Like Monopoly money, but it buys real stuff.

Judge Hits Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme With $40.7 Million Penalty

If someone convinces you to invest with him by promising returns of 7% weekly, and that he’s never lost money and there’s no risk, you should be incredibly concerned about giving him your money, regardless of whether it’s a dollar or a Bitcoin. But the operator of a Bitcoin-based Ponzi scheme in Texas was able to rake in millions based on completely empty promises — and now has to pay it all back. [More]

(TheTruthAbout)

Scammers Made $60K Taking Rental Deposits For Other People’s Apartments

There is a longstanding, if sketchy, tradition in New York City of people signing a lease on an apartment with the sole intent of subletting it for a profit. But where that crosses the line from sketchy to just plain evil is when you’re merely using someone else’s home as a showcase to rack up thousands of dollars in ill-gotten deposits from hopeful tenants. [More]

Infomercial Scammer Kevin Trudeau Appeals Conviction

Infomercial Scammer Kevin Trudeau Appeals Conviction

Almost a year ago, it seemed like a federal court had put an end to the decade-long fight with bestselling scam artist Kevin Trudeau, finding the author and infomercial weight loss/personal finance pitchman in contempt of court for violating a 2004 court order barring him from telling lies in order to sell his books. Now, only a few months into his 10-year sentence, Trudea has filed an appeal. [More]

American, Delta Sue Operators Of Scammy Travel Clubs

American, Delta Sue Operators Of Scammy Travel Clubs

We’ve told you before about travel club scammers who send out notices claiming that you’ve won free trips from Travelocity or travel vouchers from airlines that sound like they exist (but don’t). The airlines have always responded to these stories by saying they would have their lawyers look into these types of scams, but at least two major carriers are actually doing something about it. [More]

(Don Hankins)

Your Next Fraudulent E-Mail May Come From Your Boss

If I received an urgent e-mail from Boss Meg telling me to send a $9,000 wire transfer to Consumerist’s fedora vendor, I would know that it was some kind of scam. Paying our bills isn’t part of my job, so clearly that isn’t an e-mail that I would receive. What if that were my job, though? Companies have reported losing an average of $55,000 to a scam exactly like this, wiring money to mysterious entities who forge e-mails from the boss. [More]

Scammers Call Restaurants At Peak Hours, Demanding They Pay Power Bill Now Or Lose Service

(Great Beyond)

A good con artist knows that distraction and an added sense of urgency can help to separate a mark from his money. If you want to hustle a cashier into believing that he gave you the wrong change, it helps to have a line of impatient customers behind you. And if you want a restaurant to pay an electric bill they don’t actually owe, there’s no better time to threaten them with losing service than the lunch rush. [More]

(catastrophegirl)

Scam Artist Tries To Play Landlord, Collect Rent For House He Doesn’t Own

A woman in California was about to put down a $1,500 deposit on the house she’d just been shown by a nice young man who was managing the rental property for his dad. Luckily, she told her real estate agent pal about her new digs before she was scammed out of her hard-earned cash. [More]

(diaper)

If Someone From “Comcast” Requires You To Pay With A Prepaid Cash Card, It’s A Scam

You get a call from Comcast and the person on the other end says you can lock in a decent rate for the next year if you pay for the first six months’ worth of service up front. It sounds a bit odd, but you’re always looking to save a few bucks, so you keep listening. The caller then tells you that the only way to pay that money is to put it on a prepaid cash card. This is when you hang up because the caller is probably trying to run a scam on you. [More]

FTC Halts Operations Of Four “Yellow Page” Directory Operations That Took Millions From Consumers

FTC Halts Operations Of Four “Yellow Page” Directory Operations That Took Millions From Consumers

For many businesses advertising in the phone book and online directories are just a few ways to reach prospective customers. But business owners should be forewarned some of those “yellow page” directories are just out to collect your hard-earned money. That was allegedly the case for four Montreal-based marketing operations that took millions from small businesses, churches, nonprofits and local government agencies. [More]

(zeebah tronic)

