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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 17, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Virginia,   

    Text message scam targets food stamp recipients in multiple states 

    Text message scam targets food stamp recipients in multiple states

    By Greg Collier

    If you or someone you know receives any kind of benefit assistance from your state, you may want to be on the lookout for suspicious text messages regarding your benefits. Just this week, we’ve come across three states where those receiving benefits through EBT cards have been warned about text messages that appear to come from the state.

    In all three states, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, the scams are the same. Recipients have received text messages stating that their benefits would be cut off if they didn’t call the number in the text to confirm their account number and their PIN. Once the scammers have this information, they’re able to drain the recipient’s account.

    For many recipients, if they miss even a month of benefits, that could mean their children go hungry, or they could be evicted from their homes. With this kind of risk hanging over their heads, you can see why some may respond to these text messages out of fear. This fear is precisely what the scammers are counting on.

    The scammers don’t know who specifically is receiving benefits, so they’re sending out text messages en masse in hopes of finding a few victims. You may receive a text message even if you’re not receiving any state benefits.

    Most states do send out texts to benefit recipients, such as reminders when it’s time for renewal. However, these states will never send text messages asking for personal information like your PIN, Social Security number, or date of birth, just to name a few.

    Since this scam has already happened in multiple states, there’s a good chance it could be happening in yours. If you receive a text message like this, do not respond and delete the message. If you fall victim to this scam, contact your state immediately, as it could take another month before the benefits can be replaced.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , SWAT, Virginia,   

    Virtual kidnapping scam brings out SWAT team 

    Virtual kidnapping scam brings out SWAT team

    By Greg Collier

    Victims of virtual kidnapping scams often get the police involved since many victims aren’t aware this is a scam. Police are then able to assist the victim by letting them know it’s a scam and are also able to locate the person who’s been supposedly kidnapped. However, an entire SWAT team is not normally called out for a virtual kidnapping scam. But that’s what happened to a father and son recently, in Virginia.

    For new readers, a virtual kidnapping is called that because no one is actually being held hostage. The scammers will call a victim and tell the victim that they’ve kidnapped one of the victim’s loved ones. The scammers will then demand a ransom that can be paid either through gift cards or money transfers. The scammers will try to keep the victim on the phone to prevent them from reaching out to that loved one or the police.

    A virtual kidnapping scammer also started a flashpoint event in Bristol, Virginia when they contacted a father and son truck driving team. The pair were driving through Virginia when the son received a phone call from a phone number in Mexico that his son had been taken hostage. The truck drivers were instructed to stay on the phone and not communicate with anyone else. They were then instructed to go to a Walmart to make a money transfer.

    Since the father and son didn’t contact the trucking company they work for, the trucking company contacted Virginia State Police. The VSP found the pair at the Bristol Walmart but the pair we’re being uncooperative because they thought if they talked to the police the man’s son would be harmed. When it was determined that this may have been a hostage situation, a SWAT team and a K9 officer was called in.

    Eventually, the situation was deescalated, and the truck drivers were relieved to find out that the man’s son was fine. But this situation had the potential to go very wrong, and if lives had been lost not only would the scammers not care, but they would have disappeared into the wind.

    If you ever receive a phone call like this, try to get someone else on another phone to contact the person that the scammers have claimed to kidnap. Ask to speak to the person they’re claiming to hold hostage and ask them a question that only they would know. You may also want to set up a code word with family members that they can give if they’re actually in trouble.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Virginia   

    Stolen mail leads to stolen checks 

    Stolen mail leads to stolen checks

    By Greg Collier

    I’m sure we’ve all been there. You go the post office and pull up to the outside collection box. It turns out that the mailbox is filled to the brim with mail. You think to yourself that anyone could reach in and take a handful of mail. Then you still place your item to be mailed in the overflowing mailbox. If you’re still paying your bills by mail, you might want to reconsider that stance.

    A collection box outside a post office in Virginia Beach, Virginia has been targeted multiple times for mail theft in the past few months. After the mail was stolen from the box, checks that were supposed to be for bills were washed and cashed for much larger amounts. Check washing is when someone dips an already written or even canceled check in chemicals and removes the handwritten ink from the check. They then put in whatever information on the check that they need. As long as there is enough money in the account the check can be cashed. Some of the checks were rewritten for thousands of dollars more than they were intended for. If that transaction is ignored long enough, you could miss the window you have to dispute the falsified check.

