on the phone. In any case, you should always contact the police if you find yourself in the midst of this scam.

    Two Chicago men were arrested in Boise, Idaho accused of a social media scam that cost victims thousands of dollars. The two men would allegedly take to social media and post the message “Who ready to get paid today? Text CASH NOW to [phone number redacted.] It’s legit… tell them I referred you.” Victims were said to be persuaded to hand over their debit card information including their PIN. Instead of getting paid, the two men would deposit phony checks into the victims’ accounts then withdraw the money before the bank would realize the checks were fake.

    In Kentucky, scammers are posing as the state Lottery Commission and telling victims that they have won large prizes. The scammers will then either ask for ‘taxes’ on the prize or they’ll ask for bank information to send the phony prize. In either case, the victims end up losing money before it’s all over/. Keep in mind that when you purchase a lottery ticket you never give your contact information to the point of purchase so the Lottery Commission has no way of contacting you.

    While these scams may bot be happening in your area now, it could only be a matter of time before they are.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Idaho, social media,   

    Scary scammer targets 10-year-old on TikTok 

    Scary scammer targets 10-year-old on TikTok

    Children love social media. If they’re not messaging their friends they’re either interacting with celebrities and personalities or even creating their own content. One of the most popular social media apps among children is TikTok. It allows its users to create short videos or they can follow and watch the videos of other creators. As with most social media, users can interact with each other through comments and messages. If these interactions are not monitored it could lead to inappropriate contact and other potentially dangerous situations.

    A 10-year-old girl from Idaho was on TikTok and was recently contacted by a stranger through the app. The person who contacted her said they were looking for a ‘sugar baby’ that they could spoil with gifts and money. While this sounds like the actions of an online predator’s attempt to groom a child, this interaction took a different turn. The person who approached the girl said that in order to ‘spoil’ the girl they would need her parents’ ATM and bank card information. Thankfully, the girl was smart enough to tell her parents about the messages who in turn called local police. However, the alleged scammer could be from anywhere and no apprehension has been made and the suspect may never be caught.

    While most children love apps like TokTok that doesn’t mean they should be on them unattended. Most platforms including TikTok set the minimum age of users to 13 in their terms of service. Even if children meet the minimum age requirement that still shouldn’t mean they can be left on any social platform without having some form of monitoring. A good rule in helping keep children safe online is to instill a no devices after bedtime rule. If your children are using iPhones or iPads, iOS has parental controls that you can learn to use here. If your children are on Android phones and tablets parental control instructions can be found here. You can also find tips and tricks to keep your children safe online at the US Attorney’s Office website and NetSmartz.org.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social media   

    Presidential candidate puts fake census ads on social media 

    Presidential candidate puts fake census ads on Facebook

    Since the US census only takes place only once a decade, it gives scammers the opportunity to find a new generation of victims. Previously we’ve discussed how census scammers may try to either steal your personal information or get you to give them money. Then it may or may not come as a surprise to you that a member of the government may be using the census to try to get you to give them money, specifically to make donations to their presidential campaign. And what if we told you that not only was this person allegedly using phony census ads to solicit campaign donations but that they have held one of the highest offices in the land.

    Facebook recently removed a series of misleading ads that claimed to be from the Official 2020 Congressional District Census. One of the main purposes of the actual US Census is to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. So by claiming to be an official Congressional district census, you can see how it could lead to confusion. not only that but the 2020 census, which starts March 12th, will be the first US Census that you can complete online which could lead to more confusion from the deceptive ads.

    If you were to click on one of these ads you would be asked a series of questions before being taken to the candidate’s campaign website where you’d be asked to make a campaign donation. Here’s a handy picture of what one of the ads looked like. We’ve edited the picture in order to remain impartial.

    While some may decry this ad as FAKE NEWS since anyone can buy a Facebook ad, a BBC investigation found that the ads were backed by the candidate’s official campaign and the candidate’s own political party.

