Diabolical IRS Phone Scammers Call SWAT Team, Tell Victim They’re There To Collect

Diabolical IRS Phone Scammers Call SWAT Team, Tell Victim They’re There To Collect

IRS phone scams, where the perpetrators call up victims and demand that overdue taxes that they don’t owe be paid by prepaid debit cards, are cruel schemes that vacuum millions of dollars out of the pockets of people who don’t know any better. The only way they could be worse would be if they actually endangered victims’ safety while wasting law enforcement time and taxpayer money. They’ve figured out how to do this. [More]

Ads for these products promised rapid weight loss (without anything to back up that claim), used fake customer testimonials, and promised "risk-free" trials that were all but impossible to get out of.

Scammy Sellers Of AF Plus, Final Trim Weight-Loss Pills Made Millions From Bogus “Risk-Free” Trials

You may have heard radio ads for weight loss supplements named AF Plus and Final Trim, promising “24 hours of fat burning power” and “maximum weight loss,” along with supposed real-world testimonials about how well these pills worked — and how you can try them now through a “risk-free” trial. Problem is, those people in the ads claiming they lost all that weight are just as fictitious as the free trial. [More]

What Does A Grocery Store PIN Pad Skimmer Look Like?

What Does A Grocery Store PIN Pad Skimmer Look Like?

Have you ever wondered how customers could slide their cards through and enter their PINs on a compromised payment terminal without even noticing? While some skimming schemes involve Bluetooth transmitters and require disassembling the device, installing a skimmer can be as simple as snapping an identical part over an existing card reader. [More]

(blitzcat)

ID Thieves Also Use Call Centers To Outsource Their Scams

We all know that a lot of businesses outsource customer service work to call centers around the world. But what you may not know is that there are also call centers that specialize — and openly advertise — their services in aiding ID theft and other cyber fraud. [More]

(James LeVeque)

Most Scams Use The Same Three Underlying Tactics To Steal Your Money

From fraudsters bilking the elderly by posing as their cash-strapped grandkids, to fake lawyers defrauding immigrants in need of legal help, we’ve covered a wide range of scams on Consumerist. But while there are countless variations on these crimes, they are all based on the same few ideas. [More]

(Jeffrey Beall)

Colorado Investigating Scammers Who Hoard DMV Appointments, Sell Them To Undocumented Residents

When something is free, but it’ll take a long time to get it, there’s always the chance that someone will try to take advantage of the situation to make a profit off impatient people. In Colorado, the attorney general’s office is investigating a scalping scheme that involves scammers hoarding driver’s license appointments with the Department of Motor Vehicles, then turning around and selling them to undocumented residents. [More]

Here’s How To Recognize A Fake Coupon

Here’s How To Recognize A Fake Coupon

Fake coupons: you’ve seen them online. Maybe you’ve even tried to print or share them. Yet at best, you won’t get a discount. At worst, you’ll end up with malware on your computer. How can you tell the difference between a coupon that’s fake and a legit printable online coupon? Here are a few hints. [More]

(Trisha)

ID Thieves Hijacking Accounts To Cash In On Bogus Warranties

In a pre-online era, when we made most purchases in person, getting a warranty replacement on a broken product often required taking the defective item back to where you bought it. But now that we’re all buying things online, a number of retailers are willing to ship you a replacement on the understanding that you’ll immediately return the original item. ID thieves are taking advantage of this goodwill, hijacking customers’ accounts and convincing companies to send them free replacements for items they never bought. [More]

Your Cable Company Will Not Ask You To Make Your Payment At A Gas Station

Your Cable Company Will Not Ask You To Make Your Payment At A Gas Station

Some scams are so outrageously stupid, we have a hard time believing anyone falls for them. But scammers would pull these obvious tricks if they didn’t work at least some of the time. [More]

(Gumby Liberation Organization)

Regulators Stop Alleged Office Supply Scam That Targeted Charitable Organizations, Small Businesses

