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  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 11, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , USPS,   

    Scam Round Up: Other Valentine scams and more 

    Scam Round Up: Other Valentine scams and more

    By Greg Collier

    Today, to help start the weekend, we’re bringing you four scams from around the country you should be aware of.

    ***

    With Valentine’s Day approaching, we’ve already discussed the romance scams you should be on the lookout for. However, there are additional scams you should be aware of. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about impostor websites where you might be buying Valentine’s Day gifts such as jewelry and flowers from. Even if you’re shopping for gifts at the last minute, make sure the retailer you’re shopping at is a legitimate one. Check for reviews of the retailer to see if anyone has been scammed already through them. Avoid deals that seem too good to be true. Make sure the website isn’t posing as another retailer by checking the web address, known as a URL, for slight misspellings. Lastly, pass on vendors who only accept payment through cash transfer apps and cryptocurrency. Use a credit card whenever possible, since that provides the most consumer protection.

    ***

    A news report out of Pennsylvania is warning residents there about an inheritance scam. The report states that the scam starts out when the victim receives a letter in the mail from a supposed Canadian bank. The letter states that a distant relative of the victim has died, and the victim is in line to receive a multi-million dollar inheritance. While situations like this make for great TV drama, the reality is much more disappointing. In reality, the victim will either be asked to pay thousands of dollars for either phony taxes or legal fees. Or the victim will be asked for their banking information under the guise of having the inheritance sent to their bank account. If you receive one of these letters, you’re asked to just ignore it.

    ***

    If you live in an area that recently endured the winter storms, you may want to keep an eye out for this scam. In Missouri, residents are reporting receiving text messages that appear to come from the United States Postal Service (USPS). The text messages state that since service was delayed, you can request a re-delivery by clicking on a link. The link takes you to a website that looks like the USPS website and asks you for $3.30 re-delivery fee, which you can pay for with debit or credit card. This is designed to steal your financial information. The USPS will never ask for a re-delivery fee.

    ***

    Lastly, we have a scam that targets the migrant population in our country. In Indiana, police there say that people who are working to become citizens have received calls from scammers posing as local police. The victims are told if they don’t pay a fee, they could lose their status and be deported. Since the victims may not be familiar with US law, they may be easily persuaded to fall for this scam. No law enforcement department or agency will ever threaten arrest over the phone or ask for money over the phone. It’s recommended that if you receive one of these calls to contact the Department of Homeland Security. If you know someone who might be vulnerable to this scam, please let them know.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , USPS   

    Delivery scam more common during holidays 

    By Greg Collier

    If you’ve ordered any last-minute Christmas gifts online, you’re probably checking your phone or laptop for delivery updates. After all, we all want to be able to give everyone the gifts they want on Christmas Day. However, the holiday season is fraught with its own sets of pressure and confusion, and scammers are looking to take advantage of that by preying on your anxiety of a potentially missed package delivery.

    The delivery text message scam is not a new one, but like many scams, its activity increases during the holidays. This scam starts out when you receive a text message that claims to be from either Amazon or any number of delivery services, including the US Postal Service. The text message says that the scheduled delivery for your package has changed. The text message also includes a link that it wants you to link for confirmation of the new delivery schedule.

    Links in text messages from people you don’t know are almost always bad news. In the past, these links have led to phony websites that look like Amazon but aren’t. You’d be asked for your Amazon login information before being asked to fill out a survey for a free gift. You’ll then be asked for your payment information to pay for the shipping of the supposed gift. What really just happened is that you’ve willingly given your information to identity thieves who now have access to your Amazon account. These links can also inject malware or ransomware into your device.

    So, how do the scammers know that you’re waiting for a delivery? They don’t. They’re texting random people by the boatload, hoping to get just a few people to fall into their trap.

    Please keep in mind that delivery services will not text you out of the blue unless you’ve signed up for their texting service. The links in the phony texts are often from a web address that has nothing to do with the company they’re pretending to be from.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , USPS   

    USPS warns about ongoing change of address scam 

    USPS warns about ongoing change of address scam

    By Greg Collier

    Have you ever walked into a post office, saw the change of address forms, and wondered what’s stopping someone from changing my address and receiving all my mail? As it turns out, there’s not a lot stopping someone from doing just that.

