Watch Company Collects $1 Million On Kickstarter, Spends It All, Then Hides

Watch Company Collects $1 Million On Kickstarter, Spends It All, Then Hides

Kickstarter is not, and never has been, a store. Yet companies that use the platform to fund the production of a new product are eventually supposed to, um, make that product. Backers who contributed more than a million dollars to produce thin e-ink watches want answers from the company that promised these watches, and they aren’t satisfied with “we’re broke” as an answer. [More]

Our forensic artist's recreation of the crime.

Scammer Dad Uses Daughter To Sell Nonexistent Girl Scout Cookies Door-To-Door

It’s a pretty common sight every year to see parents escorting their Girl Scout daughters around the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and trying to move as many Samoas and Tagalongs as possible. So the residents of one Pennsylvania town didn’t think twice when a man who grew up in the area came around with his youngster to sell Girl Scout cookies — that is, until those treats never materialized. [More]

Fake Waitress Steals Diner’s Credit Card, Goes On Spending Spree Next Door At Target

Fake Waitress Steals Diner’s Credit Card, Goes On Spending Spree Next Door At Target

How many times have you put your credit card out to pay for a restaurant meal and had an employee other than your server pick it up? It’s not uncommon, especially in busier eateries, so some diners wouldn’t think twice when it happens. At least until the card hasn’t been returned because the helpful “waitress” who took it is actually at the Target across the parking lot making purchases with it? [More]

(Mike Mozart)

Cops Using GPS To Track Credit Card-Skimming Devices Back To Scammers

For years, we’ve been telling you about credit card skimming devices that collect the information on your card when you swipe at places like ATMs and gas pumps. The common-sense thing to do when finding a skimmer is to remove it. And while that prevents anyone else from being victimized, the scammers who hooked up the illegal device are rarely caught. That’s why some police are now leaving gas pump card skimmers in place but adding a GPS tracker to follow the skimmer back to its criminal creators. [More]

(Jim Perry)

FTC Halts Mortgage Relief Operation Targeting Consumers In Foreclosure

Financially distressed consumers on the brink of foreclosure have enough to worry about without having to be on the lookout for shady mortgage relief companies making hollow promises to save their homes. Today, the Federal Trade Commission put an end to an operation that took advantage of homeowners’ vulnerabilities. [More]

(frankieleon)

How Scammers Trick You Into Giving Up That Security Code On The Back Of Your Credit Card

There are a lot of purchases you can make with the information on the front of a credit card. But ID thieves who have the card number, name, and expiration date will still hit a speedbump if they have to enter that (usually 3-digit) security code on the back of a victim’s card. Notice that we said “speedbump” and not “dead end,” because some scammers have figured out how to get this crucial info from their victims. [More]

Google launched a new tool today that sends alerts to users when they enter their log-in information into a site that isn't actually from Google.

Google Launches New Tool To Protect Consumers’ Password Security

Sometimes cyber criminals do such a good job camouflaging their ploys to steal consumers’ personal information that you might not recognize that the site you just entered your password on isn’t a legitimate login page. In an effort to combat such ruses, Google has created a new tool for its Chrome browser that aims to ensure users’ passwords don’t end up in the hands of ne’er do wells. [More]

(Tara Chavez)

Telemarketer Penalized $3.4M For Scamming Elderly Into Paying For Unwanted Medical Alert Service

Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Brooklyn-based telemarketing scheme that bullied elderly consumers into paying for a medical alert service they never ordered or wanted. Now a federal court has hit the telemarketer’s repeat-offender operator with a $3.4 million penalty. [More]

Robocalling Phantom Debt Collector Accused Of Harassing, Defrauding Consumers

Robocalling Phantom Debt Collector Accused Of Harassing, Defrauding Consumers

People hate debt collectors, perhaps as much as, if not more than, they despise robocalls from telemarketers. And phantom debt collectors — those who attempt to collect debts that aren’t owed to them, if at all — are among the worst of the bunch. So when you combine the automated recorded messages of robocalls with the incessant harassment of phantom debt collectors, you create a particularly loathsome Frankenstein’s monster. [More]

A notario público courts customers on the side of a building. This example of notario advertising was provided by the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration.

How ‘Notario’ Fraud Preys On Language Differences & Can Result In Unfair Deportation

While the news is filled with reports of various frauds perpetrated on American consumers, one particularly nasty scam doesn’t make as many headlines because it preys almost exclusively on recent Spanish-speaking immigrants who think they are paying for quality legal advice but instead get someone with nothing more than a notary stamp. [More]

(Enokson)

FTC Shuts Down Credit Repair Business Masquerading As The Federal Trade Commission

Fraudsters have been known to scam unsuspecting consumers by claiming to be agents with the federal government. So, in a bit of poetic justice, the Federal Trade Commission had a hand in shutting down a business calling itself the “FTC Credit Solutions.” [More]

(Sean Winters)

Watch Out For Fake Magazine Renewal Invoices

When you subscribe to a magazine and a subscription renewal form arrives in the mail, you pay the invoice and keep the magazines coming, right? No, not quite: at least, not if your address and subscription information have fallen into the hands of a company called Subscription Billing Service, which customers say collects money without bothering to mention that they have no relationship to the magazine publisher. [More]

(J.G. Park)

Contractor Steals Homeowners’ Valuables, Demands Cash For Their Return

It’s certainly not unheard of to have your things stolen by workers with access to your home, but most of them don’t have the gall to justify their theft by saying the victim should pay a ransom because the thief’s boss doesn’t pay them enough. [More]

(Krebs on Security)

Card Skimmers Still Found On Bank Lobby Card Readers

Alert Consumerist readers know to check ATM card readers for signs of skimmer attachments, PIN pad capture devices, and video cameras to avoid having ATM skimmer crooks drain your bank account. Yet these nefarious devices aren’t just found on cash machines and payment kiosks: some banks use magnetic card readers to protect ATM access after hours, and these can hold skimmers, too. [More]

In spite of the fact that this post reeks of scamminess, more than 85,000 Facebook users passed it on, at least hoping that it was authentic.

No, Qantas Isn’t Giving Away Free First Class Tickets For Liking A Post On Facebook

It’s a Facebook post in which the company name is misspelled. It contends that an underwhelming number of passengers is reason to celebrate. It states that all you have to do to get free first class seats is to “Like” the post, and that “winner’s will be inbox’d on March 17.” Nothing about this seems legitimate, and yet more than 85,000 people thought it was worth a shot. [More]

(Great Beyond)

FTC Orders Company That Swindled Tens Of Millions From Seniors To Pay $10M Judgment

We’ve said it too many times to count at this point, but scammers who take advantage of senior citizens are the worst. Today, the Federal Trade Commission made sure there was one less scammer out there by permanently barring the mastermind behind a multi-million dollar fraud from all future telemarketing activities. [More]

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

Even though millions of Americans are on the federal Do Not Call list to limit unwanted telemarketing calls, and even though it’s illegal for anyone to make a commercial prerecorded robocall to a consumer who hasn’t given their express consent to receive such calls, the problem persists and is getting worse, with no cure-all solution in the offing. [More]

(Mav)

IRS Impersonation Scam Is Largest In History, Cost Consumers $15.5M

The 2015 tax season has been fraught with complications, from the fraudulent use of tax returns to the “dirty dozen” scams meant to tear consumers away from their money. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing exploring ways in which consumers could better be protected from such hustles, federal investigators divulged more information about one of the most prevalent tax-time scams in recent years, saying it has now targeted 366,000 taxpayers to the tune of $15.5 million. [More]