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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , phone takeover, , venmo   

    Scammers stopping cell service can steal your money 

    Scammers stopping cell service can steal your money

    By Greg Collier

    We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s still hard to imagine life these days without your smartphone. It’s been one of those necessities that you don’t leave the house without. If you’re anything like us, we’re sure you’re checking for your keys, identification, and phone before you go out the front door. Now, imagine that you’re out running errands or what have you, and all of a sudden, your phone no longer has any service. No calls, no apps, no texts or anything. If this were to happen to you, it would be more of a problem than not being able to contact anyone. It could have disastrous results for your finances too.

    Recently, in Memphis, Tennessee, two alleged scammers were arrested for reportedly stealing close to $500,000 from AT&T customers. The pair would call into AT&T call centers posing as AT&T employees. They would then be able to get access to customer accounts. With the customer account information, they would call AT&T back and switch the customer’s service to another cellular provider. The scammers then had access to the various apps that the customer may have used. The scammers are then said to have taken money out of apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App.

    While this scam is far from new, we’ve never seen it used on such a grand scale before. Even though AT&T was singled out in this post, it has happened to other providers, again, just not on this scale. This scam usually doesn’t target as many individuals as this one has. Unfortunately, the onus on protecting you from this scam is on the cellular providers. On top of this, customer service representatives for some providers are often under-trained and are asked to handle multiple customers at the same time. This can lead to a lot of fraud slipping through the cracks.

    In some instances, you can set up a PIN or password with your provider that will identify yourself in case someone tries to take over your account. Other than that, the only thing we can recommend is getting in touch with your cellular provider as soon as your service goes out.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on February 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , venmo   

    Payment app scam preys on your kindness 

    Payment app scam preys on your kindness

    Most of us have some form of banking or payment app on our phones. Whether they’re through our local bank or one of the many mobile payment services available, a lot of us make payments or transactions through these platforms. But how many of us really have these apps secured on our devices? You may have your phone locked using a PIN or fingerprint check, but what if someone was able to bypass your phone lock?

    A woman in Charlotte, North Carolina recently found out the hard way what happens if you don’t secure your apps. She was working at home when a man knocked on her door and asked if he could use her phone. He claimed he had locked his possessions in his car and needed to text a relative. Being a kind person, she allowed the man to use her phone to get help. After using the phone, the man handed the phone back to the woman. That’s when she noticed the emails from Venmo. In that short amount of time, the man is said to have sent close to $1000 to himself through Venmo. The problem with many of these apps like Venmo is that once payment goes through, the victim of a scam can be blocked by the scammer making retrieval of your money almost impossible.

    If you’re the type of person who tends to be a good Samaritan you should be commended for being willing to help others that you may not even know. There is still a way for you to lend someone your phone without exposing your financial apps. Most financial apps have some form of two-factor authentication available to you. A PIN or biometric scan like a fingerprint or face unlock can be enabled. This means that even if your phone is unlocked for someone to use, your financial apps will still be secure. If they don’t offer this service, you may want to consider using an app that does. While you may think that enacting these measures may make it more inconvenient for you, in a short time you’ll hardly even notice the small amount of extra time it takes you.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , venmo   

    A Cash App scam that could happen on the street 

    A Cash App scam that could happen on the street

    Most scams that happen on payment apps like Cash App happen online. However, we just came across one that happens on the street.

    The report we found about this scam comes out of Nashville, Tennessee but could happen in any city. In Nashville, the city is known for its music scene so there are a number of street musicians looking to get their name out there. There are also a number of scammers looking to take advantage of those interested in the music scene.

    The scammers will pose as a street musician and will approach a victim. The scammer will ask for the victim’s phone so they can pull up their music video on YouTube. Instead, the scammer accesses one of the victim’s payment apps like Cash App, Venmo, or PayPal and sends the victim’s money to themselves before fleeing the scene.

    While this particular approach may be exclusive to Nashville or any other city with a vibrant music scene, this scam could happen anywhere. You could be approached by someone asking to use your phone for an emergency where instead of calling someone they could be draining one of your payment app accounts.

    There are several ways to protect yourself against a scam like this. First off, it’s generally a good idea to never hand your phone over to someone you don’t know. Secondly, most of the leading payment apps have security features that prevent other people from accessing your account on your phone. Known as two-factor authentication, you can have a PIN set up to open the payment app or you could use your phone’s fingerprint reader to access your account. When these features are enabled, it goes a long way in preventing others from accessing your accounts on your phone.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , venmo   

    A new series of scams to look out for 

    A new series of scams to look out for

    Here are some new scams that we’ve found out about that are going on around the country. Please keep in mind that just because they are not currently happening in your area doesn’t mean that they can’t.