    The United States Postal Service has issued a warning about such a scam that appears to be ramping up just in time for the holidays. Just about anyone can go to the post office or the USPS website and change anyone’s mailing address. This time of year, the scammers could be receiving money and gifts meant for the holidays. For the rest of the year, the scammers could be gaining access to your personal and financial information to use for identity theft. Keep in mind that the USPS forwards mail to a new address for a year. That means, potentially, scammers and identity thieves could receive your mail for an entire year. Unfortunately, the USPS does not have many safeguards in place to prevent this from happening.

    When someone does fill out a change of address form, the USPS sends a confirmation letter to the old address letting residents know that their mailing address is about to change. While you can check your mailbox every day, a lot of us aren’t home during the day, and scammers have been known to stalk their victims’ mailboxes and take what they need from the mailbox. If you haven’t received mail for an in ordinate amount of time, you should report that to the USPS right away.

    A good way to possibly protect yourself from such fraud is to sign up for the USPS’s Informed Delivery service. It’s free, and every day you receive postal mail, you’ll receive an email with pictures of your scanned mail letting you know what to expect in that day’s mail. That way, you can see if a change of address letter has been sent to you before someone can take it from your mailbox.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , USPS   

    How scammers use the post office to steal from you 

    By Greg Collier

    The US Post Office does a lot to try to prevent their system from being used for fraudulent purposes. The United States Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the USPS, and they do a lot to investigate and prevent mail fraud. Unfortunately, with the way the mail system in the US has become automated, scammers have taken advantage of the modern conveniences of the postal system. Here is just one of the ways scammers use the post office to separate you from your money.

    In Idaho, a man ordered some gardening supplies from a random website. The man used PayPal to pay for the items that only amounted to around $45. A week went by and the man did not receive the items he ordered. He tried contacting the seller but received no response. He then tried filing a complaint with PayPal. At first, his request was denied because the seller provided PayPal with a USPS tracking number showing that the item was delivered. The supposed delivery was sent close to the man’s address. Typically, in postal scams like this, the victim will be sent an empty box or be sent an item that’s well below the value of the item they ordered. The man was eventually able to get a refund from PayPal, but it took him a month to do so. Again, that’s more the exception than the rule.

    When ordering online from a small or unfamiliar business online, your best bet is to use a credit card instead of a payment app like PayPal. While there are advantages to using services like PayPal, they do not offer the same protections that a credit card does. And again, when making a purchase from an unfamiliar website, do some research first to see if the website has any fraud complaints against it before making any purchases. While this purchase may have been a negligible amount, if enough people fall for the scam the small amounts can add up quickly.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , USPS   

    The delivery text message scam returns 

    The delivery text message scam returns

    By Greg Collier

    Last year, we discussed the delivery text messaging scam both pre- and post-pandemic. How the scam worked in the past was you’d receive a text message informing you that something you ordered online couldn’t be delivered, and you need to update your preferred delivery method. A link would be provided for you to confirm your delivery.

    If you clicked the link, you’d have been taken to a phony Amazon page where you’d be asked for your login information. The fake Amazon page will then ask you to fill out a customer service survey in order to claim a prize. After you win the prize, you’ll be asked to pay for shipping by providing your financial information. In essence, scammers just stole your Amazon login along with your credit or debit card info. Put those two things together and victims of the scam could be looking at some expensive purchases on their Amazon account with their own payment information with the actual items being sent to some scammer. In other cases, victims were signed up for a subscription service that charged their card $100 every month.

    Now, the scam seems to have returned with a twist. Previously, the texts would appear like they’re coming from UPS, FedEx, DHL, and Amazon. More recently, the text messages appear like they’re coming from the United States Postal Service. This new version of the scam has been popping up all over the country as we have seen reports from New York, Texas, and South Dakota just to name a few.

    Please keep in mind that no delivery service nor the USPS will ever text you out of the blue. These companies cannot text you unless you sign up for their text service first. Plus if these services did text you, the texts would not include a scammy looking link.

    If you receive a text that looks like the image above or something similar, just delete it. The best way to handle scammers is to not engage with them whatsoever.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , USPS, vehicle history reports   

    Three new scams to watch out for 

    Three new scams to watch out for

    We just recently came across three new scams that we hadn’t heard of before. While we’re not the ultimate authority on scams, we have been keeping our eyes on scams for a long time now.