We’ve said it a thousand times: scammers are the worst, and those that take advantage of organizations trying to do good in the world are the lowest of the low. Such was allegedly the case for Liberty Supply Co., which federal regulators have accused of running an office supply scam that targeted charitable organizations and small businesses.  [More]

(Photo: Shelly Slater on Twitter)

In Wake Of Storms, Don’t Be Taken In By Home-Repair Scams Or Fake Charities

Over the weekend, tornadoes ripped through the Dallas area, rending homes into piles of wood and destroying lives. Additionally, bad weather in the region resulted in damage to the property of countless other Americans. We can understand the desire to get your life back in order immediately — or to donate money to help victims — but don’t let yourself be taken in by unscrupulous scammers. [More]

Jamaican Lottery Scammer Sentenced To U.S. Prison

Jamaican Lottery Scammer Sentenced To U.S. Prison

The fraudulent lottery industry is huge in Jamaica, extracting hundreds of millions of dollars from the pockets of victims, who are mostly in the U.S. and mostly elderly. For the first time, someone involved in the industry has been tried and sentenced in a federal court in this country for selling lists of leads to current and aspiring scammers. [More]

FTC Bans Wire Transfers, Reloadable Cash Cards, And Payment Orders In Phone Transactions

FTC Bans Wire Transfers, Reloadable Cash Cards, And Payment Orders In Phone Transactions

We’ve shared warnings about many different types of telemarketing scams, but they all have one thing in common: they extract money from their victims using quick and untraceable methods like wire transfers or prepaid debit cards. Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced an amendment to current telemarketing rules that’s meant to protect consumers from fraud over the phone lines. [More]

Reminder: A Legitimate Online Retailer Will Not Ask For Payment In Amazon Gift Cards

Reminder: A Legitimate Online Retailer Will Not Ask For Payment In Amazon Gift Cards

An online retailer that isn’t Amazon, yet who asks to be paid in Amazon gift cards? That might sound strange to practiced scam-spotters, but there are apparently shoppers who don’t find that idea suspicious. They should: gift cards don’t have the same fraud protections as credit or debit card payments. [More]

(Love Over Lenses)

Please Stop Spreading Pyramid Schemes Around Facebook

Gift exchanges can be super fun: it’s great to receive a present that you didn’t anticipate at all. However, an attempt by either a well-meaning person or a gift-hogging trickster began on Facebook recently, and zapped quickly around the world. One scheme, called the “Secret Sisters Gift Exchange,” promises thirty-six gifts in your mailbox after you mail out only one, but reality doesn’t work that way. [More]

(Paul)

Feds Shut Down Phony Apple, Microsoft, Google Tech Support Scammers

While consumers are much more tech-savvy today than we were during the days of Windows 3.1 and baud modems, there are still a lot of people whose tech-insecurity makes them potential prey for bogus tech support businesses that make money by convincing victims their computers are infected with viruses. [More]

The operation sent millions of letters like the one picture above to students and families promising assistance in receiving financial aid.

Feds Sue Scammers Who Charged For Bogus Student Financial Aid Assistance

Paying for college out of pocket is nearly impossible for millions of prospective students. Instead, these individuals turn to scholarships, grants, and student loans, often relying on financial service programs to assist them in obtaining the funds. But not all of the companies promising a helping hand are looking out for your best interests. That was apparently the case for a California company accused of ripping off tens of thousands of victims in a nationwide financial aid scam. [More]

A screen grab of the MMS product as sold on the Project GreenLife website (via the Internet Archive)

Man Who Sold Industrial Chemical As “Miracle Mineral Solution” Sentenced To 51 Months In Jail

There are plenty of people out there peddling “miracle” cleanses, juices, and elixirs that don’t really do anything, but that will usually just get them a slap on the wrist and some fines for false advertising. But if the “Miracle Mineral Solution” is really nothing more than an industrial chemical that can’t be sold for human consumption, then you’ll probably end up in jail for a few years. [More]