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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Tennessee   

    Dream home becomes nightmare for one family 

    Dream home becomes nightmare for one family

    Recently, we mentioned how rent prices in the San Francisco Bay Area were dropping due to the pandemic and how rental scammers were using this to their advantage. The opposite can be said as well in markets where rent prices are climbing. A family in Tennessee unfortunately found this out the hard way.

    It started out like many rental scams do. They found a great listing for a property on Craigslist for an amount they could afford. The red flags that this listing was a fake appeared almost immediately. However, the family ignored them in their eagerness to find what they called a ‘forever home’.

    First, the person supposedly renting the home would only communicate with the family through text messaging. This makes it harder for victims to identify their scammers.

    Next, the scammers came up with a story about why the rent was so affordable. They told the family that they had just moved out of town and didn’t want the home to be empty in the winter.

    The family was then told they couldn’t tour the home or meet with the renters because of COVID-19. As you can imagine, social distancing has been a boon for scammers because they now have a reasonable explanation to avoid meeting their victims.

    There was even a for sale sign outside the property, but the scammers are said to have explained that away too.

    The last red flag came in the form of Cash App. The family paid the scammers $2400 through the mobile payment app. The family was then asked for an additional $1200, or they would lose the listing.

    The family contacted who they thought they were dealing with on Facebook who were actually previous victims of these particular scammers.

    It’s almost like this scammer wrote the book on rental scams as they had an answer for just about every red flag. Still, these red flags should not be ignored even if the deal seems to be sent from above.

    If a supposed landlord says they can’t meet you or show the home, walk away from the deal. That’s been a rental scammer staple even before the pandemic happened. Back then, they would give stories like they were doing missionary work overseas or were deployed in the military.

    With any big life choice like moving into a new home we always recommend doing as much research on the property as possible before making any financial commitment. Do a reverse image search to make sure the pictures on the listing aren’t stolen from a realtor; and always check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner or realtor is.

    Don’t let scammers pressure you into giving them your money with threats of losing the listing. Having all the information at hand will protect you against their tactics.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Tennessee, , ,   

    Unemployment scams continue to plague states 

    Unemployment scams continue to plague states

    We’ve been keeping our readers informed of the various unemployment scams for months now. One might assume that the states may have put a stop to these scams by now but that assumption would be incorrect. As we’re about to show, many states are still having trouble putting a stop to the abuse of their unemployment benefits.

    West Virginia has had over 50,000 of its residents receive unemployment benefit debit cards that they did not apply for. This isn’t just abusing the West Virginia system as many of these claims were filed out of state. For example, one woman who lives in Morganton received a debit card for unemployment benefits that was issued out of Colorado. This could be particularly difficult for West Virginia residents as their unemployment rate is above that of the national average. These scams could be taking away benefits from the people who may need it most.

    The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has issued a warning to residents about a nationwide email scam that is targeting the unemployed. The email states that there is a problem with an applicant’s claim. The applicant is then directed to click a link that takes them to a malicious website where they’ll be asked for their personal information. The TDLWD is reminding applicants that any email from them will come from a tn.gov address which could also be applicable in many other states. The address will come from whatever the state’s website is. Most states use the two-letter state abbreviation followed by .gov but there are a few exceptions.

    Arizona is another example of where scammers are filing for benefits in other people’s names. The scammers get this information from previous data breaches where personal information has been exposed. They then file for unemployment benefits using this stolen information. The scammers attempt to change the address or banking information to steal the benefits but when they can’t, the benefits get delivered to the victim’s possession. One woman had filed for unemployment in Arizona where she lives on May 10th. Scammers then applied for benefits in her name in Michigan two weeks later. Arizona is said to be investigating one million cases of fraudulent unemployment activity.

    Considering that the nation is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases and more states are issuing new lockdown orders we could be seeing even more unemployment in the foreseeable future. This will give more scammers even more opportunities to scam each of the 50 states.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Tennessee   

    Are you in danger of this twist on the check scam? 

    Are you in danger of this twist on the check scam?

    I’ve been writing about various scams for quite some time now. One of the more prevalent scams is what’s referred to as the fake check scam. How this scam usually works is when you post something for sale online, you may receive a check for more than your asking price. The person who sent you the check will say something along the lines of the excess amount was a mistake and that you should deposit the check then wire them back the difference. You should never deposit one of these checks as they often turn out to be counterfeit and you could end up being responsible for paying the full amount of the phony check to your bank. Now, there is a variation of that scam which targets people who write personal checks in their daily lives.

    While this may not technically be a new scam, it is the first I’m hearing about it and it’s been a long time since I’ve heard of a new scam. Anyway, in Tennessee, an IT professional discovered that several thousand dollars were missing from her checking account. When she contacted her bank it turned out that some unscrupulous type was printing out cashiers checks using her banking account information. While the bank was able to return her money to her, the scammer used the bogus checks to buy a motorcycle off of craigslist. That means that whoever was selling the motorcycle basically had their motorcycle stolen.

    So how did a con artist get a hold of this woman’s checking account information? Well, if you write personal checks on a regular basis any number of people would be able to ascertain your account information since your account and routing numbers are printed on each check. Then a phony cashiers check with your information could be produced on just about any printer. While writing checks is slowly becoming a dying practice, there are still some holdouts. I’m sure we all either know someone who still writes checks or have run into someone who still uses checks as their primary form of payment. In our digital age, while not perfect, debit cards are a much more secure and convenient form of payment. If you know an avid check writer, please consider sharing this story with them in hopes of keeping their personal finances safer.

     
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