The website Consumer Affairs (which is not related to us or our owners in any way) is warning people in Oregon to watch out for calls from people asking for donations on behalf of local police or fire departments. It’s a good reminder to everyone that telephone solicitations should be ignored: “At best, the solicitor will probably take the lion’s share of your donation. At worst, the caller is an outright fraud,” the site reports.
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.
Last week, a customer in Long Beach, New York, discovered a skimmer attached to the outside of a local ATM branch instead of on specific machines. We’ve talked a lot about being wary of any suspicious add-ons at the ATM, but in this case the criminals were collecting card info as people swiped to enter the building—although they still had pinhole cameras set up to record PINs next to each keypad.
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.
The Census is starting up again, and the Better Business Bureau wants to remind people to use reason and caution when answering the door. You’re required by law to answer Census questions, but scammers may pose as legit Census workers and take advantage of the situation. “Law enforcement in several states have issued warnings that scammers are already posing as Census Bureau employees and knocking on doors asking for donations and Social Security numbers.” Here’s how to identify a real U.S. Census worker.
When some lowlife tried to scam Andy the other day through his friend’s hijacked Gmail account, Andy tried to get him to use PayPal, and he came up with a great reason why. “It’s the fastest way to send money,” Andy told the scammer. “Once I deposit the funds, you can print it out of any color printer and it’s real money!” Another reader was so amused by it that she decided to use it on her own Facebook scammer earlier today.
Freddie writes that his friend was tricked by a phishing email. All the warning signs were there to tip off his friend—an email saying he needed to click a link, a suspicious url, a page asking for his login info—but he clicked and entered the info anyway. Please do not be like Freddie’s friend, who is now probably on the phone with the real Wells Fargo trying to get his account number changed.
Our favorite congressman, Mike Doyle (D-PA), is also fed up with the robocalls telling him his car warranty is about to expire. For those keeping track, that’s two elected officials that these robocalllers have illegally called recently. If the internet doesn’t take them out first, hopefully our public servants will. Thanks, Kenneth!
Lock your doors, Queens residents! IDT zombies are on the prowl in your borough, and if they catch you they’ll try to eat your ConEd account and replace it with their more expensive offer. Jeff says there’s one outside his building right now, trying to buzz its way in.
Here we go again, scammers are using the recent headlines about the stimulus package to take advantage of people looking for a handout. Emails promising to help you qualify for a chunk of the new spending program in exchange for a small fee or some personal information are popping up in inboxes, according to the FTC.
37-year-old Nigerian scammer Paul Gabriel Amos convinced Citibank officials to wire him $27 million belonging to Ethiopia. Rather than go with the usual Nigerian nom de plumes like prince or will executor, Famous Amos pretended to be an official with the National Bank of Ethiopia. Amos forged “official-looking” documents that confirmed his status with the central bank and instructed Citibank to await faxes telling them where to send the country’s cash.
Idolina was targeted this morning by a U.S. National Bank scammer. As he was prattling on with his heavily-accented seesaw of threats and incentives, she Googled the bank. (And no, we’re not anti-anyone, but there’s something funny about a supposed U.S. National Bank and/or government representative who sounds like he’s currently calling you from a foreign country.) The third search result was our interview last October with Laurie Lucas, who faced a similar scam. Idolina writes, “I was reading it while I was on the phone with him.”
The BBB has given us a heads up about a new scam that targets holiday shoppers — pop-up internet electronics stores that only accept payments via wire transfer.
This is the time of year when scammers try to weasel nice people out of their cash by pretending to represent a charity. Don’t fall for it! When considering giving to a charity, take some time to do a little research. Here are few websites that will help you find a legit charity that will use your money for good — rather than evil. Or iPods.