    While this scam may not be as prevalent as others, you still don’t want to be the victim of this scam. It’s recommended that in order to protect yourself that you switch from checks to electronic payments. They can’t steal a check if there’s no check to be stolen. However, if you’re dead set on still mailing checks, there are a few precautions you can take. There are special pens that you can buy that are resistant to check washing. If you’re taking the bills to the post office, have them mailed from inside the post office where they’re less likely to be stolen. Lastly, never leave your outgoing mail in your home mailbox. More mail is stolen from home mailboxes than USPS mailboxes.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Virginia   

    Real disappearance of teen used in Cash App scam 

    Real disappearance of teen used in Cash App scam

    Earlier this month in Virginia a 17-year-old girl went missing from her home. Tragically, her body was found a few weeks later. However, that did not stop the greed and depravity of at least one scammer. While the victim’s family was mourning for their loss, some scammer took to Instagram to solicit donations in the victim’s name.

    The families of crime victims sometimes do solicit donations for medical or funeral expenses on sites like GoFundMe. Instead, this scammer was asking for donations through Cash App. If you’re unfamiliar with Cash App, it’s a payment app that allows you to send or receive money wirelessly. Due to some of the flaws in its system, Cash App is often used by scammers to collect money and then block the person they stole it from. Victims of Cash App scams usually have little recourse once the money is gone.

    In this instance, a single person is said to have taken to Instagram and posted solicitations for donations through Cash App in the victim’s name. The victim’s family has expressed that no fund for donations has been set up as of yet. There has bee no word that we’ve seen if anyone has actually given money to the scammer.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with offering assistance to a family in need. However, scammers have shown no remorse in trying to make money through a tragedy no matter how personal it may be to someone. As much as we might hate to say it, even when making donations to someone claiming to be collecting for a crime victim, do your research. Local news outlets almost always have the correct information on where donations can be sent.

    We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the victim’s name. She was 17-year-old Asia Cowell of Norfolk, Virginia. As of the time of this posting, police are asking for the public’s assistance for any information about Asia’s disappearance. Her body was found in Newport News.

    You can submit an anonymous tip by calling the Crime Line at 1–888-LOCK-U-UP or submit a tip online at p3tips.com if you have any information that might help.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Virginia   

    Amazon offering first HQ2 jobs 

    Amazon offering first HQ2 jobs

    Amazon’s proposed development for HQ2 in Virginia

    Even though Amazon withdrew their plans for their second headquarters to be built in New York after a grassroots campaign drove them out, the retail leader seems to be all in with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Just recently, Amazon announced the first opening positions for the new headquarters that is planned to span through both Alexandria and Arlington. The first positions have already been posted to Amazon’s job website. This comes along with the promise of 400 more jobs by the ends of the year and an additional 25,000 jobs in the coming years. However, just as it was in New York, Amazon’s presence in Virginia does not come without controversy.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBZhV0gnSUA%5D

    Much like what happened in New York, Virginia and Arlington County have offered multi-million dollar incentives for Amazon to develop their headquarters there. While many politicians in Virginia supported these incentives, there have been detractors. These detractors are concerned that Amazon will not be hiring many local employees and instead will be hiring people from out-of-state. That, in turn, could potentially make the already strained housing market even worse, especially for lower-income families. Amazon’s proponents say that Amazon will bring Virginia a windfall of tax revenue, however, it has to be mentioned that Amazon has been accused of taking advantage of tax loopholes where they paid no federal income tax last year.

    Getting back to the potential housing crisis coming to Virginia, Amazon states that the median income of its HQ2 employees will be over $100,000. Many local leaders fear that the area will become more gentrified than it already is. This could potentially drive many lower-income families out of the area. However, with the proposed scope of the construction of the new headquarters that could result in thousands of construction jobs for several years.

    Are you from this part of Virginia? If you are, how do you feel about Amazon coming into your area? Do you think it will be an economic boon for Northern Virginia, or will it result in more economic inequality? Please let us know what you think.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on January 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , prop money, , Virginia   

    Movie money props used in craigslist scams 

    Movie money props used in craigslist scams

    Police in Stafford County, Virginia, are reporting an uptick in crimes involving counterfeit money. There have been at least two reports of people who were selling an item on craigslist who were paid in phony cash. Not just any phony cash mind you, but bills that were specifically printed to only be used in theatrical or film production. So how did movie prop money end up in the hands of con artists? It’s actually easier than you think.

    Most movie prop houses work closely with the Secret Service to make sure that their fake money looks legitimate on screen but no so real that it can be passed off as the real thing. In the past, it may have been difficult and expensive to obtain such prop money, however, in these days where anyone with a camera-enabled smartphone where just about anyone could make a movie, prop money has become much more easy to obtain. For example, one movie prop company will sell you a $10,000 stack of prop $100 bills for just $25.00. While the bills could not obviously fool professionals, they have been known to fool many an average consumer. Here’s a video that goes into great detail showing the differences between prop money and the real thing.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdkP08YXV2M%5D

    Of course, there are several ways to prevent yourself from being ripped off like this. The first and most important is to always meet the buyer at a local police station. While not foolproof, a scammer is less likely to try to pull something like this when there are several police officers around. The second thing is to inspect the money for markings that say something like “For motion picture use only” or something to that effect. Lastly, there are markers you can buy that if you mark the money with them they can tell you if the money is real or not. Since just about anyone can buy this prop money, just about anyone can be fooled by it. So don’t be just anyone. Also, you probably shouldn’t use craigslist as it’s rife with scammers like this.