    Another victim has been scammed through the freelancer platform Upwork. In Pennsylvania, a woman had accepted an editing position that she had found on Upwork. She was sent a check for $2000 by her ’employer’ in order to buy equipment for her position. She was then instructed to send what wasn’t spent back to her employer through Venmo and gift cards. The $2000 check later turned out to be fraudulent. Upwork has said that you should not communicate with a client outside of the Upwork platform. If you receive a check in the mail and are asked to send a balance back through untraceable means like Venmo or gift cards, it’s almost a guarantee that the job is a scam.

    In Northern California, at least one resident has reported a new scam that had happened to them. They say they received a text message where a cybercriminal claimed that they had total control of the victim’s cell phone including the microphone and camera. The scammer then tried to extort $1500 in cryptocurrency out of the person they texted. The odds are very slim that your phone will be hijacked in this way. That’s also not taking into account that when you pay a purported blackmailer like this, they will continue to try and squeeze as much money out of you as possible. If you receive a text like this you are asked to report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

    Lastly, in Tulsa, Oklahoma man fell for a customer service scam that left him out of $1500. The man was having issues with his Cash App account. He called what he thought was Cash App’s customer service department but was actually a scammer. Before it was all over, the man’s Cash App account had been drained by the scammers. In this day and age of everything being online, not every company has a customer service number you can call. Often scammers take advantage of this by advertising phony customer service numbers. If you need to contact a company for customer service, go directly to that company’s website and look for a link that either says ‘contact us’ or ‘support’. Don’t just do a web search for ‘company x’s customer service number’ as there’s a good chance that number could be fake.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apple pay, , , , , venmo   

    “Oops! Can you send that back?” 

    "Oops! Can you send that back?"

    Payment apps are a great convenience. They mean that we don’t necessarily have to carry cash on us and can be used to pay for various goods and services while maintaining social distances. These apps like Venmo, Cash App, Paypal, and the like have been around for a long time and have been the targets of scammers almost since the beginning. Now, scammers have come up with a new way to try to steal money from your payment app account and it relies on the politeness of others.

    If you use one of these apps and you receive a payment from someone you don’t know, don’t spend it and don’t send it back. Scammers are sending payments to random app users along with a message that says something along the lines of “Oops! Can you send that back?” These are payments sent using stolen credit cards or other stolen financial information. If you send the payment back to them it becomes real money in their account. However, once the credit card is reported stolen that money will come out of your account and you will be out the amount of the ‘Oops’ payment. This is very reminiscent of the phony check scam only in digital form.

    If you receive one of these payments, instead of sending the money back ask them to cancel the payment. If they refuse or try to pressure you into sending it back it’s more than likely a scam. Report the payment to whichever app you’re using and whatever you do, don’t touch that money. It should just be removed from your account but as we said, if you spend the money you’ll ultimately be responsible for that amount.

    This is an unprecedented time for scammers so please keep your wits about you when dealing with digital payments.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , venmo   

    Payment app scam plagues the country 

    Payment app scam plagues the country

    If you’re unfamiliar with Venmo, it is a mobile payment app that allows users to send payments to each other without needing to have cash on hand. The most common example of Venmo’s purpose is splitting a restaurant bill or bar tab between friends. With Venmo you can just electronically send the amount you owe to whoever is covering the actual cost of the bill at hand. Venmo has become increasingly popular among younger consumers as we inch closer to a cashless system of commerce. However, whenever a new tech tool becomes convenient and popular, someone will look to take advantage of it especially if it involves money.

    Police departments across the country are warning consumers about a phishing scam that targets Venmo users. The scam doesn’t originate from the app itself but rather from a text message. The text states that your Venmo account is about to be charged for something that you obviously didn’t purchase. However, the text provides a link to click on in that will supposedly deny the charges. The link takes you to a phony website that looks like the Venmo site. You’re then instructed to enter your user information along with the financial information that’s tied your Venmo account. The scammers then use this information to drain your account.

    As with any online banking or payment service, you should be wary of any text message or email that says there is a problem with one of your account. While there are actual text messages and emails that these services will send, too often they can be spoofed to try and steal your information or money. Whenever you receive one of these messages you should only log in to your account through the official app or website and not click on any links that may have been provided to you. It may not be as convenient but will protect you and your finances in the long run.

     
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