    The first scam we have for you today involves change of address forms. If you’re moving soon you’ll have to notify the U.S. Postal Service of your new address. You can do this at your local Post Office or online. If you’re going to complete your change of address online make sure that you’re only using the official USPS website. If you were to do a web search for ‘address change’ it may direct you to a website that has no affiliation with the USPS. Instead, if you enter your information on the non-USPS site you could potentially be giving your information to identity thieves. Also, a change of address with the USPS is free. If a site tries to charge you for this, it’s definitely a scam.

    In our next scam, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about receiving a text message that says you’ve been overcharged. The texts try to appear as if they’re coming from your bank, your credit card company, or somewhere you shop often. The scammers will then tell you that they need more information to process your ‘refund’ like your mother’s maiden name or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. These are actually answers to security questions used to access your online accounts. If you receive a text or call asking for this information do not answer them. Instead, call your bank directly to make sure that your accounts are in order.

    Lastly for today, if you’re looking to sell your vehicle online, you’ll often be asked to provide a vehicle history report for the vehicle. The most commonly used vehicle history reports are Carfax and AutoCheck. Some car sellers have reported that they’ve been getting messages from people posing as interested customers asking for vehicle history reports that they’ve never heard of before. The scammers will then direct the sellers to a certain website. These websites are mostly designed to try to get your money for a bogus car history or could be used for identity theft or infect your device with malware. As a seller, you’re not required to provide a vehicle history from a specified website. The ones that we’ve already mentioned are not only legitimate but should satisfy most legitimate buyers.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , USPS   

    Is your city in the porch pirates’ top 10? 

    Is your city in the porch pirates' top 10?

    Another type of Grinch that wants to ruin your holiday season is the heartless porch pirate. This is the term used for thieves who will steal package deliveries straight from your porch or mailbox. With more and more people eschewing brick and mortar stores for online Christmas shopping, the problem of stolen packages is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s gotten so bad that there’s not a lot of what police departments can do once a package is stolen. If you’ve had a package stolen from your porch, you may think that your city is the worst. However, a study done by a home security company claims to have found the top ten cities where porch pirates are most prolific.

    According to home security company Safewise, they have looked at not only FBI statistics but also web searches for things like stolen or missing packages. They’ve determined that the top ten cities and metro areas for porch pirates are San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Portland, Baltimore, Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago, Austin, Denver, L.A., and Sacramento. Not surprisingly, a number of these cities are large tech hubs where more people tend to buy things online than in stores. Also, California is more represented on this list than any other state.

    It’s better to prevent porch theft than it is to try to recover a stolen package. While a doorbell camera or home security camera may catch the thieves in the act, it doesn’t seem to discourage them from stealing your deliveries. Instead of having packages left at your doorstep, you may want to consider having them delivered to your place of work, or to a neighbor’s house who is home more often. With their permission, of course. You may also want to consider renting a post office box at your local mail supply store. Not only does this give you a street address to use for deliveries, but they can also sign for packages for you. If you’re having an item shipped directly, try to have it delivered at a time when someone will definitely be home. Also, the US Postal Service has many free services available to you to prevent porch piracy such as having your mail held so you can pick it up at the post office.

    Just a few preventative steps will help you have a theft-free Christmas.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Informed Delivery, , , USPS   

    Help prevent porch pirates with this free service 

    Help prevent porch pirates with this free service

    Mail theft is an ongoing problem that has been on the rise over the past decade with the increase in online purchasing. These thieves have been dubbed ‘porch pirates’ for the way they pilfer packages that have been left on your porch or doorstep by your mail carrier. Even if you have the latest security or doorbell cameras, that might not be enough as in some locales police might not have the time and manpower to pursue any purloined packages. However, you don’t have to go as far as building your own NASA-engineered glitter bomb to help prevent package theft, but you can sign up for a free prevention service provided by the US Postal Service.

    USPS provides a service known as Informed Delivery service. All you need to do is to go to the USPS website and sign up for the service. It only takes a few minutes to register your address. Once registered, the USPS will start providing you with emails that contained scanned copies of the mail you’ll be receiving that day. That way you can be on the lookout for important and valuable mail and have a record of it in case it turns up missing.

    However, as shown by the video above, porch pirates can use this service to their advantage as well. If they’ve signed up for the service in your name, the emails from the USPS could be sent to thief’s email instead of yours. As has been mentioned, this service provided by the Post Office is free and could save you from a potentially disastrous situation. Isn’t that worth the price of just a few extra emails a week? It’s not just good for the holiday season but for all year-long.

     
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