Homeless Charity Revealed As A Fraud

Homeless Charity Revealed As A Fraud

If you live anywhere in the NYC area, you’ve probably seen a “United Homeless Organization” table on the sidewalk, staffed by a volunteer who looks homeless himself. (If you don’t live here, imagine a year-round, homeless Salvation Army Santa.) If you thought the set-ups looked a little sketchy, you were right: the UHO is a “sham,” according to NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. [More]

FTC Files Contempt Charge Against BlueHippo For Continuing To Rip Off Customers

FTC Files Contempt Charge Against BlueHippo For Continuing To Rip Off Customers

Today the FTC lodged a contempt charge against scammy no-credit-needed electronics seller BlueHippo, saying that the company hasn’t honored its prior agreement to stop scamming customers. BlueHippo agreed to pay back $3.5 million nearly two years ago to reimburse customers who never received the computers they pre-paid for, but the FTC says since then the company has sucked another $15 million out of customers.

Fortune Teller Arrested For Selling Thousand Dollar Body Wash At The Mall

Fortune Teller Arrested For Selling Thousand Dollar Body Wash At The Mall

Fortune tellers are sort of like the con-artist version of the website Significant Objects—the more interesting the story, the higher the price you can fetch for an otherwise cheap piece of crap. Unless, of course, the police arrest you for “fraudulent accosting” at the mall and ruin your con.

Walmart Thinks Woman Is Laundry Soap Thief, Refuses Return

Walmart Thinks Woman Is Laundry Soap Thief, Refuses Return

When a soon-to-be mother realized she had bought the wrong laundry detergent at a New Mexico Walmart, she tried to return it. That didn’t work out so well, ending up with the store manager insinuating she was a con-artist who replaced the detergent with water.

FBI Charges 100 People In Phishing Investigation

FBI Charges 100 People In Phishing Investigation

Since 2007, the FBI and authorities in Egypt have been running an investigation they’ve called “Operation Phish Phry,” sigh, and this week it paid off with 53 charges against U.S. defendants and 47 against people in Egypt. Three of the 53 in the U.S. have been arrested, and the FBI are looking for the other 50. To prove you’re not one of the remaining 50, please send the FBI your login credentials to your bank. Ha ha, we kid.

Microsoft Turns A Blind Eye To Phishing Scams On Xbox LIVE

Microsoft Turns A Blind Eye To Phishing Scams On Xbox LIVE

William wrote to us this weekend to point out how little Microsoft does to fight phishing attacks on their hugely popular Xbox LIVE network. It’s unfortunate they don’t take this sort of crime more seriously, since so many kids—who by all rights should have less experience with phishing—are on Xbox LIVE. Below is what two different Xbox CSRs told William when he contacted them to complain about phishing attacks.

Beware Fake Theme Park Passes

Beware Fake Theme Park Passes

Everyone knows that you should never purchase gift cards on eBay or Craigslist, but it turns out that theme park passes in the form of gift cards are just as likely to be fake.

There's A New Ponzi Schemer Under Arrest, And He Has A Mail Order Porn Business

There's A New Ponzi Schemer Under Arrest, And He Has A Mail Order Porn Business

The smaller versions of Madoff are still out there, convincing people to hand over their savings for foolproof investments that don’t actually exist, but every once in a while the authorities nab another one. This week it’s Philip G. Barry, a Brooklyn-based guy who operated out of my own neighborhood and happened to run a pornography business.

Scammer Picks Wrong Sympathy Handicap

Scammer Picks Wrong Sympathy Handicap

Any good grifter knows that a classic shortcut to sympathy is to fake a handicap. This guy, however, should have thought about the distancing effect of using a telephone relay service, which is designed for people who are hearing impaired.

Scammers String Along 82-Year-Old For Four Years, Leave Him Penniless

Scammers String Along 82-Year-Old For Four Years, Leave Him Penniless

Here’s another reason to have a sit-down with your elderly relatives and make them promise that if they ever, ever find out they’ve won some money in a lottery they didn’t enter, they should tell family members immediately.

Beware Fake Gift Card Balance Websites

Beware Fake Gift Card Balance Websites

A reader just ran into a gift card scam while trying to unload an Apple gift card via CraigsList. If you’re directed to a website that asks you to put in your gift card information in order to show the balance as “proof” that you’re legit, you’re being conned.

Scammers Get Over-Ambitious With Fake FBI Letter

Scammers Get Over-Ambitious With Fake FBI Letter

We guess if you’re gonna create a failure pile, make it a big one. This email that pretends to be from FBI director Robert S. Mueller has the typical scammy touches: strange grammatical issues, unexpected shifts between formal and casual voices, a complete lack of understanding of how US government offices actually work, and an “official” gmail address. We were ready to send our information to them until we got to the end, where the letter threatens you with arrest if you don’t play along. Now they’re just getting silly.

The Conman Who Loved Me: Madoff Mistress Tells All

The Conman Who Loved Me: Madoff Mistress Tells All

Sheryl Weinstein, Bernie Madoff‘s mistress, is making the rounds with her steamy, tell-all account of Bernie Madoff the love machine called “Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie, and Me” (the title beat out “Bernie Madoff Robbed and Sexed Me and All I Got was This Stupid Book Contract”).

Victim Of Mystery Shopper Scam Arrested, Spends Night In Jail

Victim Of Mystery Shopper Scam Arrested, Spends Night In Jail

Here’s one more reason to avoid mystery shopping scams: you could be the one who ends up in jail. A woman in Minnesota answered a “mystery shopper” email (that she found in her spam folder, sigh) and signed up. It turned out to be the old check fraud scam—they sent her a $2700 check and told her to deposit it and keep $300 a payment, then use the rest to make mystery shopper purchases. She took the check to her bank, and her bank called the police.

FTC Launches First Wave Of Smackdown On Scammy Loan Consultants

FTC Launches First Wave Of Smackdown On Scammy Loan Consultants

Yesterday, as part of “Operation Loan Lies,” the FTC and 19 states filed 189 lawsuits, cease-and-desist orders, and other legal actions to shut down loan modification consultants who prey on desperate homeowners. The scammers offer to help solve foreclosure problems for a hefty fee; instead, they fail to modify the loan at all while collecting payments for their services, sometimes even encouraging homeowners to stop communicating with their lenders completely or to send payments to the consultants instead of the bank.

Bank Manager Helps Thwart $25K Con Of 80-Year-Old

Bank Manager Helps Thwart $25K Con Of 80-Year-Old

A manager at Chemical Bank in Midland, Michigan, grew suspicious when he saw Marion Case, an 80-year-old customer, withdraw $25k from her account last December. Case told him she was going to mail it to someone who would then pass it along to her son. The manager, Carl Ahearn, “remained suspicious. He followed her as she walked to the nearby post office, where Case bought an Express Mail envelope addressed to a man in New Jersey. Ahearn shared his concerns with postal officials, who opened an investigation and arrested a man Monday for fraud.”

Is This Rogue Installer Running A Scam On Comcast Customers?

Is This Rogue Installer Running A Scam On Comcast Customers?

If you live near Burke, Virginia, you might want to pay close attention when the contractor hired by Comcast comes to install your service. Rick runs a computer repair company and has twice run into the same problem with Comcast customers, where they can no longer access the Internet after an upgrade and are offered an off-the-books repair service.

Scammers Also Use Dating Services To Look For Easy Marks

Scammers Also Use Dating Services To Look For Easy Marks

A reader received a weird message from a fellow Match.com member last night—it was a fairly transparent attempt by someone to establish contact with her via a false identity.