Reminder: Cashing A Check From West Africa Is Not A Legitimate Job

Here’s a reminder to everyone looking for a job or for a side hustle in addition to their current job: as tempting as it may sound, receiving a check and depositing it is not a legitimate way to make money. You might have heard this before, but if no one fell for this scam, it would die out. [More]

Did Someone At The DMV Steal This Woman’s Identity? Maybe

Did Someone At The DMV Steal This Woman’s Identity? Maybe

Over on Reddit, one poster in the the /r/personalfinance subreddit shared the terrible thing that happened to his fiancée when she visited her local Department of Motor Vehicles to change the address on her driver’s license. It’s not clear what happened or exactly how, but what they know is that someone issued a new license with her name and information and a different ID number. This person also has her Social Security number. [More]

3 Scams Targeted At Hotel Guests

3 Scams Targeted At Hotel Guests

Between all the fees and add-on charges that can come with a hotel reservation, just booking a room for the night can make you feel like you’ve been taken for a ride. But even when the hotel isn’t trying to nickel-and-dime you, there are scammers out there ready to steal your money by preying on common assumptions made by hotel guests. [More]

(Photo: David Blackwell)

Phony Payday Loan Brokers Must Turn Over Rolls Royce, Maserati, Ferrari To Feds

When someone goes hunting for a payday loan — just looking to get their hands on a small amount of cash to tide them over until the next paycheck — it’s bad enough that they can end up trapped in a hellish debt cycle that sees them taking out loan after loan. But the FTC says a Tampa-based operation preyed upon these already-desperate victims by tricking them into applying for payday loans, only to steal their info and what little money they had. [More]

"Why are you calling me about Uncle Caranthir's overdue payday loan?" (Photo: Zoomar)

Debt Collection Scammers Calling Victims’ Family & Co-Workers To Squeeze Money From People

A debt collection scam operates on two principles: That lots of us have debt, and that the con artist is good enough at his art to trick some of us into believing we have to pay immediately. But some scammers are bringing outside parties into their grift, contacting victims’ families and co-workers in the hopes that this will result in pressure to pay up on the bogus debt. [More]

The scary Delta lady does not approve of smoking or mail fraud. (photo: Bill Binns)

Former Delta Employee Accused Of Approving $22 Million In Fake Invoices

If you’ve ever worked at a large, profitable company that spends billions of dollars a year, you’ve probably thought about how easily one (but certainly not you!) could sneak fake charges through the system without anyone even noticing. And for nearly 10 years, an employee at Northwest (and then Delta) managed to make that daydream a reality, allegedly siphoning off $22 million through bogus invoices. [More]

Don’t Cash Checks From Lotteries That You Never Entered

Don’t Cash Checks From Lotteries That You Never Entered

You’ve probably heard this message before, but in our opinion, consumers can’t really hear it too many times. If you receive a mysterious check in the mail, don’t cash it until you determine that its origins are legit. If you hear that you’ve won a lottery that you never entered, you probably never entered it. When you win the real lottery, you don’t need to pay processing fees to get your money. [More]

Dr. Oz Grilled By Senator Over “Miracle” Weight-Loss Claims

Dr. Oz Grilled By Senator Over “Miracle” Weight-Loss Claims

Since he started appearing on pal Oprah Winfrey’s show a decade ago, and especially since he launched his own inexplicably popular daytime talk show in 2009, Dr. Mehmet Oz has had a history of being a bit overly enthusiastic about some of the alternative and nontraditional treatments he’s highlighted, resulting in countless scammers cashing in on the questionable weight-loss treatments he’s described as “miracles,” like the green coffee extract that is the subject of an ongoing federal action. This morning, Dr. Oz is appearing before a Senate subcommittee and admitting that his “cheerleading” for products that he admits are just “crutches” has caused trouble for himself and for the Federal Trade Commission. [More]

(Kenneth Lu)

No, You Won’t Get A $59 Credit On Your Verizon Bill For Responding To A Robocall

Except in very limited circumstances, such as an emergency or when you’re waiting for an appliance delivery, it’s generally not a good idea to follow the instructions of a robocall. Many Verizon customers have done just that, handing over their wireless account information to phishers. [More]