    Those who oppose this candidate may be well within their right to say actions like this not only undermine an official government function in the census, but it also appears to severely undermine the Democratic process in America.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , social media,   

    Scam uses your own friends to trick you 

    Scam uses your own friends to trick you

    Police in South Carolina are warning residents about a scam that is using the victim’s own friends against them. In this scam, you might see a video taken by an actual friend on social media. In the video, the friend will say that they received thousands of dollars for next to nothing. The main problem with the video is that the friend hasn’t actually received any money. They were instructed by the scammer to make the video saying they got the money before they could get the money. In actuality, there’s no money to be had and you’re friend has been the victim of a scam.

    The victims in this scam are told to send a couple of hundred dollars to a phony social media account and then they could receive thousands of dollars. Before they get any money the victims are told to make a video saying that they’ve already received the money before they can the money they were promised. This, in turn, is intended to get other victims to send the scammers money by playing on the trust of their friends. However, once the money is sent to the scammer, the scammer disappears as does the money.

    Any post on social media that promises to deliver money to you for doing very little is almost guaranteed to be a scam. As the police in South Carolina said: “No one gives away free money.” If you see one of your friends posting a video like this, you may want to break the news to them that they’ve been scammed. It’s also advised that if you’ve been a victim in a scam like this to contact your local police department.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social media   

    Instagram influencer charged in get rich quick scheme 

    Instagram influencer charged in get rich quick scheme

    Social media is one of the more incredible tools of the 21st century. If used properly, it can lead creators to find an audience or help get important messages out to a community quickly. However, like most tools, social media can also be used for nefarious purposes. Social media has become the home of all sorts of cybercriminals from hackers to identity thieves. And of course, social media is a haven for all manner of con artists and scammers. Many of the scams on social media are quick hits with the scammers disappearing as quick as possible but in today’s case, it was a long con designed to swindle as many people as possible.

    People with substantial social media followings are often called influencers due to the fact they can influence their followers into action. Often they use this influence to make themselves rich. This is usually done through endorsement deals but there are also influencers who try to scam their followers with get rich quick schemes. Often, these schemes are the usual snake-oil like MLMs. In other cases, they’re highly illegal money laundering schemes designed to use their followers as money mules.

    One such case was recently broken up in New Jersey. In the Garden State, there was a social media influencer with 300,000 Instagram followers and 100,000 YouTube subscribers. She is said to have posted pictures of large amounts of cash and bank account statement on her social media telling her followers they can get rich like her. All they had to do was send her a direct message to get the secrets. The influencer was only really after the bank account information of her followers. She was allegedly part of a bigger ring that would use the bank accounts to cash stolen checks and money orders. Once they were done with that bank account, she would block that particular user. All in all, this ring was able to steal $1.5 million this way.

    While living vicariously through social media celebrities can sometimes be fun, more often than not they are not your friends. Ultimately, you’re just part of their follower number which they use to try to increase their relevance and influence. Under no circumstances should ever give someone online your financial information. As always, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. There is no real way to get rich quick online.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2020, , date changing, social media   

    What’s the truth about writing out 2020 in full? 

    What's the truth about writing out 2020 in full?

    Shortly after the new year and decade began, a warning went out over social media about the year 2020. The warning was that if you make out any checks this year, do not abbreviate the year by simply using 20 as your year designation. For example, in standard American date abbreviation, today is 1/6/20. The wisdom behind this warning is that someone could use the abbreviated year format and alter it to look like another year. A bad actor could potentially turn 20 into anything from 2000 to 2021 or even beyond. Since social media isn’t always the best source for news, is this really a danger?

    Those who warn against abbreviating the year say that if a check is altered to a year in the past, it could appear as if you’ve had an ongoing debt since that time. If the check is altered to a date in the future, uncashed checks that have expired can be made active again. They also recommend that you should write the date out in full such as January 6, 2020, to prevent any kind of date tampering with legal documents. While this all can sound menacing, what are the odds of something like this happening to you?

    According to the internet investigators at Snopes.com, it’s unlikely that anything will happen if you forget to put the full date on a check or legal document. Snopes notes that there are many other forms of check alteration that are more likely to occur that are more lucrative for bad actors. Not only that but there are many ways to prove the alteration of the check took place so you could protect yourself against legal ramifications that could come from an altered check. However, it doesn’t hurt to write out the date in the full as it’s easier to do to prevent any potential problems than trying to fix them after a check has been altered.

     
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