  • Geebo 9:11 am on September 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Joshua Grey, , , Richmond, , Virginia   

    Young man shot and killed in LetGo robbery in Virginia 

    Young man shot and killed in LetGo robbery in Virginia

    It’s actually been quite some time since I last posted about someone losing their life while using a classifieds app but unfortunately it has happened again. Last week, 23-year-old Joshua Grey was shot and killed after listing his iPhone for sale on the marketplace app LetGo. Joshua was said to have met his assailant alone at a local intersection in Richmond, Virginia. The killer shot Joshua and then took his iPhone. Joshua was able to get to a nearby convenience store where he tragically died from his injuries.

    Police in Richmond have released surveillance video of Joshua’s alleged killer and are looking for the public’s help in bringing the man to justice. The video can be seen here courtesy of WTVR. Police are asking anybody with any information regarding Joshua’s murder to contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or at the Richmond Crime Stoppers website. Anyone contacting Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous.

    Again I have to stress that if you use any classifieds site or app it’s imperative that you meet the other person involved in the transaction at a local police department. Many police stations have set up public meeting zones at their locations to better protect those buying and selling through classifieds. Geebo has partnered with Safe Trade Stations to provide our users with a list of safe places to do business. Just meeting someone in a public place during the day is no longer enough as criminals have become more brazen in their violent methods.

    Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Joshua Grey.

  • Geebo 9:07 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Virginia   

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane 

    Price gouging a real concern during a hurricane

    With the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence looking to be a storm of a lifetime event in the Mid-Atlantic, three states have declared states of emergency. Those states being South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in one those states later this week. To make matters worse, whenever a hurricane is set to hit an area, there are usually those whose intent is to make a king’s ransom of profit over helping those in need during a time of crisis.

    Price gouging is when a merchant or lodging provider charge an exorbitant amount for their goods or services during a crisis when need is in high demand. Thankfully, the three states mentioned, all have laws in place to prevent price gouging when a state of emergency has been declared. With so many people looking for supplies, fuel, or alternative lodging, it’s refreshing to see governments looking to make sure that people in need aren’t being taken advantage of.

    However, that doesn’t mean that price gouging won’t occur. For example, if you were to leave the area where an emergency has been declared, you may be at the mercy of an unscrupulous vendor. If you live in South Carolina and evacuate to Georgia, where a state of emergency has not been declared, you may see an exorbitant price increase for food, gas, and lodging. If you are in a state that has declared an emergency some vendors may still take to price gouging in defiance of the law. If that is the case, these articles from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia all have the information you need to contact the proper authorities.

    To everyone who is facing the wrath of this potentially devastating storm, please stay safe.

  • Geebo 9:14 am on August 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Virginia   

    Another craigslist puppy ring results in sick animals 

    Another craigslist puppy ring results in sick animals

    Authorities in Prince William County, Virginia, have arrested three people on animal cruelty charges for allegedly selling very sick puppies on craigslist. Many of the puppies sold had parvovirus, or parvo as it’s more commonly known, and at least one had died after being sold. After receiving numerous complaints, animal control officers investigated the grounds where the puppies were being kept and calling it a puppy mill would be generous. According to reports, the living conditions for the puppies were deplorable, to say the least. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence on craigslist.

    If you’re familiar with Geebo, you know that we haven’t accepted ads for pets in quite some time in order to help prevent animal cruelty on a scale such as this. However, did you know that pet sales are listed as prohibited on craigslist? According to craigslist’s own terms of service, pet sales are prohibited but re-homing with a small adoption fee is ok. You couldn’t tell by going to craigslist and doing a search for puppies. Since craigslist rarely does any kind of moderation on their platform, these types of puppy sales continue, mostly unabated.

    Buying a puppy should never be a heat of the moment decision and while buying a puppy off of craigslist may satisfy an urge of instant satisfaction, in the long run, it could also lead to heartbreak for you and your family. Don’t cheap out when it comes to adding a new member to your family. Always do your research first and only do business with legitimate and licensed breeders. Real breeders will never want to meet you in a parking lot or some other sketchy locale. Please also consider adopting from your local shelter. Too many shelters have to turn away animals because there’s not enough room in their kennels. Also, re-homing costs through shelters are usually very reasonable and in most cases, the animals have been well taken care of medically and emotionally by the shelter. Wouldn’t you rather be a hero in your dog’s eyes?

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